• 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 [Art. 168].

  • 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 Wishes.

  • 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.

  • There will be a re adjustment by Parliament by law, upon the completion of each census.

State Legislatures

State legislatures aren’t uniform. Some are unicameral but Seven Indian States, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Jammu-Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar 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 assembly. The constitution has fixed the maximum and minimum limits but actual strength is fixed by parliament.

Composition of legislative council

  1. One third members are elected by legislative assembly members
  2. One third are elected from local bodies,
  3. One twelfth are elected by graduates of three years standing and residing in state
  4. One twelfth are elected by teachers of three years standing and not lower in standard than secondary school
  5. One sixth is nominated by governor.


     Duration of assembly:    

      Normal 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 removed.    

     Duration of council:

      The 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.


    Qualifications for a member of state legislature:

  1. Citizen of India
  2. must not be less than 30 yrs in case of council and 25 yrs in case of assembly
  3. For legislative council and assembly he must be an elector from the concerned state belonging to any constituency.
  4. For nomination by the governor he must be a resident in the state
  5. He must be a SC or ST to contest from reserved seats for them. But they can contest from unreserved seats too.



1.      holds an office of profit under union or state government only [not local]

2.      unsound mind, undischarged insolvent and not a citizen of India

3.      been found guilty of electoral offences and corrupt practices in elections

4.      sentenced for more than 2 yrs imprisonment for a crime

5.      holds an office of profit in a company where govt holding is 25% and above

6.      has interest in government contracts, works

7.      Has been convicted of preaching social crimes like untouchability, dowry and sati.

8.      doesn’t lodge election expense on time

9.      has been convicted of promoting enmity between groups or bribery

10.  Has been dismissed from government service for disloyalty to state or corruption.


  1. Governor’s decision on disqualification on these matters is final but he has to obtain advice of election commission on this matters.
  2. Questions regarding disqualification on grounds of defection [tenth schedule] are decided by the presiding officer of that house.
  3. The 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.
  4. 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.
  5. No discussion shall take place in the state legislature regarding conduct of judges of SC and HC in discharge of their official duties.

  • 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

    1. Each House of the State Legislature bas the power to punish for breach of its privileges or for contempt.

    2. 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

    3. 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.

    4. (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 privilege.

    5. (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.

    6. (e) But once a privilege is held to exist, it Is for the House to judge the occasion and its manner of exercise.

    7. The Court cannot Interfere with an erroneous decision by the House or its Speaker in respect of a breach of its privilege.

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)

  • 1 only

  • 2 only

  • Both 1 and 2

  • Neither 1 nor 2

Ans . D

  1. 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).

  2. The Chairman of the Legislative Council is elected by the council itself from amongst its members.


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