Critically discuss the need of Rajya Sabha in Indian Polity.

Critically discuss the need of Rajya Sabha in Indian Polity.
  • Briefly introduce Rajya Sabha
  • Give arguments in favor of need of Rajya Sabha
  • Then give arguments against the need of Rajya Sabha
  • Conclude while taking a stand based on arguments
Model Answer :
The Constitution makers opted for Bicameralism, with the Council of States (later renamed as The Rajya Sabha) as the upper house of the Parliament of India. The upper house was envisaged to represent the interests of the states in the Parliament while also aiding and checking the legislative powers of the directly elected lower house. The members (except some nominated ones) of the House are elected by the elected members of the Assemblies of the States and two Union Territories. Recently, there have been demands to abolish the Rajya Sabha for excessively obstructing legislative agenda.
Arguments in favour of Rajya Sabha:
  • Act as a screener:  It facilitates a second look at legislations that may sometimes be the result of purely political compulsions of the ruling majority in the popular House.
  • New Ideas: It also has the advantage of having some people who have excelled in different areas of life who can participate in the debates with an amount of authority and learning.
  • Basic Structure: The bicameral nature of the Indian Parliament is part of the “basic structure” of the Indian Constitution, rendering it incapable of being amended.
  • Non-Dissolvable body: While lok sabha may sometimes be in turmoil, over no-confidence motion, dissolution etc., Rajya Sabha ensures stability at that time.
Arguments against the need of Rajya Sabha:
  • A haven for losers: Rajya Sabha has become a haven for losers in elections, crony capitalists, compromised journalists and party fundraisers.
  • Obstruction of legislative process: Sometimes, it is seen that Rajya Sabha acts as obstruction to legislative process for political gains.
  • Unequal representation of states: There are unequal seats for different states. So, federal element seems biased here.
  • Lack of power regarding certain bills: It can’t bring no confidence motion or amend other important bills like money bill.
Rajya Sabha, when it functions appropriately, has an important role to play in Indian democracy. Yet, its descent over the recent times into a political tool for opposition to block elected government’s mandate without due deliberation has reduced its utility and honour. Thus, to improve its accountability and performance, it would be useful to introduce certain reforms like direct elections of the  members of the Rajya Sabha (like in the US), equal representation of all states etc.

Subjects : Polity