The Council of States or Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of the Parliament.
There can be a maximum of two hundred fifty members in this House. Two hundred thirty-eight of them represent the States and the Union Territories. Seats are allotted to each state on the basis of their population. For this reason, Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of thirty-one members while Karnataka has twelve and Nagaland only one. Members of the State Legislative Assemblies elect them. Apart from these, the President nominates twelve members. These are the people who have distinguished themselves in the fields of art, literature, science, and social service. The actress Smt shabana azmi, the poet Shri javed akhtar and the journalist Shri Khushwant Singh have been among such members in the past.
The Vice-President is the Presiding Officer of Rajya Sabha. Members are supposed to look after the interests of their States and guide the Lok Sabha members.
Eligibility for candidates
� Members of the Rajya Sabha should be citizens of India.
� He or she must be not less than thirty years of age.
� People who are in government service, insolvent or mentally unsound are not qualified to be members of Parliament.
One-third of members retire every two years and fresh elections are held for these seats.
Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament
Members of the Parliament have certain privileges granted by our Constitution. They receive a monthly salary and a daily allowance while the Parliament is in session. Each member is entitled to a travel allowance, free travel by railways and other facilities as given under the Salaries, Allowances, and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954. A Member of Parliament is also entitled to a pension.
Parliament in Session
A session is the period of time between the first meeting of a Parliament and its discontinuation or dissolution. Our Constitution imposes a duty upon the President with the provision that the Parliament must meet at least twice a year. Also, there should not be a gap of more than six months between the date on which a House is discontinued and the beginning of its next session. Thus the President has the power to-
� Summon either House
� Discontinue the meeting of either House without dissolving it and
� Even dissolve the House of the People.
There are a minimum number of members whose presence is essential to transacting the business of the Parliament. The members to be present in each House of Parliament should be one-tenth of the total number of members of the House.
Debates and discussions in the Parliament are normally conducted in English and Hindi. But if a Member of Parliament wishes to speak in his or her mother tongue, a language other than English and Hindi, he or she may do so by giving advance notice. Interpreters are provided to interpret the member�s speech.
Members of the Parliament are supposed to behave with dignity. They can be punished, and even expelled from the House for disorderly behavior. Any member of the public can watch the proceedings of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha as a visitor. A member of the Parliament can get permission for this purpose in the form of a pass. However, if a visitor misbehaves, he or she can be punished with a fine or even imprisonment. Nowadays. We can watch the proceedings of the parliament on television as well.