Composition of the two Houses

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Composition of the two Houses

Representation of States and Union Territories and Nominated Members

Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of Rajya Sabha as 250, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President and 238 are representatives of the States and of the two Union Territories.  The present strength of Rajya Sabha, however, is 245, out of which 233 are representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry and 12 are nominated by the President. The members nominated by the President are persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.

The Fourth Schedule to the Constitution provides for allocation of seats to the States and Union Territories in Rajya Sabha.  The allocation of seats is made on the basis of the population of each State.  Consequent on the reorganization of States and formation of new States, the number of elected seats in the Rajya Sabha allotted to States and Union Territories has changed from time to time since 1952.

Under article 80 of the Constitution, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) is composed of not more than 250 members, of whom 12 are nominated by the President of India from amongst persons who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.

By adopting the principle of nomination in Rajya Sabha, the Constitution has ensured that the nation must also receive services of the most distinguished persons of the country who have earned distinction in their field of activity, many of whom may not like to face the rough and tumble of the election. By nominating them to Rajya Sabha, the State not only recognises their merit and confers honour on them, but also enables them to enrich the debates by their expertise and knowledge that they have in different areas.

The first batch of 12 nominated members represented a galaxy of talented persons of proven merit.  They were: scholar and educationist Dr. Zakir Husain, renowned historians Dr. Kalidas Nag and Dr. Radha Kumud Mookerji, national poet Shri Maithilisharan Gupta, well-known Gandhian author Kakasaheb Kalelkar, eminent scientist Professor Satyendranath Bose, social worker Shri N.R. Malkani, renowned exponent of classical dance forms Shrimati Rukmini Devi Arundale, Gandhian scholar and teacher, Dr. J.M. Kumarappa, legal luminary Dr. Alladi Krishnaswami, famous stage actor and cine star Shri Prithviraj Kapoor and eminent medical scientist Major-General S.S. Sokhey.

Since the Rajya Sabha was constituted in 1952, in all, one hundred and five members have so far been nominated to the House.  A list of nominated members is annexed at the end of this booklet.  Among these nominated members we find scholars, jurists, educationists, historians, scientists, poets and litterateurs, engineers, economists, administrators, artistes and social workers of proven ability and outstanding merit.

Nominated members enjoy all powers, privileges and immunities available to an elected member of Parliament.  They take part in the proceedings of the House as any other member.  They, however, are not entitled to vote in the election of the President of India.   But in the election of the Vice-President of India,  they have a right to vote.  So far, none from them has been inducted into the Council of Ministers.

A nominated member is allowed six months, should he decide to join a political party after he has taken his seat in the House in terms of article 99 of the Constitution.  A nominated member has also been exempted from filing his assets and liabilities under Section 75A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 which requires the elected member to do so within 90 days of his making or subscribing oath/affirmation.

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