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India follows a bicameral system at both the centre and state level. Under this system, the state's legislature is divided into two parts - Legislative Assembly or Vidhan Sabha and Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad. Members of the Legislative Assembly are directly elected by the people through assembly elections. Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is a permanent body, which can be formed or abolished when the Legislative Assembly passes a special resolution.
In other words, the Legislative Council is the upper house of the state. Its institution is outlined in Article 169 of the Constitution of India. A member of a legislative council is referred to as an MLC.
Do all states have Legislative Councils?
No. The Constitution of India does not mandate states to form a Legislative Council.
How many legislative councils are there in India?
As of January 2020, six out of 28 states have a legislative council. The states with bicameral legislature include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. These states have both the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly.
What is the difference between the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council?
The term of the Legislative Assembly is five years unless it is dissolved earlier on the request of the chief minister. The tenure of the members of the council is six years, and a third of the members of the House retire after every two years.
Legislative Assembly is the lower house, much like the Lok Sabha of the Parliament. Legislative Council is the upper house in the state and like the Rajya Sabha, it is a permanent House.
How is the Legislative Council created?
The members of the Council are either nominated by the Governor of the state or are indirectly elected.
Here's the math: One-third of the members of this House are elected by the Legislative Assembly. One-third are elected by the local bodies like a municipality or other local authorities. One-twelfth of the members are elected by graduates. One-twelfth of the members are elected by teachers. About one-sixth of the members are nominated by the Governor. The legislative Council elects its Chairman, who plays the role of presiding officer and Deputy Chairman from amongst its members.
Eligibility criteria: Indian citizen who is at least 30 years of age; a person cannot simultaneously be a Member of Parliament and State legislature.
What is the role of the Legislative Council?
The Constitution of India gives limited power to the Legislative Council. It cannot make or break a government. It cannot say ‘no’ to Finance Bills. However, there are some perks: The Council has its Chairman and Deputy Chairman who enjoy the status of Cabinet Ministers in the state.
It is considered important for two reasons: a) 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). b) It can keep an eye on hasty decisions taken by the Legislative Assembly.
Can Legislative Council be dissolved?
While Legislative Council is a permanent House like the Rajya Sabha, it can be dissolved. Under Article 169 of the Indian constitution, Parliament may create or abolish the Council in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority. Parliament abolished the Vidhan Parishad in Andhra Pradesh in 1985, but in March 2007, it was reinstated.
The Legislative Councils have been criticised for being unnecessary and unrepresentative of the people. They are considered a burden on the state budget and cause delays in passing legislation.