Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature: Meaning, Characteristics, Differences

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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. The parliamentary structure or legislatures can be of two types; Unicameral or Bicameral Legislatures. The main difference between the two arises on the basis of the number of chambers or units constituting the legislature. 

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. Let’s explore the two in detail. 

Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature
Source: Law Insider

Also Read: What is Republicanism?

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. A unicameral legislature is considered to be more efficient due to the centralization of legislative powers but it has disadvantages of its own. 

Countries With 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. Some of these countries are listed below. 

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

Indian States With Unicameral Legislature 

Though India has two chambers at its centre, there are some Indian states that follow a unicameral legislature system at the state government level. These states are mentioned below. 

Arunachal Pradesh  West Bengal Uttarakhand 
Tripura  Punjab  Puducherry
Tamil Nadu Nagaland Odisha
Sikkim Mizoram Manipur 
Rajasthan  Meghalaya  Madhya Pradesh
Kerala  Jharkhand  Goa 
Himachal Pradesh  Haryana  Gujarat 
Chhattisgarh  Delhi  Assam 
Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature
Source: Deccan Herald

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. 

Countries With a Bicameral Legislature

There are many countries that follow the 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

Indian States With a Bicameral Legislature

Indian states and Union territories that follow a bicameral legislature system are given below. 

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

Also Read: What Is Fascism: Definition, History, and Significance 

Unicameral and Bicameral Legislature
Source: thehansindia

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 elaborated below. 

Feature Unicameral Legislature Bicameral Legislature
House One Two 
Government System Unitary  Federal
Decision Making Efficient & Flexible Elaborate and Time-consuming
Deadlock Least or Never Common as both houses can disagree
Responsibilities Concentrated to one Divided among the houses
Efficient in  Smaller countries Larger countries
Expedites Decision making Diversity of opinion

For more such informative blogs on Civics & Polity stay tuned to our General Knowledge section. 

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