Types of Majorities

Quest for UPSC CSE Panels

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GS-II: Polity

1 min read

Prelims: Indian Polity

Mains: Indian Constitution-Features, Significant Provisions


What is the importance of majority in the Indian Legislature?

The Parliament of India, comprising the President, the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), and the Lok Sabha (House of the People), is the supreme legislative body of the country. One of the main functions of the Parliament is to make laws for the country's governance.

  • The law-making process in the Parliament begins with the introduction of a bill and ends with the assent of the President.
  • The majority in the Indian Parliament plays a crucial role in deciding the fate of bills and policies.
  • The Indian Constitution does not explicitly categorize the types of majorities required for passing different bills, but the interpretation of the Constitution provides four types of majorities:
    • Simple majority
    • Absolute majority
    • Effective majority
    • Special majority


What are the different types of majorities?

Type of Majority

Constitutional Provisions


Simple Majority: the majority of more than 50% of the members present and voting.

It is also known as functional or working majority.

  • Article 100: Voting in Houses, power of Houses to act notwithstanding vacancies and quorum
  • Article 108: Joint sitting of both Houses in certain cases.
  • Article 169: Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States.
  • Article 356: President Rule.
  • Ordinary bills need to be passed with a simple majority in both Houses of Parliament and the State Legislature.
  • Passing No-Confidence Motion, Adjournment Motion, Censure Motion, Confidence Motion, etc.
  • Passing of resolution declaring Financial Emergency, President’s Rule.
  • Abolition or creation of the State Legislative Council.
  • Election of Speaker and deputy speaker in Lok Sabha etc.
Absolute majority: the majority of more than 50% of the House’s total membership.Note: Parliament or the State legislature does not use the absolute majority for normal business.
  • Used for the formation of government at the Centre and States after the general elections.

Effective Majority: the majority of more than 50% of the effective strength of the House.

Example of Effective strength: If 15 seats out of a total 545 seats in Lok Sabha are vacant. Then effective strength is 545-15 = 530. In this case, the effective majority will be 265. 

  • Article 67(b):  Removal of Vice President.
  • Article 90(c): Removal of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • Article 94(c): Removal of Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • Vice President of India may be removed through a Rajya Sabha resolution passed by an effective majority and later approved by the Lok Sabha (simple majority).
  • Removal of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the State Legislatures.
Special Majority Type-1: Majority by two-thirds of members present and voting.
  • Article 249: Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the State List in the national interest.
  • Rajya Sabha, by passing a  resolution under this majority, empowers the Parliament to make laws on subjects in the State List.
Special Majority Type-2: Majority of two-third members present and voting along with 50% of the total strength of the House.
  • Article 368
  • Part III: Fundamental Rights
  • Part IV: Directive Principles of State Policy
  • All other constitutional amendment provisions which are not covered by either a simple majority or special majority type-3.
Special Majority Type-3: A majority of two-thirds members present and voting supported by more than 50% of the state legislatures by a simple majority.
  • Special majority under Article 368 passed by the Parliament and ratification by 50% of the states by a Simple majority.   

Used to pass

Constitutional Amendment

bills involving federal matters:

  • Election of the President and its manner.
  • Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.
  • Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • Distribution of legislative powers between

the Union and the States.

  • Any of the lists in the Seventh Schedule.
  • Representation of States in Parliament.
  • Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (Article 368).
Special Majority Type-4: Majority of 2/3rd of the total strength of the House.
  • Article 61: Impeachment of President
  • The President can be removed from his office before the completion of his term of 5 years by the procedure of impeachment for ‘violation of the Constitution’.
  • Both Houses of the Parliament need to pass the motion by 2/3rd of the total strength of the House.


Previous Year Questions



Q) When a bill is referred to a joint sitting both the Houses of the Parliament, has to be passed by (2015)

(a) a simple majority of member present and voting

(b) three-fourths majority of member present and voting

(c) two-thirds majority of the House 

(d) absolute majority of the House


Q) The Parliament of India acquires the power to legislate on any item in the State List in the national interest if a resolution to that effect is passes by the (2016)

(a) Lok Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership

(b) Lok Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its total membership

(c) Rajya Sabha by a simple majority of its total membership

(d) Rajya Sabha by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q1) What are some important Constitutional amendments passed under Article 368 (special majority of parliament and ratification of 50% of the state legislature)?

  • Some of the important constitutional amendments are:
  • The 73rd Amendment Act, 1992 (Panchayati Raj System)
  • The 74th Amendment Act, 1992 (Municipalities)
  • 101 constitutional amendment act, 2017(Goods and Services Tax), etc.


Q2) Has Rajya Sabha ever passed a resolution under Article 249? 

No, Rajya Sabha has not passed any resolution under Article 249 till now. However, the 42nd Constitutional Amendment 1976 amended Article 312 to confer power on the Rajya Sabha to initiate the process of setting up an All India Judicial Service. To this effect, it is yet to pass a resolution supported by a two-thirds majority in the house.