State Legislature

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

Organisation of State Legislature

  • No uniformity in the organisation of state legislatures
  • Most of the states have a unicameral system, while others have a bicameral system.
  • At present (2015), only seven states have two Houses (bicameral). These are Andhra Pradesh,  Uttar  Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and Telangana
  • The twenty-four states have a unicameral system.
  • Here, the state legislature consists of the governor and the legislative assembly.
  • In the states having a bicameral system, the state legislature consists of the governor, the legislative council and the legislative assembly.
  • The legislative council (Vidhan Parishad) is the upper house (second chamber or house of elders), while the legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha) is the lower house (first chamber or popular house).

Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states

  • Parliament can abolish a legislative council (where it already exists)  or  create  it  (where  it  does  not exist), if the legislative assembly of the concerned state passes a resolution to that effect.
  • 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.
  • This Act of Parliament is not to be deemed as an  amendment  of  the  Constitution  for  the purposes  of  Article 368 and is passed like an ordinary piece of legislation (ie, by simple majority).

Composition of Assembly Strength- The legislative assembly-

  • directly elected by the people on the basis of universal adult franchise.
  • Maximum strength is fixed at 500 and minimum strength at 60, in case of  Arunachal  Pradesh,  Sikkim and Goa, the minimum number is fixed at 30 and in case of Mizoram and Nagaland, it is 40 and 46 respectively,
  • Some members of thelegislative assemblies in Sikkim and Nagaland are also electedindirectly

Nominated Member

  • Governor nominate one member from the Anglo-Indian community,
  • Originally, this provision was to operate for ten years (ie, upto 1960). But this duration has been extended continuously since then by 10 years each time.
  • Now, under the 95th Amendment Act of 2009, this is to last until 2020,

Territorial Constituencies

  • The demarcation of 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.
  • In other words, the Constitution ensures that there is uniformity of representation between different constituencies in the state.
  • The expression ?population‘ means, the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published

Readjustment after each census

  • A readjustment is to be made in the (a) total number of seats in the assembly of each state and (b) the division of each state into territorial constituencies. The Parliament is empowered to determine the authority and the manner in which it isto be made.
  • Accordingly, Parliament has enacted the Delimitation Commission Acts in 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002 for this purpose.
  • The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 had frozen total number of seats in the assembly of each state and the division of such state into territorial constituencies till the year 2000 at the 1971 level.
  • This ban on readjustment has been extended for another 25 years (ie, upto year 2026) by the 84th Amendment Act of 2001 with the same objective of encouraging population limiting measures.
  • The 84th Amendment Act of 2001 also empowered the government to undertake readjustment and rationalisation of territorial constituencies in a state on the basis of the population figures of 1991 census.
  • Later, the 87th Amendment Act of 2003 provided for the delimitation of constituencies on the basis of  2001 census and not 1991 census. However, this can be done without altering the total number of seats in the assembly of each state

Reservation of seats for SCs and STs

  • Reservation was to operate for ten years (i.e., up to 1960). But this duration has been  extended  continuously since then by 10 years each time.
  • Now, under the 79th Amendment Act of 2009, this reservation is to last until 2020

Composition of Council Strength-

  • 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
  • The Constitution has fixed the maximum and the minimum limits, the actual strength of a Council is fixed by Parliament

Manner of Election

  1. 1/3 are elected by the members of local bodies in the state like municipalities, district boards, etc.,
  2. 1/12 are elected by graduates of three years standing and residing within thestate,
  3. 1/12 are elected by teachers of three years standing in the state, not lower in standard than secondary school,
  4. 1/3 are elected by the members of the legislative assembly of the state from amongst persons who are not members of the assembly,
  5. The remainder are nominated by the gover-nor from amongst persons who have a special knowledge or practical experience of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service.
  6. Thus, 5/6 of the total number of members of a legislative council are indirectly elected and 1/6 are nominated by the governor.
  7. By means of a single transferable vote

Duration of Two Houses

Duration of Assembly

  • Normal term is five years
  • The governor is authorised to dissolve the assembly at any time (i.e., even before the completion of five  years) to pave the way for fresh elections
  • 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 (for any length of time)
  • Cannot continue beyond a period of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.

Duration of Council

  • It is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution
  • One-third of its members retire on the expiration of every second year
  • A member continues as such for six years
  • Vacant seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations (by governor) at the beginning of every third  year.
  • Retiring members are also eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times

Membership of State Legislature

  • Qualifications- a citizen of India, 30 years of age for legislative council, 25 years of age for the legislative assembly
  • A member of scheduled castes or scheduled tribes can also contest a seat not reserved for them

Disqualifications-

  • Holds any office of profit under the Union  or  state  government, unsound mind, insolvent,  not a citizen of  India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state, disqualified under any law made by Parliament
  • The governor‘s decision is final on disqualification is final

Disqualification on Ground of Defection-

  • A person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of state legislature if he is so disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule
  • The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman, in the case of legislative council and, Speaker, in the case of legislative assembly (and not by the governor).

Oath or Affirmation- Common in nature

Vacation of seats

  • Double Membership: A person cannot be a member of both Houses of state legislature at  one and the  same time. If a person is elected to both the Houses, his seat in one of the Houses falls vacant as per the provisions of a law made by the state legislature.
  • Disqualification: If a member of the state legislature becomes subject to any of the disqualifications, his seat becomes vacant.
  • Resignation: A member may resign his seat by writing to the Chairman of legislative council or Speaker  of legislative assembly, as the case may be. The seat falls vacant when the resignation is accepted11.
  • Absence: A House of the state legislature can declare the seat of a member vacant if he absents himself from all its meeting for a period of sixty days without itspermission.
  • Other Cases: A member has to vacate his seat in the either House of state legislature,
  • If his election is declared void by thecourt if he is expelled by the House,
  • If he is elected to the office of president or office of vice-president,
  • If he is appointed to the office of governor of a state

Presiding Officers of State Legislature

  • Speaker and a Deputy Speaker for the legislative assembly and Chairman and a Deputy Chairman for the legislative council

Speaker of Assembly

  • Elected by the assembly itself from amongst its members
  • Vacates his office earlier in any of the following three cases:
  • If he ceases to be a member of the assembly;
  • If he resigns by writing to the deputy speaker;
  • If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the assembly. Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days advancenotice

Powers and duties

  • Maintains order and decorum in the assembly
  • Final interpreter of the provisions of

    (a) The Constitution of India,

    (b) The rules of procedure and conduct of business of assembly,

    (c) The legislative precedents
  • Adjourns the assembly or suspends the meeting in the absence of a quorum
  • Does not vote in the first instance. But, he can exercise a casting vote in the case of atie
  • Can allow a secret‘ sitting of the House at the request of the leader of the House
  • Decides whether a bill is a Money Bill or not and his decision on this question is final
  • Appoints the chairmen of all the committees of the assembly and supervises their functioning
  • He is the chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, the Rules Committee and the General Purpose Committee

Deputy Speaker of Assembly

  • Also elected by the assembly itself from amongst its members, remaining part is same as like speaker.

Chairman of Council

  • Elected by the council itself from amongst its members
  • Vacates-same like Speaker
  • Powers and duties is also like speaker
  • The Speaker has one special power which is not enjoyed by the Chairman.
  • The Speaker decides whether a bill is a Money Bill or not and his decision on this question isfinal which is not done by the chairman of the council.

Deputy Chairman of Council

  • Also elected by the assembly itself from amongst its members, remaining part is same as like deputy speaker

Sessions of State Legislature Summoning

  • Maximum gap between the two sessions of state legislature cannot be more than six months

Adjournment

  • Suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time which may be hours, days or weeks
  • Adjournment sine die means terminating a sitting of the state  legislature for an indefinte period. The power  of the adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House

Prorogation

  • The presiding officer (Speaker or Chairman) declares the House adjourned sine die, when  the business  of the session is completed. Within the next few days, the governor issues a notification for prorogation of the session
  • A prorogation terminates a session of the House

Dissolution

  • The legislative council, being a permanent house, is not subject to dissolution. Only the legislative assembly is subject to dissolution

The position with respect to lapsing of bills on the dissolution of the assembly is mentioned below:

  1. A Bill pending in the assembly lapses (whether originating in the assembly or transmitted to it by the council).
  2. A Bill passed by the assembly but pending in the councillapses.
  3. A Bill pending in the council but not passed by the assembly does notlapse.
  4. A Bill passed by the assembly (in a unicameral state) or passed by both the houses (in a bicameral state) but pending assent of the governor or the President does not lapse.
  5. A Bill passed by the assembly (in a unicameral state) or passed by both the Houses (in a bicameral state) but returned by the president for reconsideration of House (s) does not lapse

Quorum

  • The minimum number of members required to be present in the House before it can transact any business.
  • It is ten members or one-tenth of the total number of members of the House (including the presiding officer), whichever is greater

Language in State Legislature

  • The Constitution has declared the official language(s) of the state or Hindi or English, to be the languages for transacting business in the state legislature
  • The state legislature is authorised to decide whether to continue or discontinue English as a floor language after the completion of fifteen years from the commencement of the Constitution (i.e., from 1965). In case of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura, this time limit is twenty-five years and  that  of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Mizoram, it is fortyyears.

Rights of Ministers and Advocate General

  • Every minister and  the advocate general  of the state have  the right to speak and take part  in  the proceedings of either House or any of its committees of which he is named a member, without being entitled to vote. There are two reasons underlying this constitutional provision:
  • A minister can participate in the proceedings of a House, of which he is not a member.
  • A minister, who is not a member of either House, can participate in the proceedings of both the Houses

Legislative Procedure in State Legislature Ordinary Bills

Bill in the Originating House-

  • Can originate in either House of the state legislature (in case of a bicameral legislature),
  • Can be introduced either by a minister or by anyother member, passes through three stages in the originating House
  • First reading,
  • Second reading,
  • 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, either with or without amendments.
  • In case of a unicameral legislature, a bill passed by the legislative assembly is sent directly to the governor for his assent

Bill in the Second House-same three reading

  • The ultimate power of passing an ordinary bill is vested in the assembly, the council can detain or delay the bill for a period of four months—three months in the first instance and one month in the second instance.
  • when a bill, which has originated in the council and was sent to the assembly, is rejected by the assembly, the bill ends and becomes dead

Assent of the Governor-

  • 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

four alternatives

  1. He may give his assent to the bill;
  2. He may withhold his assent to the bill;
  3. He may return the bill for reconsideration of the House or Houses;
  4. He may reserve the bill for the consideration of the President.
  5. If the governor gives his assent to the bill, the bill becomes an Act and is placed on the Statute Book.
  6. If the governor withholds his assent to the bill, the bill ends and does not become an Act.
  7. If the governor returns the bill for reconsideration and if the bill is passed by the House or both the Houses again, with or without amendments, and presented to the governor for his assent, the governor must give his assent to the bill.
  8. The governor enjoys only a suspensive veto

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 House or Houses 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.
  • It is not mentioned in the Constitution whether it is obligatory on the part of the pres- ident to give his assent to such a bill or not

Money Bill

  • Money Bill cannot be introduced in the legislative council
  • Can be introduced in the legislative assembly only and that too on the recommendation of the governor
  • 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.
  • The legislative assembly can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the legislative council
  • 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.
  • Thus, the legislative assembly has more powers than legislative council with regard to a money bill.
  • At the most, the legislative council can detain or delay a money bill for a period of 14 days
  • When a Money Bill is presented to the governor, he may either give his assent, withhold his assent or reserve the bill for presidential assent but cannot return the bill for reconsideration of the state legislature.
  • Normally, the governor gives his assent to a money bill as it is introduced in the state legislature with his prior permission, same as like assent of president.
ParliamentState Legislature
A. With Regard to Ordinary Bills
1.   It can be introduced in either House of the Parliament.1. It can be introduced in either House of the state legislature.
2. It can be introduced either by a2. It can be introduced either by a minister or by private member.
minister or by a private member. 
3.   It passes through first reading, second reading and third reading in the originating House.3.   It passes through first reading, second reading and third reading in the orginating House.
4.   It is deemed to have been passed by the Parliament only when both the Houses have agreed to it, either with or without amendments.4.   It is deemed to have been passed by the state legislature only when both the Houses have agreed to it, either with or without amendments.
5.   A deadlock between the  two Houses takes place when the second House, after receiving a bill passed by the first House, rejects the bill or proposes amendments that are not acceptable to the first House or does not pass the bill within six months.5.   A deadlock between the two Houses takes place when the legislative council, after receiving a bill passed by the legislative assembly, rejects the bill or proposes amendments that are not acceptable to the legislative assembly or does not pass the bill within three months.
6.   The Constitution provides for the mechanism of joint sitting of two Houses of the Parliament to resolve a deadlock between them over the passage of a bill.6.   The Constitution does not provide for the mechanism of joint sitting of two Houses of the state legislature to resolve a deadlock between them over the passage of a bill.
7.   The Lok Sabha cannot override the Rajya Sabha by passing the bill  for the second time and vice versa. A joint sitting is the only way to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses.7.   The legislative assembly can override the legislative council by passing the bill for the second time and not vice versa. When a bill is passed by the assembly for the  second time and transmitted to the legislative council, if the legislative council rejects the bill again, or porposes amendments that are not acceptable to the legislative assembly, or does not pass the bill within one month, then the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form in which it was passed by the legislative assembly for the second
8.   The mechanism of joint sitting for resolving a deadlock applies to a bill whether originating in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya  Sabha.  If  a  joint sitting is not summoned by the president, the bill ends and becomes dead.8.   The mechanism of passing the  bill for the  second time  to resolve a deadlock applies to a bill originating in the legislative assembly only. When a bill, which has originated  in the legislative council and sent to the legislative assembly, is rejected by the latter,  the bill ends and becomes dead.
B. With Regard to Money Bills
1.   It can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha.1.   It can be introduced only in the legislative assembly and not in the legislative council.
2.   It can be introduced only on the recommendation of the president.2.   It can be introduced only on the recommendation of the governor.
3.   It can be introduced only by a minister and not by a private member.3.   It can be introduced only by a minister and not by a private member.
4. It cannot be rejected or amended by the Rajya Sabha. It should be returned to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, either with or without recommendations.4. It cannot be rejected or amended by the legislative council. It should be returned to the legislative assembly within 14 days, either with or without amendments.
5.   The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha.5.   The legislative assembly can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations of the legislative council.
 
6.   If the Lok Sabha accepts any recommendation, the bill is then deemed to have been pass-ed by both the Houses in the modified form.6. If the legislative  assembly accepts any recommendation, the bill is then deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the modified form.
7.   If the Lok Sabha does not accept any recommendation, the bill is then deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form originally passed by the Lok Sabha without any change.7.   If the legislative assembly does not accept any recommendation, the bill is then deemed to have been passed by both the Houses in the form originally passed by the legislative assembly without any change.
8.   If the Rajya Sabha does not return the bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, the bill is deemed to have been passed by both the Houses at the expiration of the said period in the form originally passed by the Lok Sabha.8. 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 the Houses at the  expiration of  the said period in the form originally passed by  the  legislative assembly.
9.   The Constitution does not provide for the resolution of any deadlock between the two Houses. This is because, the will of the Lok Sabha is made to prevail over that of the Rajya Sabha, if the latter does not agree to the bill passed by the former.9.   The Constitution does not provide for the resolution of any deadlock between the two Houses. This  is  because, the will of the legislative assembly is made to prevail over that of legislative council, if  the  latter does not agree to the bill passed by the former.

Even though both the council and the Rajya Sabha are second chambers, the Constitution has given the council much lesser importance than the Rajya Sabha due to the following reasons

  1. The Rajya Sabha consists of the representatives of the states and thus reflect the federal element of the polity. It maintains the federal equilibrium by protecting the interests of the states against the undue interference of the Centre. Therefore, it has to be an effective revising body and not just an advisory body or dilatory body like that ofthe council. On the other hand, the issue of federal significance does not arise in the case of a council.
  2. The council is heterogeneously constituted. It represents different interests and consists of differently elected members and also include some nominated members. Its very  composition  makes  its  position weak and reduces its utility as an effective revising body. On the other hand, the Rajya Sabha is homogeneously constituted. It represents only the states and consists of mainly elected members (only 12 out of 250 arenominated).
  3. The position accorded to the council is in accordance with the principles of democracy. The council

should yield to the assembly, which is a popular house. This pattern of relationship between the two Houses of the state legislature is adopted from the British model. In Britain, the House of Lords (Upper House) cannot oppose and obstruct the House of Commons (Lower House). The House of Lords is only a dilatory chamber—it can delay an ordinary bill for a maximum period of  one year and a money bill  for  one month

Privileges of State Legislature Collective Privileges

  1. The right to publish its reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit others from  publishing thesame.
  2. Exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sittings to discuss some important matters.
  3. Make rules to regulate its own procedure and the conduct of its business and to adjudicate upon such matters.
  4. Punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or  its  contempt  by  reprimand, admonition or imprison-ment (also suspension or expulsion, in case ofmembers).
  5. The right to receive immediate in-formation of the arrest, detention,  conviction,  imprisonment and release of a member.
  6. Institute inquiries and order the attendence of witnesses and send for relevant papers and records.
  7. The courts are prohibited to inquire into the proceedings of a House or its Committes.
  8. No person (either a member or outsider) can be arrested, and no legal process (civil or criminal) can be served within the precincts of the House without the permission of the presiding officer.

Individual Privileges

  1. They cannot be arrested during the session of the state legislature and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of such session. This privilege is  available  only in  civil  cases and not in  criminal cases or preventive detention cases.
  2. They have freedom of speech in the state legislature. No member is liable  to any proceedings  in  any court for anything said or any vote given by him in  the state legislature or  its committees. This freedom  is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders  regulating  the  procedure of the state legislature.
  3. They are exempted from jury service. They can refuse to give evidence and appear as a witness in a case pending in a court when the state legislature is in session.