Recently, the government has nominated members of Rajya Sabha which includes musician, track-and-field icon, screenwriter, and philanthropist and spiritual leader.
What does the Constitution say about nominated members?
- Article 80 of the Constitution (“Composition of the Council of States”) says “The Council of States shall consist of (a) twelve members to be nominated by the President in accordance with the provisions of clause (3); and (b) not more than two hundred and thirty-eight representatives of the States and of the Union territories.”
- Clause 3 of the article layer down the qualifications for the appointment: “The members to be nominated by the President…shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely:—
- Literature, science, art and social service.”
- Since Rajya Sabha was constituted in 1952, a total 142 individuals have been nominated as its members.
- The list includes scholars, jurists, educationists, historians, scientists, litterateurs, journalists, engineers, economists, administrators, artistes, sportspersons, social workers, and politicians, mostly with loyalty to the government of the day.
What is the role of nominated members?
- Nominated members of Rajya Sabha enjoy all the powers and privileges to which the elected MPs are entitled.
- They can take part in the proceedings of the House in the normal manner, even though there has been criticism that several nominated members have poor attendance and do not appear to show much interest in legislative work.
- Nominated members are not allowed to vote in the election of the President.
- They do have the right to vote in the election of the Vice-President, however.
Politicisation of the nominated category
- Over time, the high ideal of the nomination came to be eroded. Ruling dispensations have repeatedly used the nominated category to shore up their numbers in the House, to dispense favours, and to get their preferred individuals into Parliament.
- While a nominated member can join a political party within six months of taking his/ her seat in the House, even those who remain technically independent are assumed to be aligned with the ruling regime.
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