Explained: Madhya Pradesh may get a second House. Why do some states have Vidhan Parishads?

Headline : Explained: Madhya Pradesh may get a second House. Why do some states have Vidhan Parishads?

Details :The News

  • The State government in Madhya Pradesh has moved to create a Legislative Council for the state.

Bicameral System:

  • India has a bicameral system of legislature at the Union level, with the Parliament having two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • Similarly, individual states too, can choose to have a Legislative Council (Upper House) in addition to the Legislative Assembly (Lower House).

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Legislative Council

  • Article 169 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of a Vidhan Parishad.
  • Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad is the upper house in bicameral legislatures in some states of India.
  • While most states have unicameral legislature with only legislative assembly, currently, seven states viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh have legislative councils.
  • Legislative council is a permanent body (term 6 years) & not subjected to dissolution. After every 2 years, 1/3rd of its members retire.

Establishing Councils:

  • Power of abolition or creation of Legislative council lies with the Parliament.
  • To set up the council, the legislative assembly of state must pass a resolution by a majority of total membership & not less than 2/3rd of the members of the assembly present & voting.
  • However, a resolution passed by legislative assembly of state for creation or abolition of its council is not binding on the Parliament. Parliament may or may not approve the resolution with simple majority.

Membership:

  • The members are known as Members of Legislative Councils (MLCs).
  • Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the total number of MLAs of that state, and not less than 40 members.
  • As in the Rajya Sabha, members of a state Legislative Council too, are not directly elected by voters. They are elected by local bodies, legislative assembly, governor, graduates, teacher, etc.

Membership Qualification

  • Must be citizen of India
  • Must be of 30 years of age for Legislative Council
  • Must not hold any office of profit
  • Must not be of unsound mind
  • If a situation arises for disqualification of a member, Decision of Governor shall be final (Governor must obtain opinion of election commission of India prior to action)

Powers:

  • The legislative power of the Councils are limited. Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack a constitutional mandate to do so.
  • State Assemblies can override the suggestions/amendments made to a legislation by the Council.
  • Unlike Rajya Sabha MPs, MLCs cannot vote in elections for the President and Vice President.

Merits and Demerits of having Councils:

  • The Constituent Assembly was divided on the idea of having a second House in States.
  • Merits:
    • It was argued that a second House would help check hasty actions by the directly elected House.
    • Also, non-elected individuals in the Upper House would be able to contribute to the legislative process.
  • Demerits:
    • Opponents of the idea argued that political parties would be able to use the Legislative Council in the states to delay legislation.
    • Also, Councils will be used as a sop or sinecure for leaders who have failed to win an election.

Section : Polity & Governance

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