Nikaalo Prelims Spotlight || State and Local Government

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3rd Mar 2023

State government 

 
PART VI of the Constitution deals with the other half of Indian federalism, ie the States. Article from 152-237 deals with various provisions related to States. It covers the executive, legislature and judiciary wings of the states. 

CHAPTER I.—GENERAL

Article 152 : Definition

CHAPTER II.—THE EXECUTIVE

ARTICLE 153:  GOVERNORS OF STATES

ARTICLE 154: EXECUTIVE POWER OF STATE

ARTICLE 155: APPOINTMENT OF GOVERNOR

ARTICLE 156: TERM OF OFFICE OF GOVERNOR

ARTICLE 157: QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT AS GOVERNOR

ARTICLE 158: CONDITIONS OF GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

ARTICLE 159: OATH OR AFFIRMATION BY THE GOVERNOR

ARTICLE 160: DISCHARGE OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNOR IN CERTAIN CONTINGENCIES

ARTICLE 161: POWER OF GOVERNOR TO GRANT PARDONS, ETC., AND TO SUSPEND, REMIT OR COMMUTE SENTENCES IN CERTAIN CASES

ARTICLE 162: EXTENT OF EXECUTIVE POWER OF STATE

Info-bits related to Governor of States

  • Powers of the Governor can be broadly classified into executive, legislative (including financial powers) and judicial powers.
  • Though the Governor has the power to pardon, he cannot pardon a death sentence.
  • There are also related articles like 163 -167, 174-176, 200-201, 213, 217, 233-234 which touch the sphere of influence of the Governor of a state.
  • When the governor reserves a bill for the consideration of the President, the assent of the Governor is no longer required (only President’s assent would be needed then).
  • The president is not bound to give his assent to a state bill reserved by the governor for the Consideration of the President and he can return the bill to the houses for reconsideration ‘n’ times.
  • Removal of Governors by Center.

 

Article 163: Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor

(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
(2) If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.
(3) The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court.

164: Other provisions as to Ministers

(1) The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor:
(2) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State.
(3) Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.
(4) A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.
(5) The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as the Legislature of the State may from time to time by law determine and, until the Legislature of the State so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule.

Info-bits related to Council of Ministers in States

  1. President of India does not have existence without council of ministers, but Governor has (at the time of President’s rule).
  2. The minimum strength of council of ministers in a state as per Constitution is 12 and maximum is 15 percent of Legislative Assembly.
  3. Oaths for ministers : oaths of office and of secrecy.
  4. The Governor has discretionary powers and the validity of acts done using the discretionary powers cannot be questioned.

State Legislature

Article 168: Constitution of Legislatures in States.

(1) For every State there shall be a Legislature which shall consist of the Governor, and—

(a) in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir, two Houses;
(b) in other States, one House.
(2) Where there are two Houses of the Legislature of a State, one shall be known as the Legislative Council and the other as the Legislative Assembly, and where there is only one House, it shall be known as the Legislative Assembly.

Article 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) No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 368.

Article 170: Composition of the Legislative Assemblies.

Article 171: Composition of the Legislative Councils.

Article 172: Duration of State Legislatures.

Article 173: Qualification for membership of the State Legislature.

Article 174: Sessions of the State Legislature, prorogation and dissolution. 

Article 175: Right of Governor to address and send messages to the House or Houses.

Article 176: Special address by the Governor.

Article 177: Rights of Ministers and Advocate-General as respects the Houses.

 

Info- Bits related with State Legislature

  1. At present there are seven states which have bicameral legislature – Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. The permissible strength of a Legislative Assembly (LA) is between 60 and 500.
  3. Total number of Members in the Legislative Council (LC) of a State shall not exceed one third of the total number of Members in the Legislative Assembly.
  4. Of the total number of Members of the Legislative Council, 1/3 of Members are elected by electorates consisting of the Members of Local Authorities, 1/12 are elected by electorates consisting of graduates residing in the State, 1/12 are elected by electorates consisting of persons engaged in teaching, 1/3 are elected by the Members of Legislative Assembly and the remaining are nominated by the Governor. 

Local self-government


Local self-government is a form of democratic decentralization where the participation of even the grass root level of the society is ensured in the process of administration.

History of local administration

Even though such minor forms of local governance were evident in India from British times, the framers of the constitutions, unsatisfied with the existing provisions, included Article 40 among the Directive Principles, whereby:

“The state shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.”

Later, the conceptualisation of the system of local self-government in India took place through the formation and effort of four important committees from the year 1957 to 1986 which are:

1. Balwant Rai Mehta Committee (1957)

2. Ashok Mehta Committee (1977-1978)

3. G V K Rao Commitee (1985)

4. L M Singhvi Committee (1986) 

 

Panchayati Raj System under 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment acts, 1992

The acts of 1992 added two new parts IX and IX-A  to the constitution. It also added two new schedules – 11 and 12 which contains the lists of functional items of Panchayats and Municipalities. It provides for a three-tier system of Panchayati Raj in every state – at the village, intermediate and district levels.

  • The 73rd Constitutional Amendment act provides for a Gram Sabha as the foundation of the Panchayati Raj system. It is essentially a village assembly consisting of all the registered voters in the area of the panchayat. The state has the power to determine what kind of powers it can exercise, and what functions it has to perform at the village level.
  • The 74th Constitutional Amendment act provides for three types of Municipalities:
    1.  Nagar Panchayat for a transitional area between a rural and urban area.
    2.  Municipal Council for a small urban area.
    3.  Municipal Corporation for a large urban area.

Types of Urban Local Government

There are eight types of urban local governments currently existing in India:

  1. Municipal Corporations.
  2. Municipality.
  3. Notified area committee.
  4. Town area committee.
  5. Cantonment board.
  6. Township.
  7. Port trust.
  8. Special purpose agency.

Elections in the local government bodies

  • All seats of representatives of local bodies are filled by people chosen through direct elections.
  • The conduct of elections is vested in the hands of the State election commission.
  • The chairpersons at the intermediate and district levels shall be elected indirectly from among the elected representatives at the immediately lower level.
  • At the lowest level, the chairperson shall be elected in a mode defined by the state legislature.
  • Seats are reserved for SC and ST proportional to their population.
  • Out of these reserved seats, not less than one-third shall be further reserved for women.
  • There should be a blanket reservation of one-third seats for women in all the constituencies taken together too (which can include the already reserved seats for SC and ST).
  • The acts bar the interference of courts in any issue relating to the election to local bodies.

Qualifications needed to be a member of the Panchayat or Municipality

Any person who is qualified to be a member of the state legislature is eligible to be a member of the Panchayat or Municipality.

But he shall not be disqualified on the ground that he is less than 25 years of age if he has attained the age of 21 years”

This means that unlike the state legislature, a person needs to attain only 21 years of age to be a member of panchayat/municipality.

Duration of the Local Government bodies

  • The local governing bodies are elected for a term of five years.
  • Fresh elections should be conducted before the expiry of the five-year term.
  • If the panchayat/municipality is dissolved before the expiry of its term, elections shall be conducted within six months and the new panchayat/municipality will hold office for the remainder of the term if the term has more than six months duration.
  • And for another five years if the remaining term is less than six months.

Powers invested with Local Government bodies

The powers of local bodies are not exclusively defined. In general, the State governments can assign powers to Panchayats and Municipalities that may enable them to prepare plans for economic development and social justice. They may also be authorized to levy, collect, or appropriate taxes.

 

 
 
 
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