Andhra Pradesh Cabinet NOD to Abolish Legislative Council - Background Context
The abolition and revival of the second chamber in State legislatures became matters of political advantage or convenience.
Andhra Pradesh is the most recent State to favour the change of the order regarding the Upper House, in an Assembly resolution for its Legislative Council’s abolition.
A.P. Chief Minister's dramatic and immediate step comes after key legislation planned to put forward his ambitious three-capital proposal was announced, to the committee by the Council, during which his party did not meet the required majority.
Chief Ministers Grievance: The appointed Council is functioning with a political agenda to create barriers to his proposal.
While the requirement for a bicameral legislature within the States has often been and frequently doubted and questioned, very less, would support the thought of potential barrier in receiving the Council’s approval may be a prime cause for its abolition.
Legislative Councils in various states:
- P.’s proposal will bear fruit as long as Parliament passes a law to that extent, based on the State’s request.
- P. CM reached the conclusion that there was no point in spending an enormous sum (₹.60 crore per year) on the appointed Council if it comes within the way and becomes a barrier to important government interests within the Legislature.
- Chief Minister (CM) also announced, within the Assembly that only 6 states have a legislative council and he was completely against allowing the Legislative Council of Andhra Pradesh to function and operate with any sort of political agenda.
- However, frequent observations advocate the Indian states without a legislative council favour its revival. Rajasthan, Assam, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh have passed resolutions for a revival, but are yet to receive parliamentary approval.
- In Tamil Nadu, the earlier or former DMK regimes had advocated revival and even received parliamentary approval in 2010, which didn't end in the particular re-establishment of the Council, which was dissolved earlier in 1986.
- It seems clear water situation, wherever the Council is an attempt to be revived or abolished, there's no agreement.
What are the Legislative Councils, and why are they significant?
- India favours and features a bicameral system., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the identical to the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; on the other hand for Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.
A second House of the legislature is taken into account important for 2 reasons ...
- Firstly, to act as a check on rapid actions by the famously elected House and,
- Secondly, to make sure that individuals who won't be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are ready to contribute to the legislative process.
- Indian constitution doesn't force or impose a bicameral legislature on states. Rather, it gives states the choice of getting a second House.
- The process of making an Upper home is cumbersome and lengthy. Under Article 169 of the constitution of India, Parliament may by law produce or abolish the second chamber during a state if the respective legislative assembly of that state passes a resolution or manifesto thereto effect by a special majority.
- As per Article 171 (1), the sum of all members within the legislative council of a respective state shall not be over one-third (1/3) of the aggregate number of the members within the legislative assembly of that state.
- Also, the entire number of members within the legislative council of a state, in any given situation is lower than 40.
- As of today, six states have Legislative Councils. These states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Opposition to the thought of Legislative Councils is centred on three broad arguments
- First, they can be utilized to park leaders who haven't been successful to win an election.
- Second, they shall be utilised to delay progressive legislation.
- Third, they might strain state finances.
Opinion within the Constituent Assembly was split on the question of getting a legislative council.
The idea was backed by the above ideology; it had been also recommended that having a second chamber would enable more debate and sharing of work between both the houses.
2nd ARC recommended that the role of graduate and teacher should be lowered or done away with and more say and roles should be given to local bodies so as to build up the voice of local bodies.
How are members of the Council elected?
Membership may vary, but the Legislative Council must not have quite a 3rd of the entire membership of the Assembly of that state and in no case fewer than 40 members.
- About 1/3rd (one-third) of members are elected by members of the Assembly
- Another 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities within the state
- 1/12th (one-twelfth) elected by an electorate consisting of teachers, and 1/12th (one-twelfth) by registered graduates.
The remaining members are appointed by the Governor from among those that have differentiated themselves in following streams such as science, art and literature, the cooperative and welfare work.
Legislative Councils are perennial Houses, and similar to Rajya Sabha, 1/3 of their members retire every 2 years.
Do Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishads have identical power pleasure?
Not really. The constitution gives Councils limited legislative powers.
Rajya Sabha has considerable powers to re-shape the non-financial legislation. In the case of the Legislative Council, it lacks those powers.
Legislative Assemblies have the facility to override suggestions/amendments made to legislation by the Council.
Also, while Rajya Sabha MLAs and members can contribute their vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t. Member of the Legislative Council also doesn't have the facility to cast their vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.
Chief Ministers need to bear the possible delay that the Council’s opinion or course of action may cause, and seek to create a legislative consensus rather than pushing their agenda through.
In particular, state governments will need to hear different voices on his proposal to locate the State supreme court in Kurnool, its legislature in Amaravati, and therefore the government secretariat in Visakhapatnam.
The important question here is if or not the established Councils are serving their intended and core purpose to require a considered third party independent view on subject matters without being influenced by electoral considerations.
If the Upper Houses or established Council, are being utilised as shelters for leaders who have lost general elections, then definitely there might not be many purposes for their existence.
And there's less justification for having separate representation in Councils for graduates and native bodies when democracy has taken roots and Assemblies are representative of all sections.