What has Rajya Sabha achieved that a stand-alone Lok Sabha has not, or would not?

News: Constituent Assembly was divided on the opinion on establishing Rajya Sabha. That debate still holds relevance even after so many years.

What are the arguments against the establishment and functioning of the Rajya Sabha?

Lokanath Misra in the Constituent Assembly was of the opinion that, a) It will not serve any useful purpose, b) the Lower House is more representative of the people. On the other hand, the Upper House only result in a waste of public money and waste of time.

Note: Lokanath Misra was also of the opinion that huge number of people either in the House of the People or in the Council of States does not serve any very useful purpose.He highlighted that the “Constituent Assembly consists of more than three hundred members that so few of take a real part in and are really useful to constitution-making”.

Apart from this, c) Upper Chamber have twelve nominated members. The persons who have been nominated and who will never seek the vote of the people can become ministers also, d) Earlier any citizen desirous of contesting a Rajya Sabha election had to be an elector from that particular state. But an amendment to the Representation of People’s Act 1952 did away with the domicile requirement also.

e) Twenty-four states have unicameral legislatures, that is, only one legislative body, and only six states are bicameral. There is no justifiable legal basis for this classification. A question arises if the bulk of the states can function with one House then why does the Centre need to be bicameral.

What should be done?

There is also a question, except for being a continuous House, what has Rajya Sabha been able to achieve that a stand-alone Lok Sabha has not or would not?

Hence, there should be an amendment to Article 83 (2), to make Lok Sabha remain in existence till the time its successor body/house is not constituted through general elections mandatorily held three months prior to the completion of the present one.

Note: Kesvananda Bharti case held parliamentary democracy to be a basic structure, not bicameralism.

Source: The post is based on an article “What has Rajya Sabha achieved that a stand-alone Lok Sabha has not, or would not?” published in the “Indian Express” on 13th June 2022.

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