Indian Polity Notes -FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAJYA SABHA – Indian Polity Notes -FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAJYA SABHA
History of Rajya Sabha-Indian Polity Notes -FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT RAJYA SABHA
Ans: On 3 April 1952.
Ans: On 13 May 1952.
Ans: On 23 August 1954. The Chairman, Rajya Sabha made an announcement in the House that the Council of States would now be called ‘Rajya Sabha’ in Hindi.
Ans: Dr. S. Radhakrishnan.
Ans: Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was the first Chairman of Rajya Sabha for two consecutive terms (13.5.1952 to 12.5.1962). The current Chairman, Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari is also continuing as the Vice-President of India for a second term (11.08.2007 to 10.08.2012 and again from 11.08.2012 till date).
Ans: Shri S.V.Krishnamoorthy Rao (31.5.1952 – 2.4.1956 & 25.4.1956 – 1.3.1962).
Composition of Rajya Sabha
?Ans: Two hundred and fifty (250), of which 238 are to be elected and 12 are to be
nominated by the President of India.
Ans: Two hundred and forty five (245), of which 233 are elected and 12 are nominated.
Currently how many members are elected from Union territories?
Ans: In total four members are elected from the Union territories (3 from Delhi and 1 from Puducherry). However, currently one seat from Delhi and one from Puducherry is vacant. Other Union territories are not represented in Rajya Sabha.
Ans: Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; as nearly as possible, one-third of its members retire every second year.
Ans: It is six years; but a member elected in a bye-election serves for the remainder of the term of the vacancy caused.
Ans: It is one-tenth of the total members of the House, i.e., 25 members.
Ans: Indian National Congress.
Officers of Rajya Sabha
Ans: The Vice-President is the ex officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Ans: The Vice-President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
Ans: The Vice-President holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
Ans: Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Ans: The Deputy Chairman is elected by the members of Rajya Sabha from amongst its members.
Ans: While the office of Chairman is vacant, or during any period when the Vice-President is acting as, or discharging the functions of the President, the duties of the office of the Chairman are performed by the Deputy Chairman.
Ans: Prof. P. J. Kurien
Ans: Under Rule 8 of the of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha),the Chairman, Rajya Sabha nominates six members on the panel of Vice-Chairmen, one of whom presides over the House in the absence of both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman.
When neither the Chairman nor the Deputy Chairman and none of the Vice Chairmen is present to preside, the House may decide about any other member present to preside.
Ans: Leader of the House plays an important role in drawing up the programme of official business in the House.
Normally, the Prime Minister nominates a Minister who is a member of the Rajya Sabha as Leader of the House, but if the Prime Minister himself is a member of Rajya Sabha, he will act as the Leader of the House.
Ans: The Secretary-General is appointed by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha and holds a rank equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary, the highest civil servant of the Union Government.
Ans: He assists the Presiding Officers in conducting the proceedings of the House by giving them advice and expert opinion.
- He does not participate in the debate except for reporting messages from the Lok Sabha about Bills or any other matter.
- All notices under the rules are addressed to him.
- He is the custodian of the records of the House.
- He prepares full report of the proceedings of the House and also issues the List of Business for the day.
- He is the administrative head of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
Members of Rajya Sabha
Ans: Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the Assemblies of States and Union territories in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
Ans: He should be a citizen of India above 30 years of age and possessing such other qualifications as may be prescribed by law of Parliament.
Ans: Yes, there are twelve members nominated by the President of India from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art and social service.
Ans: While the nominated members of Rajya Sabha have a right to vote in the election of the Vice-President of India, they are not entitled to vote in the election of the President of India.
Ans: Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale (1952-56 and 1956-62).
Ans: Seven(7). Prof. M.S Swaminathan,Shri H.K. Dua,Dr. Ashok S.Ganguly,Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar,Shri Javed Akhtar,Smt. B.Jayashree and Dr. Bhalchandra Mungekar.
Ans: A Minister who is a Member of Lok Sabha has the right to speak in and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of Rajya Sabha but has no right to vote in Rajya Sabha and vice versa.
Ans: Twenty Six (26), 10.6%
Ans: Shri Dilip Kumar Tirkey
Ans: Shri Rishang Keishing.
Ans: Dr. Najma A. Heptulla
Ans: Shri Rishang Keishing.
- Ans: If any question arises as to whether a member of the House has become subject to disqualification under article 102 (1), the question is referred for the decision of the President and his decision is final.
- Before giving any decision on any such question, the President obtains the opinion of the Election Commission of India and acts according to such opinion.
- If under article 102 (2) any question arises as to whether a member of the House has become subject to disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, the question is referred to the Chairman, Rajya Sabha and his decision is final.
Role and functions
- Ans: Rajya Sabha being a federal chamber – representing States/Union territories, enjoys certain special powers:
- to empower Parliament to make laws in respect of any matter enumerated in the State List in the national interest by adopting a resolution to this effect (article 249),
- creation of All India Services (article 312) and
- approving Proclamations (issued under article 352 or article 356 or article 360) if the Lok Sabha stand dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place within the period allowed for the approval of the Proclamation by Parliament.
- Ans: In legislative matters, Rajya Sabha enjoys almost equal powers with Lok Sabha, except in the case of Money Bills where the latter has overriding powers.
- Such Bills cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha and are deemed to have been passed if these are not returned to Lok Sabha within fourteen days.
- Ans: Yes. In the case of Bills, a disagreement between the two Houses may arise when a Bill passed by one House is rejected by the other House; or the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill; or more than six months lapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it.
- Ans: A joint sitting of the Houses is convened for this purpose. In the case of Money Bills, there is no question of a deadlock as the Rajya Sabha has a limited say in such matters. There is no provision for a joint sitting in case of a deadlock over a Constitution Amendment Bill.
Ans: In the history of Parliament of India, there have been three occasions when both Houses of Parliament held a joint sitting to resolve deadlock on Bills between them, i.e.,
- 6 and 9 May 1961 on the Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1959;
- 17 May 1978 on the Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977; and
- 26 March 2002 on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.
Ans: A Money Bill is introduced only in Lok Sabha and after it is passed by that House, it is transmitted to Rajya Sabha for its concurrence or recommendation.
- Rajya Sabha has to return the Money Bill to Lok Sabha within a period of fourteen days from its receipt. Rajya Sabha cannot amend the Money Bill directly; it can only recommend amendments to the Bill.
- Lok Sabha may either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha.
- If Lok Sabha accepts any of the recommendations made by Rajya Sabha, the Bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses with the amendments so recommended and accepted.
- If, however, Lok Sabha does not accept any of the recommendations of Rajya Sabha, the Money Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses of Parliament in the form in which it was passed by Lok Sabha without any of the amendments recommended by Rajya Sabha.
- Ans: Parliamentary Committees of the Rajya Sabha may be categorized as ad hoc Committees and Standing Committees.
- Ans: Ad hoc Committees are those Committees which may be constituted by the House or by the Chairman or by the Presiding Officers of both Houses jointly to consider and report on specific matters. Such Committees become functus officio as soon as they complete their work.
These Committees may be divided into two categories:
- Select/Joint Committees on Bills constituted by the House(s) on specific motion to consider and report on Bills; and
- Committees which are constituted from time to time to enquire into and report on specific subjects.
Ans: Standing Committees are permanent Committees whose members are either elected by the House or nominated by the Chairman every year or from time to time.
- Business Advisory Committee
- General Purposes Committee
- Committee on Government assurances
- House Committee
- Committee on Petitions
- Committee on Subordinate Legislation
- Committee on Papers Laid on the Table, Committee of Privileges, Committee on Rules, Committee on Ethics, Committee on Provision of Computers to Members of Rajya Sabha, Committee on Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme and the Department-related Standing Committees.
Ans: DRSCs were set up in 1993 to scrutinize the functioning of the various Ministries/ Departments of the Union Government assigned to them in order to further strengthen the accountability of the Government to Parliament.
Ans: Twenty-four DRSCs have been constituted consisting of not more than thirty-one members, out of which twenty-one members are nominated by the Speaker, Lok Sabha and ten members are nominated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.
Ans: These Committees are entrusted with the following functions
- to consider the Demands for Grants of the related Ministries/ Departments and report thereon;
- to examine Bills, pertaining to the related Ministries/Departments, referred to the Committee and report thereon;
- to consider the annual reports of the Ministries/ Departments and report thereon; and
- to consider national basic long term policy documents and report thereon.
Ans: Eight DRSCs function under the control and direction of the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, while sixteen such Committees function under the control and direction of the Speaker, Lok Sabha.
|Sl. No.||Name of the Committee||Ministries/ Departments|
|1||Committee on Commerce||Commerce and Industry|
|2||Committee on Home Affairs||
|3||Committee on Human Resource Development||
|4||Committee on Industry||
|5||Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests||
|6||Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture||
|7||Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law & Justice||
|8||Committee on Health and Family Welfare||Health and Family Welfare|
What are the details regarding Chairmanship of the Committees of Rajya Sabha?
Ans: The Chairman, Rajya Sabha is the Chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, General Purposes Committee and Committee on Rules.
The Deputy Chairman is the Chairman of the Committee of Privileges.
In the case of other Standing Committees, namely, Committee on Petitions, Committee on Government Assurances, Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Committee on Papers Laid on the Table and the House Committee, the Chairmanship is shared between the ruling and the opposition parties in proportion to their numerical strength in the House. The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha appoints Chairman of Committees in consultation with the leaders of parties/groups concerned. The Chairmanship of Committees allotted to the opposition parties may rotate amongst themselves.
(i) to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of members:
(ii) to prepare a Code of Conduct for members and to suggest amendments or additions to the Code from time to time in the form of reports to the Council;
(iii) to examine cases concerning the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct by members as also cases concerning allegations of any other ethical misconduct of members; and
(iv) to tender advice to members from time to time on questions involving ethical standards either suo motu or on receiving specific requests.
- suspension from the Council for a specific period; and
- any other sanction determined by the Committee to be appropriate.
Ans: A Bill is a legislative proposal brought before the House for its approval.
Ans: The Bills initiated by Ministers are called Government Bills and those introduced by Members who are not Ministers, are known as Private Members’ Bills.
Depending on their contents, Bills may further be classified broadly into
- original Bills which embody new proposals,
- amending Bills which seek to amend existing Acts,
- consolidating Bills which seek to consolidate existing law on a particular subject,
- Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bills which, otherwise, would expire on a specified date,
- repealing Bills,
- Bills to replace Ordinances,
- Money and financial Bills and
- Constitution Amendment Bills.
Ans: A Bill passed by both Houses of Parliament becomes an Act only after it has been assented to by the President.
Ans: A Bill while being considered has to undergo three stages in each House of Parliament. The first stage is the Introduction, which is done on a motion moved by either a Minister or a Member.
During the second stage any of the following motions can be moved: that the Bill be taken into consideration; or that it be referred to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha; or that it be referred to a Joint Committee of the two Houses; or that it be circulated for the purpose of eliciting opinion thereon. Thereafter, the Bill is taken up for the clause-by-clause consideration as introduced or as reported by the Select/Joint Committee.
The third stage is confined to the discussion on the motion that the Bill be passed and the Bill is passed/rejected either by voting or voice vote (or returned to Lok Sabha, in the case of a Money Bill).
Ans: The Chairman has a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.
Ans: In Rajya Sabha, generally four methods of voting are adopted: Voice vote, Counting, Division by automatic vote recorder and Division by going into the Lobbies
- Bills originating in Rajya Sabha which are still pending in that House do not lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
- Bills originating in Rajya Sabha which having been passed by the House and transmitted to Lok Sabha and pending there lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
- Bills originating in Lok Sabha which having been passed by that House and transmitted to Rajya Sabha and still pending there on the date of dissolution of Lok Sabha, lapse.
- Bills originating in Rajya Sabha and returned to that House by Lok Sabha with amendments and still pending there on the date of its dissolution, lapse.
- A Bill upon which the Houses have disagreed and the President has notified his intention to summon a Joint Sitting of the Houses to consider the Bill prior to dissolution does not lapse on dissolution of Lok Sabha.
- A Bill passed by the two Houses of Parliament and sent to the President for assent does not lapse on the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
- A Bill returned by the President to Rajya Sabha for reconsideration of the Houses does not lapse if the dissolution of Lok Sabha takes place without the Houses having considered the Bill
Procedure for raising Matters of Public Interest
Ans: Rule 180 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha provides that a Member may with the previous permission of the Chairman call the attention of a Minister to any matter of urgent public importance and the Minister may make a brief statement or ask for time to make a statement at a later hour or date.
The Calling Attention is an Indian innovation in the parliamentary procedure.
Ans: Under Rules 180A – 180E, a Member may mention a matter of public importance in the House; he has to give a notice in writing along with the text of the matter to be raised not exceeding 250 words. No member is permitted to make more than one Special Mention during a week.
Ans: Rules 167-174 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha provide that no discussion on a matter of general public interest shall take place except on a motion made with the consent of the Chairman.
The term ‘motion’ in parliamentary parlance means any proposal made for the purpose of eliciting a decision of the House. It is phrased in such a way that, if passed, it will purport to express the will of the House.
Ans: Motions may be classified as Substantive or Subsidiary.
- A substantive motion is a self-contained proposal made in reference to a subject which the mover wishes to bring forward.
- A subsidiary motion as its name suggests, relates to a substantive motion.
Ans: If the Chairman admits notice of a motion and no date is fixed for the discussion on such a motion, it is immediately notified in the Bulletin Pt. II under the heading‘No-Day-Yet-Named-Motion’ Date and time is allotted for discussion on such motions by the Chairman, in consultation with the Leader of the House after taking into consideration the state of business before the House.
Ans: The House declares its own opinions and purposes by its resolutions. Every question, when agreed to, by the House, assumes the form of either a resolution or an order.
Resolutions may be categorized as: Private Members’ Resolutions (which are moved by a member not a Minister); Government Resolutions (which are moved by Ministers); and Statutory Resolutions (which are moved in pursuance of a provision contained in the Constitution or an Act of Parliament).
Ans: The President of India addresses both Houses of Parliament assembled together at the commencement of the first session after a new Lok Sabha has been constituted and also at the commencement of first session each year. The matters referred to in the President’s Address to the Houses are discussed on a Motion of Thanks moved by a Member and seconded by another Member.
Ans: A Point of Order is a point relating to the interpretation or enforcement of the Rules of Procedure or such articles of the Constitution as regulate the business of the House and submitted to the decision of the Chair. Rule 258 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha makes a provision to enable a member to raise a point of order. Any member may at any time submit a point of order for the decision of the Chairman, but in doing so, shall confine himself to stating the point. The Chairman shall decide all points of order which may arise, and his decision shall be final.
Ans: Rule 230 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha explains Dilatory motion. At any time after a motion has been made, a member may move that the debate on the motion be adjourned. If the Chairman is of opinion that a motion for the adjournment of a debate is an abuse of the rules of the Council, he may either forthwith put the question thereon from the Chair or decline to propose the question.
Ans: Rules 176-179 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha explains about the short duration discussion. If the Chairman is satisfied, after calling for such information from the member who has given notice and from the Minister as he may consider necessary, that the matter is urgent and is of sufficient public importance to be raised in the Council at an early date, he may admit the notice and in consultation with the Leader of the Council fix the date on which such matter may be taken up for discussion and allow such time for discussion, not exceeding two and a half hours, as he may consider appropriate in the circumstances.
Ans: He has to give a notice about it on a prescribed form at least 15 days before he wants to ask question.
Ans: A question for which an oral answer is desired by a member is distinguished by an asterisk and is called a starred question. A question without an asterisk is called unstarred and is admitted for written answers.
Ans: The Chairman, Rajya Sabha decides whether a question or a part thereof is or is not admissible. He may disallow any question or a part thereof when, in his opinion, it is an abuse of the right of questioning or calculated to obstruct or prejudicially affect the procedure of the House or is in contravention of the rules under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Council of States(Rajya Sabha). The Chairman may direct that a question be placed on the list of questions for answers, on a date later than that specified by a member in his notice, if he is of the opinion that a longer period is necessary to decide whether the question is or is not admissible.
Ans: The total number of questions to be admitted for any one day shall be limited to 175, of which 20 would be for oral answers and 155 for written answers.
Ans: Each House of Parliament collectively and the Members individually, enjoy certain powers and privileges without which they may not be able to discharge their functions, efficiently and effectively. Article 105 of the Constitution deals with such powers, privileges and immunities of Members of Parliament.
Ans: No law so far has been enacted by Parliament (and State Legislatures) to define the powers, privileges and immunities available to each House, its Members and Committees thereof.
Ans: When any of the privileges either of the Members individually or of the House in its collective capacity are disregarded or attacked by any individual or authority, the offence is called a breach of privilege.
Any obstruction or impediment put before Houses or its Members in due discharge of their duties, or which have a tendency of producing such result, may amount to contempt of the House.
Ans: The procedure for dealing with a question of privilege is laid down in Rule 187 – 203 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha.
A question of privilege may either be considered and decided by the House itself or it may be referred to the Committee of Privileges by the Chairman for examination, investigation and report.
Right to Information and Rajya Sabha Secretariat
Ans: Yes, functioning of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat comes under the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
To facilitate the supply of information to anyone desirous of getting it, the Chairman, Rajya Sabha has made rules for the Secretariat as per Section 28 of the Act.
What is a Parliamentary Forum? At present, how many such forums are there?
Ans: A Parliamentary Forum is a group of Members of Parliament who are nominated by the Speaker, Lok Sabha and the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, as the case may be, from amongst the Leaders of various Political Parties/Groups or their nominees who have special knowledge/keen interest in the subject. Each Forum consists of not more than 31 Members (excluding the President and ex officio Vice-Presidents) out of whom not more than 21 are from Lok Sabha and not more than 10 are from Rajya Sabha
There are at present five Parliamentary Fora, viz.
- Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation and Management;
- Parliamentary Forum on Children;
- Parliamentary Forum on Youth;
- Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health; and
- Parliamentary Forum on Global Warming and Climate Change.
How are the forums distinct from the Parliamentary Committees?
Ans: Unlike the Department-related Committees which are governed by the Rules of Procedure, these forums are governed by a separate set of guidelines issued by the Speaker, Lok Sabha in consultation with the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.
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