Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature: Examples, Differences and Similarities

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Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature

The formation of states, governments, and legislature is no piece of cake. A complex structural organization is therefore required to set such guidelines, and one of them is the structure of the Parliament. Moreover, the Parliamentary structure or legislatures can be of two types which are Unicameral or Bicameral Legislatures. Furthermore, the main difference between the two arises based on the number of chambers or units constituting the legislature. 

Additionally, the legislature consists of deliberately elected people who make laws for a society. Now whether this power of devising laws is concentrated with one central body or divided into two separate parliamentary houses decides if the legislature is Unicameral or Bicameral. Read on to learn more about the Unicameral and Bicameral Legislatures in India along with the States and Union Territories that have these legislatures and the Differences and Similarities between the Legislatures.

What is a Unicameral Legislature?

An arrangement where there is only one house to make and implement laws for the state or country is called a Unicameral Legislature.

  • It can operate individually on the National or State level.
  • Additionally, a Unicameral legislature is considered more efficient due to the centralization of legislative powers but has disadvantages of its own. 

What Countries have a Unicameral Legislature?

There are various countries having a single house at the centre to control the laws, budget and every major decision of the country level. Here are Examples of the Countries that have a Unicameral Legislature are:

  1. Iran
  2. Norway
  3. Sweden
  4. Hungary
  5. Denmark
  6. Finland
  7. Israel
  8. New Zealand

Also Read: What is Republicanism?

What is a Unicameral Legislature in India?

In India, a Unicameral Legislature is a State Legislature that has only one house for lawmaking. Moreover, this single house is called the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly).

  • Structure: There is just one chamber, unlike the Bicameral system with two houses (Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad).
  • Presence: 22 out of 28 states in India have a Unicameral legislature.

Which Indian States have a Unicameral Legislature?

Though India has two chambers at its centre, some Indian States follow a Unicameral legislature system at the State government level. These States are:

Arunachal Pradesh West BengalUttarakhand 
Tripura Punjab Puducherry
Tamil NaduNagalandOdisha
Rajasthan Meghalaya Madhya Pradesh
Kerala Jharkhand Goa 
Himachal Pradesh Haryana Gujarat 
Chhattisgarh Delhi Assam 
Indian States that have a Unicameral Legislature

Also Read: Why Do We Need Two Houses of Parliament?

What is a Bicameral Legislature?

Understandably, the legislative body comprising two houses is a Bicameral legislature.

  • The roles of functioning and administration of a state or nation in this set-up are distributed among two houses.
  • These two houses are interconnected yet exclusive.
  • They may also differ in the number of seats, voting procedures, distribution of power and so on. 

Which Countries have a Bicameral Legislature?

There are many countries that have a Bicameral system of legislature. This reduces the abuse of power and allows discussions to take place in the Parliament at different levels and with different perspectives. Here are some countries that follow the Bicameral legislature system:

  1. India
  2. Canada
  3. Japan
  4. Spain
  5. Italy
  6. United Kingdom

Also Read: 17 Salient Features of the Indian Constitution

What is a Bicameral Legislature in India?

India has a Bicameral Legislature at the national level which means that the Parliament consists of two chambers:

  • Rajya Sabha (Council of States): The upper house which represents the States of India.
  • Lok Sabha (House of the People): The lower house which is directly elected by the people of India.

Furthermore, the characteristics of the Bicameral Legislature in India:

  • Benefits: The Bicameral system aims to provide a check and balance between the national level (Lok Sabha) and the interests of particular States (Rajya Sabha).
  • Limited Presence: Unlike the national Parliament, only 6 out of 28 states in India have a Bicameral legislature. These States have two houses:
    • Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly): The lower house that is similar to the Lok Sabha at the national level.
    • Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council): The upper house that is similar to the Rajya Sabha at the national level.

What Indian States have a Bicameral Legislature?

Indian States and Union territories that follow a Bicameral legislature system are: 

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Bihar
  3. Karnataka
  4. Maharashtra
  5. Telangana
  6. Uttar Pradesh

Also Read: What is the Difference between Parliamentary and Presidential System of Government?

What is the Differences Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature?

Apart from the fundamental differences of formation, there are also some other more functional differences between the Unicameral and Bicameral legislatures. The differences are as follows:

FeatureUnicameral LegislatureBicameral Legislature
Government SystemUnitary Federal
Decision MakingEfficient & FlexibleElaborate and Time-consuming
DeadlockLeast or NeverCommon as both houses can disagree
ResponsibilitiesConcentrated to oneDivided among the houses
Efficient in Smaller countriesLarger countries
ExpeditesDecision makingDiversity of opinion
Differences Between Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature

Similarities between the Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature

Furthermore, even though they have fundamental differences in structure, Unicameral and Bicameral Legislatures share some key similarities:

  • Core Function: Unicameral and Bicameral legislatures have the same core function which is to make laws for the country or region they represent.
    • Moreover, they hold the legislative power and debate, propose, and ultimately decide which bills become the law.
  • Representation: In both systems, legislators are usually elected officials who represent the people. Therefore, this allows citizens to have a voice in the law-making process.
  • Basic Responsibilities: Regardless of the number of chambers, Legislatures share basic responsibilities like approving budgets, overseeing government actions, and potentially confirming Presidential appointments.

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Why do only 7 states have bicameral legislature?

Before it was 7 States, but now it is 6 States that have a Bicameral Legislature. It so happened that the state of Jammu and Kashmir turned into a Union Territory in 2019. These 6 states have a Bicameral Legislature as their populations are higher than the other States.

Is India a unicameral or bicameral legislature?

India is a Bicameral Legislature as it has the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

How many states are unicameral in India?

22 States are Unicameral in India.

How many states are bicameral in India?

6 States are Bicameral in India.

Lastly, we hope you liked our blog and gained an understanding of the Unicameral and Bicameral legislature. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity!

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