Chapter 31: STATE LEGISLATURE
THOUGH a uniform pattern of government is prescribed for the states, the Constitution makes a distinction between
the bigger and the smaller States.
While in the matter of the composition of the Legis-
lature of every State shall include the Governor and,
in some of the States, it shall consist of two Houses, namely, the Legislative
Assembly and the legislative Council, while in the rest, there shall be only
one House, i.e., the Legislative Assembly.
It follows that In the remaining States,the Legislature Is uni-cameral,
that is, consisting of the legislative Assembly only
But the above list is not permanent in the
sense that the Constitution provides for the abolition of
the Second Chamber (that is, the legislative Council)
in a State where it exists as well as for the creation of
such a Chamber in a State where there is none at present, by a simple
procedure which does not involve an amendment of the Constitution.
This apparently extraordinary provision was made for the States (while
there was none corresponding to it for the Union Legislature) in order to
meet the criticism, at the time of the making of the Constitution, that some of
our States being of poerer resources, could ill afford to have the
extravagance of two Chambers.
This device was, accordingly, prescribed to
enable each State to have a Second Chamber or not according to Its own
The system of composition of the Council as laid down in the
Constitution is not final.
The final power of providing the composition of this
Chamber of the State Legislature is given to the Union Parliament. But until Parliament legislates on the matter, the composition shall
be as given to the Constitution, which is as follows:
It will be a partly
nominated and partly elected body
There shall be a proportionately equal representation according to
population in respect of each territorial constituency within a State.
will be a re adjustment by Parliament by law, upon the completion of each
State legislatures aren’t
uniform. Some are unicameral but Seven Indian States, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar,
Pradesh, have bicameral
Legislatures, these are called legislative councils.
Thus state legislatures
have governor, legislative assembly [first chamber
or popular house] and
legislative council [second chamber or house of
elders; only if formed].
J&K has a bicameral
legislature due to its own constitution. Similarly the
minimum strength fixed
for legislative councils by constitution isn’t
applicable to J&K.
Parliament can create or abolish
the second chamber if state legislative assembly makes a
resolution by a
special majority. This isn’t considered an amendment to
the constitution so
parliament can pass law by a simple majority.
State legislative assembly has
strength of 60-500 with exceptions for smaller states.
The numbers of
territorial constituency have been fixed by census of
1971 till the year 2026.
However by delimitation act census of 2001 has been
considered without altering
the number of constituencies in states.
Strength of the legislative
council is from 40 to one third that of the legislative
constitution has fixed the maximum and minimum limits
but actual strength is
fixed by parliament.
Composition of legislative council
third members are elected by legislative assembly
third are elected from local bodies,
- One twelfth
are elected by graduates of three years standing and
residing in state
- One twelfth
are elected by teachers of three years standing and
not lower in standard than
sixth is nominated by governor.
term is 5 years from the date of first session. However
governor can dissolve
it anytime. During emergency its term can be
extended by one year at a time.
But not beyond a period of 6 months after emergency is
legislative council is a permanent body. One third
members retire every 2
years. Vacancy is filled at beginning
of third year. Term of
each member is 6
years. A member can be re-elected or re nominated any
number of times.
for a member of state legislature:
not be less than 30 yrs in case of council and 25 yrs
in case of assembly
legislative council and assembly he must be an elector
from the concerned state
belonging to any constituency.
nomination by the governor he must be a resident in
must be a SC or ST to contest from reserved seats for
them. But they can
contest from unreserved seats too.
an office of profit under union or state government only
mind, undischarged insolvent and not a citizen of India
found guilty of electoral offences and corrupt practices
for more than 2 yrs imprisonment for a crime
an office of profit in a company where govt holding is 25%
interest in government contracts, works
been convicted of preaching social crimes like
untouchability, dowry and sati.
lodge election expense on time
been convicted of promoting enmity between groups or
been dismissed from government service for disloyalty to
state or corruption.
decision on disqualification on these matters is final
but he has to obtain advice
of election commission on this matters.
regarding disqualification on grounds of defection
[tenth schedule] are decided
by the presiding officer of that house.
powers, privileges, functions and duties of speaker,
deputy speaker, chairman
and deputy chairman are same as that of parliament.
However the chairman of
legislative council is member of that house.
- When the
state legislative assembly is dissolved the bills
returned by the president for
reconsideration of the house don’t lapse. This is extra
condition the others
are mentioned in Section of bills lapsing in due to
dissolution of Lok Sabha.
discussion shall take place in the state legislature
regarding conduct of
judges of SC and HC in discharge of their official
The privileges of the Legislature of a State are similar to those of the
Union Parliament inasmuch as the constitutional provisions are identical. The question of the privileges of a
State Legislature has been brought to the notice of the
public particularly in relation to the power of the
Legislature to punish for contempt and the jurisdiction
of the Courts in respect thereof. Though all aspects of this question have not
yet been settled, the following propositions may be formulated from the
decisions of the Supreme Court
Each House of the State Legislature bas the power to punish for
breach of its privileges or for contempt.
Each House is the sole Judge of the question whether any of its
privileges has, in particular case, been infringed, and the Courts have no
Jurisdiction to interfere with the decision of the House on this point
The Court cannot Interfere with any action taken for contempt unless
the Legislature or its duly authorised officer is seeking to assert a privilege
not known to the law of Parliament; or the notice issued or the action taken
was without jurisdiction.
(c) No House of the Legislature has, however, the power to create for
Itself any new privilege not known to the law and the Courts possess the
power to determine whether the House In fact possesses a particular
(d) It is also competent for a High Court to entertain a petition for
habeas corpus under Art. 226 or for the Supreme Court, under Art. 32.
challenging the legality of a sentence Imposed by a Legislature for contempt
on the ground that it has violated a fundamental right of the petitioner and
to release the prisoner on bail, pending disposal of that petition.
(e) But once a privilege is held to exist, it Is for the House to judge the
occasion and its manner of exercise.
The Court cannot Interfere with an
erroneous decision by the House or its Speaker in respect of a breach of its
Q.Consider the following statements:
1. The Legislative Council of a state in India can be larger in size than half of the Legislative Assembly of that particular state.
2. The Governor of a state nominates the Chairman of Legislative Council of that particular state.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (UPSC CSAT 2015)
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Ans . D
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 (with some exceptions).
The Chairman of the Legislative Council is elected by the council itself from amongst its members.
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