What is the Legislative Council & how does it work?

Understanding Powers and Functions of the Legislative Council

With the recent move of the Andhra Pradesh Government to abolish the Legislative Council, let us take a look at what is Legislative Council.

What is the Legislative Council?

We all know that India allows for a Bicameral System- which means that it has two houses at the Central Level- the two Houses of Parliament are Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

It allows for the states to also have this Bicameral system- Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly and Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

However, not all states in India have bicameral legislation. Only Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana have such a system.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Legislative Council has been abolished by the Legislative Assembly, but the Parliament is yet to rule on it.

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What is said in the Constitution?

Article 168 talks about the Constitution of Legislatures in States. It says that the Legislature shall consist of the Governor and two houses (in states mentioned above) and one house for the other states.

Article 169 of the Constitution talks about the Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States.

Article 171 mentions the Composition of the Legislative Councils.

What is the composition of the Legislative Council?

1. The total number of members in the Legislative Council shall not exceed one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly. The minimum strength is of 40.

How are the members of the Council elected?

1.  One-third shall be elected by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and such other local authorities in the State.

2.  One-twelfth shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons residing in the State who have been for at least three years graduates of any university in the territory of India

3. One-twelfth shall be elected by electorates consisting of persons who have been for at least three years engaged in teaching in such educational institutions within the State.

4. One-third shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State from amongst persons who are not members of the Assembly

5. The remaining are nominated by the Governor from people having special knowledge and experience in Literature, science, art, co-operative movement and social service.

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Tenure of the Council

  • Six years.
  • It is a permanent body like Rajya Sabha and cannot be dissolved.
  • 1/3rd members retire every 2 years.

Powers of the Legislative Council

  • A money bill can be introduced only in the Legislative Assembly.
  • The Council cannot amend or reject the Money Bill. It has to return the Bill to the assembly within 14 days with or without recommendation.
  • The council can only discuss the budget but not vote on the demands grants.
  • It can introduce ordinary bills.
  • It approves the ordinance issued by the Governor.
  • Selection of ministers and Chief Minister. CM can be of any house.

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