Constitution of India

Article:- 168 Constitution of Legislatures in States.

The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next Article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.

The State Legislature
168. Constitution of Legislatures in States.—(1) For every State there shall be a Legislature which shall consist of the Governor, and
(a) in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra], Karnataka], Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, two houses:
(b) in other States, one House.
(2) Where there are two Houses of the Legislature of a State, one shall be known as the Legislative Council and the other as the Legislative Assembly, and where there is only one House, it shall be known as the Legislative Assembly.

Legislature: The term “Legislature” is not always used in the Constitution as including the Governor though article 168 makes him a component part of the State Legislature. In article 173, the word is clearly used in the sense of the “House of Legislature” and excludes the Governor. There are other provisions also where the word is used in contexts which exclude the Governor. Similarly, the word “law” is sometimes loosely used in referring to a Bill.

The absence of the words ‘unless the context otherwise requires’ in article 168 cannot control the meaning of the term ‘Legislature’ in article 252(1). Even without these words, a word or a phrase may have a different meaning, if the context so requires, than the meaning attached to it in the definition clause. The term “legislature” in the context in which it appears in article 252(1) can only mean the House or Houses of legislature, as the case may be.

Article 168 in regard to Constitution of State Legislatures corresponds to similar article 79 in regard to the Union Parliament. While the Union Legislature is bicameral, at the level of the constituent States, the second chamber, called the Legislative Council, exists only in five States, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. The State of Jammu and Kashmir also has a bicameral legislature but that is under its own separate State Constitution. Part VI of the Constitution of India dealing with “The States” does not apply to the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

Article 169 leaves it to the State Legislative Assembly in each case to decide whether they want to have a second chamber called the legislative council if they do not have one or wish to abolish it if they have one. Thus, Andhra Pradesh decided to have a Legislative Council and it was duly created by the Legislative Council Act, 1957. Later, as desired, it was abolished by the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council Amendment Act, 1985 and again brought back by Act 1 of 2006. Some other State Assemblies like Tamil Nadu and West Bengal also had their Legislative Councils abolished. Madhya Pradesh decided to have a council and the Seventh Amendment provided for it from a date to be appointed but no date has been appointed so far. Once the State Legislative Assembly resolution is passed by the required special majority, it is for the Union Parliament to bring about the change by law. However, the actual words used in article 169(1) are that “Parliament may by law provide” which indicates that Parliament may also disagree in some cases and may not pass the required law. Important point to note is that article 169(3) makes it clear that if a law is passed, the amendments effected thereby are not to be considered amendments for purposes of article 368 i.e., they can be passed by simple majority like ordinary Bills.

Source: Subhash C Kashyap, Constitutional Law of India, Universal

Leave a Comment