Rajya Sabha

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Coordinates: 28°37′0″N77°12′30″E / 28.61667°N 77.20833°E / 28.61667; 77.20833

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Rajya Sabha
Council of States
Emblem of India.svg
Term limits
6 years
Harivansh Narayan Singh, JD(U)
since 9 August 2018
Arun Jaitley, BJP
since 2 June 2014 [2]
Ghulam Nabi Azad, INC
since 8 June 2014 [2]
Seats245 (233 Elected + 12 Nominated by the President)
1 Vacant (1 Elected Seat) [3]
Rajya Sabha, India Dec 2018.svg
Political groups
Government (101)

National Democratic Alliance

Opposition (144)

United Progressive Alliance (66)

Others (78)

  •      AITC (13)
  •      SP (13)
  •      BJD (9)
  •      TDP (6)
  •      TRS (6)
  •      CPI(M) (5)
  •      BSP (4)
  •      AAP (3)
  •      YSRCP (2)
  •      CPI (2)
  •      JKPDP (2)
  •      INLD (1)
  •      SDF (1)
  •     Independent (6)
  •     Nominated (4)
  •     Vacant (1)
Single transferable vote
Last election
16 January, 23 March and 21 June 2018
Next election
May – June 2019
Meeting place
New Delhi government block 03-2016 img3.jpg
Rajya Sabha chamber, Sansad Bhavan,
Sansad Marg, New Delhi, India - 110 001
^† Out of 73 BJP members, 65 were elected and 8 were nominated

The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Membership of Rajya Sabha is limited by the Constitution to a maximum of 250 members and current laws have provision for 245 members. Most of the members of the House are indirectly elected by the members of States and union territories of India state and territorial legislatures using single transferable votes through Open Ballot, while the President can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. Members sit for staggered terms lasting six years, with a third of the members up for election every two years. [4]

An upper house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house. The house formally designated as the upper house is usually smaller and often has more restricted power than the lower house. Examples of upper houses in countries include the Australian Senate, Brazil's Senado Federal, the Canadian Senate, France's Sénat, Germany's Bundesrat, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, the Netherlands' Eerste Kamer, Pakistan's Senate of Pakistan, Russia's Federation Council, Switzerland's Council of States, United Kingdom's House of Lords and the United States Senate.

Parliament of India National bicameral legislature of the Republic of India

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses: the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The President in his role as head of legislature has full powers to summon and prorogue either house of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The president can exercise these powers only upon the advice of the Prime Minister and his Union Council of Ministers.

Constitution of India Supreme law of India

The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. The document lays down the framework demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any country on earth. B. R. Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, is widely considered to be its chief architect.

The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, is not subject to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President. The Rajya Sabha has equal footing in all areas of legislation with the Lok Sabha, except in the area of supply, where the Lok Sabha has overriding powers. In the case of conflicting legislation, a joint sitting of the two houses can be held. However, since the Lok Sabha has twice as many members as the Rajya Sabha, the former would normally hold the greater power. Joint sittings of the Houses of Parliament of India are rare, and in the history of the Republic, only three such joint-sessions have been held; the latest one for the passage of the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Lok Sabha Lower house of the Parliament of India

The Lok Sabha is the lower house of India's bicameral Parliament, with the upper house being the Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by adult universal suffrage and a first-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for five years or until the body is dissolved by the President on the advice of the council of ministers. The house meets in the Lok Sabha Chambers of the Sansad Bhavan in New Delhi.

A legislative session is the period of time in which a legislature, in both parliamentary and presidential systems, is convened for purpose of lawmaking, usually being one of two or more smaller divisions of the entire time between two elections. In each country the procedures for opening, ending, and in between sessions differs slightly. A session may last for the full term of the legislature or the term may consist of a number of sessions. These may be of fixed duration, such as a year, or may be used as a parliamentary procedural device. A session of the legislature is brought to an end by an official act of prorogation. In either event, the effect of prorogation is generally the clearing of all outstanding matters before the legislature.

Loss of supply occurs where a government in a parliamentary democracy using the Westminster System or a system derived from it is denied a supply of treasury or exchequer funds, by whichever house or houses of parliament or head of state is constitutionally entitled to grant and deny supply. A defeat on a budgetary vote is one such way by which supply can be denied. Loss of supply is typically interpreted as indicating a loss of confidence in the government. Not all "money bills" are necessarily supply bills. For instance, in Australia, supply bills are defined as "bills which are required by the Government to carry on its day-to-day business".

The Vice President of India (currently, Venkaiah Naidu) is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions. The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the house's members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman. The Rajya Sabha held its first sitting on 13 May 1952. [5] The salary and other benefits for a member of Rajya Sabha are same as for a member of Lok Sabha.

Vice President of India Second-highest constitutional office of India

The Vice President of India is the second-highest constitutional office in India after the President. Article 63 of Indian Constitution states that "There shall be a Vice President of India." The Vice President acts as President in the absence of the president due to death, resignation, impeachment, or other situations.

Venkaiah Naidu Indian politician

Shri Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu is an Indian politician and the current Vice President of India and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, in office since 11 August 2017. Previously, he served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting in the Modi Cabinet. A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He took the oath as Vice-President of India and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha on 11 August 2017.

The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha presides over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha in the absence of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The Deputy Chairman is elected internally by the Rajya Sabha.

Rajya Sabha members are elected by state legislatures rather than directly through the electorate by single transferable vote method. From 18 July 2018, Rajya Sabha MPs can speak in 22 Indian languages in House as the Upper House has facility for simultaneous interpretation in all the 22 official languages of India. [6]

The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting in multi-seat organizations or constituencies. Under STV, an elector (voter) has a single vote that is initially allocated to their most preferred candidate. Votes are totalled and a quota derived. If their candidate achieves quota, he/she is elected and in some STV systems any surplus vote is transferred to other candidates in proportion to the voters' stated preferences. If more candidates than seats remain, the bottom candidate is eliminated with his/her votes being transferred to other candidates as determined by the voters' stated preferences. These elections and eliminations, and vote transfers if applicable, continue until there are only as many candidates as there are unfilled seats. The specific method of transferring votes varies in different systems.

Languages with official status in India The Constitution of India designates 22 official languages for the Government of India

There is no national language in India. The Constitution of India designates 22 official languages for the Government of India and as Hindi written in the Devanagari script, as well as English as the official languages of the Union. Hindi or English is used in official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, judiciary, communications between the Central Government and a State Government. States within India have the liberty and powers to specify their own official language(s) through legislation and therefore there are 22 officially recognized languages in India of which Hindi is the most used. The number of native Hindi speakers is about 25% of the total Indian population; however, including dialects of Hindi termed as Hindi languages, the total is around 44% of Indians, mostly accounted from the states falling under the Hindi belt. Other Indian languages are each spoken by around 10% or less of the population.


Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament. A member of the Rajya Sabha must: [7]

In addition, twelve members are nominated by the President of India having special knowledge in various areas like arts and science. However, they are not entitled to vote in Presidential elections as per Article 55 of the Constitution.


The Constitution of India places some restrictions on the Rajya Sabha which makes the Lok Sabha more powerful in certain areas.

Money bills

The definition of a money bill is given in article 110 of constitution of India. A money bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha by a minister and only on recommendation of President of India. When the Lok Sabha passes a money bill then the Lok Sabha sends money bill to the Rajya Sabha for 14 days during which it can make recommendations. Even if Rajya Sabha fails to return the money bill in 14 days to the Lok Sabha, that bill is deemed to have passed by both the Houses. Also, if the Lok Sabha rejects any (or all) of the amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament of India in the form the Lok Sabha finally passes it. Hence, Rajya Sabha can only give recommendations for a money bill but Rajya Sabha cannot amend a money bill. This is to ensure that Rajya Sabha must not add any non money matters in money bill. There is no joint sitting of both the houses with respect to money bills, because all final decisions are taken by the Lok Sabha. [9]

Joint Sitting of the Parliament

Article 108 provides for a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament in certain cases. A joint sitting can be convened by the President of India when one house has either rejected a bill passed by the other house, has not taken any action on a bill transmitted to it by the other house for six months, or has disagreed to the amendments proposed by the Lok Sabha on a bill passed by it. Considering that the numerical strength of Lok Sabha is more than twice that of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha tends to have a greater influence in a joint sitting of Parliament. A joint session is chaired by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. Also, because the joint session is convened by the President on advice of the government, which already has a majority in Lok Sabha, the joint session is usually convened to get bills passed through a Rajya Sabha in which the government has a minority.

Joint sessions of Parliament are a rarity, and have been convened three times in last 71 years, for the purpose of passage of a specific legislative act, the latest time being in 2002:

No-confidence motion

Unlike the Lok Sabha, a member of the Rajya Sabha cannot bring to the house a no-confidence motion against the government.


In the Indian federal structure, the Rajya Sabha is a representative of the States in the Union legislature (hence the name, Council of States). For this reason, the Rajya Sabha is granted powers that protect the rights of States against the Union.

Union-states relations

The Constitution empowers the Parliament of India to make laws on the matters reserved for States. However, this can only be done if the Rajya Sabha first passes a resolution by a two-thirds supermajority granting such a power to the Union Parliament. The union government cannot make a law on a matter reserved for states without any authorisation from Rajya Sabha.

Creation of All-India Services

The Rajya Sabha, by a two-thirds supermajority can pass a resolution empowering the Government of India to create more All-India Services common to both Union and States, including a judicial service.


Seats are allotted in degressive proportion to the population of each state or union territory, meaning that smaller states have a slight advantage over more populous states. [10] As the members are elected by the state legislature, smaller Union Territories which are not States and do not have legislatures cannot have representation in Rajya Sabha. Hence, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu & Lakshadweep do not send any representatives to Rajya Sabha. 12 members are nominated by the President. [11] [12]

As per the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950, the Rajya Sabha was to consist of 216 members of which 12 members were to be nominated by the President and the remaining 204 elected to represent the States. [12] The present strength, however, is 245 members of whom 233 are representatives of the states and union territories and 12 are nominated by the President. [12] The 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha are persons who are eminent in particular fields, and are well known contributors in the particular field.

List of constituencies by States/Union Territories

State and Union TerritorySeats
Andhra Pradesh [13] 11
Arunachal Pradesh 1
Assam 7
Bihar 16
Chhattisgarh 5
Goa 1
Gujarat 11
Haryana 5
Himachal Pradesh 3
Jammu and Kashmir 4
Jharkhand 6
Karnataka 12
Kerala 9
Madhya Pradesh 11
Maharashtra 19
Manipur 1
Meghalaya 1
Mizoram 1
Nagaland 1
National Capital Territory of Delhi 3
Nominated 12
Odisha 10
Puducherry 1
Punjab 7
Rajasthan 10
Sikkim 1
Tamil Nadu 18
Telangana [13] 7
Tripura 1
Uttar Pradesh 31
Uttarakhand 3
West Bengal 16

Membership by party

Members of Rajya Sabha by their political party (As of 1 January 2019): [14]

National Democratic Alliance
Seats: 101
Bharatiya Janata Party 73
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 13
Janata Dal (United) 6
Shiromani Akali Dal 3
Shiv Sena 3
Republican Party of India (A) 1
Bodoland People's Front 1
Naga People's Front 1
United Progressive Alliance
Seats: 66
Indian National Congress 50
Rashtriya Janata Dal 5
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 4
Nationalist Congress Party 4
Janata Dal (Secular) 1
Indian Union Muslim League 1
Kerala Congress (M) 1
Seats: 78
All India Trinamool Congress 13
Samajwadi Party 13
Biju Janata Dal 9
Telangana Rashtra Samithi 6
Telugu Desam Party 6
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 5
Bahujan Samaj Party 4
Aam Aadmi Party 3
YSR Congress Party 2
Communist Party of India 2
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party 2
Indian National Lok Dal 1
Sikkim Democratic Front 1


Leader of the House

Besides the Chairman (Vice-President of India) and the Deputy Chairman, there is also a position called Leader of the House. This is a cabinet minister – the Prime Minister if he is a member of the House, or another nominated Minister. The Leader has a seat next to the Chairman, in the front row.

Leader of the Opposition

Besides the Leader of the House, who is leading the majority, there is also a Leader of the Opposition (LOP) – leading the opposition parties. The function was only recognized in the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977. This is commonly the leader of the largest non-government party, and is recognized as such by the Chairman.

The following is the list of the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha:

Sr NoNamePortraitTerm of officePolitical party
Prime Minister
1 Shyam Nandan Mishra December 1969March 1971 INC (O) Indira Gandhi
2 M. S. Gurupadaswamy March 1971April 1972
3 Kamalapati Tripathi 30 March 197715 February 1978 INC Morarji Desai
4 Bhola Paswan Shastri 24 February 197823 March 1978 INC (O)
5Kamalapati Tripathi23 March 19788 January 1980 INC
Charan Singh
6 Lal Krishna Advani Lkadvani.jpg 21 January 19807 April 1980 Janata Party Indira Gandhi
7 P. Shiv Shankar 18 December 19892 January 1991 INC V. P. Singh
Chandra Shekhar
8M. S. Gurupadaswamy28 June 199121 July 1991 Janata Dal P. V. Narasimha Rao
9 S. Jaipal Reddy S Jaipal Reddy (Cropped).JPG 22 July 199129 June 1992
10 Sikander Bakht 7 July 199223 May 1996 BJP
11 Shankarrao Chavan 23 May 19961 June 1996 INC Atal Bihari Vajpayee
12Sikander Bakht1 June 199619 March 1998 BJP H. D. Deve Gowda
I. K. Gujral
13 Manmohan Singh Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in WEF ,2009 (cropped).jpg 21 March 199821 May 2004 INC Atal Bihari Vajpayee
14 Jaswant Singh Jaswant Singh.jpg 3 June 200416 May 2009 BJP Manmohan Singh
15 Arun Jaitley Arun Jaitley, Minister.jpg 3 June 200926 May 2014
16 Ghulam Nabi Azad Ghulam Nabi Azad-cropped.JPG 8 June 2014Incumbent INC Narendra Modi


The Secretariat of Rajya Sabha was set up pursuant to the provisions contained in Article 98 of the Constitution. The said Article, which provides for a separate secretarial staff for each House of Parliament, reads as follows:- 98. Secretariat of Parliament – Each House of Parliament shall have a separate secretarial staff: Provided that nothing in this clause shall be construed as preventing the creation of posts common to both Houses of Parliament. (2) Parliament may by law regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service of persons appointed to the secretarial staff of either House of Parliament.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat functions under the overall guidance and control of the Chairman. The main activities of the Secretariat inter alia include the following :

(i) providing secretarial assistance and support to the effective functioning of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) possible to Members of Rajya Sabha; (iv) servicing the various Parliamentary Committees; (v) preparing research and reference material and bringing out various publications; (vi) recruitment of manpower in the Sabha Secretariat and attending to personnel matters; and (vii) preparing and publishing a record of the day-to-day proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and bringing out such other publications, as may be required concerning the functioning of the Rajya Sabha and its Committees.

In the discharge of his constitutional and statutory responsibilities, the Chairman, Rajya Sabha is assisted by the Secretary-General, who holds the rank equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India. The Secretary-General, in turn, is assisted by senior functionaries at the level of Secretary, Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary and other officers and staff of the Secretariat. Present secretary-general is Desh Deepak Verma, IAS. [15]


Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) is a 24-hour a day, seven day a week parliamentary TV channel fully owned and operated by the Rajya Sabha. The channel is aimed at providing in-depth coverage and analysis of parliamentary affairs especially the functioning of and developments related to Rajya Sabha. During sessions of Parliament, apart from telecasting live coverage of the proceedings of Rajya Sabha, RSTV presents incisive analysis of the proceedings of the House as well as other day-to-day parliamentary events and developments. [16]

See also

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The Parliament of India is bicameral. Concurrence of both houses are required to pass any bill. However, the makers of the Constitution of India anticipated situations of deadlock between the upper house i.e. Rajya Sabha and the lower house i.e. Lok Sabha. Therefore, the Constitution of India provides for Joint sittings of both the Houses to break this deadlock. The joint sitting of the Parliament is called by the President and is presided over by the Speaker or, in his absence, by the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha or in his absence, the Deputy-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. The Chairman doesn't preside over the joint session at any means/cost. If any of the above officers are not present then any other member of the Parliament can preside by consensus of both the House.

Member of parliament, Lok Sabha

A member of parliament in Lok Sabha is the representative of the Indian people in the Lok Sabha; the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of parliament of Lok Sabha are chosen by direct elections on the basis of the adult suffrage. Parliament of India is bicameral with two houses; Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The maximum permitted strength of members of parliament in the Lok Sabha is 552. This includes maximum 530 members to represent the constituencies and states, up to 20 members to represent the union territories and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President of India. The party—or coalition of parties—having a majority in the Lok Sabha chooses the Prime Minister of India.


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