(Council of States)
|Type||Upper House of the Parliament of India|
|The Chairman||Mohammad Hamid Ansari, I
Since 11 August 2007 
|Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha||P. J. Kurien, INC
Since 21 August 2012
|Leader of the House||Dr Manmohan Singh, INC
Since 22 May 2004 
|Leader of Opposition||Arun Jaitley, BJP
Since 3 June 2009 
|Political groups||UPA, NDA, Third front, Others|
|Voting system||Single transferable vote|
|Chamber of Rajya Sabha, Sansad Bhavan,
New Delhi, India
The Rajya Sabha (RS) or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state" and Sabha means "assembly" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are nominated by the President of India for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. The remainder of the body is elected by the state and territorial legislatures. Members sit for six-year terms, with one third of the members retiring every two years.
The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions and, unlike the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, is not subject to dissolution. The Rajya Sabha has equal footing in all areas of legislation with 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 is held. However, since the Lok Sabha has twice as many members as the Rajya Sabha, the former would normally hold the greater power. Only three such joint-sessions have been held; the latest one for the passage of the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.
The Vice President of India (currently, Hamid Ansari) is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions. The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the RS'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.
To become a member of Rajya Sabha, he must be at least 30 years of Age. Other qualifications are same as in becoming a member of Lok Sabha. Also, any member can be disqualified in the same manner as for members in Lok Sabha.
However twelve members are nominated by the President of India having special knowledge in various areas like Arts, Science etc. However they are not entitled to vote in Presidential elections as per Article 55 of Indian Constitution.
Powers and Functions
- Any bill(non-financial), in general, has to be approved by Rajya Sabha even if approved by Lok Sabha.
- Equal Powers with the Lok Sabha in initiating and passing any Bill for Constitutional Amendment (by a majority of the total membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting).
- Equal Powers with the Lok Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the President (by two-thirds of the membership of the House).
- Equal Powers with the Lok Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the judges of the Supreme Court and the state High Courts (by a majority of the membership of the House and at least two-thirds majority of the members present and voting).
- Equal Powers with the Lok Sabha in initiating and passing a resolution declaring war or national emergency (by two-thirds majority) or constitutional emergency (by simple majority) in a state.
- The house is not subject to dissolution which is a limitation for Lok Sabha.
Legislation on a subject in the State list
Under Article 249 of Indian Constitution, if resolution is adopted by two-thirds majority of members present in the house and voting that the parliament should make laws with respect to a subject in the State list, then it is lawful for the Parliament of India to make laws with respect to that subject.
There are certain limitations, which makes Lok Sabha more powerful than Rajya Sabha.
In case of Financial bills, if the Rajya Sabha returns the bill to Lok Sabha, opposing the bill, it is deemed to have passed . Though the former can send recommendations to the latter, it is not binding to the latter to act on it. Also, the house cannot exercise Pocket Veto, if the house does not pass the bill within 14 days, it is again deemed to have been passed by the house.
The number of members of Lok Sabha are more than twice the members of Rajya Sabha. As a result, in case a non-financial bill is rejected by the latter, if passed by the former, then in the joint-session of the parliament, the bill is most likely to be passed. So, in general, the Lok Sabha has more power than Rajya Sabha in matters of legislation.
Sessions and Working hours
The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution unlike Lok Sabha.A session is the period of time between meeting and prorogation of the house.
Rule 38 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha provides that unless the Chairman otherwise directs, the first hour of every sitting shall be available for the asking and answering of questions.
The Question Hour starts at 11.00 a.m. and concludes at 12.00 noon on five days a week when the House sits, i.e., from Monday to Friday. In case any other business like oath taking by members or obituary references is taken up at 11.00 a.m, the time taken thereon is not made good by extending the Question Hour beyond 12.00 noon.
Until 1994, the Rajya Sabha used to meet four sessions namely:-
- Budget session (February - March and April - May)
- Monsoon session (July - August)
- Winter session (November - December)
Since the 170th Session of Rajya Sabha, Budget sessions were treated as continuous one, rather than dividing it into two sessions.
Membership and composition
|Name of State||No. of Seats.....|
|Jammu & Kashmir||4|
|National Capital Territory (Delhi)||3|
Membership by party
Members by Party Source: Election Commission of India (as of 10/10/2012)
|Alliances (after 2012 election)||Party||MPs|
|United Progressive Alliance
|Indian National Congress||70|
|Nationalist Congress Party||7|
|Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||7|
|National Democratic Alliance
|Bharatiya Janata Party||49|
|Janata Dal (United)||9|
|Shiromani Akali Dal||3|
|Asom Gana Parishad||2|
|Indian National Lok Dal||1|
|Jharkhand Mukti Morcha||1|
|Communist Party of India (Marxist)||11|
|All India Trinamool Congress||9|
|Biju Janata Dal||7|
|Communist Party of India||3|
|All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||5|
|Telugu Desam Party||5|
|All India Forward Block||1|
|Parties supporting UPA from outside
|Bahujan Samaj Party||15|
|Rashtriya Janata Dal||2|
|Lok Janshakti Party||1|
|Mizo National Front||1|
|Bodoland People's Front||1|
|Sikkim Democratic Front||1|
|Nagaland People's Front||1|
Chairman and Vice-Chairman
As per the Constitution of India, there is a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman of Rajya Sabha. While the Vice-Chairman is elected by the House, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is the Vice-President of India.
Leader of the House
Besides the Chairman (Vice-President of India) and the Deputy Chairman, there is also a function 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.
The following people have been the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha:
|1||Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar||May 1952||Feb. 1953|
|2||Shri Charu Chandra Biswas||Feb. 1953||Nov. 1954|
|3||Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri||Nov. 1954||March 1955|
|4||Shri Govind Ballabh Pant||March 1955||Feb. 1961|
|5||Hafiz Mohammad Ibrahim||Feb. 1961||Aug. 1963|
|6||Shri Yashwantrao Chavan||Aug. 1963||Dec. 1963|
|7||Shri Jaisukhlal Hathi||Feb. 1964||March 1964|
|8||Shri Mahomadali Currim Chagla||March 1964||Nov. 1967|
|9||Shri Jaisukhlal Hathi||Nov. 1967||Nov. 1969|
|10||Shri Kodradas Kalidas Shah||Nov. 1969||May 1971|
|11||Shri Uma Shankar Dikshit||May 1971||Dec. 1975|
|12||Shri Kamlapati Tripathi||Dec. 1975||March 1977|
|13||Shri L. K. Advani||March 1977||Aug. 1979|
|14||Shri K.C. Pant||Aug. 1979||Jan. 1980|
|15||Shri Pranab Mukherjee||Jan. 1980||Dec. 1984|
|16||Shri V. P. Singh||Dec. 1984||April 1987|
|17||Shri Narayan Dutt Tiwari||April 1987||June 1988|
|18||Shri P. Shiv Shankar||July 1988||Dec. 1989|
|19||Shri M. S. Gurupadaswamy||Dec. 1989||Nov. 1990|
|20||Shri Yashwant Sinha||Dec. 1990||June 1991|
|21||Shri Shankarrao Chavan||July 1991||April 1996|
|22||Shri Sikander Bakht||20 May 1996||31 May 1996|
|23||Shri Inder Kumar Gujral||June 1996||Nov. 1996|
|24||Shri H.D. Deve Gowda||Nov. 1996||April 1997|
|25||Shri Inder Kumar Gujral||April 1997||March 1998|
|26||Shri Sikander Bakht||March 1998||Oct. 1999|
|27||Shri Jaswant Singh||Oct. 1999||May 2004|
|28||Dr. Manmohan Singh||June 2004||in office|
Leader of the Opposition (LOP)
Besides the Leader of the House, who is leading the majority, there is also a Leader of the Opposition - leading the minority 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 minority party, and is recognized as such by the Chairman.
The following people have been the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha:
|1||Shri Shyam Nandan Mishra||Decermber 1969||March 1971|
|2||Shri M. S. Gurupadaswamy||March 1971||April 1972|
|3||Shri Mamlupati Tripathi||30.3.1977||15.2.1978|
|4||Shri Bhola Paswan Shastri||24.2.1978||23.3.1978|
|5||Shri Kamlapati Tripathi||23.3.1978||2.4.1978|
|6||Shri Kamlupati Tripathi||18.4.1978||8.1.1980|
|7||Shri Lal Krishna Advani||21.1.1980||7.4.1980|
|8||Shri P. Shiv Shanker||18.12.1989||2.1.1991|
|9||Shri M. S. Gurupadaswamy||28.6.1991||21.7.1991|
|10||Shri S. Jaipal Reddy||22.7.1991||29.6.1992|
|11||Shri Sikander Bakht||7.7.1992||10.4.1996|
|12||Shri Sikander Bakht||10.4.1996||23.5.1996|
|13||Shri S. B. Chavan||23.5.1996||1.6.1996|
|14||Shri Sikander Bakht||1.6.1996||19.3.1998|
|15||Dr. Manmohan Singh||21.3.1998||21.5.2004|
|16||Shri Jaswant Singh||3.6.2004||4.7.2004|
|17||Shri Jaswant Singh||5.7.2004||16.5.2009|
|18||Shri Arun Jaitley||3.6.2009||in office|
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) payment of salary and other allowances to the Members of Rajya Sabha;
(iii) providing amenities as admissible 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 Rajya 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 of 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. Based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Pay Committee way back in 1974, the Secretariat was restructured on functional basis into the following Services, which cater to the specific needs of the House and its Committees.
(i) The Legislative, Financial, Executive and Administrative (LAFEA) Service
(ii) The Library, Reference, Research, Documentation and Information (LARRDI) Service
(iii) The Verbatim Reporting Service
(iv) The Simultaneous Interpretation Service
(v) The Editorial and Translation Service
(vi) The Private Secretaries and Stenographic (PSS) Service
(vii) The Printing and Publications (P&P) Service
(viii) The Watch & Ward, Door Keeping and Sanitation Service
(ix) The Drivers and Despatch Riders Service
(x) The Messenger Service
The functions performed by these services, in brief, are as follows :-
The Legislative, Financial, Executive and Administrative Service
Supports the functioning of the Council and its Committees. Various administrative units, which comprise this service are Notice Office, Table Office, Legislative Section, Bill Office, Lobby Office, Questions Branch, Committee Sections, Conference & Protocol Section, Members Amenities Section, Members Salaries and Allowances Section and Administrative Sections.
The Library, Reference, Research, Documentation and Information Service
Attends to various types of research and reference work and prepares research and publication material. The Service also brings out various publications on behalf of the Secretariat from time to time.
The Verbatim Reporting Service
Responsible for the preparation and publication of the verbatim reports of the proceedings of each sitting of Rajya Sabha and also of the Parliamentary Committees, where required.
The Simultaneous Interpretation Service
Provides simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings of Rajya Sabha and its Committees primarily from Hindi to English and vice-versa. The Service also provides simultaneous interpretation in English as well as Hindi of the speeches made by Members in the House in eleven languages including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malyalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
The Editorial & Translation Service
Caters to the translation needs of the House and the Secretariat. It also deals with the work relating to the translation from English to Hindi or vice-versa of Questions, Motions, Resolutions, Bulletins, List of Business, Bills and Committee Reports, etc and preparation of synopsis of the daily proceedings of the House in English and Hindi.
The Private Secretaries and Stenographic Service
Members of this Service are attached to Chairmen, Parliamentary Committees and Officers of the Secretariat. They also work in the Stenographers’ Pool, which provides stenographic assistance to Members of Rajya Sabha for their official work.
The Printing & Publications Service
Responsible for the printing of Parliamentary papers including List of Business, Bulletins part I & II, Lists of Members, Bills, Reports and Evidence of Committees, Debates and their Appendices and Indices etc., and other publications of the Secretariat, brought out from time to time.
The Watch & Ward, Door Keeping and Sanitation Service
Responsible for security within the precincts of Parliament. The Service acts in conjuction with the Watch & Ward Service of the Lok Sabha Secretariat and functions under the overall operational control of The Additional Secretary (Security).
The Drivers and Despatch Riders Service
Consist of Staff Car Drivers and Despatch Riders. Staff Car Drivers cater to the transport arrangements for Members of Parliament and officers of the Secretariat. Despatch Riders are mainly engaged in the quick and prompt delivery of parliamentary papers to Members at their residences and delivery of papers to various Government organizations.
The Messenger Service
The Chamber Attendents are posted in the Chamber/Lobbies during the Session for assisting and attending to the urgent needs of Members. The Attendants provide functional support to various officers and sections of the Secretariat. The work related to recruitment to various posts in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Secretariat is undertaken by a Joint Recruitment Cell, which is manned by officers and staff drawn from both the Secretariats. Information related to Recruitment Rules to various posts in the Secretariat is available on this website, under the heading ‘Recruitment Rules’.
Salary, Allowances and Pension
The salary, allowances and pension for a member of Rajya Sabha are same as in Lok Sabha.
- "Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India". rajyasabha.nic.in. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India". Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "RAJYA SABHA - AN INTRODUCTION". rajyasabha.nic.in. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- Tamilcube.com: , Tamil Cube, September 9, 2011.
- Tamilcube.com: , Tamil Cube, September 9, 2011.
- "OUR PARLIAMENT". Indian Parliament. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAJYA SABHA". Indian Parliament. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- The Nominated Members of India's Council of States: A Study of Role-Definition J. H. Proctor, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 1, Feb., 1985), pp. 53–70.
- Rajya Sabha homepage hosted by the Indian government
- Rajya Sabha FAQ page hosted by the Indian government
- 37 Rajya Sabha members have criminal background: Study - analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch
- Nominated members list
- State wise list