As the Rajya Sabha convenes for the winter session commencing Monday for a landmark 250th sitting, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu released a publication on Sunday that traces the upper House’s journey since its first session in May 1952.
In a maiden effort, the Rajya Sabha secretariat -- in a 118-page publication with 29 chapters -- quantifies and analyses the legislative work done by the House since its inception that will serve as a testament to the indispensable role of Rajya Sabha in fulfilling the principles enshrined in the Constitution and upholding democracy in India.
The booklet states that the Rajya Sabha passed 3,817 bills till the end of 249th session, of which 60 bills lapsed due to dissolution of Lok Sabha at various points of time. These pertain to shaping social change, economic transformation, industrial development, health, education, agriculture, environment and national security.
A total of 3,818 Acts of Parliament have been enacted since first general elections in 1952
Here are some unique events relating to Rajya Sabha listed in the catalogue:
1. Casting vote by the Chair: The first and the only time when a Presiding Officer of Rajya Sabha cast his vote was when the Panel Chairman Shri M.A.Baby did so on 5.8. 1991 when the voting was tied 39-39 on the Statutory Resolution moved by the opposition seeking disapproval of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Ordinance resulting in the victory of the opposition in the House.
2. President Rule approved only by Rajya Sabha: It happened only twice in respect of extension of President Rule in Tamilnadu and Nagaland in 1977 and in case of Haryana in 1991 when Lok Sabha was dissolved.
3. Removal of a Judge: The only time Rajya Sabha adopted a motion for removal of a Judge was in respect of Justice Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court on 18.8.2011 but he resigned before the motion was taken up in Lok Sabha.
4. Expulsion of members: Rajya Sabha adopted a motion on 15.11.1976 for expulsion of Dr.Subramanian Swamy whose conduct and activities were found by a Committee to be derogatory to the dignity of the House and it’s members. Dr.Chatrapal Singh was expelled on 23.11.2005 after Ethics Committee found him guilty of accepting money for asking questions. Dr.Swami Sakhsi Ji Maharaj was expelled on 21.3.2006 for irregularities in recommending projects under MPLAD scheme.
5. Suspension of members for the remainder of the session: 7 members viz.,Shri Kamal Akhtar,Shri Veer Pal Singh Yadav, Dr.Ejaz Ali, Shri Sabir Ali, Shri Subhash Prasad Yadav, Shri Amil Alam Khan and Shri Nand Kishore Yadav were on 9.3.2010 suspended for the remainder of the 219th session for willfully obstructing the Business of the House during discussion on women’s reservation bill.
6. Reprimand: Former Member of Rajya Sabha Shri K.K.Tiwari was summoned to the Bar of the House and was reprimanded on 1.6.1990 for a statement published in newspapers the same day that brought the office of Chairman and the House to indignity and contempt.
7. Bill passed by Rajya Sabha but negative by Lok Sabha: The Constitution (Sixty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1990 seeking to amend Article 356 relating to extension of President’s Rule in Punjab.
8. Bills passed by Lok Sabha but negatived by Rajya Sabha (5): The Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1970 seeking to terminate privy purses and privileges of former Indian States, The Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1977, The Constitution (Sixty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1989 seeking to insert a new Part IX in the constitution relating to Panchayats, The Constitution (Sixty-fifth Amendment) Bill, 1989 relating to Nagar Panchayats and Municipalities and The Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002.
9. Bill reconsidered by Rajya Sabha: Rajya Sabha passed the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Bill on 17.5.2006 as earlier passed by Lok Sabha but the President referred the same for reconsideration on 30.5.2006. Rajya Sabha reconsidered the same and passed as it was on 27.7.2006 and Lok Sabha passed it four later and was later assented to by the President on 18.8.2006.
10. Bills passed at the joint sittings of both the Houses of Parliament (3):
-The Dowry Prohibition Bill, 1959 was first introduced in and passed by Lok Sabha. Rajya Sabha later insisted on some amendments to which Lok Sabha did not agree. The Bill was passed on 9.5.1961 at a joint sitting.
-The Banking Service Commission (Repeal) Bill, 1978 first introduced in and passed by Lok Sabha was later rejected by Rajya Sabha. It was passed on 16.5.2018 at a joint sitting.
-The Prevention of Terrorism Bill, 2002 passed by Lok Sabha was negatived by Rajya Sabha and was later passed at a joint sitting on 26.3.2002.
To celebrate the 250th session of Rajya Sabha, the House will hold a discussion on the 'Role of Rajya Sabha in Indian Polity: Need for Reform' in the second half on Monday. A commemorative volume on the evolution of Rajya Sabha, a silver coin of Rs 250 and a postal stamp of Rs 5 will also be released.