Introduction- Powers and Functions of Rajya Sabha

In this article, you will read and come to know about powers and functions of rajya sabha . Indian Parliament consists of the President and two houses-  Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

Article 79 of the constitution provides that there shall be a Parliament for the union which shall consist of the President and two houses to be known respectively as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha).

However, the President is not a member of Parliament and does not sit in the Parliament, except for delivering his opening address to the parliament.

RAJYA SABHA-

The Rajya Sabha (Council of States) is the upper house of the Parliament. It has been structured as it represents the federal principle.

Composition of Rajya Sabha –

Article-80 of the Indian constitution fixes the maximum strength of 250 members for the Rajya Sabha. Out of these 238 members are elected from the states and union territories.

The remaining 12 members are nominated by the Indian President from amongst the person who has achieved distinction in the field of literature, science or social service.

Method of Election-

The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected indirectly by the members of their State Legislative Assemblies through the method of proportional representation by the Single Transferable Vote system.

12 members are nominated by the Indian President from amongst the person who has achieved distinction in the field of literature, science or social service.

Qualifications-

a) Should be a citizen of India.

b) Should be above 30 years in age.

c) Should not be insane or bankrupt.

d) Should fulfill all the qualifications which are fixed by the Parliament.

e) He must not hold any office of profit under the govt of India or of the state.

Tenure-

The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house and unlike Lok Sabha, It cannot be dissolved. 1/3rd of its members retire every 2 years and elections are held for the vacant seats.

The Tenure of a member of the Rajya Sabha is 6 years. A member loses his membership either he resigns or when he gets disqualified for some reason. [powers and functions of rajya Sabha]

Chairman of Rajya Sabha-

The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Sh. M. Venkaiah Naidu is the present Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Salary and Allowances-

The members of Rajya Sabha get salary and allowances as fixed by the Parliament. According to the salary, allowances, and pension of members of Parliament Act, 2018, the members of Rajya Sabha have entitled to Rs. 1 lac per month as salary, Rs. 70,000 as constituency allowance, Rs. 60,000 as office expenses and Rs. 1 lac for furniture and expenditure and Rs.16 per Km Travelling allowances.

Powers and Functions of Rajya Sabha-

1.  Legislative Powers-

The Rajya Sabha enjoys equal power with Lok-Sabha in the sphere of ordinary law-making.

An ordinary bill can be introduced in the Rajya Sabha and it cannot become a law unless and until it is passed by both the houses of parliament.

In Case of a deadlock between the two houses of the Parliament over an ordinary bill, If the conflict remains unresolved for 6 months, the President convenes a joint session of the two houses for resolving the deadlock.

2. Financial powers-

In the financial matter, the Rajya Sabha is weaker than the Lok Sabha because of the following points-

a) Once the money bill is passed by the Lok Sabha the Rajya Sabha can withhold its consent for a maximum period of 14 days.

b) If within a period of 14 days the Rajya Sabha fails to pass the bill, the bill is deemed to have been passed by the parliament.

 Thus Rajya Sabha can only delay the passing of the money bill for the maximum by 14 days.

3. Executive powers-

Rajya Sabha can put questions to the minister for seeking information regarding their departments. Also, the member of Rajya Sabha can criticize the policies of the government

Thus, the Rajya Sabha has only a limited role in controlling the executive.

4. Amendment powers-

In the matter of the amendment of the Indian Constitution, the Rajya Sabha enjoys equal power as of the Lok Sabha. An Amendment Bill can be introduced in either of the two houses of parliament and it is necessary that it is passed by both the houses of Parliament that are Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

Powers and Functions of Rajya Sabha
Powers and Functions of Rajya Sabha

5. Judicial powers-

The Rajya Sabha performs the following Judicial functions –

a) The Rajya Sabha along with the Lok Sabha can impeach the president on the charges of violation of the constitution. One house frames the charges,  the second house makes the investigation and if the members of both the houses of parliament pass the impeachment resolution with the majority of 2/3rd  members- present voting, the President stand impeached and is removed from his office.

b) If the Vice President of India is to be tried for impeachment, only the Rajya Sabha has right to frame charges against him.

c) Even in the case of the removal of judges of the supreme court and high court  Rajya Sabha enjoy equal authority with the Lok Sabha.

d) The Rajya Sabha in cooperation with the Lok Sabha can pass a resolution against high official such as the Attorney General of India, the chief election commissioner, etc.

6. Approval of the emergency-

The declaration of emergency must be laid before both the houses of the Parliament within the time period for approval. In the case of dissolution of the Lok Sabha, such a declaration is to be laid before the Rajya Sabha, which has the power to approve or disapprove it.

7. Miscellaneous powers

Rajya Sabha in cooperation with the Lok Sabha also enjoy the following powers-

a) Give approval to the ordinances issued by the president of India.

b) Make a change in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India and the high court in various States.

c) To make changes in the qualification of the members of the state legislative assembly or Indian Parliament.

d) To include new states in the union or to make a change in the territory of the existing States for changing the name of the states etc.

Conclusion- Powers and Functions of Rajya Sabha

There is no denying the fact that the Rajya Sabha is a weak chamber in comparison to the Lok Sabha. As we know that India has adopted the federal form of government and thus, it is necessary to establish a bicameral legislature. Lok Sabha has granted more power than Rajya Sabha as the members of Lok Sabha elected directly on the basis of Universal adult franchise.

[Powers and Functions of Rajya Sabha]

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