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Rajya Sabha – Constitutional basis for its creation

Rajya Sabha – Constitutional basis for its creation

UPSC CSE Mains Syllabus: GS-2- Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

The Rajya Sabha was created on April 3, 1952. Before its creation, the second chamber underwent severe prenatal scrutiny in the Constituent Assembly. The proposal for a bicameral central legislature for the country was discussed at length, with deep divisions between the proponents and opponents.

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From these debates among the leading members of the Constituent Assembly finally emerged the Council of States and its mandate.

Bicameralism earlier:

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Bicameralism:

  • Bicameralism is a principlethat requires the consent of two differently constituted chambers of Parliament for making or changing laws.
  • This principle came into operationin 1787 with the adoption of the S. Constitution. Its appeal grew in strength from time to time. At present, 79 Parliaments of the world (41% of the total number) are bicameral.

Federalism:

  • Federalism has been in vogue since ancient times when some states got together to confer the power of law-making on a central authority.
  • It is the distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent
  • But modern federalism is entirely different given the complexity of geographical, regional, social and economic diversities marking the constituent units of a federation or a union. It is more so in India.
  • The U.S. is a union of constituent states and so is India — each unit has a set of unique features.
The U.S. Constitution-makers were influenced by the proposition of the renowned French philosopher Montesquieu who said, “The legislative body being composed of two parts, they check one another by the mutual privilege of rejecting”.Walter Bagehot later noted that the retarding chamber will impede minor instances of parliamentary tyranny.

Opposition to creation of Rajya Sabha: Constituent Assembly Debates

  • An Upper House was not essentialand is viewed as a creation of imperialism.
  • Such a chamber would only prove to be a “clog in the wheel of progress” of the nation.
  • The need of the hour was quick law-making, which the second chamber would obstruct.
  • Lokanath Misravehemently opposed parity of powers in law-making for the Upper House.
The role of the Upper House is to be a deliberative body besides balancing the “fickleness and passion” of the elected House. – James Madison.in 1950, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, while replying to the felicitations on becoming the Chairman, said that Parliament is not only a legislative body but also a deliberative one which enables the members to debate major issues of public importance. 

Support for Rajya Sabha – Constituent Assembly Debates

  • It would introduce an element of sobrietyand second thought besides lending voice to the constituent units in the legislative scheme of things.
  •  Ananthasayanam Ayyangar argued that a second chamberwould enable the genius of the people to have full play besides checking hasty legislation.
  • It fell upon Gopalaswami Ayyangarto make a strong case for the second chamber. Replying to the debate on the motion, he argued that “the most that we expect the Second Chamber to do is perhaps to hold dignified debates on important issues and to delay legislations which might be the outcome of passions of the moment until the passions have subsided and calm consideration could be bestowed on the measures which will be before the Legislature.”

Thus Rajya Sabha enables a second and reflective expression of representative opinion besides checking the propensity to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions.

Source:” The Hindu“.

Possible UPSC CSE Mains Question:

Discuss the constitutional basis for the creation of the Rajya Sabha. Is it a clog in the wheel of progress of the nation?