Representation of UTs in Rajya Sabha
Polity > Parliament > Rajya Sabha
Why in news?
- The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on 28th February 2022 approved a proposal to amend Article 80 of the Constitution so that its councillors could send a representative to the Rajya Sabha.
- Although experts say this move is not legally tenable, the councillors cut across party lines to push it.
More about the news:
Article 80 of the Constitution of India deals with the composition of the Council of States or Rajya Sabha.
According to Article 80, the Rajya Sabha shall consist of not more than 238 representatives of the States and of the Union territories, and 12 nominated members.
The 4th Schedule of the Constitution deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and union territories.
- In the case of Chandigarh, the Private Member Bill was introduced >> which sought the adding of a provision “provided that the ‘representative of the Union Territory of Chandigarh in the council of states shall be elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh constituted under the Punjab Municipal Corporation (Extension to Chandigarh) Act, 1994” in Article 80 of the Constitution.
Composition of Rajya Sabha:
- Representation of States:
- The representatives of states in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of state legislative assemblies.
- The election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
- The seats are allotted to the states in the Rajya Sabha on the basis of population. Hence, the number of representatives varies from state to state. For example, Uttar Pradesh has 31 members while Tripura has 1 member only.
- However, in the USA, all states are given equal representation in the Senate irrespective of their population. The USA has 50 states and the Senate has 100 members–2 from each state.
- Representation of Union Territories:
- The representatives of each union territory in the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college specially constituted for the purpose.
- This election is also held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
- Out of the 9 Union Territories, only 3 (Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu & Kashmir) have representation in Rajya Sabha.
- The populations of other 6 Union Territories are too small to have any representative in the Rajya Sabha.
- Nominated Members:
- The President nominates 12 members to the Rajya Sabha from people who have special knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science and social service.
- The rationale behind this principle of nomination is to provide eminent persons a place in the Rajya Sabha without going through the process of election.
Where does Chandigarh stand and what are the legal objections?
- Chandigarh is a Union Territory without any legislative assembly.
- Chandigarh has a seat of Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha or House of the People.
- Chandigarh residents elect an MP every five years through direct voting.
- The elected Municipal Corporation Councillors do not form the electoral college for selecting a member for Upper house (Rajya Sabha) because it is beyond the powers of the Municipal Corporation.
- However between 1966 and 1990, MPs for Rajya Sabha in Delhi were selected by the members of the Metropolitan Council of Delhi. There is a difference between the Metropolitan Council and Municipal Corporation.
- The opinion suggests that selecting Rajya Sabha MP, is beyond the listed scope of functions of the municipal corporation.
- If the functions of the civic body are to be extended beyond the listed scope of functions it would not be feasible and would go against the constitutional mandate of any such Municipal Corporation.
Consider the following statements:
1. All of the Union territories in India have at least one seat in Rajya Sabha
2. The representatives of union territory in the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by members of an electoral college specially constituted for the purpose.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2