According to our constitution, the legislature of a state comprises the Governor and two Houses (in case of those states which have bicameral legislatures) or the Governor and the Legislative Assembly (in case of all other states of India).
Only five states in the country have two Houses. These states are Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The Lower House, which is popularly and directly, elected, is called the Legislative Assembly while the Upper House is called the Legislative Council.-Thus, in every Indian state there is a Legislative Assembly, but in five states mentioned above, there is, besides a Legislative Assembly, a Legislative Council.
The Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad
There was division of opinion in the Constituent Assembly regarding the creation of Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad. Some members argued that the Legislative Council would be superfluous, unnecessary and expensive. They also reasoned that it would delay lawmaking and hinder progressive legislation.
However, others pointed out that a Legislative Council could accommodate talented and eminent persons who would not like to face direct election. It would give representation to special interests. Further, it would be a check on hasty and ill-considered legislation. The second group prevailed and the constitution provided for a Legislative Council for big states.
The strength of the Legislative Council should normally be one-third of the strength of the Legislative Assembly. But it should not be less than 40 members.
The Legislative Council should be constituted in the following manner.
1. One-third of the members are to be elected by the members of various local bodies, such as Municipalities and District Boards.
2. One-twelfth of the members are to be elected by university graduates living in the state. These graduates must have at least three-year standing.
3. One-twelfth of the members are to be elected by the teachers of educational institutions not lower in standard than that of secondary schools.
4. One-third of the members are to be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly from among persons who are not the members of the Legislative Assembly.
5. The rest of the members (about one sixth of the total membership) are to be nominated by the Governor from among persons having special knowledge and experience in the fields of art, literature, science, social service, cooperative movement etc.
All the members of the Legislative Council are elected indirectly and these elections are held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
The Legislative Council, being a permanent body, is not subject to dissolution, members have a six-year term and one-third of its members retire every second.
The constitution prescribes the following qualifications for becoming a member of the Legislative Council.
(a) He must be a citizen of India.
(b) He must be at least 30 years old.
(c) He must have such other qualifications as may be prescribed by the Parliament No person can be a member of more than one legislature at the same time. It foil that a member of the Legislative Assembly cannot be a member of the Legislative Council simultaneously.
One-tenth of the total membership or 10 members, whichever is greater’ shall form quorum (minimum number of members to be present to make the meeting valid) in a meeting of the Legislative Council.
The presiding officer of the Legislative Council is called the Chairman. There is a Deputy Chairman to discharge all the functions of the Chairman when the latter is absent. Both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman are elected by the members of Legislative Council.
They hold their offices till their successors are elected. They can resign before their terms are over. Each one of them can be removed if a resolution for his removal is adopted by Legislative Council with absolute majority.