RECASTING THE RAJYA SABHA IN THE MOULD OF COOPERATIVE FEDERALISM
Reghu M, Kerala Law Academy, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram
This paper proposes to comparatively analyze the constitutional design of bicameral national legislatures in various polities to suggest reforms to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. The intertwining of purposes of federalism and bicameralism is discussed, and various models of representation of federating units in the national legislature are critically analyzed. The existing system of Rajya Sabha, its design, and unique features are detailed. The paradigm of cooperative federalism and its manifestation in various executive, statutory and constitutional formats, in existence in the Indian polity today, are considered. The application of cooperative federalism in the design of legislature is explored. It is sought to propose a constitutional reform by way of re-designing Rajya Sabha, as an assembly of state government delegations. The German constitutional model is comparatively analyzed as an existing precedent for this design. The challenges arising out of such a model, including resolution of legislative deadlocks, are deliberated upon. The necessary changes to the existing constitutional provisions and functions as well as possibilities and scenarios arising out of exceptions like emergency are analyzed. The reform proposal is intended to ensure a meaningful reconstruction of Rajya Sabha to ensure its relevance as a constitutional body with legislative functions while ensuring due representation of the interests of the States in the Union.