State Legislative Council

News: The West Bengal government will set up a Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad), as per a decision taken up at the recent Cabinet meeting. For setting up the Council, a Bill has to be introduced in the Assembly and then a nod from the Governor is required. The Upper House existed till 1969.

About State Legislative Council:

  • India has a bicameral system of legislature. Just as Parliament has two Houses, the states can also have a Legislative Council in addition to the Legislative Assembly through Article 169 of the Constitution.
  • Six States having a Legislative Council are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka. In 2020, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the resolution for abolition of the Legislative Council. This resolution is yet to be cleared by the Parliament of India to finally abolish the council. In 2019, the Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Council was abolished through the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which reduced the State of J&K to the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
  • The Parliament can abolish a Legislative Council (where it already exists) or create it (where it does not exist) by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting, if the legislative assembly of the concerned state, by a special majority, passes a resolution to that effect.
  • Special majority implies a majority of the total membership of the assembly and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the assembly present and voting.
  • As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution,the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall not exceed one third of the total number of the members in the legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.

Pros:

  • It can ensure individuals who might not be cut out for the elections are able to contribute to the legislative process (like artists, scientists, etc).
  • It can keep an eye on hasty decisions taken by the Legislative Assembly.

Cons:

  • It can delay legislation, also it is considered a burden on the state budget.
  • It can also be used to park leaders who have not been able to win an election.