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State Legislature


India is a Union of States. At present, there are 28 States in the Indian Union and each one of them has a Legislature.

The State Legislature is a law making body at the State level.

Organisation of the State Legislature

The Constitution of India provides for a legislature in each State and entrusts it with the responsibility to make laws for the state. However, the composition of a state Legislature can be different in different states. It can be either bicameral or unicameral.

Presently, six states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh) have bi-cameral legislatures. The rest of the states have uni-cameral Legislatures.

In case of a bicameral state legislature, the Upper House is known as the State Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) and the lower house as the State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha). Where there is only one House of the State Legislature, it is known as the State Legislative Assembly. Orissa has a unicameral legislature with Orissa Legislative Assembly as its all powerful house.

The Legislative Council or the Vidhan Parishad is the Upper Chamber of the State Legislature. The Union Parliament has the power to create or abolish the Legislative Council in various states on the basis of resolutions adopted by special majority in the Assemblies.

Article 169, related to the abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in the States, states that the Parliament may by law provide for the abolition of the Legislative Council of a State having such a Council, or for the creation of such a Council in a State having no such Council, if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting.

Composition of the two Houses

 Strength of Legislative Assemblies

The Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) of a State shall normally consist of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members (vide Article 170 of the Constitution). However, there are exceptions in the case of Legislative Assemblies for the States of Goa, Mizoram and Sikkim which consist of 40, 40 and 32 members respectively.

The strength of the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Pondicherry has been fixed as 30 under the provisions of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963.

The Governor of a State has the power to nominate one member of the Anglo-Indian community, if this community is not adequately represented in the House. As in case of the Lok Sabha, some seats are reserved for the members of Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes. The tenure of Vidhan Sabha is five years, but the Governor can dissolve it before the completion of its term on the advice of the Chief Minister. It may be dissolved by the President in case of constitutional emergency proclaimed under Article 356 of the Constitution.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi has been provided with a Legislative Assembly under the Constitution (Sixty-Ninth Amendment) Act, 1991. The Election Commission has accordingly divided the National Capital Territory of Delhi into single-member territorial constituencies by its order dated 22nd September, 1992.

The total number of seats in the Legislative Assemblies in various States and Union Territories and the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in such Assemblies shall not be readjusted until the relevant figures of the first census taken after the year 2000 have been published.

All the parliamentary constituencies for purposes of elections to the Lok Sabha and all the Assembly Constituencies for purposes of elections to the Legislative Assemblies of States and Union Territories, except the National Capital Territory of Delhi, have been delimited on the basis of the 1971 census.

In the case of the Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory of Delhi, the delimitation has been done on the basis of 1991 census as provided in the Govt. of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991.

The extent of each such Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies (except the Assembly Constituencies in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Mizoram and the National Capital Territory of Delhi) is given in the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies order, 1976 issued by the Election Commission under the provisions of section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950. The constituencies in which seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are also indicated in that Order.

Readjustment of seats after every census

Under Article 82 of the Constitution, the Parliament by law enacts a Delimitation Act after every census.

After coming into force commencement of the Act, the Central Government constitutes a Delimitation Commission. This Delimitation Commission demarcates the boundaries of the Parliamentary Constituencies as per provisions of the Delimitation Act.

The present delimitation of constituencies has been done on the basis of 2001 census figures under the provisions of Delimitation Act, 2002.

`Notwithstanding the above, the Constitution of India was specifically amended in 2002 not to have delimitation of constituencies till the first census after 2026. Thus, the present Constituencies carved out on the basis of 2001 census shall continue to be in operation till the first census after 2026.

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