Rajya Sabha – Indian Polity Notes

Rajya Sabha

The Indian Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India and consists of three main components: the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha, and the President of India. The Rajya Sabha, also known as the Council of States, is the upper house of the parliament and is composed of members who are elected by the members of the State Legislative Assemblies or nominated by the President of India. The Indian Parliament’s “House of Elders” is known as such. Understanding the role and functions of the Rajya Sabha is crucial for the IAS Exam as it forms a fundamental part of Indian Polity.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the Rajya Sabha, including its election process, the number of seats, its chairman, and other relevant information. It will also answer some frequently asked questions that IAS candidates may have while preparing for the UPSC 2022 exam. It’s important to note that the topic of the Rajya Sabha is of great significance for the civil services examination, as it falls under the Political Science subject, which is a crucial subject for both the Prelims and Mains GS-II as well as optional papers.

Rajya Sabha – Rajya Sabha Members

The Indian Parliament is bicameral, which means it has two houses. Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, is one of those two houses. The Lok Sabha is the other house (Lower House of the Parliament.) (You can read about the distinctions between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the linked article.) The Rajya Sabha is the nation’s second chamber of parliament, representing the nation’s states and union territories. It has the authority to protect the interests of the states and union territories if the center interferes with its work.

Read Also, about Lok Sabha in the detail.

Composition of Rajya Sabha
Maximum Strength – 250238 members represent states and union territories.
The president nominates 12 people.
239 is the current strength (6 Vacancies) Total – 245The states are represented by 225 members.
The union territories are represented by eight members.
The president appoints 12 members.
The fourth schedule of the Indian Constitution deals with the allocation of Rajya Sabha seats.

How are the Rajya Sabha members elected?

Rajya Sabha Members are meticulously chosen through a method of proportional representation by the elite members of state legislative assemblies, ensuring a fair representation of each state’s population. It’s worth noting that the representation of states in the Rajya Sabha is not equal, with states possessing a larger population allotted more seats in the esteemed upper house, as opposed to those with a lesser population.

Rajya Sabha Elections

Rajya Sabha has three types of representation:

States Representation in Rajya Sabha:

  • Members are chosen by members of state legislative assemblies.
  • Proportional Representation by Single Transferable Vote was the election principle used.
  • The population of the state influences state representation in the Rajya Sabha.

Union Territories Representation in Rajya Sabha:

  • Members of the Rajya Sabha from Union Territories are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college formed for this purpose.
  • Proportional Representation by Single Transferable Vote was the election principle used.

Note: The Rajya Sabha has representation from three union territories: Delhi, Puducherry, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Nominated Members Representation in Rajya Sabha:

The President nominates 12 Rajya Sabha members for their contributions and expertise in the fields of:

  • Art
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Social Service

Facts about UPSC Rajya Sabha elections:

In 2003, two changes were made to the Rajya Sabha election:

The requirement of being an elector from that state to be elected as a Rajya Sabha member from that state was removed.
The open ballot system was introduced in place of the secret ballot system.

Can Rajya Sabha Get Dissolved?

The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body known as a ‘continuing chamber.’ Unlike the Lok Sabha, which typically serves for five years before being replaced by new elections, the Rajya Sabha has no fixed term and continues to exist. As a result, it is never dissolved.


  • One-third of its members retire every other year. New elections are held to fill the vacant seats. However, nominations are accepted at the start of the third year.
  • The Representation of the People Act, 1951 empowers the President to make provisions governing the order of retirement of Rajya Sabha members.

Who is Rajya Sabha Chairman & Deputy Chairman?

The Indian Vice-President serves as an ex-officio chairman of Rajya Sabha, while the deputy chairman is elected from among Rajya Sabha members. The following table contains information on the Rajya Sabha Chairman and Deputy Chairman:

DetailsRajya Sabha ChairmanRajya Sabha Deputy Chairman
RoleHe is the Speaker of the House of Representatives.When the following conditions exist, he presides over the upper house: The chairmanship is no longer available. When the Chairman/Vice-President is required to act as President When the Chairman is not present at the meeting It should be noted that in all three cases, the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha has all of the powers of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
RemovalHe can be removed as Rajya Sabha chairman only if he is removed as Vice-President of India. Note: While the resolution is being moved, he cannot preside over the house as chairman, though he can be present and speak in the house.He can be removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all Rajya Sabha members. It should be noted that the resolution to remove him can only be moved with 14 days’ notice.
Is he a member of the house?NoYes
Can he vote in the house?In the first instance, he is unable to vote. Nota bene: He has the right to vote if the votes are equal.When he preside as chairman, he cannot vote in the first instance but can cast a casting vote in the event of a tie. When the Chairman is present in the house, the Deputy Chairman is an ordinary member who can speak, participate in proceedings, and even vote on house questions.
SalaryParliament established It should be noted that his salary is charged to the Consolidated Fund of India. (In the linked article, you can learn more about India’s funds.) Note: When the Chairman of the House is required to act as President of India, he is not entitled to the salary of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, but rather the salary of the President of India.Parliament established It should be noted that his salary is deducted from the Consolidated Fund of India.

Questions related to Rajya Sabha for UPSC

Check out the table below for the most important questions about the topic ‘Rajya Sabha’:

What is the Rajya Sabha election principle?Proportional Representation through Single Transferable Vote
In Rajya Sabha, how many Department Related Standing Committees (DRSC) are there?Rajya Sabha has eight Standing Committees. (For more information on Parliamentary Committees, see the linked article.)
What role does the Rajya Sabha play in the passage of the Money Bill?The Rajya Sabha has no authority to introduce, reject, or amend the Money Bill, but must return it with or without amendments.
Who is the Rajya Sabha’s leader?Like Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has a leader who is both a minister and a member of the house and is appointed by the Prime Minister.
What qualifications do Rajya Sabha members have?The applicant must be an Indian citizen. You must be at least 30 years old. Must be registered to vote in a parliamentary constituency.

Frequently Asked Questions on Rajya Sabha

What Is the Number of Elected Members in Rajya Sabha?

The Rajya Sabha should have no more than 250 members, with 238 representing the states and union territories and 12 nominated by the President.

What Are the Advantages of Rajya Sabha?

It serves as a brake on hasty legislation. It represents self-sufficient, talented individuals. When the Lok Sabha is dissolved, it plays a significant role.

What Are the Duties of Rajya Sabha?

Legislative responsibility: passing Indian laws in the Rajya Sabha. Oversight responsibility: ensuring that the executive (government) performs its duties satisfactorily. Responsibility for the purse: To approve and oversee the government’s proposed revenues and expenditures.

Which House Is More Powerful and Why?

In almost every case, the Lok Sabha has more clout than the Rajya Sabha. Even in cases where the Constitution has placed both Houses on an equal footing, the Lok Sabha wields more power due to its larger numerical strength.

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