Bicameralism in India – Today on 13th May is historical day in the political history of India. On this day Parliament’s Upper House (Rajya Sabha) holds its “First Sitting” in 1952. Well India after so much struggle, finally get independence from the Britishers in 1947. After getting independence we adopt our Constitution on 26th November 1949 with the Parliamentary form of government.
Our constitution borrows the concept of Parliamentary system from the UK/England. In this form of government actually there are two houses named as House of People (Lok Sabha) and council of States (Rajya Sabha) who works for the India.
Bicameralism in India
However, the origin of the idea of upper house can be raised from “Montague Chelmsford Report of 1919”. The main purpose behind the creation of a legislative structure for India was to provide a democratic forum to restore the political and social unity of our country.
Nominated Head of the Union
Our Parliament consists of House of People, Council of States and the President. Both the houses works with the aid and advice of the President. Our president is the rubber stamp and having signing authority. So, all the bills which has been passed by both the houses, finally becomes the law after getting signature of the president. Thus, president is the integral part of the Parliament.
Strength of Members in Rajya Sabha
Our Constitution provides that the total number of members in Rajya Sabha are 250 in which 238 members are representatives from States and Union Territories and 12 members nominated by the President.
These 12 members are nominated who have special skill in the fields of Science, Art, Social Science and Literature.
On 13th May 1952 the first Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Dr. Sachdanand Sinha for the first time told all the functions and powers of the members of the Rajya Sabha.
At present, Rajya Sabha has 245 members. The strength of members of the house has changed from time to time since its inception in 1952. It has cautiously increased form 216 in 1952 to 245, its present membership.
Bicameralism in India – Special Powers of Rajya Sabha
in our Parliamentary system some special functions are allocated to only Rajya Sabha which we are going to discuss here:
Creation of All India Service – Bicameralism Rule – Article 312 of the Constitution specially gave this power to Rajya Sabha that with the two third majority of the members present and voting passes resolution for the creation of All India Services for Union and States in the Interest of Public. So, on 6th Dec 1961, for the first time Rajya Sabha passed a resolution and the Indian Engineering Service, Indian Medical and Health service and Indian Forest Service were created.
Legislation on the Subjects of State List
Although we have federal system of government. In this system three lists with prescribed subjects is given in our Constitution 7thSchedule. Article 249 of the Constitution provides that Rajya Sabha with the two third majority of members present and working of the house has power to pass the resolution that parliament has power to make laws on any of the subjects of the state list in the national interest.
President Rule sanctioned by Rajya Sabha
Article 356 provides that the state emergency or president rule has only been passed after the approval from the Rajya Sabha. Till now Rajya Sabha passed 3,817 Bills in last 68 years, and held 5,466 sittings since 1952.