Article 80 (1949) of the Indian Constitution: Composition of the Rajya Sabha

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Article 80 in the Constitution of India outlines the exact composition of the Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, works as a very crucial pillar of Indian Democracy. Rajya is a permanent body, distinct from Lok Sabha (lower house) that dissolves every 5 years. Rather, only a few members of the Rajya Sabha retire in intervals. Article 80 makes sure that this upper house has an equitable representation of all states and union territories, thus contributing to a balanced legislative system.

Composition of Rajya Sabha according to Article 80

Article 80(1) states that the maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha will be 250 members. The current numbers of the Rajya Sabha may fall as and when some states have vacancies.  The distribution of the seats in the Rajya Sabha according to Article 80 states that 238 members represent the states and union territories while the President can nominate 12 members to the house. These nominated representatives should have distinguished expertise in diverse fields like science, literature, arts, and social service. 

Also Read: How Many State-Wise Lok Sabha Seats are there?

Elections of Representatives to the Rajya Sabha

The representatives of States and Union territories in the Rajya Sabha should be under the Fourth Schedule. The representatives of each State are elected employing a single transferable vote of the elected members of the state’s Legislative Assembly in accordance with the system of proportional representation. 

The system of proportional representation provides a voice to diverse social and political groups. The elections in the Upper House are held at intervals as only one-third of the Rajya Sabha members retire every two years. The remaining two-thirds continue their term. Every member of the house serves a six-year term. The long tenure lets the representatives focus on long-term policy issues and get in-depth knowledge and deliberations.  

Also Read: Salient Features of Indian Constitution

Significance of the Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha acts as a safeguard in the federal system of India. It safeguards the interests of the states thus preventing the undue dominance of the national government, promoting healthy federalism. The Upper House also functions as a second reviewer as it revises the legislation passed by the Lok Sabha. Thus scrutiny helps ensure that laws that are made are balanced, well-considered and serve the national interest comprehensively.

Apart from this, the nominated members of the Rajya Sabha have distinguished backgrounds and expertise in various fields. Thus they can enrich the legislative deliberations by giving valuable insights and perspectives.

These were some of the main features of Article 80. If you want to read more such articles, you can read our blog on Who Wrote the Constitution of India?

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