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Legislative Council in India: Formation and Function

Legislative Council In India

Legislative Council in India[ Formation and Function]
» India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.
» The Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature.
» While most states have a unicameral legislature with only legislative assembly but as of 2017, seven (out of twenty-nine) states have a Legislative Council. They are Andhra PradeshBiharJammu and KashmirKarnatakaMaharashtraTelangana, and Uttar Pradesh.
» In 2010 the Parliament passed an Act to re-establish a Legislative Council for an eighth state, Tamil Nadu, but the implementation of the Act has been put on hold pending legal action; the state government has also expressed its opposition to the council's revival.
» .Union Cabinet of India has cleared the State of Assam to form a Legislative Council on 28 November 2013
» Odisha state is preparing to set up a legislative council after conducting a study in Karnataka and Maharashtra.

How does the Legislative Council Form?


Who decides whether the state should be unicameral or bicameral?


How legislative council is formed?


Who can abolish a legislative council?

» Union Parliament has the power’ to create or abolish the Legislative Council in various states on the basis of resolutions adopted by special majority in the Assemblies
» Andhra Pradesh had a Legislative Council from 1958, abolished it in 1985, and reconstituted it in 2007.
» Article 169 of Indian Constitution deals with the formation and abolition of Legislative Council in any State of India.
» Whether there should be a legislative council in the state or not, is decided by the legislative assembly of the state itself. But it does not mean that legislative assembly can itself create a legislative council.
» Under Article 169 of the Constitution, Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.

Article 169 in The Constitution Of India 1949

169. Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States
(1) Notwithstanding anything in Article 168, Parliament may by law provide for the abolition of the Legislative Council of a State having such a Council or for the creation of such a Council in a State having no such Council, if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting
(2) Any law referred to in clause ( 1 ) shall contain such provisions for the amendment of this Constitution as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the law and may also contain such supplemental, incidental and consequential provisions as Parliament may deem necessary
(3) No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.

Strength of the Legislative Council

» As mentioned in the Article 169:
The size of the Vidhan Parishad cannot be more than one-third the membership of the Vidhan Sabha. However, its size cannot be less than 40 members (except in Jammu and Kashmir, where there are 36 by an Act of Parliament.).
» Legislative Council is a permanent body in which each Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) serves for a six-year term, with terms staggered so that the terms of one-third of a Council's members expire every two years. This arrangement parallels that for the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.

Eligibility to become a Member of Legislative Council (MLC)

» MLCs must be citizens of India, at least 30 years' old, mentally sound, not an insolvent, and on the voters' list of the state for which he or she is contesting an election. He or she may not be a Member of Parliament at the same time.

How are the members of Legislative Council elected?


How an MLC is elected?

Representatives in the Legislative Council

» MLCs are chosen in the following manner:
1.  One-third are elected by members of local bodies such as MunicipalitiesGram Sabhas/Gram PanchayatsPanchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads.
2. One-third are elected by members of Legislative Assemblies of the State from among the persons who are not members of the Assembly.
3. One-sixth are nominated by the Governor from persons having the knowledge or practical experience in fields such as literaturesciencearts, the co-operative movement and social service.
4. One-twelfth are elected by persons who are graduates of three years' standing residing in that state.
5. One-twelfth are elected by persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower than secondary schools, including colleges and universities.
» The Legislative Council has two elected officials: the Chairman and Deputy Chairman. They are elected by the members of Legislative Council from amongst themselves. The Chairman, and in his absence the Deputy Chairman, presides over the meetings of the Legislative Council.
» When a legislative council is created or abolished, the Constitution of India is also changed. However, still, such type of law is not considered a Constitution Amendment Bill.  (Article 169). The resolution to create and abolish a state legislative council is to be assented by the President also.
» Members of Rajya Sabha can vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t.
» MLCs or members of the Legislative Councils can’t vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.

Powers or Functions of Legislative Council

» Vidhan Parishad is the upper house of a state legislature.  It has no powers in terms of passing bills; be it money bills or ordinary bills, unlike Rajya Sabha which has equal powers as that of Lok Sabha in terms of Ordinary bills and Amendment bills. This is the reason, it is generally optional to have Vidhan Parishad. But the salary, emoluments and other allowances of a Member of Vidhan Parishad is same as that of his counter part in Vidhan Sabha. 
» The purpose of having a bicameral legislature is to re-check the decisions taken by the lower house. Even though the upper house has no power to totally reject the bill (even if it rejects, the state assembly can go ahead with the bill after governor's approval), it can delay the bill for some time. The delay will be the time given to the assembly to revise its decision and make any changes to the proposed bill. It will cool down the rush of the hour feeling in the popularly elected house and paves way for much rational thoughts. As there are no powers for Vidhan Parishad to block any bills, there is not much harm in having such a house.
» The Council has no powers to advise a bill passed in the Assembly. It can only delay the passage of the bill for 3 months in the first instance and for one month in the second. There is no provision of joint sitting as in case of disagreement in Parliament over ordinary bills. In the ultimate analysis, the Legislative Council is a dilatory chamber so far as ordinary legislation is concerned. It can delay the passage of the bill maximum for a period of four months.

See also:
2.    Previous Legislation
3.    Arrangement Of Constitution
4.    Features Of Indian Constitution
5.    The Preamble
6.    The Union And Its Territory
7.    Citizenship& Fundamental Rights
8.    Important Constitutional Amendments Act.
9.    Directive Principles of State Policy
10.  The Union Executive

                     1.    President
                     2.    Vice- President
                     3.    Prime-Minister
                     4.    Council Of Ministers
                     5.    Attorney-General for India

11.   Parliament Of India
12.  The State Executive And The State Legislature
13.  Judiciary In India
14.  Election Commission
15.   CAG
16.  Panchayati Raj
17.   Languages in the  8th Schedule
23.  Order of Precedence in India
24. Pressure Groups

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