State Legislature

Articles 168 to 212 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the organisation, composition, duration, offices, procedures, privileges, powers and so on of the state legislature.

  • There is no uniformity in the organisation of state legislatures. Most of the states have unicameral system, while others have a bicameral system.
  • At present (2009), only six states have two Houses (bicameral). These are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh,Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • In the states having bicameral system, the state legislature consists of the governor, the legislative council and the legislative assembly.
  • The Constitution provides for the abolition or creation of legislative councils in states. Accordingly, the Parliament can abolish a legislative council or create it, if the legislative assembly of the concerned state passes a resolution to that effect. Such a specific resolution must be passed by the state assembly by a special majority, that is, 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.

Legislative Assembly :

 The legislative assembly consists of representatives directly elected by the people on the basis of universal adult franchise. Its maximum strength is fixed at 500 and minimum strength at 60.
 The governor can nominate one member from the AngloIndian community, if the community is not adequately represented in the assembly.
 For the purpose of holding direct elections to the assembl y, each state is divided into territorial constituencies. The demarcation of these constituencies is done in such a manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is the same throughout the state. The delimitation of constituencies is done after every census.

Duration of assembly :
Like the Lok Sabha, the legislative assembly is not a continuing chamber. Its normal term is five years from the date of its first meeting after the general elections. The expiration of the period of five years operates as automatic dissolution of the assembly. However, the governor is authorized to dissolve the assembly at any time to pave the way for fresh elections. Further, the term of the assembly can be extended during the period of national emergency by a law of Parliament for one year at a time.

Speaker of the Assembly :
A Legislative Assembly has its Speaker and Deputy Speaker and the provisions relating to them are analogous to those relating to the corresponding officers of the Lok Sabha.
Note: The state Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the state Legislative Assembly.

Legislative Council :
Unlike the members of the legislative assembly, the members of the legislative council are indirectly elected. The maximum strength of the council is fixed at one-third of the total strength of the assembly and the minimum strength is fixed at 40. (Exception: Jammu and Kashmir, 36)
Of the total number of members of a legislative council, 1/3 are elected by the members of local bodies in the state like municipalities, district boards, etc., 1/12 are elected by graduates of three years standing and residing within the state, 1 /12 are elected by teachers of three years’ standing in the state, not lower in standard than secondary school, 1/3 are elected by the members of the legislative assembly of the state from amongst persons who are not members of the assembly, and The remaining 1/6 are nominated by the governor from amongst persons who have a special knowledge or practical experience of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. The members are elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

Duration of the Council :
Like the Rajya Sabha, the legislative council is a continuing chamber, that is, it is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. But, one-third of its members retire on the expiration of every second year. So, a member continues as such for six years. The vacant seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations (by governor) at the beginning of every third year. The retiring members are also eligible for reelection and re-nomination any number of times.
 A legislative council has its Chairman and Deputy Chairman and provisions relating to them are analogous to those relating to the corresponding officer of Rajya Sabha.

Membership of state legislature :

  • The Constitution lays down the following qualifications for a person to be chosen a member of the state legislature.
  •  He must be a citizen of India.
  •  He must not hold any office of profit under the govt.
  •  He must be not less than 30 years of age in the case of the legislative council and not less than 25 years of age in the case of the legislative assembly.
  •  He must possess other qualifications prescribed by Parliament.

Legislative procedure in state legislature :

Ordinary Bills :
Bill in the Originating House: An ordinary bill can originate in either House of the state legislature. Such a bill can be introduced either by a minister or by any other member. The
bill passes through three stages, viz. first reading, second reading and third reading. After the bill is passed by the originating House, it is transmitted to the second House for consideration and passage. A bill is deemed to have been passed by the state legislature only when both the Houses have agreed to it. In case of a unicameral legislature, a bill passed by the legislative assembly is sent directly to the governor for his assent.

Assent of the Governor: Every bill, after it is passed by the assembly or by both the Houses in case of a bicameral legislature, is presented to the governor for his assent. There are four alternatives before the governor:

  •  he may give his assent to the bill;
  •  he may withhold his assent to the bill;
  •  he may return the bill for reconsideration of the House or Houses; and
  •  he may reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.

Assent of the President: When a bill is reserved by the governor for the consideration of the President, the President may either give his assent to the bill or withhold his assent to the bill or return the bill for reconsideration of the state legislature. When a bill is so returned, the House or Houses have to reconsider it within a period of six months. The bill is presented again to the presidential assent after it is passed by the House or Houses with or without amendments.

Money Bills :

  • The Constitution lays down a special procedure for the passing of Money Bills in the state legislature. This is as follows:
  • A Money Bill cannot be introduced in the legislative council. It can be introduced in the legislative assembly only and that too on the recommendation of the governor. Every such bill is considered to be a government bill and can be introduced only by a minister.
  • After a Money Bill is passed by the legislative assembly, it is transmitted to the legislative council for its consideration. The legislative council has restricted powers with regard to a Money Bill. It cannot reject or amend a Money Bill. It can only make recommendations and must return the bill to the legislative assembly within 14 days.
  • If the legislative council does not return the bill to the legislative assembly within 14 days, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses at the expiry of the said period in the form originally passed by the legislative assembly.
  • Finally, when a Money Bill is presented to the governor, he normally gives his assent to it as it is introduced in the state legislature with his prior permission.