The Montague Chelmsford Reforms of India introduced the concept of a Second Chamber, leading to the establishment of Rajya Sabha. The Constituent Assembly recognized the need for a platform that represents the states at the national level and checks legislation passed in haste due to India’s vast diversity.

Rajya Sabha and its Importance:

  • Rajya Sabha provides a collective voice to Indian states, fostering diversification of ideologies in the chamber due to the growth of regional politics, especially after the end of Congress rule in many states during the 1970s.
  • Emerging Populism: As a “Deliberative Body,” Rajya Sabha makes unpopular yet necessary decisions, owing to its non-popularly elected nature.
  • Cooperative Federalism by NITI Aayog: NITI Aayog’s focus on cooperative federalism has given states more say in governance, reinforcing the role of Rajya Sabha as the second chamber representing state interests.
  • Specialists and Experts in the House: Rajya Sabha accommodates specialist opinions from senior judges, social workers, industrialists, etc., contributing to revolutionary debates on crucial issues.

Arguments in support of Rajya Sabha as a ‘Supporting Organ’ in Democracy:

  • The Prime Minister’s presence in Rajya Sabha imparts it with enhanced weightage.
  • The lack of a brute majority for the ruling party in Rajya Sabha maintains a balance of power.
  • It acts as a ‘check and balance’ against hasty legislation.
  • Rajya Sabha continues to function even when the Lower House is dissolved.
  • It serves as a platform for high-quality debates on important issues.
  • The government’s decision to pass certain Bills as ‘Money Bills’ reflects the significance of Rajya Sabha beyond a mere approving body.

Examples of Transformation:

  • Rajya Sabha played a crucial role in the abrogation of Article 370, benefiting the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • The implementation of GST reforms required the support of Rajya Sabha, as states’ involvement was essential in the process.
  • The passage of the POTA Act in 2002 required a joint sitting of Parliament under Article 108 due to objections from Rajya Sabha.

Throughout India’s political journey, Rajya Sabha has remained a guardian of political and social values, embracing cultural diversity. It has effectively assimilated the aspirations of the Indian people and protected their interests. As Dr. S Radhakrishnan stated, “The Rajya Sabha no doubt can’t make or unmake governments, but it can be an effective deliberative body.”

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish March 9, 2024