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Subjects /Indian Polity / The State Legislature

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02 Aug 2020

Articles 168 to 212 in Part VI of the Constitution deals with the State Legislature.

The Legislature of every state consist of the Governor and one or two houses.

At present, the legislature of five states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are bicameral i.e., having both Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.

Other states have unicameral legislature i.e., only legislature assembly.

Legislative Assembly

  • The legislative Assembly is also called the Vidhan Sabha.
  • The Legislative Assembly is the popular house of the state legislature, where members are directly elected by the people.
  • 1 member is nominated by the Governor from Anglo-Indian community, if in the opinion of the governor, this community is not adequately represented.
  • Term of Assembly: Normal term of 5 years; however, the house can be dissolved by the Governor earlier.
  • The strength of Legislative Assembly should not be more than 500 and should not be less than 60.
  • However, the President has power to alter this number and in fact the strength of Goa and Sikkim Legislative Assembly is less than 60.
  • The sessions of the state legislature and its office as well as their functions are almost similar to those at the union level.

Legislative Council

  • The legislative Assembly is also called the Vidhan Parishad.
  • In a unicameral state legislature, legislative council is the upper house and second chamber of the State Legislature.
  • As per Constitution the strength of Legislative Council as not to exceed 1/3rd of the total strength of Legislative Assembly of that state and it shall not be less than 40 either.
  • Strength = 40 – 1/3rd Legislative Assembly.

Manner of election to the Legislative Council

  • 1/3 members elected by the members of Legislative Assembly.
  • 1/3 members elected by the members of local bodies in the state.
  • 1/12 members elected by Graduates of the state having 3 years of residency in the state after graduation.
  • 1/12 members elected by teachers of the state having 3 years of experience in recognized institution of primary and above level.
  • 1/6 members are not elected but nominated by governor from among the persons having wide experience or special knowledge of Arts, Literature and Social Service.

Qualification for Legislative Council

  • He must be citizen of India.
  • He must have completed 30 years of age.
  • He must be a registered voter or ordinary resident of state from where he is intended to be elected.
  • He must not hold any office of profit.

Creation and Abolition of Legislative Council

  • Just like Rajya Sabha at the centre, the Legislative Council of a state is never dissolved.
  • It is a permanent house.
  • The members are elected for a term of six years and 1/3rd of its members retire every two years.
  • According to Article 169, the Parliament is empowered to create and abolish legislative council in a state.
  • For this a resolution must be passed by the concern state legislative assembly by 2/3rd majority.
  • Then it goes to the parliament where only simple majority is required.

Legislative Procedure

In a Unicameral Legislature, the procedure is very simple, every bill originates in Legislative Assembly duly passed by it and then sent to the governor for his assent, after which the bill becomes a law.

However, in a bicameral legislative the process is different except Money Bill, which follow similar procedure as in Parliament.

The legislative council doesn’t enjoy equal power to that of legislative assembly. If a bill is passed by Legislative Assembly and transmitted to Legislative Council there are three possibilities:

  • The Bill is rejected by the Legislative Council.
  • More than 3 months elapse from the date and on which the Bill is led before the Council.
  • The Bill is passed by the Legislative Council with amendments.

Then the Bill returns to the Legislative Assembly, which may or may not accept any recommendations.

If after a Bill has been so passed for the second time by Legislative Assembly. It is again transmitted to Legislative Council and:

  • The Bill is again rejected by the Council.
  • More than one-month -elapse
  • The Bill is passed by the Council with Amendments to which Legislative Assembly doesn’t agree.

The Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both the houses in the form in which it was passed by Legislative Assembly for the second time.

There is no provision for joint sitting in the state legislature for resolving the dead lock over the passing of the Bill, Legislative Assembly has the upper hand.

If the Bill is passed by the Legislative Council first and then transmitted to Legislative Assembly and Legislative Assembly rejects the Bill, then the bill lapses i.e. the death of the Bill.

Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir

At the time of Independence in 1947, the state of J&K decided not to join either Pakistan or India.

However, soon Pakistan attempted to annex the state militarily.

Then Maharaja Hari Singh of J&K signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ with India along with certain conclusions for the autonomy of state.

This special status of states is given in Article 370 of the Constitution.

The important features of the special status are as following:

  • The state has its own Constitution.
  • In case of J&K, residuary powers belong to the state and not with the Parliament of India.
  • The National Emergency proclaimed only on the ground of war or external aggression shall have automatic extension to J&K. It means the NATIONAL EMERGENCY declared on the grounds of armed rebellion can’t be automatically extended to the state of J&K.
  • The Governor of the state is to be appointed by the President only after the consultation of Chief Minister of the state.
  • The Parliament is not empowered to make laws on the subject of state list for J&K under any circumstances.
  • Financial Emergency under Article 360 can’t be imposed on the state.
  • Apart from President rule, Governor’s rule can also be imposed on J&K for a maximum period of six months.
  • The preventive detention laws (Article 22) of Parliament do not have automatic extension to J&K.
  • The name, boundary or territory of the state can’t be changed by the Parliament without the concurrence of the state legislature.
  • Right to Property stands granted as Fundamental Right of the people of J&K.
  • Article 2 of J&K Constitution – J&K is an integral part of India.

Howerver, according to Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act,2019 passed by the Parliament, Article 370 was repealed and J&K is divided into two union territories of J&k and Union territory of Ladakh.