Rajya Sabha

Composition of Rajya Sabha (Article 80)

  • The Council of States shall consist of:
    • Not more than two hundred and thirty-eight representatives of the States and of the Union territories.
    • Twelve members to be nominated by the President having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: Literature, science, art and social service.
  • The allocation of seats in the Council of States to be filled by representatives of the States and of the Union territories shall be in accordance with the provisions in that behalf contained in the Fourth Schedule.
  • The representatives of the Union territories in the Council of States shall be chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe.
  • The representatives of each union territory in the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college specially constituted for the purpose.
  • This election is also held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • Out of the 9 Union Territories, only 3 (Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu & Kashmir) have representation in Rajya Sabha.
  • The populations of other 6 Union Territories are too small to have any representative in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The representatives of each State in the Council of States shall be elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the State in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

Removal of Domicile Requirement

In 2003, the Parliament passed the amendment to Section 3(1) of the Representation of People’s Act. The qualification for membership to Council of States stated that, for qualification to Council of States, the requirement was that one should be an elector for a Parliamentary constituency ‘in India’ as opposed to ‘in that State or territory’ which was the previous position. Thus, the earlier domicile requirement was removed by effect of this amendment.

Article 84 of the Indian Constitution specifies the qualifications for becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha, which includes:

  • having Indian nationality;
  • being at least 30 years old.
  • not holding any profit-making office; and

Rajya Sabha, a permanent house

  • Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and also called a ‘continuing chamber.’ Unlike Lok Sabha which usually runs for 5 years and the fresh elections are taken up, Rajya Sabha has no specific tenure and it keeps on running. Therefore, it is never dissolved.
  • Every second year, one-third of its members retire. For the vacant seats, fresh elections take place. However, nominations are taken up at the beginning of the third year.
  • Representation of the People Act, 1951 authorizes the President to make provisions to govern the order of retirement of the members of the Rajya Sabha.

Officer of Rajya Sabha

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman (Article 89 & 90):

  • Article 89 (1) declares that the Vice-President of India shall be ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha elects one of its members to be the Deputy Chairman, so often as the office of the Deputy Chairman becomes vacant, the Rajya Sabha shall choose another member to be the Deputy Chairman thereof. 
  • The Deputy Chairman shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member Rajya Sabha. It is that he is elected the Deputy Chairman because he is a member of that House. The Deputy Chairman may at any time, resign his office, by writing to the Chairman.
  • The Deputy Chairman may be removed from his office by a resolution passed by the Rajya Sabha by the majority of all the members of the House. However, no resolution for this purpose shall be moved unless at least 14 days notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution. 
  • There is no provision for the removal of the Chairman as such. He is ex officio holder of the office. So long as he is the Vice-President, he shall the office of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. If he ceases to be the Vice President, he shall no more be the Chairman of the House. Thus, it may state that removal of the Vice-President from his office is the removal the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

Deputy Chairman to act as the Chairman (Articles 91 & 92):

  • Article 91 provides that while the office of the Chairman is vacant, or during any period when the Vice-President is acting as, or discharging the functions of the President,” the duties of the office of the Chairman shall be performed by the Deputy Chairman.
  • If the office of the Deputy Chairman is also vacant, then the duties of office of the Chairman shall be performed by such member of the Rajya Sabha as the President may appoint for the purpose.
  • During the absence of the Chairman from any sitting of the House, the Deputy Chairman, or, if he is also absent, such person as may be determined by the rules of procedure of the House, or if no such person is present, such other person as may be determined by the House, shall act as Chairman.
  • Article 92 provides that at any sitting of the Rajya Sabha, while any resolution for the removal of the Vice-President, the ex officio Chairman of the House, from his office, is under consideration, he shall not preside over at that sitting. However, he may be present in the House. Again, while a resolution for the removal of the Deputy Chairman is under consideration, he shall not preside over that sitting of the House, though he may be present in the House. He may, however, take part in the proceedings of the House and shall have the right to speak, but shall not be entitled to vote at all.

Panel of Vice Chairperson of Rajya Sabha:

  • Under the Rules of Rajya Sabha, the Chairman nominates from amongst the members a panel of vice-chairpersons. Any one of them can preside over the House in the absence of the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman. He has the same powers as the Chairman when so presiding. He holds office until a new panel of vice-chairpersons is nominated.
  • When a member of the panel of vice- chairpersons is also not present, any other person as determined by the House acts as the Chairman.
  • It must be emphasised here that a member of the panel of vice-chairpersons cannot preside over the House, when the office of the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman is vacant. During such time, the Chairman’s duties are to be performed by such member of the House as the president may appoint for the purpose The elections are held, as soon as fill the vacant posts


At Present, 79 Parliaments of the world are Bicameral. In the essay written by James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, it was stated that the Second Chamber enables a reflective expression of representative opinion besides checking the propensity to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passion. 

Debate In Constituent Assembly

Need of Second Chamber: 

  • Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan: Parliament is not the only legislative Body but also a deliberative one which enables the members to debate major issues of Public importance. 
  • N Gopalaswami Ayenger: To delay Legislations which might be the outcome of passions of the moment. 
  • M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: Second chamber would enable the genius of the people to have full play besides checking hasty legislation. 

Opponents Of Second Chamber

Mohd Tahir: It is a creation of Imperialism

Professor Sibban Lal Saksena: It will be Clog in the wheel of Progress of the nation. 

Examination of Working

Positive Role Played by Rajya Sabha:

  • The Upper House has cleared the bills to penalise Untouchability, Prohibit Dowry and give RTE in 2009. 
  • RPA (First Amendment and Validation) Act, 2013 Passed by Rajya Sabha:- As per this act, a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector. 
  • Power under Article 249:- AIS has been created by Rajya Sabha and passed resolution for Indian Educational service, Indian Agricultural Service. 
  • Nominated Members add richness to the Parliamentary Debates. 
  • The Rajya Sabha has passed 3817 bills till the end of the 249th session in 2019. 
  • The recent session has been the most reproductive session (103%) 


  • Adjournment:- In 13 of the 27 sittings of 2014 budget session, Question hour in Rajya Sabha was adjourned within a few minutes because of disruptions. 
  • Non Domicile: Anyone can be elected from anywhere, which reduces the importance of the region represented by the elected member. 
  • Fragmented Political Environment:- Thus hindrance to speedy legislative process. 
  • Non Equal Representation:-Seats are allotted on the basis of Population of the particular state. 
  • Parking Lot for Defeated Politicians, Bureaucrats etc. 
  • Corruption:- The Ethics Committee headed by SB Chavan has noted the emerging trend of cross voting in the elections for Rajya Sabha. 


  • Legislative Measures:- To fix the 100 number of Days of sitting supported by the law. 
  • Allocation of Seats in Rajya Sabha on the lines of USA:- Equal Representation from all the States. 
  • Performance Related Pay of Legislators. 
  • Stricter Rule of Business for unruly behaviour. 

The Rajya Sabha has Red Carpets while Lok Sabha has Green ones. It means if the other House shows green Flag to any Faulty Legislation, we can show the red signal.

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