A Secondary Chamber
The Rajya Sabha is the second not the secondary chamber of the Indian Union Parliament. The framers of the Indian Constitution wanted it to be a weak chamber. But it is not as weak as the British House of-Lords, while it is not as strong as the American Senate. In money matters it is definitely a weaker house than the Lok Sabha and so it is in regard to the power to question and. supervise the Cabinet. But in all other respects, it is virtually equal in power and function to the first chamber, Lok Sabha.
In legislative functions, it is feared that when a disputed bill is referred to a joint meeting of the two Houses, its numerical weakness would make its voice ineffective. But it may not be always so. If bill is not supported by an overwhelming majority of 500 members of the Lok Sabha, its ordinary majority, combined with the ordinary majority in the Lok Sabha can pass and bill at the joint meeting. So even in legislative powers, it is equal of the lower House.
C omposition of Rajya Sabha
The Council of States is the second chamber of the Union Parliament, It was created to fulfill the federal the democratic aspiration of the people of different states. The constitution provides that its strength will be 250 out of which 12 are to be nominated by the President of India for their distinction in the fields of art, science, literature and social services. The members of state legislatures elect the remaining members. The framers of the Indian Constitution did not distribute the seats in the Council of States equally among the states departing thus from the federal principle of parity of representation of the federating units as in USA and Pakistan.
Qualification of Rajya Sabha members
The candidate for election of Rajya Sabha must be citizen of India, having attained 30 years of age, and must be physically and mentally fit. They must not be convinced as criminals or otherwise disqualified by the courts.
Election and Tenure
Members of Rajya Sabha, besides the nominated members, are elected indirectly by their respective state legislatures on the basis of proportional representative by means of single transformable vote by providing representation to all the sections of the society. Moreover, like the US Senate, the Indian Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. Its term or office is 6 years, but 1/3rd of its members are re-elected after every 2 years: Thus the chamber is a continuous body.
The Vice-President of India is ex-officio Chairman of Indian Rajya Sabha. He is assisted by the Deputy Chairman, who is elected by the members of the Council. If Council of States is considering a resolution of no confidence against the Vice-President or Deputy-Chairman, then they cannot preside over the sitting of the Council of States. The Deputy Chairman presides over its, meetings in the absence of the Vice President.