The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of Country. Membership of Rajya Sabha is leveraged by the Constitution to a maximum of 250 members, and present laws have provision for 245 members. Most of the members of the House are indirectly elected by state and territorial legislatures using one transferable vote, while the President can select 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. Members sit for staggered six-year terms, with one-third of the members retiring every two years.
The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and not like the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, is not subject to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, as like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President. The Rajya Sabha has equal footing in all region of legislation with Lok Sabha, except in the area of supply, where the Lok Sabha has overriding powers. In the case of conflicting legislation, a joint sitting of the two houses can be made. However, since the Lok Sabha has twice as many representatives as the Rajya Sabha, the former would normally hold the greater power. Joint sittings of the Houses of Parliament of India are very less, and in the history of the Republic, only three such joint-sessions have been held; the latest one for the passage of the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.
The Vice President of India (presently, Venkaiah Naidu) is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who presides over its sessions. The Deputy Chairman, who is chosen from amongst the house’s members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman. The Rajya Sabha held its first sitting on 13 May 1952. The salary and other advantages for a member of Rajya Sabha are same as for a member of Lok Sabha.
Rajya Sabha members are selected by state legislatures rather than directly through the electorate by single transferable vote method. From 18 July 2018, Rajya Sabha MPs can speak in 22 Indian languages in House as the Upper House has a facility for simultaneous interpretation in all 22 Indian languages.
Seats are allotted in proportion to the population of people of each state or union territory in such a manner that smaller states have slight beneficiary over more populous states. As the representatives are elected by the state legislature, smaller Union Territories which are not States and do not have legislatures cannot have representation in Rajya Sabha. Hence, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Chandigarh, Daman, and Diu & Dadra and Nagar Haveli do not send any members to Rajya Sabha 12 members are nominated by the President.
According to the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950, the Rajya Sabha was to consist of 216 members of which 12 members were to be nominated by the President and the remaining 204 elected to represent the States. The current strength, however, is 245 members of whom 233 are representatives of the states and union territories and 12 are nominated by the President. The 12 nominated representative of the Rajya Sabha are persons who are eminent in particular fields and are well-known contributors in the particular field.