The Legislative Council is the upper or the second chamber of state Legislature. The Legislative Council does not exist in all the sate of India. At present only five states have Legislative Councils.
The members of the Legislative Council are not elected directly by the voters. They are elected in the following ways.
- One-sixth of the total members of the Council are nominated by the Governor. These persons have special aptitude & specialization in literature, fine arts, science & social service.
- One third of the members of the Council are elected by the State Legislative Assembly. These persons are not to be the members of the House.
- One –third of the members are elected by the local bodies namely, Corporation, Municipalities, Zilla Parishads & Panchayats.
- One-twelfth of the members of the Council are elected by the teachers of not lower than Higher Secondary School. Teachers who have three years of standing are entitled to vote at the election.
- One-twelfth of the members are elected by the university graduates of at least 3 years of standing.
The Council is a permanent body. Its one-third members retire by rotation after 2 years but these persons can be re-elected. Each member of the Council remains in office for 6 years.
- He should be a citizen of India.
- He should not be less than 30 years of age.
- He should not hold any office of profit under the Central or State Government.
- He should possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed by Parliament from time to time.
- He should not be mad or insane & should not have been disqualified to become a member of the Council.
There is an elected chairman of the Council who is the Presiding Officer. He is responsible for running smoothly the business of the House. The Legislative Council can remove the Chairman & the Deputy Chairman from office by a majority vote of the House.
Powers & Functions of the Legislative Council
Any non Money Bill which can be introduced in the Legislative Assembly can also be introduced in the Legislative Council. Any ordinary Bill on the subject mentioned in the State List & Concurrent list can be introduced in the Legislative Council. After the Bill is passed by the Legislative Assembly, the Bill cannot be sent to Governor for his assent unless it is passed by the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council can delay a non-money Bill at the most for a month.
In financial matters the Legislative Council does not enjoy much power. Money Bills cannot be introduced in this Chamber. The money Bill can only be introduced in the Legislative Assembly & after it is passed there, it is sent to the Legislative Council & the Council can delay it at the most for 14 days. It may reject the Bill or may not take any action over if for 14 days & in both these cases the bill is considered as passed by both the Houses & is sent to the Governor for assent. Budget is only introduced in the Legislative Assembly.
Control over the executive
The Legislative Council does not exercise much control over the Executive. Some ministers are of course taken from the Council. Its members can question to the ministers & they are to give satisfactory answers to the questions. The Council can discuss & pass resolutions of the matter of public importance & relating to the administration of the state. The Council can criticize the functioning of the departments under the Ministers. More than this it does not have any control over the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers cannot be removed from office by the Legislative Council.
Legislative Council is the upper chamber of the State legislature. But its position as compared with the lower chamber is of less importance. The Legislative Assembly can establish or abolish the Legislative Council by passing a resolution to this effect. The very existence of the Legislative Council depends upon the Legislative Assembly.