According to the bulletin released by the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, there are currently nine members from the Congress and three from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Twelve members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the President of India and are referred to as “nominated members,” while the remaining members are elected. Members of the Rajya Sabha serve for a term of six years, with one-third of the members retiring every two years.
The usefulness of having a second chamber in independent India was a topic of debate during the Constituent Assembly, but ultimately a bicameral legislature was deemed necessary due to the vast size and immense diversity of the country. The government was considered to be of a spontaneous nature, and a federal system was seen as the most suitable option.
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Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar
Recently, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar directed an accountability committee to investigate alleged breaches of privilege by 12 opposition MPs from the Congress and AAP. The MPs were accused of repeatedly entering the Well of the House, raising slogans, and obstructing proceedings during a session on the Union Budget. The Rajya Sabha bulletin identifies the nine Congress MPs as Shakti Singh Gohil, Naran Bhai J Rathwa, Syed Nasir Hussain, Kumar Ketkar, Imran Pratapgarhi, L Hanumathaiah, Phoolo Devi Netam, JB Mathe Hisham, and Ranjit Ranjan, and the three AAP MPs as Sanjay Singh, Sushil Kumar Gupta, and Sandeep Kumar Pathak.
The disruptions caused by the opposition MPs on various issues during the first phase of the budget session led to repeated adjournments of the House. In response, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha made repeated representations regarding the alleged breaches of privilege by the MPs, urging them to comply with his instructions.
Furthermore, Shri Sanjay Singh, a member of the Rajya Sabha, has submitted a notice to the Committee of Privileges under Rule 267 of the Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha, requesting an inquiry and report into the matter.
Overall, it is clear that the alleged breaches of privilege by the opposition MPs have caused significant disruptions to the functioning of the Rajya Sabha, and it remains to be seen how the accountability committee will proceed with its investigation.
A “money bill” is defined in Article 110 of the Indian Constitution. It can only be introduced by a minister in the Lok Sabha, and only with the president of India’s recommendation. Once passed by the Lok Sabha, the bill is sent to the Rajya Sabha for a 14-day period during which it can make recommendations.
However, if the Rajya Sabha fails to return the bill within 14 days, it is considered passed by both houses. Additionally, if the Lok Sabha rejects any amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha, the bill is considered passed in its original form. Therefore, the Rajya Sabha can only offer recommendations on money bills and cannot make amendments, to ensure that non-money matters are not added to the bill. A joint sitting of both houses is not required for money bills as the final decisions are made by the Lok Sabha.
The Constitution of India empowers the Parliament to legislate on matters that are reserved for the states. However, this power can only be exercised if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a two-thirds majority, granting the Union Parliament the authority to make such laws. Without such authorization from the Rajya Sabha, the Union government is not allowed to make laws on matters that are reserved for the states.