Rajya Sabha or the Council of States is the upper house of the parliament. In Rajya Sabha , 238 members ,out of total 250 members, represents the state. President of India, nominates the other 12 members, among the people with special knowledge or practical experience in the field of Science, Art , Social Sciences and Literature.
Elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies , elect the states representatives. Legislative Assemblies that are not present in the Union Territories, the members are elected by electoral college that is constituted specially for the purpose.The election of the members of Rajya Sabha is held in accordance with the principle of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
History of Rajya Sabha
In 1952, Indian Parliament’s the 2nd Chamber or Council of States was constituted. It has been so framed as to give Upper house character distinct from that of the Legislative Assembly. The reasons for the creation of a legislative structure was to give a democratic forum for people’s representatives and and to restore the political and social unity of our country.Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the first Vice-President of India and the first Chairman of Rajya Sabha.He defined in broad terms the function of the House and stated : There is a general impression that this House cannot make or unmake governments and, therefore, it is a superfluous body. But there are functions, which a revising Chamber can fulfil fruitfully.
Qualifications for Rajya Sabha Members
1. He must be a citizen of India.
2. He must not be less than 30 years of age.
3. He must be Parliamentary elector in the state from which he is seeking election.
4. He must make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation asserting his allegiance to the constitution of India
5. He must possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the Parliament for that purpose from time to time.
Term of Rajya Sabha Members
The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house and is not subject to dissolution. In accordance with the provisions made by the Parliament by law, after every 2 years, one-third of the members of Rajya Sabha retire. For a term of 6 years, the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected. This arrangement ensures continuity as well as representation of the changing public opinion.
Presiding Officers – Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha
The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. A Deputy Chairman, is elected from the house, from amongst its members. The Deputy Chairman presides over when the Vice-President is absent. Except in case of a tie, Chairman does not enjoy the right. For maintaining order and decorum in the house, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and to conducts the proceedings in accordance with the rules.
The Secretary-General is appointed by the Chairman and holds rank equivalent to the highest civil servant of the Union and also administrative head of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the custodian of the records of the House. He works under the direction and control of the Chairman.
Other Members of Rajya Sabha include :
- Leader of the House who is a cabinet minister or Prime Minister if he is a member of the House, or another nominated minister.
- Leader of the Opposition who leads the minority parties and is commonly the leader of the largest minority party.
One-tenth of the total membership of the Rajya Sabha constitute the Quorum for holding the meeting of the House.
Legislative Powers of Rajya Sabha
In the legislative sphere, both the Houses of the Parliament have been placed on equal footing by the Constitution.
Constituent Powers of Rajya Sabha
In the matter of the amendment of the Constitution the two Houses have been placed on an equal footing. A proposal for amendment can originate in either of the two Houses but must be approved by both the Houses of the Parliament.
Exclusive Powers of Rajya Sabha
With the Lok Sabha , Rajya Sabha enjoys either inferior or co-equal position in case of in the legislative and financial spheres, in certain other spheres it has been given exclusive powers which are not available to the Lok Sabha.
For example, under Article 249 of the Constitution the Rajya Sabha can authorise the Parliament to make a law on the subject enumerated in the State List by passing a resolution by two-thirds majority that it is necessary or expedient to do so in national interest. After passage of such a resolution by the Rajya Sabha the Parliament can lawfully legislate on any subject in the State List.Such a resolution is, initially valid for a period of one year but can be further extended for a year at a time.
Under Article 312, the Rajya Sabha is authorised to recommend the creation of a new All India Service catering to the needs of the Union as well as the States.
Any non-financial) bill has to be approved by Rajya Sabha even if it is approved by Lok Sabha.
|Name of State and Union Territory||No. of Seats|
|Jammu & Kashmir||4|