A Rajya Sabha nomination should not be confused with the conferral of a Padma award

Our Parliament comprises two Houses: The House of the People, Lok Sabha and the Council of States, Rajya Sabha. Members of the Lok Sabha are those persons who have been successful in the general election to Parliament. Members of the Rajya Sabha consist of representatives of the states and Union territories. Under Article 80(3) of the Constitution, 12 persons may be nominated to the Rajya Sabha if they fall under the specified categories, namely "literature, science, art and social services".

The underlying philosophy of nomination to the Rajya Sabha is that some persons eminent in their respective fields are not inclined to plunge into the tumult and turbulence of an election nor have the requisite time, energy and resources to fight a successful election with all that it involves. Yet the presence of such eminent persons in the Rajya Sabha would be beneficial, as it would raise the quality and level of deliberations by reason of their contribution to the debates. Nomination is recognition of a person's capacity to enhance the deliberative processes by reason of his eminence and experience in his particular discipline. Nomination of a person to the Rajya Sabha is not to be confused with the conferral of a Padma award. A nominated member may well qualify for a Padma award or a Bharat Ratna. However, a Padma awardee is not ipso facto eligible to be nominated a Rajya Sabha member unless he falls within the specified categories. To illustrate: suppose a person who can hardly read or write has, during a period of national disaster, without regard to his personal well-being, engaged himself in activities that have resulted in the safety and survival of several people. Such a person would rightly qualify for a Bharat Ratna. However, no purpose would be served by his nomination to the Rajya Sabha, because of his inability to meaningfully participate in any debate.

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