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.

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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50-500Option 2