Essay on the Relationship between the two Houses of a State Legislature (India)

A time of 14 days is given to the Legislative Council for the approval of Money Bills. After the expiry of 14 days such bills are sent to receive assent of the Governor.

As regards the ordinary bills (non-Money Bills) they can be introduced in either House of the State Legislature. A bill is not considered to have been passed by the State Legislature having a Legislative Council unless it has been agreed by both the House.

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If an ordinary Bill (except a Money Bill) passed by the Legislative Assembly and transmitted to the Legislative Council is (a) either rejected by the Council or (b) more than three months elapse from the date of the receipt of the Bill by the Council without the Bill being passed by it or (c) a Bill is passed in the Council with such amendments to which the Legislative Assembly does not agree, the Legislative Assembly may again pass the Bill with or without on amendments suggested by the Legislative Council and transmit the Bill for the second time to Legislative Council for approval.

If now the Legislative Council either (a) rejects the Bill or (b) more than one month elapses from the date on which the Bill is laid before the Legislative Council without being passed by it or (c) the Bill is passed by the Legislative Council with such amendments to which the Legislative Assembly does not agree; then the Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by both the Houses of the Legislature of the State in the form in which it was passed by the Legislative Assembly for the second time.

In case of difference between the two Houses there is no provision for a joint sitting of the State Legislature. The Legislative Council can only delay the passage of an ordinary bill for a maximum period of four months. Likewise control over the Executive is placed in hands of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council has no share in this power.

The latter can ask questions and elicit information from the Ministers. But it can not drive them away. A vote of no-confidence, if passed in the Legislative Council, does not amount to the resignation of the Ministry.

Thus the Legislative Council in the States is not only made a second but a secondary chamber. Its justification lies in the contention that “almost any second chamber is better than none”. Its utility lies in providing check on democratic rashness of the popular House and the hasty and ill-considered legislation passed by such a House.

A Legislative Council is a sober House where full, free and non-partisan discussions can take place on important bills. Passions do not flow high in it and political antagonism does not assume so much bitterness as in the popular House because it cannot bring a crisis in Government.

Its debates are marked with high order, wide knowledge and broad political foresight. To conclude with Lord Bryce, “The necessity of two chambers is based on the plea that the innate tendency of an Assembly to become hateful, parochial and corrupt needs to be checked by the co­existence of another house of equal authority”.

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