Article 80 of the Indian Constitution provides the composition of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha).
Accordingly, the Council of States shall consist of –
(a) twelve members nominated by the President and
(b) not more than two hundred and thirty-eight representatives of the States and of the Union territories.
In other words, besides the two hundred and thirty-eight representatives of the States and of the Union territories, the Rajya Sabha consists of twelve members nominated by the President who have special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service.
Under the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961, the subject “Nominations to the Rajya Sabha” is allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs which is the Administrative Ministry for initiating the process of nominations. After a nomination is made by the President, the Ministry of Home Affairs notifies the same.
In the case of a casual vacancy in the seat of a nominated member, the term of office of the member nominated to fill that seat commences from the date of notification issued under sub- clause (a) of clause (1) of article 80 of the Constitution. That nominated member serves for the remainder of his predecessor’s term of office.
The term of office of a member other than a member chosen to fill a casual vacancy is six years. After the President has nominated a person to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of a member, the same is notified by the Ministry of Law under section 71 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the term of such a member commences from that date even though the date of notification of nomination of persons issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs precedes the notification issued by the Ministry of Law under section 71 of that Act.
The nominated members enjoy all the powers, privileges and immunities available to other elected members. However, they are not eligible to vote in the election of the President since the President is elected by the members of an electoral college consisting of the elected Members of Parliament, elected Members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States and elected Members of the Legislative Assemblies of the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union territory of Puducherry. No such restriction exists in the Vice-President’s election, since the electoral college for that election consists of the members of both Houses of Parliament.
At the same time it may be mentioned that at the Centre no nominated member has yet been included in the Council of Ministers, though there is no bar against such inclusion under the Constitution.
Prof. S. Nurul Hasan was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1968. He resigned his seat in the Rajya Sabha on 30th September 1971. He was inducted in the Union Council of Ministers on 4th October 1971. Subsequently, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the State of Uttar Pradesh on 11th November 1971.
There have been instances of the nominated members being appointed Chairmen of the Committees.
Under the Tenth Schedule, a nominated member is disqualified for being a member of the House, if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat.