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Day 10 – Q 2. What is the underlying political philosophy of creating the upper house of the parliament or the Rajya Sabha? Explain. (10 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • February 9, 2022
  • 0
GS 2, Indian Polity, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. What is the underlying political philosophy of creating the upper house of the parliament or the Rajya Sabha? Explain. (10 Marks)

संसद के उच्च सदन या राज्य सभा का अंतर्निहित राजनीतिक दर्शन क्या है? समझाएं।

Approach

Students are expected to write about the rajyasabha in the Introduction with giving it’s background highlight the underlying political philosophy of creating upper house also students need to explain with the help of examples. 

Introduction

Rajya Sabha, also called the Council of the States, was constituted on April 3rd in year 1952 under Article 79 of the Constitution of India. It is called the upper house of the Parliament and represents the federal character of the legislature by having members elected by the state legislatures and the Union Territories with the legislature.

Body

Philosophy of creating the upper house:

  • Beginning in India: In India, bicameralism started in 1918-19 with the introduction of Montague-Chelmsford Reforms. It was further continued by the Government of India Act, 1935. When the Constitution of India was drafted, initially the upper house was called ‘Council of States’. 
  • Rationale behind the Upper House: The history of mankind tells us that it was the rich and powerful, who were involved in decision-making. Later on, when the ideas of democracy and universal adult suffrage took root, the poor started to get represented in the legislature. 
  • Safety Valve of India’s Federal Polity: Rajya Sabha also acts as a means to institutionalise the federal principle of power-sharing between the Centre and states. 
  • Interest of different section: The upper house was constituted to balance the interest of these two groups. It was supposed to be the voice of the rich as compared to the lower house, which articulated the views of the poor.
  • Promotes deliberation: Eminent members like Gopalaswami Ayyangar vehemently supported the idea of the upper house as another house to deliberate the bills and policies of the government. 
  • Oversight on hasty decision-making: At the same time, Rajya Sabha, despite being a weaker house, has tried to act as a check on the bills originating in the Lok Sabha. Lok Sabha, by its very nature, is a house with a brute majority of the ruling coalition. Rajya Sabha, with its varied composition, sobers the voices of majoritarianism, should they escape the notice of the lower house.
  • Highlighting the National Issues: Rajya Sabha has focussed more on the larger issues plaguing India, rather than the hot topics. One important factor contributing to this tendency is the permanent nature of the house. Like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, negotiations around the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreements around Agriculture subsidies (see inset) as Agriculture is primarily a State subject.
  • Expert Opinion: Rajya Sabha has also an added benefit of nominated members in the house, wherein the President nominates twelve members of Rajya Sabha from eminent walks of life and having special knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science and social service under Article 80.
  • Cooling down the Politics: Any legislation at such time might be prone to errors due to swayed emotions. Therefore, sometimes it is beneficial to let the issue cool down and discuss all the dimensions of an issue so that the principle of natural justice is upheld in the legislations.
  • Even though the ups and downs of Indian politics, the Rajya Sabha has remained a vanguard for political and social values, a melting pot of cultural diversity. Also, along with Lok sabha, it is a flag-bearer of the sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic called India.

Conclusion

Thus, Rajya sabha should not be seen as a ‘disruptive’ wing of the legislation and efforts should be made to enable Rajya Sabha to retain its significant role in Indian democracy.

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