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Tags Current Affairs

Upper house for West Bengal

Date: 21 May 2021 Tags: Constitution

Issue

The Trinamool congress government in West Bengal has approved setting up of Legislative Council or upper house in the state.

 

Background

The setting up of the council was an election promise made by the Chief Minister during her campaign to accommodate seniors in the party.

 

Details

  • The West Bengal had a Legislative Council but was abolished by the Left front coalition about 50 years ago.

  • Currently, six Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have a Legislative council.

  • The power to set up councils does not entirely lie with the state, but the centre too should pilot a bill to set up council.

 

History of Legislative council

  • The idea of two chambers for legislature was first provided by the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms of 1919, but only at national level.

  • Setting up bicameral legislatures in states was given under the Government of India Act, 1935. The council in Bengal started functioning under this law in 1937.

 

Arguments in favour of council

Supporters argue that the council acts as a check on hasty legislation and ensures diverse voices are represented in the legislatures.

 

Arguments against

It will be a burden on state exchequer due to salaries and allowances. There was also argument that the chamber will help party leaders to widen their patronage.

 

Process of creation

Under Article 168, the state assemblies of respective states have to pass a resolution with two-thirds majority supporting setting up of the council. The bill has to be endorsed by the Parliament to give effect to the law.

 

Other states

Bills for setting up councils in Assam and Rajasthan are still pending in the Parliament since 2010. The bill for abolishing council in Andhra Pradesh is yet to be introduced.

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