13 May 1952
Rajya Sabha’s first sitting
The Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament of India had its first sitting on May 13, 1952.
- The Rajya Sabha had its early beginnings in the Montague-Chelmsford reforms of 1919 wherein a bicameral legislature was established, the Legislative Assembly (future Lok Sabha) and the Council of States (future Rajya Sabha). The Council of States was formed in 1921 as per the Government of India Act 1919.
- After India attained independence and became a republic in 1950, there was a lot of debate in the Constituent Assembly about whether to have a Second Chamber in the House. It was decided to have a bicameral legislature to meet the federal requirements of a country as diverse and vast as India. It was conceived as a house to which the composition and method of election would be different from the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
- The upper house of the Parliament was known as the Council of States
- The first Council of States after the first general elections was constituted on 3rd April 1952.
- The Council met for the first time on 13th It changed its name to Rajya Sabha on 23rd August 1954.
- The first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was Dr.S Radhakrishnan, who by virtue of being the Vice President of the country was the ex officio chairman of the upper house.
- The first Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was S V Krishnamoorthy Rao.
- The first Rajya Sabha had 216 members with one woman nominated member (Rukmini Devi Arundale). The Leader of the House was N Gopalaswami Ayyangar.
- The maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is 250 as per Article 80. Out of the 250 members, 12 are to be nominated by the President of the country.
- The remaining 238 are representatives of the states and two union territories.
- Currently, there are 245 members of the Rajya Sabha, out of which 12 are nominated members. The 2 UTs represented are Delhi and Puducherry.
- The Rajya Sabha is called a permanent body since it cannot be dissolved, unlike the Lok Sabha.
- The Rajya Sabha members are elected by the members of the state and UT Assemblies as per the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
- Its members are elected for a term of 6 years, and 1/3rd of its members retire every two years.
- The minimum age to be attained to be a member of the Rajya Sabha is 30 years.
- The current Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is Venkaiah Naidu. The Deputy Chairman is P J Kurien. Arun Jaitley is the Leader of the House and Ghulam Nabi Azad is the Leader of the Opposition.
- Read more about the functions of the Rajya Sabha.
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