Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Relevance of Rajya Sabha

The essence of democracy lies in participation and the Rajya sabha acts as an indispensable fulcrum in the spectrum of Indian democracy. Rajya Sabha or Council of state represents the interest of the states and justifies the federal nature of our democratic institution.

Popularly known as the Upper House or House of elders, Rajya Sabha has played an important role in upholding the spirit of consensus for the last six decades. It may be mentioned here, that many a times in the past, it is the Rajya Sabha which has forced the government in power to call off bills which are not agreed to by the majority. Thus, it ensures that bills are not passed by the government in undue haste and proper deliberations are made reflecting broad views. In other words, it ensures that ‘Necessary Checks and balances‘ doctrine is reflected in letter and spirit.

Apart from its normal role, the Rajya Sabha is empowered with some special powers. The subject of legislation in our democracy is divided into three groups – 

1) Union List 
2) State List
3) Concurrent List

While the Union list is taken care of by the Parliament, the State legislature passes laws on items in the State list. In general, the Union and State list is mutually exclusive but the Rajya Sabha may pass a resolution to ask the Parliament to legislate on matters in the State list  (Article 249).

Similarly, Rajya Sabha may use Article 312 so as to create a new All India Services. Thus, consent of states is duly respected when we have two houses of the Parliament. 

The Rajya Sabha also has nominated members which include people with special knowledge in Science, art, literature and social Service. Such persons of eminent skill add to the varied representation of the Parliament.

Though the group of ministers are not responsible to it directly, it exercises control over the government and this function becomes quite significant when the government is not in majority in Rajya Sabha.

Maintaining Federal equilibrium lies at the centre of the argument. Rajya Sabha thus, strengthens the pillar of democracy and deserve kudos for its functioning.

Kantesh Mishra is one of the newest members of Indian Policy. He likes to share his views on Polity and current affairs.

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