West Bengal passes resolution to create a Legislative Council

Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government passed a resolution in state assembly on July 6, 2021 for creation of a legislative council in state under Article 169 of Constitution.

Highlights

  • Government was able to pass the resolution with 196 votes in favour and 69 against it.
  • Legislative Assembly in Bengal has a strength of 294 members. However, only 265 were present during the voting.

Background

Creation of a legislative council was a key poll promise of Mamata Banerjee. In run-up to assembly polls, Mamata Banerjee had said, TMC leaders who did not get tickets would be sent to legislative council.

What does law say?

According to law, West Bengal can have a maximum of 94 members in legislative council, accounting for one-third of total assembly seats, after this resolution gets support of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Can States have legislative council?

Yes. Presently six states; Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka; have a Legislative Council. West Bengal too had Legislative Council. it was the first state to have upper house in 1937. But in 1969, legislative council was abolished because the then government considered it a “symbol of elitism”.

Recent demands on Legislative Council

Creation of legislative council has been a bone of contention in Tamil Nadu for three decades. Assam Assembly and Rajasthan Assembly also passed a resolution to set up legislative councils in 2010 & 2012. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh passed a bill to abolish legislative council. Bill is yet to be introduced in Parliament. Jammu & Kashmir too had a legislative council. However, it was dissolved after state was downgraded into a Union Territory in 2019.

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