Rajya Sabha - Indian Polity Notes

Indian Parliament consists of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the President of India. Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the parliament and is termed as House of Elders in Indian Parliament. Understanding Rajya Sabha is very important for IAS Exam as it forms the basis of Indian Polity.

This article will in detail mention about Rajya Sabha, Rajya Sabha election process, Rajya Sabha seats, its chairman and, more. The article will answer a few questions that cross an aspirants’ minds while preparing for UPSC 2020. IAS candidates should know that the topic ‘Rajya Sabha’ is very important for civil services examination as it comes under Political Science subject which is a significant subject both for Prelims and Mains GS-II and also for optional papers.

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Rajya Sabha – Rajya Sabha Members

Indian Parliament is bicameral in nature i.e. that it has two houses. Rajya Sabha is one of those two houses, i.e. the upper house of the Parliament. The other house is the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament.) (You may check the differences between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the linked article.) Rajya Sabha is the second chamber of the parliament and represents the states and union territories of the nation. It is empowered to protect the interests of the states and union territories if there is an interference by the centre in their work.

Composition of Rajya Sabha:

Composition of Rajya Sabha
Maximum Strength – 250 230 represent States & Union Territories
12 are nominated by the president
Current Strength – 245 229 members represent the states
4 members represent the union territories
12 members are nominated by the president
Note: Fourth Schedule of Indian Constitution deals with allocation of seats in Rajya Sabha

How are the Rajya Sabha members elected?

Rajya Sabha Members are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies using a method of proportional representation.

Note: Representation of States in Rajya Sabha is not equal. It depends on its population. State with a larger population will have more number of seats in Rajya Sabha than those with a lesser population.

Rajya Sabha Elections

There are three types of representation in Rajya Sabha :

Representation of States in Rajya Sabha:

  • Members are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies
  • Election Principle used – Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote
  • The population of the state is a factor that decides the representation of states in Rajya Sabha

Representation of Union Territories in Rajya Sabha:

  • Members of Rajya Sabha belonging to Union Territories are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college, that is constituted for this purpose
  • Election Principle used – Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote

Note: Out of 7 union territories, only Delhi and Puducherry have representation in Rajya Sabha.

Representation of Nominated Members in Rajya Sabha:

12 people are nominated by the President in Rajya SAbha for their contribution and expertise in the fields of:

  • Art
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Social Service

Facts related to Rajya Sabha elections in UPSC:

Two changes were made to Rajya Sabha election in 2003:

  1. To be elected as a Rajya Sabha member from a particular state, the requirement to be an elector from that state was removed.
  2. System of the open ballot was introduced in place of secret ballot system.

Can Rajya Sabha get dissolved?

Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and also called a ‘continuing chamber.’ Unlike Lok Sabha which usually runs for 5 years and the fresh elections are taken up, Rajya Sabha has no specific tenure and it keeps on running. Therefore, it is never dissolved.

Note:

  • Every second year, one-third of its members retire. For the vacant seats, fresh elections take place. However, nominations are taken up in the beginning of the third year.
  • Representation of the People Act, 1951 authorizes the President to make provisions to govern the order of retirement of the members of the Rajya Sabha.

Who is Rajya Sabha Chairman & Deputy Chairman?

Indian Vice-President is an ex-officio chairman of Rajya Sabha while the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha is one who is elected from amongst Rajya Sabha members. The details on Rajya Sabha Chairman and Deputy Chairman are given in the table below:

Details Rajya Sabha Chairman Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman
Role He presides the upper house He presides the upper house whenever given-below conditions arise:

  • Seat of chairman falls vacant
  • When Chairman/Vice-President has to act as President
  • When Chairman is absent from the sitting

Note: In all three cases, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha has all the powers of Chairman of Rajya Sabha

Removal He can be removed as the chairman of Rajya Sabha only when he is removed from the seat of Vice-President of India

Note: While the resolution is moved, he can’t preside the house as chairman, though he can be a part of the house, speak in the house

He can be removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the members of the Rajya Sabha

Note: The resolution to remove him can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice

Is he a member of the house? No Yes
Can he vote in the house? He cannot vote in the first instance

Note: He can vote in the case of an equality of votes

When he presides as the chairman, he too cannot vote in the first instance but can exercise casting vote in case of a tie

Note: When Chairman is present in the house, Deputy Chairman is an ordinary member in the house and can speak, participate in proceedings and even vote in the questions of house

Salary Fixed by Parliament

Note: His salary is charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. (Read more about funds of India in the linked article)

Note: When Chairman of the house has to act as President of India, he is not entitled to a salary of Chairman of Rajya Sabha but of President of India

Fixed by Parliament

Note: His salary is charged on Consolidated Fund of India

Questions related to Rajya Sabha for UPSC

Check below the important questions that are related to the topic ‘Rajya Sabha’ in the table below:

What is the principle of the election in Rajya Sabha? Proportional Representation with the means of Single Transferable Vote
How many Department Related Standing Committees (DRSC) are there in Rajya Sabha? There are 8 Standing Committees in Rajya Sabha. (To read more on Parliamentary Committees, check the linked article)
What is the role of Rajya Sabha in the passage of Money Bill? Rajya Sabha cannot introduce, reject or amend the Money Bill but has to return the bill with or without amendments
Who is the leader of Rajya Sabha? Like Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha also has a leader who is a minister and a member of the house and is nominated by the prime minister to function as such
What is the qualification of Rajya Sabha members?
  • Must be an Indian Citizen
  • Must be not less than 30 years of age
  • Must be registered as an elector for a parliamentary constituency

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