Special Powers of Rajya Sabha

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The states and union territories of the country are represented in Rajya Sabha, the second chamber of parliament. The President of India, the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha are the three members of the Indian Parliament (Article 79122). As the representative of the states and union territories in Parliament, the Rajya Sabha is granted several particular powers by the Constitution to carry out its federal duties. Its status as an Upper House in compared to the Lok Sabha is supported by these unique powers.

Historical Perspective of Rajya Sabha

  • Instead of using the American model, the Indian constitution‘s framers looked to the British model.
  • According to the Constitution, the Indian Parliament is made up of state and popular houses.
  • The House of People and the Council of States both adopted the Hindi names Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha in 1954.
  • The Lok Sabha is the lower house (first chamber or Popular House), and the Rajya Sabha is the upper house (second chamber or House of Elder).
  • While the latter represents all of India’s citizens, the former represents the states and union territories of the Indian union.

Special Powers of Rajya Sabha

Four exclusive or special powers that are not available to the Lok Sabha have been granted to the Rajya Sabha:

  • According to Article 249, the Rajya Sabha may give the Parliament permission to pass legislation on a topic listed on the State List.
  • In accordance with Article 312, it may permit the Parliament to create new All-India Services that are shared by the Center and the States.
  • It can take independent action to oust the vice president. In other words, pursuant to Article 67, a motion to remove the vice president may only be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
  • When a national emergency, president’s rule, or financial emergency are declared by the president and the Lok Sabha has already been dissolved, or if the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place within the time frame allotted for its approval, the proclamation will still be valid even if only the Rajya Sabha has given it its blessing (Articles 352, 356 and 360).
  • Note: The Rajya Sabha’s authority and position are normally equal to and coordinated with those of the Lok Sabha, with the exception of financial matters and authority over the council of ministers.

Additional Rajya Sabha Powers

Despite having fewer authority than the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha’s utility is justified by the following factors:

  • Federal politics in India’s safety valve
    • The Rajya Sabha is a crucial part of the checks and balances system established by the constitution, in addition to the well-known instances of responsible management and judicial scrutiny.
    • The Council of States functions as a safety valve within the legislative, easing tensions within the federal government, unlike the president, legislature, and judiciary.
  • In order to counter the lower house’s hasty legislation, which might be passed under populist pressure, the Indian constitution‘s framers intended to build a house that would serve as a revisionary house.
  • In addition to being a legislative body, parliament also serves as a forum for members to debate significant societal issues. As a result, the Upper House’s role includes acting as a deliberative body in addition to balancing the Lok Sabha’s “fickleness and enthusiasm.”
  • Representing the sections that are vulnerable
    • Due to the first past the post-election system, women, religious, ethnic, and linguistic minorities are underrepresented in the Lok Sabha.
    • As a result, they would be able to take part in the country’s legislative process through an indirect election to the Rajya Sabha (by propositional representation).

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