[Model Answer QP2021 GS2] Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations.

In the federal structure of India, there are two types of legislative bodies – unicameral and bicameral. While all states have a Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha), some states also have a second house known as the Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad).

The Legislative Council is the upper house of the state legislature, and its structure and function are guided by the Constitution of India.

Constitutional Provisions for Establishment of Legislative Councils:

Article 168 of the Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature in certain states. As per the Constitution, the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh currently have bicameral legislatures.

Article 169 empowers Parliament to create or abolish a Legislative Council in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting.

Article 171 dictates the composition of the Legislative Councils. It states that the total number of members in the council cannot be more than one-third of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly of that state, and not less than 40.

 The working and current status of Legislative Councils – Challenges

1. Backdoor Entrance: Legislative Council may be utilized to accommodate discredited party-men or wealthy donars.

2. Public exchequer: The second house is often considered as a heavy burden on public exchequer without any great significance.

3. Not Enough Teeth: They can block a bill for a maximum of 4 months after which the bill is deemed passed if the bill is passed by the Legislative Assembly of the state.

The working and current status of Legislative Councils – Strengths

1. Checks against Hasty Legislation: Has the house is composed of senior and experienced members.

2. Opportunity for Experts: Those individuals who cannot-bear the ordeal of electioneering and campaign but posses expertise can use this house to take part in law making in the state.
Legislative councils represent the local governments and also give voice to people having expertise in various fields (through Gubernatorial nominations).

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