What is the State Legislature in India?

A legislative body that enacts legislation at the state level is the State Legislature. There is a legislative assembly in every state in the union. Part VI of the Constitution makes reference to the State Legislature. The executive and state legislature make up it. The state legislature’s organisation, makeup, length, offices, procedures, privileges, and powers are all covered in Part VI of the Constitution. 

The constitution of India divides all powers- legislative, executive and financial between the centre and the states for maximum harmony and coordination between centre and state as well as to foster Centre-State relations

Let’s discuss the composition, functions and limitations of state legislative assemblies in India.

Composition of the Houses

Articles 170 and 171 of the Indian Constitution cover the composition of the State Legislative Assemblies and the State Legislative Council, respectively.

State Legislative Assembly

According to Article 170 of the constitution, each state in India should have a Legislative Assembly. However, Article 333 of the Indian Constitution mandates that these gatherings take place. The number of seats in the state’s Legislative Assembly is limited to 500, and there must be at least 60 constituencies. Through a direct election process, selected candidates would represent these constituencies. A state’s legislative assembly may change in composition in reaction to changes in the state’s population. The Legislative Assembly’s tenure or duration is specified in Article 172 of the Indian Constitution. The term limit for the Legislative Assembly should be five years. On the first day of its initial meeting, its term officially begins.

State Legislative Council

The Legislative Council’s makeup is specified under Article 171 of the Indian Constitution. A maximum of one-third of the full members of the state legislature may serve on the legislative council. In any case, the member of the Legislative Council must be at least 40 years old. The makeup of Vidhan Parishad has one exception. The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council only has 36 members, which is fewer than the other legislative councils.

Qualifications of Members

Indian Constitution Article 173 lays out the criteria for membership.

  • The individual must be an Indian national.
  • A Legislative Assembly member must be older than 25.
  • A candidate for the Legislative Council must be at least 30 years old and registered to vote in one of the state’s constituencies.

Functions of the state legislature

The topics of the State List and the Concurrent List are governed by the legislation of each state legislature. The State Legislative Assembly, which only exists in states with unicameral legislatures, is the body that performs all duties. Even though the state legislature is bicameral, with the lower body being the state Legislative Assembly and the upper chamber being the state Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad), the latter performs nearly all duties. The Legislative Council has a small, ancillary responsibility.

Limitations on the powers of State Legislature

Prior consent from the President of India for introducing specified measures: Certain bills can only be introduced in a state legislature with the President of India’s prior authorization. 

  • Bills reserved by the Governor for President’s Assent: After the state legislature has passed legislation, the Governor may reserve particular bills for President’s Assent. They only become law after the President signs them.
  • Limitations imposed by the Rajya Sabha: If the Rajya Sabha accepts a resolution (supported by a 2/3rd majority of those present and voting) proclaiming a state topic mentioned in the resolution as a matter of national concern, the Union Parliament can make laws on the State List for a year.
  • Restrictions in the event of a national emergency: In the event of a national emergency (Article 352), the Parliament has the right to pass laws on any item on the State List. The statute is in effect during the emergency and for six months after it ends.
  • Governor’s Discretionary Powers: The Governor’s discretionary powers in a state also function as a limitation on the State Legislature. When he acts at his discretion, he is outside the reach of the State Legislature. The governor has the authority to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly at his discretion.