How far do you agree with the view that Rajya Sabha has done nothing exceptional in last 70 years except stalling work and therefore it should be abolished? (10 Marks)

Mentor’s Comment:

Introduction should Explain about Rajya Sabha in general.

Next mention why there is argument to abolish RS (more of criticism). For Example: members are not directly elected, No public interaction, no say in financial matters, most of the members are from political families, and are those who got defeated in election (they have been appointed by political parties to satisfy them), Political Differences leads to stalled business of house, Politics of boycotting and creating ruckus and moreover, they don’t feel responsibility and obligation of people.

Further, mention the importance of RS and why it should be continued. For Example: It works as revising chamber for legislation or other executive order, party dynamism is important in democracy to effectively address the grievances of people, Elderly guidance is important, Direct entry of experts from different fields like scientists, artists, sportsmen etc. who can contribute effectively, the members can effectively raise the issues of states, its role is important when legislation affects state policies like All India Services, legislation in state list etc.

Conclude with balanced note showing the importance of RS for a democracy like India.

Model Answers:

Rajya Sabha or the council of state is the upper house of the parliament and has been integral to India’s parliamentary democratic process. Of late its utility and position has been questioned. Thus it need a merit based evaluation to ascertain whether we need it or not.

Why Rajya Sabha needs to be abolished?

  • According to various members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has done nothing except stalling legislative works and causing policy paralysis in the country.
  • For critics, the Upper House serves no purpose as its members are not directly elected and hence are not accountable to the people.
  • Rajya Sabha often has members from the party defeated in various elections, or are from political families, and due to political differences, they do not allow passage of important bills.
  • This affects the functioning of the government in power which has a majority in Lok Sabha and which is accountable to the public in next election.
  • So many extra members are an added burden on exchequer which can be done away with.
  • Politics of boycotting and creating ruckus in the house and toeing on the party-line even on the issue that won’t attract disqualification provisions is a worrying thing.
  • At the same time, in terms of working, Rajya Sabha does not have sufficient powers in financial matters to bring any change and they are without any direct public interaction. Hence its purpose in modern democracy seems outdated.

Importance of Rajya Sabha and Why It Should Continue:

  • According to President Radhakrishnan, there are functions, which a revising chamber like Rajya Sabha can fulfil fruitfully. Parliament is not only a legislative but a deliberative body. So far as its deliberative functions are concerned, Rajya Sabha has made very valuable contributions time and again.
  • It’s true that party dynamics affects the working of Rajya Sabha. But in democracy passion often defeat the normal rationality. Thus a revising house is needed to check such adrenal rush.
  • While the argument of members not able to win in direct elections holds true, but retaining talent is essential for any democratic system. Losing valuable talent during election fervours has mostly been corrected by Rajya Sabha. It has also given entry to other experts like scientist, artist, sportsmen etc that can rarely face the electoral politics.
  • While Lok Sabha have members for each state, the Hindi belt domination is a constant theme. Hence other state interests, like those in North East, have always been taken up by the Rajya Sabha.
  • While it can’t bring no confidence motion or amend money bill, its role in checking arbitrariness of government, as reflected in Land Ordinance, is necessary in democracy. Besides its special role in All India Services, legislation in State List too necessitates its existence.
  • Men and women of prodigious talent and calibre have adorned the benches of the upper house and have contributed significantly towards realising the vision of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
  • A permanent Upper House is also a check against any abrupt changes in the composition of the Lower House. It has continuity.
  • Unlike Lok Sabha, it cannot be dissolved by anyone. Thus it has, time and often, carried out some administrative functions even when the lower house is dissolved. It has members with experienced players while there may be new entrants in the Lok Sabha.

Conclusion:

  • Thus, it can be said that Rajya Sabha is an effectively envisaged institutions and it is always said that an institution becomes better or worse, depending upon how the stakeholders presents and uses it, for the betterment of citizens on whole. The Parliament may mull providing a minimum and maximum limit of representation to each state so that the federal character of the house blooms in true sense.
  • The need of the hour is to make it the institution as the voice of people rather that voice of different political parties singing in different chorus. Therefore efforts should be made in fully harmonising the relations between the two chambers of the