Q:- How is the legislative council of the state different from Rajya Sabha? Also, write about the relevance of the legislative councils in states.
India follows a bicameral system of legislation both at the centre and state levels.
Bicameralism is the practice of having two Houses of Parliament. At the State level, the
equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly), and that of the
Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council). Both the Legislative Council and
the Rajya Sabha are the upper houses and act as checks and balances on the lower
houses. Although both are upper houses, there are some significant differences among the
Difference between State legislative Council and the Rajya Sabha
|Legislative Council||Rajya Sabha|
|Origin||• The Charter Act of 1853|
provided for a 12 member
• Article 169 of the
Constitution of India makes
provision for abolition or
creation of Legislative
Councils if that state’s
legislature passes a
resolution with a special
|• The Government of India Act,|
1919, a second chamber
known as the Council of
• The Rajya Sabha, its Hindi
nomenclature, was adopted on
23 August 1954.
|Members||• Under Article 171 of the|
Constitution, the Legislative
Council of a state shall not
have more than one-third
of the total strength of the
State Assembly, and not
less than 40 members.
|• The Rajya Sabha is to consist|
of not more than 250 members
– 238 members representing
the States and Union
Territories and 12 members
nominated by the President.
|Election||• 1/3rd of the MLCs are|
elected by the state’s MLAs,
• Another 1/3rd by members
from municipalities and
• 1/12th by an electorate of
teachers and another 1/12th
by registered graduates.
• Remaining by the Governor
for distinguished services in
various fields namely,
literature, science, art,
cooperative movement and
|• The representatives of each|
State are elected by the
elected members of the
Legislative Assembly in
accordance with the system of
proportional representation by
means of single transferable
|• Currently, six states —|
Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,
Pradesh, Telangana and
Karnataka have a
|• The seats are allocated to the|
federating units on the basis of
• Therefore, the States and
Union Territories do not have a
uniform number of seats as is
the case with many other
|Age||• Minimum 30 years of age|
|• Minimum 30 years of age for|
|Duration||• Like the Rajya Sabha, the|
legislative council is a
continuing chamber, that
is, it is a permanent body
and is not subject to
• The tenure of a Member of
the Legislative Council
(MLC) is six years, with
one-third of the members
retiring every two years.
|• Rajya Sabha is a permanent|
body and is not subject to
• However, one third of the
members retire every second
year and are replaced by newly
• Each member is elected for a
term of six years.
|• A member from the Council|
itself is chosen as the
|• The Vice President of India is|
ex-officio Chairman of Rajya
• The House also elects a
Deputy Chairman from among
its members. .
|Powers||• The legislative power of the|
Councils are limited.
Legislative Council is not a
revising body like Rajya
Sabha it is only a directory
chamber or an advisory
• MLCs cannot vote in
elections for the President
and Vice President.
• The Legislative assembly
can override the Council by
passing the bill for a second
|• Rajya Sabha has equal|
powers with Lok Sabha in all
spheres except financial
matters and with regard to the
control over the government.
• Lok Sabha cannot override
Rajya Sabha by passing a bill
for a second time and vice
versa. A joint sitting is the only
way to resolve a deadlock
Relevance of Legislative council:
- Check hasty decisions: The second house of legislation is considered important to
act as a check on speedy actions by the popularly elected house. If there are two
chambers, the measures passed by one would be scrutinised by the other minutely.
- Reduce Workload: Due to rapid growth in the functions, a unicameral legislature
cannot cope with the work and devote fully to the bills brought before it for
enactment. In such cases, the Legislative council lessens the burden of the lower
house & enables the assembly to fully concentrate on measures of greater
- Wider representation: Elderly, experienced individuals who cannot-bear the ordeal
of electioneering neither campaign can be accommodated in the Legislative Council
through the nominated quota.
- Prevent autocracy: It is argued that the second house put a check on the autocratic
tendencies of the lower chambers. To vest the legislative powers with a popularly
elected house alone may prove harmful to the people of the state as legislation may
Arguments against having a second house
- Unnecessary Delay: If two different parties are in majority in legislative council &
legislative assembly, the upper house will delay bills for months unnecessarily. Thus
its role may become nasty & obstructive.
- Vested interests: Legislative council serves only as a stronghold of vested interests
of people, who are not interested in legislation.
• The forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to
- Limited check on legislative assembly: Power of the legislative councils are
limited and hardly impose any effective checks.
• For instance, as regards Money Bills, only fourteen days delay can be
caused by the council, which is more or less a formality rather than a barrier
in the way of money Bill passed by the Assembly.
- Unnecessary drain on the exchequer Expenditure: It becomes an unnecessary
drain on the exchequer as its role is limited to the whims and fancies of the Legislative
The Legislative Council acts as a check and balance on the autocracy of the legislative
assembly. Therefore rather than getting rid of it, several improvements can be made in its
functioning so that it can become a revising body rather than an advisory body. Some of the
steps that can be taken in this context are:
• Legislative council should be given power equivalent to Rajya Sabha and should
be made a second house and not a secondary house.
• Recommendation of committees like the 2nd ARC report need to be implemented for
improving the functioning of Legislative councils like the election of members of
legislative council, role of teachers and graduates, should be decreased or done
• There is a need for national policy on legislative councils, which should ultimately
decide whether a state needs such a body or not.
• Local bodies should be given more representation in the legislative council to
strengthen root level democracy. This will provide recognition to local bodies at the
state level just like Rajya Sabha provides representation to states at the national