Role of Rajya Sabha vs Role of Upper House in the other Constitutions

The growth of ‘Bicameralism’ in parliamentary forms of government has been functionally associated with the need for effective federal structures. This nexus between the role of ‘Second Chambers’ or Upper Houses of Parliament and better co-ordination between the Central government and those of the constituent units, was perhaps first laid down in definite terms with the Constitution of the United States of America, which was ratified by the thirteen original states of the Union in the year 1787. The Upper House of the Congress of the U.S.A., known as the Senate, was theoretically modeled on the House of Lords in the British Parliament, but was totally different from the latter with respect to its composition and powers. Continue reading “Role of Rajya Sabha vs Role of Upper House in the other Constitutions”

Whether residence or domicile are essential ingredients of structure and composition of the Upper House.

The key question is whether residence was ever treated as a constitutional requirement under Article 80(4). In re: Special Reference No. 1 of 2002 [(2002) 8 SCC 237], it was observed that:

“One of the known methods to discern the intention behind enacting a provision of the Constitution and also to interpret the same is to look into the historical legislative developments, Constituent Assembly Debates, or any enactment preceding the enactment of the Constitutional provisions.”

(ii) Legislative History The Constitution has established a federal system of Government with bi-cameral legislature at the Centre which is not something which was grafted in the Constitution for the first time. Its history goes back to Government of India Act, 1915 as amended in 1919. Even under the Government of India Act, 1919, the qualification of residence in relation to a particular constituency was considered to be unnecessary. This position is indicated by Rule XI of the then Electoral Rules. Continue reading “Whether residence or domicile are essential ingredients of structure and composition of the Upper House.”

Indian Parliament and Fedaralism

Supreme Court of India in Kuldip Nayar vs Union Of India & Ors decided on 22 August, 2006 held :

 

The composition of Parliament India’s Parliament is bicameral. The two Houses along with the President constitute Parliament [Article 79]. The Houses differ from each other in many respects. They are constituted on different principles, and, from a functional point of view, they do not enjoy a co-equal status. Lok Sabha is a democratic chamber elected directly by the people on the basis of adult suffrage. It reflects popular will. It has the last word in matters of taxation and expenditure. The Council of Ministers is responsible to the Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha, on the other hand, is constituted by indirect elections. The Council of Ministers is not responsible to the Rajya Sabha. Therefore, the role of Rajya Sabha is somewhat secondary to that of Lok Sabha, barring a few powers in the arena of Centre-State relationship. Rajya Sabha is a forum to which experienced public figures get access without going through the din and bustle of a general election which is inevitable in the case of Lok Sabha. It acts as a revising chamber over the Lok Sabha. Continue reading “Indian Parliament and Fedaralism”

A right to elect neither a fundamental right nor a common law right, is pure and simple a statutory right

In Jyoti Basu v. Debi Ghosal [1982] 3 SCR 318 this Court again pointed out in no uncertain terms that:

8 “a right to elect, fundamental though it is to democracy, is, anomalously enough, neither a fundamental right nor a common law right. It is pure and simple a statutory right.” Continue reading “A right to elect neither a fundamental right nor a common law right, is pure and simple a statutory right”

“None of the Above” (NOTA) inducted by Supreme Court in 2013

Supreme Court  in People’S Union For Civil … vs Union Of India & Anr, decided on 27 September, 2013

51) Democracy being the basic feature of our constitutional set up, there can be no two opinions that free and fair elections would alone guarantee the growth of a healthy democracy in the country. The ‘Fair’ denotes equal opportunity to all people. Universal adult suffrage conferred on the citizens of India by the Constitution has made it possible for these millions of individual voters to go to the polls and thus participate in the governance of our country. For democracy to survive, it is essential that the best available men should be chosen as people’s representatives for proper governance of the country. This can be best achieved through men of high moral and ethical values, who win the elections on a positive vote. Thus in a vibrant democracy, the voter must be given an opportunity to choose none of the above (NOTA) button, which will indeed compel the political parties to nominate a sound candidate. This situation palpably tells us the dire need of negative voting. Continue reading ““None of the Above” (NOTA) inducted by Supreme Court in 2013”