Context:

The West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution to set up Legislative Council with a two-thirds majority.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Legislature, Bicameralism)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About State Legislative Council – Vidhan Parishad
  2. Creation of a Legislative Council for a State
  3. Who can abolish a legislative council?

About State Legislative Council – Vidhan Parishad

  • Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad is the upper house in bicameral legislatures in some states of India.
  • While most states have a unicameral legislature with only legislative assembly, currently, six states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh have legislative councils.
  • Strength of the Legislative Council: The total number of the Legislative Council should not exceed 1/3rd of the total number of members of the Legislative assembly, but it should not be less than 40 (Article 171).

Creation of a Legislative Council for a State

  • Article 168 of the Constitution of India provides for a Legislature in every state of the country. The same Article mentions that there are some states where there is a legislative council as well. Thus, the Indian Constitution does not adhere to the principle of bicameralism in the case of every legislature.
  • The framers of the Constitution as well as members of the Constituent Assembly had in mind that it may not be possible for all the states to support two houses, financially as well as for other reasons. For example, some of the members of the Constituent assembly criticized the idea of a bicameral legislature in the states as a superfluous idea and a body that is unrepresentative of the population, a burden on the state budget and causing delays in passing legislation.
  • That is why, whether there should be a legislative council in the state or not, is decided by the Legislative Assembly of the state itself.
  • But it does not mean that the Legislative Assembly can itself create a legislative council. The Constitution of India has full provisions about the creation of a Legislative Council and its abolishment.

Who can abolish a legislative council?

  • The power of abolition and creation of the State legislative council is vested in the Parliament of India as per Article 169.
  • But again, to create or to abolish a state legislative council, the state legislative assembly must pass a resolution, which must be supported by 50% majority of the total strength of the house and 2/3rd majority of the members present and voting (Absolute + Special Majority).
  • When a legislative council is created or abolished, the Constitution of India is also changed.
  • However, still, such type of law is not considered a Constitution Amendment Bill. (Article 169).
  • The resolution to create and abolish a state legislative council is to be given assent by the President as well.

-Source: The Hindu

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