THE RAJYA SABHA
The Rajya Sabha consists of a maximum of 250 members including members nominated as well as elected. The number of elected members is not to exceed 238 representing the States and the Union Territories. The President nominates 12 members having exceptional qualities and experiences in diverse fields like art, literature, science, and social service. India Upper House is different from the U.S. counterpart as this House is not functioning truly for giving balanced representation to the smaller States. The members are elected indirectly by the members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and cannot be dissolved. However, one-third of the members retire at the end of every second year. This way the members enjoy a six-years term in the House.
A member must have the basic requirement of being an Indian and not less than 30 years of age. The member must also not hold any office of profit, if he is chosen. If a member remains absent from the House for more than 60 days, the seat may be declared vacant.
The constitution has given equal power to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha except in certain matters like those for the executive and the money bills. This is primarly because of the parliamentary system of government which intentionally has made Rajya Sabha less influential than the Lok Sabha that is having members who are directly elected by the people. There is no denying the fact that the Rajya Sabha has the right of information. It does from time to time criticise actions and policies of the government but it cannot cause a fall of the Governments as the defeat of the Government in the Rajya Sabha does not lead to the resignation of the Council of Ministers. However, Rajya Sabha does enjoy the exclusive powers with regard to creation of All-India Services and in respect of legislation on State List in the national interest.
DEFECTION AS A GROUND FOR DISQUALIFICATION
By the 52nd Amendment Act passed in 1985, a person is disqualified if he attracts disqualification under the Tenth Schedule.
A person incurs disqualification under the Tenth Schedule—
1. If he voluntarily gives up the membership of the party on whose ticket he was elected.
2. If he votes or abstains from voting contrary to any direction issued by his political party, without obtaining permission of such party and the party has not condoned such voting or abstention within 15 days from the date of such voting or abstention.
3. If any nominated member joins a party after the expiry of six months from the date he takes his seat.
4. A member who has been elected as an independent member shall be disqualified if he joins any political party.
Exceptions to the Rule of Defection
The disqualification as a consequence of defection does not apply—
1. If a person leaves a party as a result of split in the original party. The split takes place when not less than one third of the members form a new group and party in the House.
2. If the original party or a member merges with another party and he either changes his political party as a consequence of the merger or does not accept merger and opts to function as a separate group. A merger is deemed to take place only if not less than two third of the members of the legislative party agree to such merger.
Question of disqualification under the 10th Schedule
If any question arises whether a member has become disqualified under the Tenth Schedule (defection) the question has to be decided by the Chairman or the Speaker of the appropriate House.
Validity of Para-7 of the 10th Schedule
Para-7 of the 10th Schedule states that no court shall have any jurisdiction in respect of any matter connected with disqualification of a member under that Schedule. In Kihota Hollohon the Supreme Court has expressed the view that while applying and interpreting the anti-defection law the Speaker functions as a tribunal and his decision is open to judicial review. The court held the Para-7 of the 10th Schedule is invalid on the ground that it seeks to take away the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Hence, the question of disqualification under the 10th Schedule, though to be decided by the Presiding officer, is subject to judicial review.
Decision on other disqualifications
The Presiding officer under 10th Schedule decides whether a member has become disqualified on any one or more of the grounds mentioned in the 10th Schedule. But in regard to other disqualifications, the question is to be referred to the President. Article 103(2) lays down that the President shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission, and shall gives the decision based on the opinion.
voters in a constituency, without any separate electorate. A member of sched¬uled castes and scheduled tribes is also not debarred from contesting a general (non-re¬served) seat.