The Upper House of the Parliament is known as the Rajya Sabha. It represents the states in India.
The Rajya Sabha is a permanent House as it cannot be dissolved. Members are elected for a period of six years and one-third of the total members retire after every six years.
Composition of the Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha consists of 250 members. Of these, 12 members are nominated by the President. These are individuals who have contributed immensely to the fields of education, sports, art, sciences, social service, etc. The remaining 238 members are elected by the members of State Legislative Assemblies. Seats are allocated to the states on the basis of their population. While Uttar Pradesh sends 31 members, Mizoram sends only one member.
- He should be a citizen of India and should not be less than 30 years of age.
- His name should be on the electoral rolls in some parts of the country.
- He should not be under debt and should be able to meet his/her financial requirements.
- He should not hold any office of profit under the government.
- He should not be a proclaimed criminal and should be of sound mind.
The Vice President is the presiding officer or the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. He presides over the meetings of the Rajya Sabha and he votes in the House only in the case of a tie. The Deputy Chairman is also elected from among the members of the House. He performs all functions of the Chairman in the absence of the latter.
Special Powers of the Rajya Sabha
- The Lok Sabha cannot make laws on subjects included in the State List. Only if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a two-thirds majority of the House, the Parliament can make laws on the State List.
- If the Rajya Sabha demands that new all-India services should be made in national interests, the Parliament may create new services.
- If the Lok Sabha is dissolved before or after the declaration of a national emergency, the Rajya Sabha plays the role of the Lok Sabha.
The Constitutional Act passed in 1985 is known as the Anti-Defection Law. Members of Parliament and state legislatures can be disqualified from the Parliament on the grounds of defecation. These are
- If a member of a party who is a parliamentarian abandons his membership from a party or votes or abstains from voting contrary to the directions issued by the party.
- A nominated Member of Parliament belonging to any party can be disqualified if he gives up his membership and abstains from voting contrary to the directions of the party.
- An independent Member of Parliament is disqualified if he joins any political party after his election
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