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Focus: GS-II Governance, Polity

Why in news?

Pending elections to 18 Rajya Sabha seats from 10 states will be held on June 19. The elections to these seats were to be held on March 26 but were postponed due to a nationwide lockdown in wake of Covid-19 outbreak.

Members of Rajya Sabha

Currently the Rajya Sabha has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated. As per the constitutional limit, the Upper House strength cannot exceed 250.

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by the electoral college of the elected members of the State Assembly with a system of proportional representation by a single transferable vote.

The total number of members of Rajya Sabha are lesser than the Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha and have more restricted power than the lower house (Lok Sabha).

Unlike membership to the Lok Sabha, membership to the Rajya Sabha is permanent for a term of six years and cannot be dissolved at any time.

Members of States:

Members are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies by Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote.

The population of the state is a factor that decides the representation of states in Rajya Sabha.

Members of Union Territories:

Members of Rajya Sabha belonging to Union Territories are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college, that is constituted for this purpose by Proportional Representation by means of Single Transferable Vote.

Nominated Members:

12 people are nominated by the President in Rajya Sabha for their contribution and expertise in the fields of:

  1. Art
  2. Literature
  3. Science
  4. Social Service

Qualifications to be eligible for election as Rajya Sabha Member

A person must satisfy all following conditions to be qualified to become a member of parliament of the Rajya Sabha:

  1. Must be a citizen of India
  2. 30 Year age

Article 80

  • As per Article 80 (Part V) of the Constitution, President can nominate 12 members in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha).
  • These persons should have special knowledge or practical experience in the field of Art, Science, Literature and Social Service.
  • The rationale behind principle of the nomination is to facilitate the representation of eminent professionals and experts who cannot face direct elections.

Are Nominated Members Different from Elected members?

  • Nominated members enjoy all powers, privileges and immunities available to an elected member of Parliament.
  • They, however, are not entitled to vote in the election of the President of India. 
  • But in the election of the Vice-President of India, they have a right to vote.
  • A nominated member is allowed six months, should he decide to join a political party after he has taken his seat in the House in terms of article 99 of the Constitution.
  • A nominated member has also been exempted from filing his assets and liabilities under Section 75A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 which requires the elected member to do so within 90 days of his making or subscribing oath/affirmation.

-Source: The Hindu, India Today

November 2023