- Odisha is all set to get a Legislative Council like several other States in the country.
- The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the 147-member State Assembly.
- The State will have to spend ₹35 crore annually for the Council, the members of which will get salary and allowance as given to the members of the Legislative Assembly.
- The Odisha government had set up a committee in 2015 to study the Legislative Councils in other States and recommend for establishment of one in the State.
- Article 169 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of a Vidhan Parishad.
- The Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature.
- As of 2017, seven (7) (out of twenty-nine) states have a Legislative Council viz.
- Andhra Pradesh
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Uttar Pradesh
- Each Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) serves for a six-year term, with terms staggered so that the terms of one third of a council’s membership expire every two years.
- This arrangement parallels that for the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.
- MLCs must be citizens of India, at least 30 years old, mentally sound, not an insolvent.
- He must be registered on the voters’ list of the state for which he or she is contesting an election.
- He or she may not be a Member of Parliament at the same time.
Size of the House
- The size of the Vidhan Parishad cannot be more than one third of the membership of the Vidhan Sabha.
- However, its size cannot be less than 40 members (except in Jammu and Kashmir, where there are 36 by an Act of Parliament.)
Elections of Members
They are elected by local bodies, legislative assembly, governor, graduates, teacher, etc. MLCs are chosen in the following manner:
- One third are elected by members of local bodies such as municipalities, gram sabhas/gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and Zila Parishad.
- One third are elected by members of Legislative Assemblies of the State from among the persons who are not members of the Assembly.
- One sixth are nominated by the governor from persons having knowledge or practical experience in fields such as literature, science, arts, the co-operative movement and social service.
- One twelfth are elected by persons who are graduates of three years’ standing residing in that state.
- One twelfth are elected by persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower than secondary schools, including colleges and universities.
Why need Legislative Council?
- VP has no powers in terms of passing bills; be it money bills or ordinary bills, unlike Rajya Sabha which has equal powers as that of Lok Sabha in terms of Ordinary bills and Amendment bills.
- This is the reason, it is generally optional to have Vidhan Parishad.
- The purpose of having a bicameral legislature is to re-check the decisions taken by the lower house.
- Even though the upper house has no power to totally reject the bill (even if it rejects, the state assembly can go ahead with the bill after governor’s approval), it can delay the bill for some time.
- The delay will be the time given to the assembly to revise its decision and make any changes to the proposed bill.
- It will cool down the rush of the hour feeling in the popularly elected house and paves way for much rational thoughts.
- As there are no powers for Vidhan Parishad to block any bills, there is not much harm in having such a house.
- The Council has no powers to advise a bill passed in the Assembly.
- It can only delay the passage of the bill for 3 months in the first instance and for one month in the second.
- There is no provision of joint sitting as in case of disagreement in Parliament over ordinary bills.
- In the ultimate analysis, the Legislative Council is a dilatory chamber so far as ordinary legislation is concerned.
- It can delay the passage of the bill maximum for a period of four months.