Andhra Pradesh Government To Abolish State Legislative Council
On 27th January, 2020, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed a resolution to abolish the state’s Legislative Council, with 133 legislators of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which has 151 seats in the 175-member assembly, backing the decision.
Reasons behind the Move
- The ruling government has taken the decision to abolish the upper house following the Telugu Desham Party (TDP) rejecting the bills passed by the Legislative Assembly.
- The move comes after the main Opposition TDP, which has 27 members out of the total of 58 in the council, created a roadblock for the YSRCP in the council by sending the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020, to a select committee for further deliberation, after it was passed in the Assembly.
- Earlier, it had rejected bills related to the introduction of English as a medium of instruction at government schools in the winter session held in December, 2019.
- As there is no scope of YSR Congress getting a majority in the near future to get the bills passed smoothly, current government decided to abolish the council.
Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council
- India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament.
- At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.
- The power to create or abolish such a body in any state rests with Parliament, on the basis of an appropriate resolution being adopted by a two-thirds majority in the respective State Legislative Assembly.
- This Act of Parliament is not to be deemed as an amendment of the Constitution for the purposes of Article 368 and is passed like an ordinary piece of legislation (i.e., by simple majority).
- Under Article 168, states can have either one or two Houses of legislature.
- Article 169 provides the choice of having a Vidhan Parishad to individual states.
- Under Article 171, a Council cannot have more than a third of the number of MLAs in the state, and not less than 40 members.
- It means that the size of the Council depends on the size of the Assembly of the concerned state.
- Unlike the members of the Legislative Assembly, the members of the Legislative Council are indirectly elected.
- The members are elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
- A third of the MLCs are elected by MLAs, another third by a special electorate comprising sitting members of local government bodies such as municipalities and district boards, 1/12th by an electorate of teachers, and another 1/12th by registered graduates. The remaining members are appointed by the Governor for distinguished services in various fields.
- Like the Rajya Sabha, the Legislative Council is a continuing chamber, that is, it is a permanent body and is not subject to dissolution. But, one-third of its members retire on the expiration of every second year.
- So, a member continues as such for six years. The vacant seats are filled up by fresh elections and nominations (by governor) at the beginning of every third year. The retiring members are also eligible for re-election and re-nomination any number of times.
Procedure for Dissolving
- The state Cabinet will adopt a resolution and introduce it in the Assembly for adoption. Once the Assembly passes the Bill, it will be sent to the Union Home Ministry for placing before the Cabinet. The Union Cabinet has to adopt the Bill and place it before the Parliament for adoption in both the Houses.
The second House of the Legislature is considered important for two reasons-
- One, to act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.
- Second, to ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.
Argument against having Legislative Councils
Comparison with Rajya Sabha
- The Councils are less powerful than the Rajya Sabha, however. Unlike, the Rajya Sabha, which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lacks a constitutional mandate to do so.
- Also, unlike Rajya Sabha MPs, Members of the Legislative Council (MLCs) cannot vote in elections for the President and Vice President.
States having Legislative Council
- Apart from Andhra Pradesh (58 members), five other states have Legislative Councils: Bihar (58), Karnataka (75), Maharashtra (78), Telangana(40) and Uttar Pradesh (100).
- Jammu and Kashmir too had a Council, until the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh in October, 2019.
Office Of Prime Minister
Why is it in News?
Due to the 2019 General Elections, Office of Prime Minister is often seen in the news.
Office of Prime Minister:
- Article 75 states that the Prime Minister (PM) shall be appointed by the President.
- The Constitution does not contain any procedure for the selection and appointment of the PM in India.
- The term of the PM is not fixed and he holds the office during the pleasure of President, however this does not mean that the President can dismiss the PM any time. So long as the PM enjoys the support of majority of MPs in the Parliament, he can’t be dismissed.
The PM is the chairman of NITI Aayog, National Development Council, CSIR, Inter-state Council, National Integration Council, National Ganga Mission, National Water Commission, National Board for Wildlife, etc.
Source: Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth