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Rajya Sabha - The Upper House of the Parliament

Rajya Sabha - Council of States

TypeUpper House of the Parliament of India
ChairmanM. Venkaiah Naidu
Deputy ChairmanProf. P.J. Kurien
Leader of the HouseShri Arun Jaitley
Leader of the OppositionShri Ghulam Nabi Azad
Seats in Rajya Sabha245 Total (233 Elected; 12 Nominated)
Rajya Sabha Infographic

About Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha or the Council of States is the upper house of the parliament. It consists of 250 members Out of these 238 members represent the states, while the other 12 are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons with special knowledge or practical experience in the field of Literature, Science, Art and Social Sciences. The representatives of the states are elected by elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies.

In the Union Territories, which do not possess Legislative Assemblies, these members are elected by electoral college specially constituted for the purpose. The election of the members of Rajya Sabha is held in accordance with the principle of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

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History of Rajya Sabha

The Council of States or the Second Chamber of the Indian Parliament was constituted in the year 1952. It has been so framed as to give the Upper House a character distinct from that of the Legislative Assembly. The main reason for the creation of a legislative structure was to give a democratic forum for people's representatives and to restore the political and social unity of our country. The first Vice-President of India and the first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. He defined in broad terms the function of the House and stated : There is a general impression that this House cannot make or unmake governments and, therefore, it is a superfluous body. But there are functions, which a revising Chamber can fulfil fruitfully.

Qualification for Rajya Sabha Member

A person seeking membership of Rajya Sabha must possess the following qualifications:
1. He must be a citizen of India.
2. He must not be less than 30 years of age.
3. He must be Parliamentary elector in the state from which he is seeking election.
4. He must make and subscribe before some person authorized in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation asserting his allegiance to the constitution of India
5. he must possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the Parliament for that purpose from time to time.

Term of Rajya Sabha Member

The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house and is not subject to dissolution. But as nearly as possible, one-third of the members of Rajya Sabha retire after every two years in accordance with the provisions made by the Parliament by law. Thus, the members of the Rajya Sabha are elected for a term of six years. This arrangement ensures continuity as well as representation of the changing public opinion.

Presiding Officers - Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha

The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. In addition, the house also elects a Deputy Chairman from amongst its members. The Deputy Chairman presides over when the Vice-President is absent. The Chairman does not enjoy the right to vote except in case of a tie. As presiding officer, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is responsible for maintaining order and decorum in the house and conducts the proceedings in accordance with the rules. The Secretary-General is appointed by the Chairman and holds rank equivalent to the highest civil servant of the Union. The Secretary-General is also the administrative head of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the custodian of the records of the House. He works under the direction and control of the Chairman.

Other Members of Rajya Sabha

Other members of the Rajya Sabha include the :
  • Leader of the House who is a cabinet minister or Prime Minister if he is a member of the House, or another nominated minister.
  • Leader of the Opposition who leads the minority parties and is commonly the leader of the largest minority party.


One-tenth of the total membership of the Rajya Sabha constitute the Quorum for holding the meeting of the House.

Legislative Powers of Rajya Sabha

In the legislative sphere, both the Houses of the Parliament have been placed on equal footing by the Constitution. An ordinary bill can originate in any House but must be approved by both the Houses before it can reach the statute book.

Constituent Powers of Rajya Sabha

In the matter of the amendment of the Constitution the two Houses have been placed on an equal footing. A proposal for amendment can originate in either of the two Houses but must be approved by both the Houses of the Parliament.

Exclusive Powers of Rajya Sabha

Though in the legislative and financial spheres Rajya Sabha enjoys either inferior or co-equal position with the Lok Sabha, in certain other spheres it has been given exclusive powers which are not available to the Lok Sabha. For example, under Article 249 of the Constitution the Rajya Sabha can authorise the Parliament to make a law on the subject enumerated in the State List by passing a resolution by two-thirds majority that it is necessary or expedient to do so in national interest. After passage of such a resolution by the Rajya Sabha the Parliament can lawfully legislate on any subject in the State List. Such a resolution is, initially valid for a period of one year but can be further extended for a year at a time.

Under Article 312, the Rajya Sabha is authorised to recommend the creation of a new All India Service catering to the needs of the Union as well as the States.

Any (non-financial) bill has to be approved by Rajya Sabha even if it is approved by Lok Sabha.

List of Rajya Sabha Members

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Nominated Members of Rajya Sabha

S No.NameParty
1Ms.Anu AgaNominated
2Shri Sambhajiraje ChhatrapatiNominated
3Shri Swapan DasguptaNominated
4Dr. Narendra JadhavNominated
5Smt. M.C. Mary KomNominated
6Shri K.ParasaranNominated
8Shri Suresh GopiNominated
9Dr. Subramanian SwamyBJP
10Shri Sachin Ramesh TendulkarNominated
11Shri K.T.S.TulsiNominated

Last Updated on Aug 26, 2016

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