The State Legislature

The State Legislature

The State Legislature consists of the Governor, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. Presently in India six states, viz., Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, and Uttar Pradesh have both Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, whereas the other States have only one house i.e. the Legislative Assembly.

Check out Polity notes in detail. 

Legislative Assembly

Composition: The Legislative Assembly is the popular house of the State Legislature. The strength of the Legislature varies from State to State. However, the Constitution stipulates that the Vidan Sabha of a State shall consist of not more than 500 members and not less than 60 members. (The Legislative Assembly of Sikkim has 32 members vide Article 371 (f) of the Constitution ).

The members of the Legislative Assembly are directly elected by the people on the basis of the universal adult franchise through territorial constituencies. However, there is a provision for the reservation of seats for scheduled tribes and scheduled castes on the basis of their population. In addition, the Governor of the State can nominate certain members of the Anglo Indian Community if in his opinion it has not got adequate representation in the Assembly in the normal course.


The Legislative Assembly enjoys a tenure of five years. However, it can be dissolved earlier by the Governor. During the proclamation of an emergency, the term of the Assembly can be extended by one year at a time through an Act of Parliament. However, its term cannot be extended beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Presiding Officer: The Legislative Assembly elects a presiding officer, known as Speaker from amongst its members for a period of five years. In addition, the assembly also elects a Deputy Speaker who discharges the duties of the Speaker in his absence.

Legislative Council

Composition: The Legislative Council is the upper house of the State Legislature. Unlike the members of the legislative assembly, the members of the legislative council are indirectly elected. The maximum strength of the council is fixed at one-third of the total strength of assembly and the minimum strength is fixed at 40. It means that the size of the council depends on the size of the assembly of the concerned state. This is done to ensure the predominance of the directly elected House ( assembly ) in the legislative affairs of the state. Though the Constitution has fixed the maximum and the minimum limits, the actual strength of a Council is fixed by Parliament.

Manner of Election

Of the total number of members of a legislative council: 1. 1/3 are elected by the members of local bodies in the state like municipalities, district boards, etc. 2. 1/12 are elected by graduates of three years standing and residing within the state. 1/12 are elected by teachers of three years standing in the state, not lower in standard than secondary school. 1/3 are elected by the members of the legislative assembly of the state from amongst persons who are not members of the assembly, and the remainder are nominated by the governor from amongst persons who have a piece of special knowledge or practical experience of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Thus, 5/6 of the total number of members of a legislative council are indirectly elected and 1/6 are nominated by the governor. The members are elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. The bonafide or propriety of the governor’s nomination, in any case, cannot be challenged in the courts.

This scheme of the composition of a legislative council as laid down in the Constitution is tentative and does not fail. The Parliament is authorised to modify or replace the same. However, it has not enacted any such law so far. Term: Like Rajya Sabha at the Centre, the Legislative Council is a permanent house and is not subject to dissolution. However, one-third of its members retire every two years, in accordance with the law made by the Parliament. Presiding Officer: The Legislative Council elects a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman from amongst its members. It is noteworthy that unlike the Rajya Sabha where the Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman, the Governor of the State is not an ex-officio Chairman of the Council.

Creation and abolition of Legislative Council

The Power to abolish or create Legislative Councils in the states rests with the Parliament. A Legislative Council can be created in a state where it does not exist, if the Legislative Assembly of the State passed a resolution to this effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting and the Parliament enacts the necessary law in this regard. Likewise, the Legislative Council of a State can be abolished by the Parliament if the Legislative Assembly passes a resolution seeking abolition of the Council.


To be eligible for membership to the State Legislature:

1. A person must be a citizen of India

2. Must not be less than 25 years of age for the Legislative Assembly and not less than 30 years for the Legislative Council.

3. Must possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by Parliament by law.


A person aspiring for membership of State Legislature should not suffer from any of the following disqualifications:

1. He should not hold any office of profit under the Central or State Government.

2. He should not be of unsound mind. He should not be an undischarged insolvent He should not have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state.

3. He should not be disqualified by or under any law of the Parliament, etc.

Check out the notes on The State Judiciary

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