Rajya Sabha – Seats, Composition, Election Process, Members, Speaker

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Rajya Sabha, also known as the Council of States, is the upper house of the Indian Parliament and represents the states of the Indian Federation. It was constituted on 3rd April 1952, and the first session of the Rajya Sabha was held on 13th May 1952. The composition of Rajya Sabha comprises 245 members, including the Deputy Chairman, Vice-President, and Senior Minister.

The Rajya Sabha is responsible for introducing and passing the constitutional amendment bills and creating new All-India Services common to States and centers. The Rajya Sabha has drastically improved legislative performance by scrutinizing government policies.

What is Rajya Sabha?

Rajya Sabha is the Parliament’s second chamber and represents India’s union territories and states. The Rajya Sabha, along with the Lok Sabha and President, forms the parliament of India. The elected members of state legislative assemblies elect the Rajya Sabha members. The Rajya Sabha was first constituted on 3 April 1952.

The origin of the Rajya Sabha can be drawn from the Montague-Chelmsford Report of 1919. The report introduced the idea of a bicameral legislature, i.e., the legislature with two houses – Council of State or Upper House and Central Legislative Assembly or Lower House.

  • The Government of India Act, 1919 made provisions for the establishment of ‘The Council of State’ as a second chamber, which finally came into existence in 1921.
  • The Government of India Act 1935 did not make any changes in the composition and structure of the ‘Council of State.
  • After independence in 1947, the Constituent Assembly (Legislative), which became the Provisional Parliament at a later stage, worked in a unicameral structure till the conduct of the first general elections in 1952.
  • As the directly elected single house was not sufficient to meet the aspirations of free India, a dire need was felt for a second chamber as the ‘Council of States’.
  • Hence, after a long debate, the ‘Council of States’, later known as Rajya Sabha, was created in 1954 with an almost entirely different composition and structure.

History of Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha or Upper House was constituted for the first time on 3rd April 1952. The first meeting or session was held in the same year on the 13th of May. Earlier the Upper House was called by the name Council of States and was later given the name of Rajya Sabha in Hindi on 23rd August 1954.

  • Rajya Sabha is one of the two Houses of the Parliament of India. It is also known as the Upper House.
  • It is also given the name Council of States in the Indian constitution.
  • The first Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was Dr S. Radhakrishnan.
  • The first Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was Shri S.V. Krishnamoorthy Rao.
  • The Rajya Sabha consists of 245 members as per Article 80 in the Constitution of India.

Overview of Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha, or the upper house, is called the permanent house that safeguards the interests of the states. The basic overview of the Rajya Sabha is given under the table-

Rajya Sabha Highlights for UPSC Exam

Rajya Sabha is also called

The upper house or the council of states. The Rajya Sabha is also known as the Second Chamber or House of Elders.

Rajya Sabha Members

250 members

Total Seats In Rajya Sabha

229 seats for states, 4 seats for UT and 12 nominated members.

Chairman of Rajya Sabha

Vice-president of India

Tenure Of Rajya Sabha

No fixed term. 1/3rd members retire every 2 years. As per RPA, 1951, the term of the Rajya Sabha is 6 years.

Composition of Rajya Sabha

Article 80 of the Constitution of India deals with the composition of the Rajya Sabha. According to the Indian Constitution, the following are the total number of seats in the Rajya Sabha.

  • Maximum Rajya Sabha members cannot exceed 250. Out of these 250 members, 12 members are directly nominated by the Indian President, while 238 members represent the Union Territories and the States of India. The allocation of the Rajya Sabha Seats is done as per the 4th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • Currently, the Rajya Sabha has 239 members with 6 vacant seats. Of these 239, 12 members are nominated by the Indian Parliament, 8 represent the Union Territories, and 225 represent the Indian State.

Rajya Sabha Seats

The maximum number of Rajya Sabha seats are represented by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. At the same time, Puducherry and Delhi (NCR) are the only Union Territories representing Rajya Sabha. The state-wise division of the total Rajya Sabha Seats is as follows-

Name of the States/ UTs

Rajya Sabha Seats

Andhra Pradesh


Arunachal Pradesh














Himachal Pradesh


Jammu and Kashmir








Madhya Pradesh




















Tamil Nadu






Uttar Pradesh




West Bengal


Andaman and Nicobar




Dadra and Nagar Haveli


Daman and Diu


NCR, Delhi


Rajya Sabha Members

All the Rajya Sabha members are elected for a period of six years and are replaced by newly elected members. Out of all these members, one-third of the members retire every second year.

It also comprises the following positions-

  • Senior Minister – The Senior Minister is the leader of the Rajya Sabha, appointed by the Indian Prime Minister.
  • Deputy Chairman – The deputy chairman is elected by the house among its members. Along with this, the house also holds a Vice-Chairman’s panel.
  • Vice-President – Rajya Sabha’s ex-officio Chairman is the Vice-President of India.

Rajya Sabha Tenure – Term of Office

  • The term of every member of Rajya Sabha is six years. However, one-third of the seats are to be vacated after every two years.
  • The Lok Sabha doesn’t meet regularly, however, the Rajya Sabha meets continuously and is not subject to dissolution.
  • However, the President of India can prorogate the Rajya Sabha.

Speaker of Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. India represents a Parliamentary democracy which means that the Parliament is of the highest stature. Any new law or bill that needs to be introduced for the betterment of society or the economy needs to be first proposed in the house of Parliament. The ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is the Vice-President who also acts as the Spokesman for the house. The Vice-President is responsible for communicating and representing the views of the House to the outer world.

  • The Chairman or Speaker of the Rajya Sabha presides over all the meetings in the Upper House.
  • He is responsible for communicating the President’s messages to the members of the Parliament in the ongoing sessions and vice-versa.
  • The Speaker or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is also responsible for issuing warrants to take required action with respect to the implementation of the House orders.

The present Chairman of Rajya Sabha is Jagdeep Dhankhar who is the 14th Vice-President of India. He presides over the House sessions and acts as the speaker of Rajya Sabha.

How are the Rajya Sabha Members Elected?

The members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the State Legislative Assembly’s elected members by using the Proportional representation method. According to Article 84 of the Constitution of India, an individual needs to fulfill the following criteria to become a Rajya Sabha Member-

  • He/she must be an Indian citizen.
  • He/she must be 30 years of age.
  • By means of single transferable votes through proportional representation, he/she must be elected by the State’ or UT’s Legislative Assembly.

Rajya Sabha Election Process

Three are three types of representation in Rajya Sabha, which are as follows-

  • Representation of Nominated Members in Rajya Sabha- Twelve of the Rajya Sabha Members are nominated by the Indian President among the people who are expertise in Art, Social Services, Science, and Literature field.
  • Representation of Union Territories in Rajya Sabha– The Rajya Sabha members from the UTs are elected by the electoral college members indirectly. The Election is conducted utilizing a Single transferable vote using proportional representation.
  • Representation of States in Rajya Sabha– The elected members of the Legislative Assembly of the State elect the Rajya Sabha members, and the elections are conducted using proportional representation. Representation of states in Rajya Sabha is decided by the State’s population.

Chairman of Rajya Sabha

The Vice-President of India acts as the ex-officio-Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

  • The Presiding Officer of the House is responsible for the conduct of the proceedings of the House as per the procedure.
  • Amongst the members of the Rajya Sabha, a Deputy Chairman is chosen.
  • A panel of Vice-Chairmen also chosen from amongst the members of the Rajya Sabha.
  • One of the members of the Panel of Vice-Chairmen gets the responsibility of presiding officer in case of the absence of the Chairman and Deputy Chairmen.

Powers of Rajya Sabha

The Constitution of India empowers the Indian Parliament to make laws on matters reserved for States. This is only possible if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a two-third special majority granting such a power to the Union Parliament. This is one of the most important functions of Rajya Sabha as it provides a balance of power.

  • Without authorization from the Rajya Sabha, the government at Union can’t make a law on a matter reserved for the state list. For a better understanding of the functions of the Rajya sabha and its comparison with the Lok Sabha, read about How is Lok Sabha More Powerful than the Rajya Sabha?

Functions of Rajya Sabha

The Rajya Sabha has the power to authorize the parliament to legislate on any matter enlisted in the State List by passing a resolution with a two-thirds majority. Such a resolution remains valid for one year from the date of the passing resolution.

  • The Rajya Sabha can authorize the parliament to establish new all-India services by passing a resolution to that effect with not less than two-thirds of the majority.
  • If the proclamation of emergency has been issued and the Lok Sabha gets dissolved before the approval of the proclamation, the Rajya Sabha has special powers in this regard, and it can approve the proclamation of emergency provisions by passing a resolution in this regard with a two-thirds majority.

Role of Rajya Sabha in Financial Matters

A Money Bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha. A Money bill must be introduced only in the lower house (means Lok Sabha). After the passing of the Money Bill from Lok Sabha, it is sent to Rajya Sabha for concurrence.

  • However, Rajya Sabha has limited powers with respect to Money Bills. Rajya Sabha cannot amend the original bill; it can only make recommendations that can be accepted or rejected by the Lok Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha needs to pass the Money Bill within fourteen days, or it will be deemed to have been passed after that period.
  • Apart from a Money Bill, many other Financial Bills cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha.
  • From the above, it can be understood that the Rajya Sabha plays a very limited role in the financial matters of the government.

Difference Between Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha

The Parliament holds utmost importance when it comes to India as it is a Parliamentary Democracy. It has complete power and authority to take decisions that are in the best interest of its citizens. India has a bicameral legislature which makes the two Houses of Parliament exist- the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The legislature has this power through which it formulates laws for better administration of the country and towards the welfare of its people. Here are a few differences between both the Houses of Parliament.

Rajya Sabha

Lok Sabha

It is called the Council of States.

It is called the House of People.

It is a permanent body.

Its time period is fixed for 5 years and may be dissolved sooner than that by passing a no-confidence motion.

The leader of the house is the Chairman who is the Vice-President of India.

The leader of the house is the Speaker of Lok Sabha

It does not initiate the Bills but gives its approval once Lok Sabha passes on the Bills and then again returns them to the Lower House.

All the Bills are initiated and finally approved in the Lok Sabha.

Rajya Sabha is called a Permanent House because every 2 years, only 1/3rd of members resign, and by-elections are held. Thus, the complete house never gets dissolved. The complete knowledge of the Rajya Sabha will lead the candidates in answering the questions effectively in the exam.

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