Rajya Sabha (Council of States)

The Upper House of Parliament known as the Rajya Sabha held its first sitting on April 3, 1952.

Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of Rajya Sabha as 250, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President, 238 are representatives of the States and of the two Union Territories.

The present strength of Rajya Sabha, however, is 245, out of which 233 are representatives of the States and Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry and 12 are nominated by the President.

The members nominated by the President are persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.

The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for allocation of seats to the States and Union Territories in Rajya Sabha.

The allocation of seats is made on the basis of the population of each State.

The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dis-solution. The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected for 6 years. One-third of the members retire every two years and new members are elected.

The retiring member can be re-elected. To be eligible to be a member of the Rajya Sabha, a person must
(a) be a citizen of India, and
(b) be at least 30 years of age.

Other qualifications are the same as those for the members of the Lok Sabha.

There should not be a gap of more than six months between the two sessions. The President summons and has the right to prorogue the sessions of the Parliament.

Lok Sabha can be dissolved by the President but not the Rajya Sabha, as it is a permanent house of the Parliament.