Vidhan Sabha

The Vidhan Sabha also known as Legislative Assembly is the lower house of state legislature in India. Members of the Vidhan Sabha are direct representatives of the people of the particular state as they are directly elected by an electorate consisting of all adult citizens of that state. Its maximum size as outlined in the Constitution of India is not more than 500 members and not less than 60. However, it can be less than 60 by an Act of Parliament like in the states of Goa, Sikkim and Mizoram. The Governor can appoint 1 member to represent the Anglo-Indian community if he or she finds that community to not be adequately represented in the House.

Each Vidhan Sabha is formed for a five year term after which all seats are up for election. During a State of Emergency, its term may be extended past five years or it may be dissolved. It can also be dissolved if a motion of no confidence is passed within it against the majority party or coalition.

Qualifications required to become a MLA

The members of the Vidhan Sabha elect a Speaker of Vidhan Sabha who is responsible for the conduct of business of the body, and also a Deputy Speaker to preside during the Speaker's absence.

The Vidhan Sabha holds equal legislative power with the upper house of state legislature, the Vidhan Parishad, except in the area of money bills in which case the Vidhan Sabha has the ultimate authority. If conflicting legislation is enacted by the two Houses, a joint sitting is held to resolve the differences. In such a session, the members of the Vidhan Sabha would generally prevail, since the Vidhan Sabha includes more than twice as many members as the Vidhan Parishad.

pecial powers of the Vidhan Sabha

A motion of no confidence against the government in the state can only be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha. If it is passed by a majority vote, then the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers must collectively resign.

A money bill can only be introduced in Vidhan Sabha. After it is passed in the Vidhan Sabha, it is sent to the Vidhan Parishad, where it can be kept for a maximum time of 14 days. Unless the Vidhan Parishad rejects it or 14 days lapse or the suggestions made by the Vidhan Parishad are not acceptable to the Vidhan Sabha, the bill, the bill is considered passed. The budget of state is also presented in the Vidhan Sabha by the Finance Minister of the state in the name of the Governor of that state.

In matters related to ordinary bills, after it is passed by the originating house (that is either Vidhan Sabha or Vidhan Parishad) it is sent to the other house, where it can be kept for a maximum period of 6 months time. If the other house rejects the bill or 6 months pass or the suggestions made by the other house is not acceptable to the originating house, it results in a situation of deadlock. This is resolved by the Governor by calling a joint session of both houses which is presided over by the speaker of the Vidhan Sabha and decided by a simple majority. Since the Vidhan Sabha has greater numerical strength, it is in a position of advantage unless fractured by many different parties.

State Legislature

The state legislature is bicameral in some and in some it is unicameral. In most states legislature is unicameral. In unicameral state legislature the (only) house is called Legislative Assembly. In states where there are two houses there is a Legislative Council along with Legislative Assembly. In such a case Legislative Assembly is the Lower House of the State Legislature while the Legislative Council is the Upper House. Governor is an integral part of the State Legislature.

The Legislative Assembly consists of not more than 500 members and not less than 60. The biggest state Uttar Pradesh has 425 members in its Assembly. All members of the Legislative Assembly are elected on the basis of adult franchise, and one member is elected from one constituency. Just as the President has the power to nominate 2 Anglo Indians to the Lok Sabha, similarly, the Governor also has the power to nominate a certain number of members from the Anglo Indian community .The Legislative Council consists of not more than 1/3rd of the total strength of the Legislative Assembly of the state and not less than 40. The members of the Legislative Council are elected as well as nominated. Broadly speaking, 5/6th of the total members of the Council are indirectly elected and 1/6th are nominated by the Governor. The composition is as follows:i) 1/3 of the total members of the Council are elected by electorates consisting of members of local bodies such as corporations, municipalities and zila parishads.ii) 1/3 are be elected by members of Legislative Assembly from among the persons who are not members of the Assembly.iii) 1/12 are elected by electorates consisting of persons who are graduates of three years standing, residing in that state.iv) 1/12 are elected by electorates consisting of persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the state, not lower in standard than secondary .v) The remainder are nominated by the Governor from persons having knowledge or practical experience in fields such as legislature, science, arts, co-operative movement and social service.

QUALIFICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE. A person can become a member of the Legislative Assembly of the state if he or she isi) a citizen of India ii) not less than 25 years of age to be member of the Legislative Assembly and not less than 30 to be a member of the Legislative Council. No person can become .a member of the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council of any state, unless he himself is a voter from any constituency of the state. Those who cannot become members of Parliament can also not become members of state Legislature.TERMThe term of the Legislative Assembly is five years. But it may be dissolved even earlier than five years by the Governor on the request of Chief Minister. The term of the Legislative Assembly may be extended during an Emergency, but not more than six months at a time.The term of each member is 6 years and 1/3rd members of the House retire after every two years.

PRESIDING OFFICERS

You have read about the Presiding officers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha In the same way the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council also have Presiding Officers. The Legislative Assembly has a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker. They are elected from among the members of the House. The Legislative Council has a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman. They are elected from among its members. . The Speaker of the Assembly can decide whether a bill is a money bill or not. Presiding Officers of both the Houses have the right to exercise casting vote in case of tie.

POWERS OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE

The most important function of the Legislature is law making. The State Legislature has the power to make laws on all items on which Parliament cannot legislate. Some of these items are police, prisons, irrigation, agriculture, etc. Some items on which both Parliament and states can make laws are education, marriage and divorce, etc.

As regards Money Bill, the position is the same. Bills can originate only in me Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council can either pass the bill within 14 days from the date of the receipt of the Bill or suggest changes in it within 14 days. But these changes may or may not be accepted by the Assembly.

The State Legislature besides making laws also has one electoral power, m electing the President of India me elected members of the Legislative Assembly also take part along with the elected members of Parliament.. Thus the State legislatures take part in the process of amendment of our Constitution.

Ministers in the state governments are responsible to the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly) of the state. Like Lok Sabha at the centre, state Assembly also keeps constant vigil over state's Council of Ministers. This is done through questions, supplementary questions and adjournment motions. The Assembly may force the Chief Minister and the Council of Minister to resign if it adopts a vote of no confidence against the government, or if a government proposal, bill or budget is rejected by the Assembly.

ee also

* Vidhan Parishad
* Politics of India


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