In India, Legislative Councils are established under the provisions of the Constitution of India, specifically Articles 168 to 212. These provisions outline the composition, powers, and functions of Legislative Councils, which are also known as “Vidhan Parishads” or “Upper Houses” in the bicameral legislative systems of some states.
- Composition: Legislative Councils in India are composed of members elected by various methods, including:
- Elected by the state legislative assembly
- Elected by local bodies, such as municipal corporations and panchayats
- Elected by registered graduates
- Elected by teachers
- Nominated by the governor
- Powers and functions: Legislative Councils have the same powers and functions as the lower house of the state legislature, except that they cannot initiate a money bill. They can, however, make recommendations on money bills and participate in the legislative process by discussing and debating bills.
- Current status: Currently, there are Legislative Councils in six states in India: Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. These Legislative Councils have a limited role in the legislative process and are often seen as less powerful than the lower house of the state legislature.
- Examples: One example of the working of a Legislative Council is in the state of Maharashtra, where the Legislative Council plays a role in scrutinizing and reviewing legislation proposed by the state government. In 2021, the Legislative Council of Maharashtra rejected a bill proposed by the state government that aimed to exempt certain categories of industries from obtaining environmental clearance. This shows the power of the Legislative Council to review and reject legislation proposed by the government.
Overall, while Legislative Councils in India have a limited role in the legislative process, they serve as an important check on the power of the state government and provide representation for certain groups in the state.