West Bengal Government to set up Legislative Council: Why was it abolished? Get all details here

West Bengal's upper house, Legislative Council was abolished in 1969 by the coalition government of Left parties as it was considered a symbol of elitism.    

Created On: May 21, 2021 12:42 ISTModified On: May 21, 2021 12:43 IST

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee approved setting up of the Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad in the state during a cabinet meeting conducted through video conferencing on May 17, 2021 with several Departmental Secretaries. This was one of the poll promises of the Trinamool Congress(TMC).

The re-introduction of the Legislative Council will, however, require approval from the Parliament. Considering the recent clashes of the CM with the centre, it may turn out to be difficult for West Bengal to get the centre's nod to set up the Legislative Council. Under Article 169 of the constitution, the proposal for Legislative Council has to be passed in Parliament with a certain majority.  

The West Bengal Chief Minister had recently on May 20th slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that Chief Ministers are not allowed to speak during PM-CM meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Why was West Bengal's Legislative Council abolished?

West Bengal's upper house, Legislative Council was abolished in 1969 by the coalition government of Left parties as it was considered a symbol of elitism.    

Why does the state need a Legislative Council?

According to popular opinion, Legislative Council allows distinguished people who can be elected through a different procedure to be a part of the government and consultation for any constructive purpose. Just like Rajya Sabha serves to balance out the centre with some of the finest parliamentarians, a similar house at the state level is expected to really contribute to better decision making. 

Which states have Legislative Councils?

Six states currently have Legislative Councils including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Bihar. The bicameral legislatures were set up before Independence in 1935.

The first-ever Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad had come into existence in West Bengal in 1937.

How many members does the Legislative Council have?

Under Article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the state's legislative council shall not exceed one-third of the total number of the members in the Legislative Assembly of that state and it will not be less than 40.

How are Legislative Council members elected?

•1/3rd of members are elected by State Legislative Assembly Members.

•1/3rd of members are elected  by representatives of the Local Authorities such as Municipalities, Zilla Parishads, Block Parishads.

•1/12th of members are elected  by teachers.

•1/12th of members are elected  by graduates.

• Remaining members are nominated by Governor. These members are nominated from among those who have distinguished themselves in various different fields including art, science, literature, social service and the cooperative movement.

Background 

The setting up of the Legislative Council has been a matter of contention in many states, in few cases, the resolutions passed by state assemblies to set up Legislative Councils are still pending in the Rajya Sabha. 

The state of Tamil Nadu has been divided on the matter of setting up of a legislative council for over three decades. The Assam Assembly had passed a resolution to set up the council in 2010, while the Rajasthan Assembly had passed the resolution in 2012, however, the bills are still pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, wants to abolish its legislative council but the bill is yet to be introduced in Parliament. Hence, getting a Legislative Council for West Bengal may not prove to be an easy task and it may put the West Bengal CM at loggerheads with the centre yet again. 

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एग्जाम की तैयारी के लिए ऐप पर वीकली टेस्ट लें और दूसरों के साथ प्रतिस्पर्धा करें। डाउनलोड करें करेंट अफेयर्स ऐप

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