MP to have bicameral legislature

The Kamal Nath government has set in motion the process for setting up a legislative council which the Congress had promised in its election manifesto for the 2018 assembly election. (File photo)

Madhya Pradesh is soon likely to become the eighth state in India to have a bicameral legislature. The Kamal Nath government has set in motion the process for setting up a legislative council which the Congress had promised in its election manifesto for the 2018 assembly election.

The legal and legislative affairs department sent a draft proposal for the second legislative house in the state to the law department for examination. A bill to this effect is likely to be introduced in the coming winter session of the state assembly.

Parliamentary affairs minister Govind Singh said all legal aspects of the proposed move for legislative council are being examined.  

Sources in the government said since a provision for the legislative council in Madhya Pradesh already exists, the state government does not require the Centre’s approval for passage of the bill which has envisaged  76 members in the proposed council.

In 1967, the then Congress government led by late DP Mishra had a resolution passed in the state assembly for the constitution of the legislative council by more than two-third majority. The resolution, which was sent to the Centre for approval, is still pending.

In 1993, the Congress had promised bicameral legislature in its manifesto for the assembly election but Digvijay Singh government that rode to power, could not implement the promise.  The BJP did not promise the second legislative house in its manifestoes for three subsequent assembly elections.

Sources said all that is required for the proposed council to come into being is cabinet nod and subsequent governor’s assent.  The Madhya Pradesh state assembly premise already has a big hall earmarked for the legislative council.

According to article 168 of the Indian Constitution, the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh currently have provisions for bicameral assembly, i.e. both Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

The Legislative Council must consist of at least 40 members and not more than a third of total membership of that state.

In the council, 1/12th of the total members are selected by an electorate consisting of teachers, and another 1/12th by registered graduates. Around 1/3rd are elected by members of the Assembly and other 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards, and various other local authorities. The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from the fields of literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, or social service.

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