What is the eligibility criteria for an MLA?- Know about their power and disqualification grounds
Overview: Understanding the federal structure of the Indian government
The Indian government has a three-tier federal structure. As per the constitution of our country, the Union or the Central Government is the highest executive body which constitutes the first tier. It delegates some of its powers to the State government constituting the second tier in the federal structure. The State is provided with exclusive powers under the control of the ruling party. Lastly, the third and final tier consists of the Panchayats and Municipalities which are responsible for local-level governance.
There are Legislative Assemblies for every Indian State that are operated by MLAs. Each state comprises seven to nine MLAs for every Member of Parliament (MP) that it has in the Lok Sabha. As per the Indian Constitution, the number of MLAs could not be more than 500 and less than 60. Now, before we dig deeper into knowing the power of MLAs, let’s start with knowing the eligibility criteria for becoming an MLA.
Members of Legislative Assembly: Eligibility criteria
The general eligibility criteria for becoming an MLA include;
- The candidates must be Indian citizens.
- They should meet the age limit of 25 years.
- They must be of a sound mind.
- As per the Representation of the People Act, 1951, they must be electors for any Legislative Assembly constituency in that state.
- They must not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any state other than that of a Minister for the Indian Union.
Members of Legislative Assembly: Powers
- Legislative Powers: According to the Indian Constitution, Members of the Legislative Assembly have the right to exercise their law-making powers on every matter which a Parliament cannot legislate. For example, they can exercise their power over the State list that comprises important subjects of an individual state such as trade, commerce, development, agriculture, etc. On the other hand, they can also exercise their power on the concurrent list that comprises important subjects of both the Union Government and the State Government such as marriage, education, adoption, forests, etc.
- Executive Powers: The ruling party is answerable to the Legislative Assembly for every decision made therefore, MLAs have a right to monitor the activities and actions taken by the government.
- Electoral powers: MLAs hold certain electoral powers such as; they elect the members of the Rajya Sabha, they comprise the Electoral College that elects the President of India, they can also elect the Speaker, and the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
Members of Legislative Assembly: Disqualification grounds
The members of the legislative assembly can be disqualified from their position under the below circumstances;
- They are found to be mentally unsound by the court
- They are undischarged insolvent.
- They are no longer an Indian citizen and have voluntarily acquired citizenship of another state.
- They are disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament.
- They have been convicted of election-related offenses.
- They have been convicted of bribery or racism.
- They must have been found guilty of practicing social crimes such as untouchability and dowry.
- They must have not shown any interest in government contracts.
Also Read: What is the eligibility criteria for an MP?- Know about their responsibilities and disqualification grounds