Rajya Sabha

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Coordinates: 28°37′0″N 77°12′30″E / 28.61667°N 77.20833°E / 28.61667; 77.20833

Rajya Sabha
Council of States
Chamber's room
Type
Type Upper House of the Parliament of India
Leadership
The Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari, I
Since 11 August 2007 1
Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha P. J. Kurien, INC
Since 21 August 20122
Leader of the House Dr Manmohan Singh, INC
Since 22 May 2004 3
Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, BJP
Since 3 June 2009 3
Structure
Seats 250 4
Political groups UPA, NDA, Third front, Others
Elections
Voting system Single transferable vote
Meeting place
Chamber of Rajya Sabha, Sansad Bhavan,
New Delhi, India
Website
rajyasabha.nic.in

The Rajya Sabha (RS) or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state"5 and Sabha means "assembly" in Sanskrit.6 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 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 Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (currently, Hamid Ansari) is the ex-officio Vice President of India, 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 1952.7 The salary and other benefits for a member of Rajya Sabha are same as for a member of Lok Sabha.

Qualifications

For anyone to become a member of the Rajya Sabha, he/she must be at least 30 years of age. Other qualifications are same as in becoming a member of the Lok Sabha. Also, any member can be disqualified in the same manner as for members in the Lok Sabha.

Members are elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of Single transferable vote through Proportional representation.

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.

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.

Limitations

There are certain limitations, which makes Lok Sabha more powerful than Rajya Sabha.

Financial Bills

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 Rajya Sabha can send recommendations to the Lok Sabha, it is not binding on the Lok Sabha 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.

No-Confidence Motion

Unlike Lok Sabha, it cannot pass motion of no confidence against the government.

Legislation

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 Rajya Sabha, if passed by the Lok Sabha, 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 1994,8 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

Seats are allotted in proportion to the population of each state or union territory. An additional 12 members are nominated by the President.9

Name of State No. of Seats
Andhra Pradesh 18
Arunachal Pradesh 1
Assam 7
Bihar 16
Chhattisgarh 5
Goa 1
Gujarat 11
Haryana 5
Himachal Pradesh 3
Jammu & Kashmir 4
Jharkhand 6
Karnataka 12
Kerala 9
Madhya Pradesh 11
Maharashtra 19
Manipur 1
Meghalaya 1
Mizoram 1
Nagaland 1
National Capital Territory (Delhi) 3
Nominated 12
Odisha 10
Pondicherry 1
Punjab 7
Rajasthan 10
Sikkim 1
Tamil Nadu 18
Tripura 1
Uttar Pradesh 31
Uttarakhand 3
West Bengal 16

See also List of members of the Rajya Sabha

Membership by party

Members by Party Source: Election Commission of India10 (as of 03/02/2014)

Alliances (after 2012 election) Party MPs
United Progressive Alliance
Seats: 88
Indian National Congress 72
Nationalist Congress Party 6
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 6
National Conference 2
Indian National Lok Dal 1
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1
National Democratic Alliance
Seats: 55
Bharatiya Janata Party 47
Shiv Sena 4
Shiromani Akali Dal 3
Asom Gana Parishad 1
Other Parties
Seats: 51
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 11
Janata Dal (United) 9
All India Trinamool Congress 9
Biju Janata Dal 6
Communist Party of India 2
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam 7
Telugu Desam Party 4
All India Forward Block 1
Parties supporting UPA from outside
Seats: 31
Samajwadi Party 9
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
Nominated 9
Independents 9
Vacant Seats 1
Total 245

Officers

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:

No Name From To
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:

No Name From To
1 Shri Shyam Nandan Mishra Decermber 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 in office

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.

Functions

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 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.

References

  1. ^ "Hon'ble Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India". rajyasabha.nic.in. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Parliament of India". Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "RAJYA SABHA - AN INTRODUCTION". rajyasabha.nic.in. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference http:.2F.2Flegislativebodiesinindia.nic.in.2Fparliament.2520of.2520india.htm was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Tamilcube.com: [1], Tamil Cube, September 9, 2011.
  6. ^ Tamilcube.com: [2], Tamil Cube, September 9, 2011.
  7. ^ "OUR PARLIAMENT". Indian Parliament. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  8. ^ http://rajyasabha.nic.in/rsnew/rsat_work/chapter-6.pdf
  9. ^ "FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAJYA SABHA". Indian Parliament. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  10. ^ http://164.100.47.5/Newmembers/partymemberlist.aspx

Further reading

External links








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