Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Abolition of Rajya Sabha

Shivraj Singh Chouhan suggested abolition of Rajya Sabha and later in face of opposition retracted. It was a good suggestion. Shivraj Singh Chouhan referred to businessmen buying votes to become Rajya Sabha members and mentioned Vijay Mallya. That put BJP in an embarrassing position because BJP had supported Vijay Mallya.

The constitution refers to Council of States which is known as Rajya Sabha. During British times Council of States represented princely states and had a membership of 216 members. There was no need to have Rajya Sabha when India became a republic.

Many times people who fail to win Lok Sabha elections get elected to Rajya Sabha. Twelve members can be nominated for their special knowledge and practical experience literature, art, science and social service. Political affiliation is the main consideration in such nominations. Mani Shankar Aiyar who lost Lok Sabha election was nominated to the Rajya Sabha. The requirement of residence of a state to be a Rajya Sabha member from that state was done away some years back.

Many countries have bicameral legislature. In UK, members of House of Lords are not elected. In USA, Senate has important functions like ratification of treaties and approval of important public appointments. In most countries Upper House has fewer powers than Lower House and can be done away with.

Lok Sabha can have fixed term of five years with election and swearing-in taking place on particular dates. We can have presidential system so that the government does not depend on the confidence of Lok Sabha.

We can also abolish Legislative Councils, Planning Commission, National Advisory Council, Animal Welfare Board and similar organizations. NTR and MGR had abolished Legislative Councils in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. They were revived by Congress and DMK.

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