The Vice-President of India assumes the role of the Rajya Sabha’s chairman, responsible for maintaining order and decorum during sessions. They facilitate discussions, ensure the proper conduct of business, and uphold parliamentary rules. In the absence of the President, the Vice-President performs executive duties and exercises casting votes in case of ties.
UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 2 Mains 2022
Theme: Vice President
Introduction: Write the Constitutional Provision which states that the Vice President shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Body: Write about the significant role played by Vice-President as the Presiding officer of Rajya Sabha by exercising his powers and fulfilling his duties, conferred on him by Constitution and various statutes.
Conclusion: Write the evolution of Rajya Sabha as an effective federal chamber advancing the notion of parliamentary democracy.
Article 64 of the Indian Constitution states that the Vice-President shall be ex officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. In this role as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, he is the guardian of the prestige and dignity of the House and also presides over the meetings of the Rajya Sabha
Role Performed by the Vice President as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha:
- Principal Spokesman of the House: In his role as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, the Vice President is the principal spokesman of the House who represents the collective voice of Rajya Sabha.
- Casting of Vote by the Chairman: Vice President, as the presiding officer of Rajya Sabha exercises only a casting vote in the case of equality of votes. However, he cannot vote on those resolutions which are concerned with his removal from the office.
- Powers and Duties of the Chairman: As the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, he has the power to adjourn the House and suspend its sitting in the event of absence of quorum. Similarly, Under the 10th schedule of the Constitution, he is duty bound to pass order in cases related to Anti-defection law.
- Powers Conferred on the Chairman under the Rules of Procedure of the Rajya Sabha: Under Rules of Procedure of the house, various powers are conferred on the Vice President in connection with the proceedings of the House, Parliamentary Committees etc
- Maintenance of Order in the House: Vice-President has been invested with all the necessary disciplinary powers such as checking irrelevance in the speech of a member, intervening when a member makes an unwarranted remark by asking him to withdraw the same to maintain the order in the House
- Powers relating to Bills passed in Rajya Sabha: As the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, he is empowered to correct patent errors in a Bill after it has been passed by the House and to make such other changes in the Bill consequential on the amendments accepted by the House.
- Powers relating to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat: Vice-President, as the guardian of the prestige and dignity of the House, is responsible for the protection of the rights of members and for ensuring that all reasonable amenities are provided to them.
- Final interpreter the Constitution and Rules: Vice-President is the final authority to interpret the Constitution and rules so far as matters in or relating to the House are concerned, and no one can enter into any argument or controversy with him over such Interpretation.
- Legal Duties conferred on the Chairman: Some statutes also confer duties on the Vice President. For instance, Under the Judges (inquiry) Act, 1968, the Chairman has to constitute a Committee, upon receipt of a motion for the removal of a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court, for investigation into the grounds on which the removal of a Judge is prayed for.
The significant role played by Vice-President as the presiding officer of Rajya Sabha has been effective in enriching the traditions of Parliamentary Democracy and has established Rajya Sabha as an effective federal chamber. As a federal chamber, Rajya Sabha has played an important role in social engineering and acquitted well as a debating house, credit to the genius of Vice-Presidents over the years.
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