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|Rajya Sabha (Council of States)
Janata Parivar parties (30)
Unaligned parties (65)
Nominated (10) Vacant (1)
|Single transferable vote|
|Chamber of Rajya Sabha, Sansad Bhavan,
New Delhi, India
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Membership of Rajya Sabha is limited by 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 state and territorial legislatures using single transferable votes, while the President of India can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. Members sit for staggered 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 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.
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. The salary and other benefits for a member of Rajya Sabha are same as for a member of Lok Sabha.
Because Rajya Sabha members are elected by state legislatures rather than directly through the electorate, and also because of the STV method of election of the Rajya Sabha members, it is not uncommon for the sitting government to not to have majority in Rajya Sabha, while it must have a majority in Lok Sabha. The current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not have a majority in Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha sits in Rajya Sabha Chamber in Parliament House, New Delhi.
- 1 Qualifications
- 2 Limitations
- 3 Powers
- 4 Membership and composition
- 5 Officers
- 6 Media
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament. Members of the Rajya Sabha must:
- Be the citizens of India
- Make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule to the Constitution;
- Be at least 30 years old;
- Possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.
- Be elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of Single transferable vote through Proportional representation.
In addition, 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.
The Constitution of India places some restrictions on Rajya Sabha which makes Lok Sabha more powerful in certain areas in comparison.
Money bills, as defined in the Constitution of India Art. 109, can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. If Lok Sabha passed a Money Bill, and transmitted it to Rajya Sabha, Rajya Sabha has only fourteen days to return the bill (with or without amendments) to Lok Sabha. If Rajya Sabha fails to return the bill in fourteen days, the bill is deemed to have passed by both the Houses. Also, if Lok Sabha rejects any (or all) of the amendments proposed by Rajya Sabha, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament in the form Lok Sabha finally passes it. Hence, Rajya Sabha cannot stall, or amend a Money Bill without Lok Sabha's concurrence on the same.
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, have 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 other house on a bill passed by it. Considering that the 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 3 times in last 60 years, latest in 2002:
- 1961: Dowry Prohibition Act, 1958
- 1978: Banking Services Commission (Repeal) Act, 1977
- 2002: Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002
Unlike Lok Sabha, it cannot pass motion of no confidence against the government.
In Indian federal structure, Rajya Sabha is a representative of the States in the Union legislature (Hence the name, Council of States). Hence, Rajya Sabha is granted powers that that protect the rights of States against the Union.
The Constitution empowers Parliament of India to make laws on the matters reserved for States (States List). However, this can only be done if Rajya Sabha first passes a resolution by 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 an authorisation from Rajya Sabha.
Creation of All-India Services
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.
Membership and composition
Seats are allotted in proportion to the population of each state or union territory in such a manner that smaller states have slight advantage over more populous states. In addition, smaller Union Territories which do not have legislatures do not have representation in Rajya Sabha. Hence, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli do not send any representatives to Rajya Sabha. An additional 12 members are nominated by the President.
|Name of State||No. of Seats|
|Jammu & Kashmir||4|
|National Capital Territory (Delhi)||3|
See also List of members of the Rajya Sabha
Membership by party
Members by Party Source: Rajya Sabha Secretariat (as of 20 April 2015)
|United Progressive Alliance
|Indian National Congress||68|
|Kerala Congress (Mani)||1|
|Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)||1|
|National Democratic Alliance
|Bharatiya Janata Party||47|
|Telugu Desam Party||6|
|Shiromani Akali Dal||3|
|Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party||2|
|Nagaland People's Front||1|
|Republican Party of India (Athvale)||1|
|Janata Dal (United)||12|
|Indian National Lok Dal||1|
|Janata Dal (Secular)||1|
|Rashtriya Janata Dal||1|
|All India Trinamool Congress||12|
|All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||11|
|Bahujan Samaj Party||10|
|Communist Party of India (Marxist)||9|
|Biju Janata Dal||7|
|Nationalist Congress Party||6|
|Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||4|
|Communist Party of India||1|
|Bodoland People's Front||1|
|Jharkhand Mukti Morcha||1|
|Sikkim Democratic Front||1|
|Telangana Rashtra Samithi||1|
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||Shri 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||May 2014|
|29||Shri Arun Jaitley||June 2014||Present|
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||December 1969||March 1971|
|2||Shri M. S. Gurupadaswamy||March 1971||April 1972|
|3||Shri Kamlapati 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 Kamlapati 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||20.5.2014|
|19||Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad||6.5.2014||Present|
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)ssible 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.
Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV) is a 24*7 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.
- "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.
- "Council of States (Rajya Sabha) - rajyasabha.in".
- "OUR PARLIAMENT". Indian Parliament. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAJYA SABHA". Indian Parliament. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
- Rajya Sabha party strength
- "Rajya Sabha Introduction".
- "About Rajya Sabha TV". Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- 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.
- Alistair, McMillan. "Constitution 91st Amendment Bill: A Constitutional Fraud?". nuff.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- 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
- Rajya Sabha Television
- MEMBERS OF RAJYA SABHA (STATE WISE LIST) TN