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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Contents

Rajya Sabha
Council of States
Emblem of India.svg
Type
Type
Term limits
6 years
Leadership
Harivansh Narayan Singh, JD(U)
since 9 August 2018
Secretary General
Desh Deepak Verma
since 01 September 2017
Thawar Chand Gehlot, BJP
since 11 June 2019
Ghulam Nabi Azad, INC
since 8 June 2014
Structure
Seats245 (233 Elected + 12 Nominated)
Rajya Sabha.svg
Political groups
Government (NDA) (120) [1]
  •      BJP (83)
  •      AIADMK (11)
  •      JD(U) (6)
  •      SS (3)
  •      SAD (3)
  •      LJP (1)
  •      RPI(A) (1)
  •      AGP (1)
  •      BPF (1)
  •      PMK (1)
  •      SDF (1)
  •      NPF (1)
  •      IND (4)
  •      Nominated (3)

Opposition (UPA) (65)

  •      INC (47)
  •      DMK (5)
  •      RJD (4)
  •      NCP (4)
  •      JD(S) (1)
  •      MDMK (1)
  •      KC(M) (1)
  •      IUML (1)
  •      Nominated (1)

Others (57)

Vacant (4)

Elections
233 members by single transferable vote by state legislatures, 12 appointed by the President
Last election
5 July 2019
Next election
April 2020
Meeting place
New Delhi government block 03-2016 img3.jpg
Rajya Sabha chamber, Sansad Bhavan,
Sansad Marg, New Delhi, India - 110 001
Website
rajyasabha.nic.in
Footnotes
^† Includes 8 nominated members taking the BJP whip.

The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. It currently has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states and union territories 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 elections every year but almost a third of the 233 designates up for election every two years, specifically in even-numbered years. [2] The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, being the lower house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, which is the upper house of Parliament, is not subjected to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President.

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, India's Rajya Sabha, Ireland's Seanad, Malaysia's Dewan Negara, Myanmar's Amyotha Hluttaw, 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.

Single transferable vote Proportional representation voting system

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 the quota, they are 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 their 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.

The Rajya Sabha has equal footing in legislation with the Lok Sabha, except in the area of supply, where the latter has overriding powers. In the case of conflicting legislation, a joint sitting of the two houses can be held, where the Lok Sabha would hold greater influence because of its larger membership. 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. [3]

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 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".

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 13th Vice President of India

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.He served as President of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, Chancellor of Panjab University, Delhi University, Pondicherry University and the President of the Indian Council of World Affairs in his capacity as Vice President.

Rajya Sabha meets in the eponymous chamber in Parliament House in New Delhi. Since 18 July 2018, the Rajya Sabha has facility for simultaneous interpretation in all the 22 official languages of India. [4]

Parliament House (India) parliament building

The Sansad Bhavan is the house of the Parliament of India, which contains the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha located in New Delhi.

New Delhi Capital City / District in Delhi, India

New Delhi is an urban district of Delhi which serves as the capital of India and seat of all three branches of the Government of India.

Languages with official status in India The Constitution of India designates 2 official and 22 scheduled languages for the Government of India

There is no national language in India. Part XVII of the Constitution of India designates Hindi as the official language of the Central Government and a clause "or in English" is added for carrying out daily official work. The article 343, point 1, specifically mentions that, "The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devnagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals." 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. In addition to the official languages, the constitution recognises 22 regional languages, which includes Hindi but not English, as scheduled languages, that are not be confused with official status of the Union. 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.

Qualifications

Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament. A member of the Rajya Sabha must: [5]

Election Commission of India election regulatory body of India

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state Legislative Assemblies, state legislative Councils, and the offices of the President and Vice President of the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act. The commission has the powers under the Constitution, to act in an appropriate manner when the enacted laws make insufficient provisions to deal with a given situation in the conduct of an election. Being a constitutional authority, Election Commission is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom, along with the country’s higher judiciary, the Union Public Service Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party as their favorite, then roughly n% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result—not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats.

Insolvency is the state of being unable to pay the money owed, by a person or company, on time; those in a state of insolvency are said to be insolvent. There are two forms: cash-flow insolvency and balance-sheet insolvency.

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.

Limitations

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. [7]

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.

Powers

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-state 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 and an escort service.

Composition

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. [8] As the members are elected by the state legislature, some small Union Territories, those without legislatures, cannot have representation. Hence, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu & Lakshadweep do not send any representatives. 12 members are nominated by the President. [9] [10]

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. [10] 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. [10] 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 members by State/Union Territory

State and Union TerritorySeats
Andhra Pradesh [11] 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
Odisha 10
Puducherry 1
Punjab 7
Rajasthan 10
Sikkim 1
Tamil Nadu 18
Telangana [11] 7
Tripura 1
Uttar Pradesh 31
Uttarakhand 3
West Bengal 16
Nominees by the President12
Total245

Membership by party

Map showing the current largest party by state Map of largest parties in the Rajya Sabha by state.svg
Map showing the current largest party by state

Members of Rajya Sabha by their political party (As of 6 October 2019): [12]

AlliancesPartyMP
National Democratic Alliance
Seats: 117
Bharatiya Janata Party 82
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 11
Janata Dal (United) 6
Shiv Sena 3
Shiromani Akali Dal 3
Lok Janshakti Party 1
Republican Party of India (A) 1
Asom Gana Parishad 1
Bodoland People's Front 1
Pattali Makkal Katchi 1
Independent 4
Nominated3
United Progressive Alliance
Seats: 65
Indian National Congress 47
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 5
Rashtriya Janata Dal 4
Nationalist Congress Party 4
Janata Dal (Secular) 1
Indian Union Muslim League 1
Kerala Congress (M) 1
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 1
Nominated1
Others
Seats: 59
All India Trinamool Congress 13
Samajwadi Party 10
Biju Janata Dal 7
Telangana Rashtra Samithi 6
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 5
Bahujan Samaj Party 4
Aam Aadmi Party 3
Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party 2
Telugu Desam Party 2
YSR Congress Party 2
Communist Party of India 1
Sikkim Democratic Front 1
Naga People's Front 1
Independent 2
Vacant4
Total
Seats: 245
245

Officers

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.

Secretariat

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); (ii) providing amenities as admissible to Members of Rajya Sabha; (iii) servicing the various Parliamentary Committees; (iv) preparing research and reference material and bringing out various publications; (v) recruitment of manpower in the Sabha Secretariat and attending to personnel matters; and (vi) 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 of the 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. [13]

Media

Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) is a 24-hour a day continuous parliamentary TV channel owned and operated by the body. The channel aims to provide in-depth coverage and analysis of parliamentary affairs especially its functioning and policy development. During sessions, RSTV provides live coverage and presents analysis of the proceedings of the House as well as other day-to-day parliamentary events and developments. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

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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.

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References

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  11. 1 2 "Rajya Sabha members alloted to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh". The Economic Times. 30 May 2014. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
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  13. "Secretary-General, Rajya Sabha".
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Further reading