Q. Discuss the relevance of the Legislative Councils in the States in the backdrop of recent demand of certain states to create the second house?
- Briefly write about the constitutional process of formation of Legislative Council.
- Discuss both the arguments: favour and against the existence of Legislative council.
- Write the final conclusion mentioning what should be the way forward.
Legislative councils of state are created under Article 169 of the Constitution. Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.
There is enormous debate on the relevance of Legislative councils in the States. In the recent times, Odisha government is planning to create legislative council or upper house.
Arguments in support of Legislative Councils in the States:
- It provides a forum for academicians and intellectuals, who are arguably not suited for the rough and tumble of electoral politics.
- It provides a mechanism for a soberer and more considered appraisal of legislation that a State may pass.
- It acts as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.
Arguments against Legislative Councils in the States:
- Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
- Today, legislatures draw their talent both from the grassroots level and the higher echelons of learning. There are enough numbers of doctors, teachers and other professionals in most political parties today.
- If there was any real benefit in having a Legislative Council, all States in the country should, and arguably would have a second chamber. The fact that there are only seven such Councils suggests the lack of any real advantage.
- It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
Looking into both the sides of the arguments, there is a need of a National Policy on having Upper House in State Legislatures. Odisha’s proposal may give the country at large an opportunity to evolve a national consensus on Legislative Councils.
There is a need for wide range of debates and public and intellectual opinion to have an Upper House in all state legislatures. Legislative councils should be strengthen so that it can play its effective role in formulating the policies and programmes for the development of states.