Re-starting the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council
Anirudh and Chakshu
Friday’s issue of Indian Express carried an op-ed article by the Director of PRS on the issue of the re-establishment of the Legislative Council (upper house) in Tamil Nadu.
The article (a) traces the history of the legislature in Tamil Nadu, (b) the efficacy of having upper houses in state legislatures, (c) arguments for and against having legislative councils in state legislatures, and looks at the larger issue of how efficiently state legislatures perform their expected role.
General information on Legislative Councils in India:
The Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) of a state comprises not more than one-third of total number of members in legislative assembly of the state and in no case less than 40 members (Legislative Council of Jammu and Kashmir has 36 members vide Section 50 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir).
(a) About 1/3rd of members of the council are elected by members of legislative assembly from amongst persons who are not its members,
(b) 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state,
(c) 1/12th by electorate consisting of persons who have been, for at least three years, engaged in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower in standard than secondary school, and
(d) one-twelfth by registered graduates of more than three years standing.
Remaining members are nominated by Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Legislative councils are not subject to dissolution but one-third of their members retire every second year.
The points below provide more information on the Tamil nadu legislative Council:
- The Government of India Act, 1935 established a bicameral legislature in the province of Madras.
- May 14, 1986 [eigth assembly] the government moved a resolution for the dissolution of the Legislative Council. The resolution was passed.
- The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council(Abolition) Bill, 1986 was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and received the assent of the president on the 30th August 1986. The Act came into force on the 1st November 1986. The Tamil Nadu Legislative Council was abolished with effect from the 1st November 1986.
- February 20, 1989, [ninth Assembly] a Government Resolution seeking the revival of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council was moved and adopted by the house
- The Legislative Council Bill, 1990 seeking the creation of Legislative Councils of the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh was introduced in Rajya Sabha on the 10th May 1990 and was considered and passed by the Rajya Sabha on the 28th May 1990. But the Bill could not be passed by the Lok Sabha.
- October 4, 1991, [tenth Assembly] a Government Resolution was adopted in the Assembly to rescind the Resolution passed on the 20th February 1989 for the revival of the Legislative Council in the State of Tamil Nadu.
- July 26, 1996, [eleventh Assembly], a Government Resolution seeking the revival of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council was moved and adopted by the house.