Legislature of the Union which is called Parliament, consists of President and two Houses, known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). Each House of Parliament has to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of two Houses can be held in certain cases.


The Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the States and of the Union Territories.

Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect; members representing states are elected by elected members of legislative assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and those representing union territories are chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire every second year.

The Rajya Sabha, at present, has 245 seats. Of these, 233 members represent the States and the Union Territories and 12 members are nominated by the President. The names of members of Rajya Sabha and party affiliation are given in Appendices.


The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is now 552 (530 members to represent States/20 to represent Union Territories and not more than two members of Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President, if, in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House). The total elective membership of the Lok Sabha is distributed among States in such a way that the ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States. The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members. Of these, 530 members are directly elected from the States and 13 from Union Territories while two are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. The allocation of seats in the present Lok Sabha is based on the 1971 census and under the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution (1976) will continue to be so based until figures of the first census taken after 2000 AD become available.

The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Thirteen Lok Sabhas have been constituted so far.