State Legislature : Organization, Powers and functions, with special reference to Jharkhand

Articles 168 to 212 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the organisation, composition, duration, officers, procedures, privileges, powers and so on of the state legislature.In most of the States, the Legislature consists of the Governor and the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha). This means that these State have unicameral Legislature. In a Six States( Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.), there are two Houses of the Legislature namely, Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and Legislative council (Vidhan Parishad) besides the Governor.Where there are two Houses, the Legislature, is known as bicameral.Five States have the bicameral, legislature. The Legislative Assembly is known as lower House or popular House. The Legislative Council is known as upper House.

There is a Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) in every State. It represents the people of State. The members of Vidhan Sabha are directly elected by people on the basis of universal adult franchise. They are directly elected by all adult citizens registered as voters in the State. All men and women who are 18 years of age and above are eligible to be included in the voters’ List.

There are certain qualifications prescribed by the Constitution for being elected as an M. L. A. The candidate must:

  • be a citizen of India;
  • have attained the age of 25 years;
  • have his/her name in the voters’ list;
  • not hold any office of profit; and
  • not be a government servant.

Subject to the provisions of article 333, the Legislative Assembly of each State shall consist of not more than five hundred, and not less than sixty, members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the State.

The Legislative council or Vidhan Parishad is partly elected and partly nominated. Most of the members are indirectly elected in accordance with the principle of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote system. Different categories of members represent different interests. The composition of the Legislative Council is as follows:

i. One-third members of the Council are elected by the members of the Vidhan Sabha.
ii. One-third of the members of the Vidhan Parishad are elected by the electorates consisting of members of Municipalities, District Boards and other local bodies in the State;
iii. One-twelfth members are elected by the electorate consisting of graduates in the State with a standing of three years;
iv. One-twelfth members are elected by the electorate consisting of teachers of educatioal institutions within the State not lower in standard than a secondary school who have teaching experience of at least three years;
v. The remaining, i.e. about one-sixth members are nominated by the Governor from amongst the persons having special knowledge in the sphere of literature, science, arts, co-operative movement and social service.

The State Legislature is empowered to make laws on State List and Concurrent List. The Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies have the right to make the laws on the subjects mentioned in the Concurrent List. But in case of contradiction between the Union and State law on the subject the law made by the Parliament shall prevail.

State legislature has exclusive powers over subjects enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and concurrent powers over those enumerated in List III. Financial powers of legislature include authorisation of all expenditure, taxation and borrowing by the state government. Legislative assembly alone has power to originate money bills. Legislative council can make only recommendations in respect of changes it considers necessary within a period of fourteen days of the receipt of money bills from Assembly. Assembly can accept or reject these recommendations.

State legislatures, apart from exercising the usual power of financial control, use all normal parliamentary devices like questions, discussions, debates, adjournments and no-confidence motions and resolutions to keep a watch over day-to-day work of the executive. They also have their committees on estimates and public accounts to ensure that grants sanctioned by legislature are properly utilised.

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