State Legislature in India, Bicameral & Unicameral States

This article explains the system and functioning of State legislature in India, meaning of unicameral and bicameral legislature, difference between unicameral and bicameral legislature system. This article explains the features, powers and functions of Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. This article also enumerates the number of bicameral and unicameral states of India and explains how many legislative councils in India.

State legislature in India

The panoramic view of Karnataka Vidhan Soudha

Meaning of Legislature – The parliamentary system by which a government works or gets administered is called legislature. Legislature is a deliberative assembly having the authority to make, amend or repel laws for any country state or any political entity is called legislature. legislature consists of a governor and either one or two houses.

There are two types of State Legislature in India – Unicameral and Bicameral. Unicameral legislature consists of only one house which is known as Legislative Assembly. Legislative Assembly is also called as Vidhan Sabha. Bicameral legislature consists of two houses Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. In Bicameral system Legislative council is called as Vidhan Parishad.

In exact synchronisation with central parliamentry system, Vidhan Parishad or Legislative council is called the upper house while Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly is called lower house. The members of Vidhan parishad are nominated while members of Vidhan Sabha are elected by common public in state elections.

List of Indian States with Bicameral Legislature 

State Legislature in India

Indian States with Bicameral Legislature

At present there are seven Indian states having bicameral legislature. These 7 states from in order from north to south are i) Jammu and Kashmir, ii) Uttar Pradesh, iii) Bihar, iv) Maharashtra, v) Telangana, vi) Karnataka, vii) Andhra Pradesh. Rest of remaining 21 states are unicameral. Out of 7 Union territories only 2 have their own legislature and they elect chief minister for the functioning of their own local government. These two union territories are Delhi and Puducherry. Both of them have unicameral legislature.

Important features of State Legislature in India

  • In the Bicameral system Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) is the upper house while Legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha) is the lower house.
  • State Legislature consists of Governor of the state and one or two houses depending on Unicameral or Bicameral system.
  • At present there are seven states with a Bicameral legislature, they are – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh. All these seven states incorporates of Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) as well.
  • The remaining 22 states in India have Unicameral legislature in which there is only one house- Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha)

Legislative Assembly

This is the main but lower house of state legislature and consists of directly elected representatives of the people. The strength of legislative assembly varies from 60 to 500 in different states according to population. However legislative assembly of Sikkim has only 32 members. The assembly enjoys a tenure of 5 years but can be dissolved earlier by Governor. Likewise its term can be extended by one year at a time by Parliament during national emergency.

A Person can become member of legislative assembly only of if he –

  1. is a citizen of India;
  2. is more than 25 years of age;
  3. possesses such qualification as may be prescribed by or under the law enacted by the parliament.

A Persons is disqualified from membership of legislative assembly if he –

  1. holds any office of profit under the central or state government;
  2. is of unsound mind;
  3. an undischarged inslovent;
  4. has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign country;
  5. is disqualified by or under any law of parliament.

Governor’s decision is considered final in case of disqualification of any member of legislative assembly. However Governor is expected to obtain the opinion of election commission before taking this decision.

Presiding Officer of Legislative Assembly

The Presiding officer of the legislative assembly is known as Speaker. He is elected by members of assembly from among themselves. The assembly also elects Deputy Speaker, who performs duties of Speaker in his absence.

Legislative Council

It is the upper house of state legislature and contains various categories of members. The members of Legislative council elected by –

  • One third of its members are elected by legislative assembly,
  • one third of members are elected by local bodies,
  • one twelfth of the members are elected by teachers
  • one twelfth of the members are elected by university graduates
  • one sixth of the members nominated by Governor

The maximum strength of Legislative council can be one-third of total membership of legislative assembly, but in no case less than 40. The legislative council enjoys a tenure of six years with one third of its members retiring every two years. The council elects a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members.

Eligibility criteria for membership of Legislative Council, The person –

  1. must be a citizen of India;
  2. must be more than 30 years of age;
  3. must posses qualifications as may be prescribed by Parliament from time to time

The criteria for disqualification of members of legislative council stands same as that of members of legislative assembly.

Presiding Officer of Legislative Council

The Presiding Officer of legislative council is known as Chairman. He is elected by members of legislative council  from among its members. In addition, council elects Deputy Chairman who discharges the duties of Chairman in his absence.

Present Strength of State Legislatures (Vidhan Sabha Seats)

StateLegislative Assembly SeatsLegislative Council Seats
Andhra Pradesh17558
Arunachal Pradesh60Nil
Himachal Pradesh68Nil
Jammu and Kashmir8736
Madhya Pradesh230Nil
Tamil Nadu235Nil
Uttar Pradesh404100
West Bengal295Nil

Interesting Facts about State Legislature in India

  • Indian state with maximum strength of legislative assembly (ie state with maximum vidhan sabha seats) is Uttar Pradesh (total 504 seats).
  • Indian state with lowest vidhan sabha seats is Sikkim.
  • South Indian state with largest Vidhan sabha seats is Maharashtra.
  • State with largest Legislative council seats is Uttar Pradesh.
  • State with lowest number of Legislative Council seat is Jammu and Kashmir.