State Legislatures in India

In each State of India, there is a provision for a legislature (Article 168). It consists of the Governor and a legislative assembly and legislative council if the state legislature is bicameral. In the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, there are two Houses (the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council), while in all the other states of India, there is one House (the Legislative Assembly). Article 169 provides for either the abolition or creation of a legislative council in a state if a Parliament resolution is passed by a simple majority in each House and that too only on a representation by the concerned state to the President (Article 3) is made.

A legislative council in Tamil Nadu has been put on hold. Article 170 says that the maximum membership of a state legislative assembly is 500 and the minimum, 60. The legislative assembly is directly elected by the people whose tenure (Article 172) is five years, unless dissolved earlier. The tenure of the state legislature can be extended for a maximum period of one year only during emergency. The qualifications, privileges, and disqualifications of the members of the legislative assembly are, by and large, the same as those of the members of the Parliament. Article 171 says that the maximum strength of a legislative council can be one-third of the total strength of the legislative assembly of the State, and the minimum 40.

The Jammu Kashmir Legislative Council has 36 members, while in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra Telengana and Uttar Pradesh have 50, 75, 63, 78, 40 and 108 members respectively. The legislative council is constituted as:

  • One-third of members are elected by the members of local bodies in the State (by municipalities, district boards, etc.),
  • One-twelfth are elected by graduates of three years standing and residing within the State,
  • Another one-twelfth are elected by teachers of three years standing in the State, not lower in standard than secondary schools,
  • One-third are elected by members of the legislative assembly of the State from among persons who are not members of the assembly; and
  • The remaining one-sixth are nominated by the Governor from among persons who have a special knowledge or a practical experience of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service (Article 171).

Article 172 says that the legislative council is a permanent House and cannot be dissolved. Its members are elected for a period of six years, one-third retire every two years. The qualifications, privileges and the disqualifications, etc. of the members of the legislative council are, by and large, the same as are of the members of the Rajya Sabha. The powers and functions of the state legislature relate to making of the laws on subjects given in the State List and in the Concurrent List. In case, there is a law passed on a subject of the Concurrent List by both the Parliament and the state legislature, the Union law prevails and the State law becomes void to the extent it goes contrary to the Union law.

A bill has to be passed by the state legislature before it is presented to the Governor. The Governor either gives assent or withholds the bill or sends it back to the originating House or sends it to the President for his consideration. The bill can be sent to the President for his consideration for a second time (Article 201) as well. The legislative assembly as compared to legislative council, has more financial powers: a money bill is introduced first in the assembly, the Council has a 14-day period to consider it. The executive powers of the assembly are more than those of the council: the assembly can force the state Council of Ministers to resign if it passes a vote of no-confidence against the ministry.

The legislative assembly also has more powers, as against the legislative council:

  • the executive is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly,
  • the money bill is introduced first in the legislative assembly,
  • the legislative council cannot keep the ordinary bill for more than one month after it is passed by the assembly for the second time. There is no provision for a joint meeting of the two Houses of the state legislature to resolve the deadlock between the two Houses.
  • The state legislature works through its committees in the same manner as does the Parliament. There are almost the same sort of officials in state legislature as are there in the Parliament.

Written by princy

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