From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Legislative Councils
Mains level : Benefits of having LCs
- The Madhya Pradesh government has indicated that it plans to initiate steps towards creation of a Legislative Council.
Debate over two houses
- Just as Parliament has two Houses, so can the states, if they choose to.
- Opinion in the Constituent Assembly was divided on the idea.
- Among the arguments in its favour, a second House can help check hasty actions by the directly elected House, and also enable non-elected individuals to contribute to the legislative process.
- The arguments against the idea: a Legislative Council can be used to delay legislation, and to park leaders who have not been able to win an election.
Provision for a second House
- Article 169 of the Constitution provides for the option of a state to have a Legislative Council in addition to its Legislative Assembly.
- As in Rajya Sabha, members of a Legislative Council are not directly elected by voters.
- Under Article 169, a Legislative Council can be formed “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”.
- Parliament can then pass a law to this effect.
Members of LC
- Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the number of MLAs of the state, and not less than 40 members.
- In Madhya Pradesh, which has 230 MLAs, the proposed Legislative Council can have at most 76 members.
- As with Rajya Sabha MPs, the tenure of a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) is six years, with one-third of members retiring every two years.
Election of MLCs
- One-third of the MLCs are elected by the state’s MLAs, another one-third by a special electorate comprising sitting members of local governments such as municipalities and district boards, 1/12th by an electorate of teachers and another 1/12th by registered graduates.
- The remaining members are appointed by the Governor for distinguished services in various fields.
LC vis-à-vis Rajya Sabha
- The legislative power of the Councils is limited.
- Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack a constitutional mandate to do so.
- Assemblies can override suggestions/amendments made to legislation by the Council.
- Again, unlike Rajya Sabha MPs, MLCs cannot vote in elections for the President and Vice President.
- The Vice President is the Rajya Sabha Chairperson; an MLC is the Council Chairperson.
States with LCs
- Currently, six states have Legislative Councils.
- Jammu and Kashmir too had one, until the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
- Tamil Nadu’s then government had passed a law to set up a Council but the subsequent government withdrew it after coming to power in 2010.
- Andhra Pradesh’s Legislative Council, set up in 1958, was abolished in 1985, then reconstituted in 2007.
- The Odisha Assembly recently passed a resolution for a Legislative Council.
- Proposals to create Councils in Rajasthan and Assam are pending in Parliament.