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How are Rajya Sabha MPs elected?

GS Paper 2:

Syllabus: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Context:

On June 10, the Assemblies of 4 states will elect 16 MPs to Rajya Sabha.

 

Rajya Sabha – Key facts:

  • It is also called the Upper House and the Council of States.
  • It is a permanent House and cannot be dissolved.
  • To ensure continuity, one-third of its members retire after every second year, under Article 83(1) of the Constitution, and “biennial elections” are held to fill these vacancies.
  • A nominated member may join a party within six months of taking a seat.

 

Composition:

Out of the 245 members, 12 are nominated by the President and 233 are representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry.

 

Term:

  • The term of a member is six years.
  • Vacancies arising due to resignation, death or disqualification are filled up through bypolls, and those elected serve out the remainder of their predecessors’ term.

 

Roles and functions of Rajya Sabha:

  • Any Bill, barring those designated as Money Bills by the Lok Sabha Speaker, needs the assent of the second chamber to become law.
  • It cannot amend a Money Bill, but can recommend amendments within a stipulated time, and Lok Sabha may either accept or reject all or any of these.

 

Election:

Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by MLAs through an indirect election.

  • Article 80(4) provides that members shall be elected by the elected members of state Assemblies through a system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
  • The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for allocation of Rajya Sabha seats to the states and Union Territories, on the basis of the population of each state.

 

How are the votes counted?

The number of votes a candidate requires depends on the number of vacancies and the strength of the House.

Under the Election Commission’s Conduct of Election Rules, 1961::

  • If there is only one vacancy, the required quota is calculated by taking the number of votes polled, dividing it by 2, and adding 1.
  • If there is more than one vacancy, the equation is based on an assigned value of 100 for every first-preference vote. The values of the votes credited to all candidates are totalled. The total is divided by 1 more than the number of vacancies, and 1 is added to this quotient.

 

For example, if 100 members of an Assembly vote for 3 Rajya Sabha vacancies, the required quota by any candidate would be

  • (100 × 100)/(3 + 1) + 1 = 2501.

 

Second-preference votes:

If for any seat, candidates fail to get the specified number, the second-preference votes will be taken into account, but with a lower value.

 

Special powers enjoyed by Rajya Sabha:

  1. If it passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting, Parliament becomes empowered to make a law on a subject.
  2. When it passes a resolution recommending creation of one or more All India Services common to the Union and the states. Parliament becomes empowered to create such services.
  3. Emergency proclamation has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament within a stipulated period.
  4. If a proclamation is issued at a time when Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of Lok Sabha takes place within the period allowed for its approval, then the proclamation remains effective, if the resolution approving it is passed by Rajya Sabha within the period specified under Articles 352, 356 and 360 of the Constitution.

 

Insta Curious:

Rajya Sabha has 245 seats. Did you know that no party has reached the halfway mark of 123 so far?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Elections to Rajya Sabha.
  2. Composition.
  3. Powers and functions of Rajya Sabha.

Mains Link:

How are Rajya Sabha members punished for misconduct in the House? Discuss.

 

Q. 1) Consider the following statements:

  1. Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by MLAs through an indirect election.
  2. Emergency proclamation has to be approved by both Houses of Parliament within a stipulated period.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only.
  2. 2 only.
  3. Both.
  4. None.

Sources: Indian Express.