Legislative Council in States: Issues & Way Forward

Conduct of States Assembly Elections


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : States Legislature

The Election Commission of India has announced dates for Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

Why conduct elections even during COVID outbreak?

  • Article 172(1) of the Constitution sets a five-year term for each Assembly.
  • Any postponement of Assembly elections may result in a situation that denies people of that State the right to elect an accountable government of their choice.

States Legislature : A detail background

  • The State Legislative Assembly is a legislative body in the states and union territories of India.
  • In the 28 states and 3 union territories with a unicameral state legislature, it is the sole legislative body and in 6 states it is the lower house of their bicameral state legislatures with the upper house being Legislative Council.
  • 5 UTs are governed directly by the Union Government of India and have no legislative body.

Term of reference

  • Each Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) is directly elected to serve 5 year terms by single-member constituencies.
  • The Constitution of India states that a State Legislative Assembly must have no less than 60 and no more than 500 members.
  • However an exception may be granted via an Act of Parliament as is the case in the states of Goa, Sikkim, Mizoram and the union territory of Puducherry which have fewer than 60 members.
  • A State Legislative Assembly may be dissolved in a state of emergency, by the Governor on request of the Chief Minister, or if a motion of no confidence is passed against the ruling majority party or coalition.

State Executive

  • State Executive consists of Governor and the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head.
  • Executive power of the state is vested in Governor.
  • He/She is appointed by the President for a term of five years and holds office during his pleasure.
  • Only Indian citizens above 35 years of age are eligible for appointment to this office.
  • The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor, who also appoints other ministers on the advice of the CM.

Powers and Functions

State legislature has exclusive powers over subjects enumerated in the State List and Concurrent Lists (List II of the Seventh Schedule) of the Constitution and concurrent powers over those enumerated in sub List III.

(1) Regarding Ordinary Laws

  • Ordinary bills can be introduced in either of the two houses in case the State Legislature is bicameral, however, the Money Bill has to initially be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha.
  • The State Legislature can formulate laws on the subject of State and Concurrent Lists.
  • However, in case there is any contradiction between the Union and State law, the law decided by the Parliament shall prevail.

(2) Financial Powers

  • Financial powers of legislature include authorization of all expenditure, taxation and borrowing by the state government.
  • The Legislative Assembly alone has the power to originate money bills.
  • The Legislative Council can only make recommendations in respect of changes it considers necessary within a period of fourteen days of the receipt of money bills, which can accept or reject these recommendations.

Role of Governor

  • The Governor of a state may reserve any Bill for the consideration of the President.
  • No Bills seeking to impose restrictions on inter-state trade can be introduced in a state legislature without the previous sanction of the President.

Try this PYQ:


Q. Which one of the following suggested that the Governor should be an eminent person from outside the State and should be a detached figure without intense political links or should not have taken part in politics in the recent past?


(a) First Administrative Reforms Commission (1966)

(b) Rajamannar Committee (1969)

(c) Sarkaria Commission (1983)

(d) National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2000)

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