Legislative Council in States:The Madhya Pradesh government has indicated that it is planning to take steps towards the creation of the Legislative Council. It is noteworthy that in the year 1956, the 7th Constitution Amendment Act provided for the establishment of a Legislative Council for Madhya Pradesh, but due to the non-issuance of notification by the President, the Legislative Council has not been formed in Madhya Pradesh. All the states of India do not have two houses. It is worth noting that at present only 6 states have a system of legislative council.
Constitution and dissolution of Legislative Council
- Article 171 of the Constitution provides for the option of constitution of a Legislative Council in addition to the Legislative Assembly in a State. Like the Rajya Sabha, members of the Legislative Council are not directly elected by the voters.
- Although the constitution provides an option for the formation of a Legislative Council for the states, but the provision of two houses in the context of the states is not a fundamental feature of the Indian Constitution. It is specified in the constitution that the decision of the constitution of the Legislative Council will be decided by the states themselves, although provision has been made under Article 169, but this does not mean that the states have complete freedom to constitute the Legislative Council.
- Article 168 of the Indian Constitution provides for the Legislature in the state. According to Article 169, a Legislative Council can be constituted in a State if the State Assembly resolves to this effect by a majority of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly and at least two- of the number of members present and voting. The third is passed by a majority. The two Houses of Parliament then pass an Act to this effect. After this, the approval of the President is also necessary.
- Although this type of amendment changes the constitution, it is not considered a constitutional amendment under Article 368.
Why the second house?
- Just as there are two houses in the Parliament, similarly the state can also have two houses at the will of the state.
- The Constituent Assembly differed on the idea of two houses in the state.
- It is argued in its favor that another House as the Legislative Council can control the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly.
- It is argued against this that the Legislative Council can be used to delay legislation and send leaders to the House who are not able to win elections.
Members of Legislative Council
- According to Article 171 of the Constitution, the total number of members of the Legislative Council shall not be more than one-third of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State, but it should not be less than 40 members.
- In Madhya Pradesh, where the strength of the Legislative Assembly is 230, the proposed Legislative Council can have a maximum of 76 members.
- Like the Rajya Sabha MP, the tenure of a member of the Legislative Council (MLC) is also 6 years, where one-third of its members retire every two years.
Legislative Council Election
- One-third of the members of the legislative council are elected by the state assembly members; The other one-third of the members are elected by a special electorate consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities; Additionally, the twelfth part of the members is elected by the electorate of teachers and another twelfth part is elected by the electorate of registered graduates.
- The remaining members are nominated by the Governor for distinguished services in various fields.
Comparison of Legislative Council and Assembly
- The General Bill can be introduced in both the Houses but in the event of disagreement, the Assembly is effective. The Legislative Council can block any ordinary bill for a maximum period of four months.
- Chief Ministers and Ministers can be selected from any House. Even if a member of the Legislative Council is made the Chief Minister or a Minister, he will still be responsible to the Legislative Assembly.
- The Finance Bill can only be introduced in the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council can neither reject it nor hold it for more than 14 days. After 14 days, the Bill will be deemed to have been automatically passed by the Council.
- The Legislative Council cannot participate in the election of the President in India and the election of representatives going from the States to the Rajya Sabha, as well as the Council in the Constitution Amendment Bill cannot effectively do anything.
- The existence of the Legislative Council depends on the Legislative Assembly. After the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly, Parliament can abolish the Legislative Council.
Legislative Council compared to Rajya Sabha
- The legislative power of the Legislative Council is limited. The Rajya Sabha has sufficient powers to shape non-financial legislations, but the Legislative Council lacks constitutional powers to do so.
- The Legislative Assembly may override the suggestions / amendments given by the Legislative Council on the formulation of legislation.
- Unlike the Rajya Sabha members, the members of the Legislative Council cannot vote in the elections for the President and the Vice President.
- The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is the Vice-President; The Chairman of the Legislative Council is elected a member of the Council.
- The state is represented in the Rajya Sabha and it protects the interests of the states from unnecessary interference by the Center and promotes federalism. In this way it is not just an ordinary unit or an advisory unit like the Legislative Council.
- The council is heterogeneous. Its members are elected in various forms and the number of nominated members is relatively high. The constitution of the Legislative Council itself weakens it and reduces its usefulness as a revision unit like the Rajya Sabha. On the other hand, the basis of formation of Rajya Sabha is the same. Its members are mainly elected from the state assembly members, only 12 members are nominated by the President.
- The status accorded to the Council is in a way consistent with the philosophy of democracy. Where the Council functions according to the Legislative Assembly as the members of the Legislative Assembly are directly elected by the public. The position of the Legislative Council is similar to the British model. In Britain, the House of Lords, called the Upper House, does not oppose the House of Commons. In Britain, the House of Lords exists only as a defunct chamber.
Legislative Council criticism
The position of the Legislative Council is much weaker than that of the Legislative Assembly. The House has been criticized by experts for its powerless and ineffective role of the Legislative Council. Critics call it the Secondary Chamber, White Elephant, Prodigal House, etc. The council is seen as a refuge for people who cannot come by electing the same assembly. It is not popular among the people whose public condition is weak, and this house is used to make the people who are rejected by the public to join the government ie Chief Minister or Minister.
Usefulness of the Legislative Council
It is true that the Legislative Assembly has more powers than the Council, yet in some cases it has utility, which is as follows-
- It revisits wrong legislations created by the Assembly in haste and inattention.
- It is noteworthy that the Governor nominates 1/6 percent of its total member strength. In this way, the Council provides an opportunity for representation to people who belong to different interest groups and are experts in their fields but are not able to face the election process due to various reasons.
Legislative Council States
- Currently, the Legislative Councils exist in six states.
- In Jammu and Kashmir too, the former Legislative Council of its bi-bhajan (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territory) was present.
- The then government of Tamil Nadu passed an act to constitute the Legislative Council, but the new government that came to power in 2010 withdrew it.
- The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, constituted in the year 1958, was abolished in the year 1985. It was restructured in the year 2007.
- The Odisha Legislative Assembly has recently passed a resolution for the formation of a Legislative Council.
- Proposals for constitution of Legislative Councils in Rajasthan and Assam are pending in Parliament.
In India, there is a bi-partisan arrangement at the center level. But at the state level, the philosophy of a House has been adopted. There is immense diversity in India regarding the geographical size and population of the states. Keeping this in mind, an alternative arrangement of two houses has also been made in the context of the state. At present only two big states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra exist. Recently Madhya Pradesh has expressed its desire to constitute a Legislative Council. The above study makes it clear that the role of the council in the state is limited. In such a situation, the council can play a good role in those states which have a large population and where such groups are present and who are not getting proper representation through the Legislative Assembly. It is important that the utility of the council is limited and it is also a more expensive system, so only such states should consider the formation of the council, which has the capacity to bear the additional burden.
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