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State legislature in India|Powers and Functions of State Legislature

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powers and functions of state legislature
state legislature in india

The State Legislature in each state is entrusted with the responsibility of framing laws for the state. Some states in India have a Bicameral Legislature while others have opted for a Unicameral Legislature.

Most of the States abolished the Upper House of the state legislature and today there is a provision of Bicameral Legislature in the states of Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.

In States which have Bicameral(Two Houses) legislature, the upper house is known as the State Legislative Council i.e- Vidhan Parishad, and the Lower House as the State Legislative Assembly i.e- Vidhan Sabha. 

According to Article-168(1) of the constitution, for every state, there shall be legislature which shall consist of the Governor.

It is provided in Article168(2), where there are two houses of the legislature of the state, one shall be known as the Legislative Council and the other as Legislative Assembly, and where there is only one house, it shall be known as the Legislative Assembly(Vidhan Sabha).

Legislative Council(Vidhan Parishad)| State Legislature

Legislative Council is the upper house of the state legislature.

Article-169 empowers the union parliament to abolish or create this house in a state acting in accordance with the declared will of the Legislative Assembly(Vidhan Sabha) of the state.

Composition- Legislative Council (Article-171)

The constitution declares that the total members in the Legislative Council of a state shall not exceed 1/3rd of the total members of the Legislative Assembly of the state.

Method of Election

The members of the Legislative Council, except those nominated by the Governor, are elected by secret ballot and through the Single Transferable Vote system of the proportional representation system.

Qualifications

  • He must be a citizen of India.
  • He must be above 30 years of age.
  • He should not hold any office of profit.
  • He must fulfill all other qualifications as laid down by the law of parliament.

Tenure

It is a permanent chamber. It’s 1/3rd members retire after every 2 years and new members are elected to replace the retiring members.

However, the retired persons are eligible for re-election. (state legislature in india)

Powers and Functions of the Legislative Council(Vidhan Parishad)

A) Legislative Power

An ordinary bill or non-money bill can be introduced in either House of the state legislature.

The bill concerning all the subjects grouped in the state list and the concurrent list, be introduced in the Legislative Council. It is required to be passed by both houses for becoming law.

If the ordinary bill has been introduced in the Legislative Assembly in the first instance and it goes to council after having been passed by the assembly, the council have 4 alternatives before it-

  • May pass the bill.
  • May reject the bill.
  • May amend the bill.
  • May not take any action on it.

But in reality, the legislative council can delay the passing of a bill for a maximum period of 4 months. So Legislative Council doesn’t have any strong power in this field.

B) Financial Powers

The position of the Legislative Council is insignificant in the financial field.

A money bill can only be introduced in the Legislative Assembly(Vidhan Sabha) first. After it is passed by the legislative assembly, it is sent to the council for consideration.

The Council is required to return it within 14 days. It can make a certain suggestion, but it is for the assembly to accept these or not.

C) Executive Power

The Legislative Council has little control over the executive and hence we can say that it has no effective power in the executive sphere.

The legislative council exercises some control over the State Ministry by asking questions, seeking information, but cannot remove the ministers by passing a vote of No-Confidence. 

Conclusion – Powers of Legislative Council

From the above discussion of the powers of the Legislative Council, the conclusion is reached that the Legislative Council is a powerless house because it has neither effective legislative nor financial functions. It can delay an ordinary bill for a maximum period of 4 months and a money bill for 14 days. It has no practical utility either, therefore it should be abolished. That is why it exists only in 5 States. (powers and functions of state legislature)

Legislative Assembly(Vidhan Sabha)| State Legislature

Legislative Assembly which is commonly known as Vidhan Sabha is the lower house of the state legislature and is regarded as the Popular Chamber.

Composition

Article-170 provides that the Legislative Assembly shall consist of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members.

The number of members of this house is based on the population of the state. 

Method of Election

The members of the Legislative Assembly are elected directly out on the basis of Universal Adult Franchise.

Tenure

The tenure of Vidhan Sabha is 5 years. However, it can be dissolved by the Governor at any time. 

 Qualifications

  • He must be a citizen of India.
  • He must not be less than 25 years of age.
  • He must not hold any office of profit.
  • He must fulfill all other qualifications as laid down by the parliament.

Powers and Functions of the Legislative Assembly(Vidhan Sabha)

A) Legislative Power

The Legislative Assembly can make laws on the subject group in the state list and the concurrent list.

Ordinary bills can be introduced in either of the houses and become law only when passed by the two houses and signed by the governor. However, in practice, almost 95% of the bills are first introduced in the Legislative Assembly.

The Legislative Council can only delay the passing of an ordinary bill by a maximum of 4 months. Thus, the Legislative Council acts only as a delaying house, and the real lawmaking power are exercised by the Legislative Assembly.

B) Financial Power

The Legislative Assembly controls the finance of the state. It approves the Annual Financial Statement i.e- Budget, by means of which it authorizes the government to impose, reduce, or abolish taxes.

The state cannot spend any money without its approval. A money bill originates only in the state legislative assembly. The Legislative Council can delay a money bill for a period of not more than 14 days.

 C) Executive Powers

The Legislative Assembly controls the State Council of Ministers, as the constitution(Article-162) makes the council of ministers collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

The states COM can remain in office so long as it enjoys the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly. Also, the Legislative Assembly can remove the COM from office by, passing the vote of No-Confidence Motion.

 D) Amendment Powers

For making an amendment of some provisions of the constitution, approval of at least half of the state legislature is required.

Example- Changes in the State List etc.

E) Miscellaneous Powers

  • It takes disciplinary action against its own members for the violation of its privileges.
  • It has the power to recommend the creation or abolition of the Legislative Council.

 Conclusion – Powers of Legislative Assembly

From the above discussion of the powers of the Legislative Assembly, the conclusion is reached that the Legislative Assembly is a powerful house because it has effective legislate or financial functions. (state legislature in india)

Powers and Function of State Legislature

In the states having a bicameral legislature, both the houses jointly exercise their powers, but in the states with a unicameral legislature, the Legislative Assembly(Vidhan Sabha) discharge all the functions of the Legislature.

 A) Legislative Function

The state legislature is empowered to make laws on the state list and the concurrent list. But in the case of a law passed by the state legislature coming into conflict with the law of Parliament, the union law will prevail.

B) Financial Function

The state legislature has complete control over the finances of the state. It approves the annual budget of the state, imposes and reduces the taxes, etc.

C) Constitutional Power

It is necessary to get the approval of 1/2 state legislature for the amendment of some provisions of the constitution.

However, state legislatures are not empowered to initiate amendments.

 D) Judicial Function

The state legislature can take disciplinary action against its own members for violating the privileges of the legislature.

 Limitations on the Power and Functions of State Legislature

  • Certain types of the bill cannot be moved in the state legislature without the previous sanction of the President of India.
  • Certain Bill passed by the state legislature cannot become operative until they receive the President assent and consideration by the Governor.
  • Parliament can exercise the power to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to any matters in the time of emergency.
  • The constitution is the biggest limitation. No law can be passed against the provision or basic structure of the Constitution of India. Such laws are subject to Judicial review. 

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