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Indian Polity / State Legislature

Composition of State Legislature

Articles 170 and 171 deals with the composition of state legislature. Article 170 talks about composition of legislative assemblies and Article 171 talks about the composition of legislative councils. State Legislature includes Governor, Lower House and Upper House. However, Bicameralism at the State level is optional. There may or may not be an Upper House in a State.

Composition of Legislative Assembly

  • Lower House is also known as Legislative Assembly. The strength of Lower House of State Legislature should be minimum of 60 and maximum number should not exceed 500.

    However, some of the States are not having the stipulated strength of 60. They are Sikkim (32), Mizoram (40), Goa (40) and the Union Territory of Puducherry (30). All the remaining States and the Union Territories of Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir have 60 or above.

  • The members of Lower House are called Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). The MLAs are elected by the electors, who completed the age of 18 years as on the date given by the Election Commission.

  • The members are elected on the basis of territorial constituencies, which are divided according to population census of 1971. The System of election in India is "first past the post", which means whoever gets majority vote first is the winner.

  • The tenure of Legislative Assembly is generally 5 years. However, it can be extended beyond 5 years in case of National emergency in the State upto one year at a time.

    Parliament extends the normal tenure. Governor of the State can dissolve the Legislative Assembly before the completion of 5 years only on the advice given by the Chief Minister.

Composition of Legislative Council

  • Article 171 deals with composition of the State Upper House. The minimum members in the State Upper House should be 40 and maximum should not exceed 1/3rd of total members of the Lower House.

  • Some members of the State Upper House are elected directly and some are elected indirectly by the system of proportional representation. They are elected by different categories of voters.

  • Out of the total members, 1/3rd members are elected by MLAs.

  • Another 1/3rd members are elected by representatives of local bodies.

  • 1/12th members are elected by teachers engaged for at least three years in teaching and are employed in the government and government aided schools only.

  • 1/12th members are elected by the graduates of 3 years standing. That is, in order to become such a voter, he has to wait for 3 years after his graduation.

  • Remaining 1/6th members are nominated by the Governor who are having special knowledge or practical experience in Science, Art, Literature, Cooperative movement and Social service.

  • The members are elected for a tenure of 6 years. For every two years, 1/3rd members retire. Upper House is permanent in the sense that it cannot be dissolved but can be abolished.

Creation and Abolition of Legislative Council

The procedure for creation and abolition of the State Upper House is same. If the State Legislative Assembly approves a resolution with special majority i.e. 2/3rd members present and voting and if this resolution is being ratified by the Parliament with simple majority and on the basis of this resolution the President of India issues order for creation or abolition of the State Upper House.

The very existence of the State Upper House invariably depends on the will and wish of the State Lower House. In 1935, bicameralism at State level was introduced for the first time in British India.

Right now the following states have bicameralism,

(1) Andhra Pradesh
(2) Karnataka
(3) Uttar Pradesh
(4) Bihar
(5) Maharashtra
(6) Telangana


  1. The number of seats in a state Legislative Council should not exceed?

    1. 1/4th of total members of the state Legislative Assembly

    2. 1/2 of total members of the state Legislative Assembly

    3. 1/3rd of total members of the state Legislative Assembly

    4. 2/3rd of total members of the state Legislative Assembly


    Ans: C

  2. Which of the following states have less than the stipulated minimum of 60 seats in their state Legislative Assembly composition?

    1. Sikkim, Mizoram and Goa

    2. Sikkim, Tripua and Goa

    3. Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland

    4. Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland


    Ans: A