The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. 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 the 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 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.
To become a member of the Rajya Sabha, he/she must be at least 30 years of age. Members are elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of Single transferable vote through Proportional representation.
As per the Constitution of India, there is a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman of Rajya Sabha. 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.
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. 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 of Rajya Sabha
- Any bill, 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
- Equal Powers with the Lok Sabha in initiating and passing a motion for the impeachment of the President
- 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
- Equal Powers with the Lok Sabha in initiating and passing a resolution declaring war or national emergency or constitutional emergency in a state
- The house is not subject to dissolution which is a limitation for Lok Sabha.
Rajya Sabha Television 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.