THE STATE’S STRONGHOLD ON DEMOCRACY: VIDHAN SABHA

Posted: November 18, 2011 in Political Terminology, The NamoLeague Times
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Every state in India has a body of direct representatives of the people. This is the lower house of the State Legislature and is called Vidhan Sabha or the Legislative Assembly. The members of a Vidhan Sabha are directly elected by the people of that particular state by an electorate consisting of all adult citizens.

Gujarat Vidhan Sabha is one such unicameral (having only one legislative or parliamentary chamber) legislature of India. Presently, there are 182 directly elected members from the single-seat constituencies and 1 member is nominated. The Constitution of India highlights that the size of a Vidhan Sabha cannot be more than 500 and less than 60 members. However, the number can be made lesser through an act of the Parliament as in the case of states like Goa, Mizoram and Sikkim. The demarcation of territorial constituencies is done in such a manner that the ratio between population of each constituency and number of seats allotted to it, as far as practicable, is the same for all states. Just like the Lok Sabha, in case of Vidhan Sabha, the Governor has the power to appoint 1 member of the Anglo-Indian Community, if he/she feels that the community is not adequately represented in the House.

Gujarat has witnessed the formation of Parliamentary Democracy and institutions that resembled the present Vidhan Sabha since ages. Shri Bhavsinhji, ruler of the then Bhavnagar State had established an institution called ‘The Peoples’ Representative Assembly’ in 1918. This Assembly had 38 Members appointed by His Highness and they had the right to ask questions related to the problems of the people. Similar were the cases with Porbander, Baroda and Saurashtra constituencies.It was then on 1st May, 1960 when Gujarat was bifurcated from Bombay and the Gujarat Legislative was also constituted. All the 132 members of the former Bombay Legislative Assembly who were elected from the territorial constituencies of Gujarat became the members of the First Gujarat Legislative Assembly. Thus, the initial strength of the Assembly was 132. The strength gradually increased owing to the increase in the population. However, since 1975 the number has been fixed at 182 and no amendments can be made until 2025. Out of the present 182 territorial constituencies, 13 constituencies are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 26 constituencies for Scheduled Tribes.

Dr. Jivraj Mehta was the First Chief Minister of the state and Shri Kalyanji Mehta was the First Speaker of the Assembly. The current Vidhan Sabha at Gandhinagar is named ‘Viththalbhai Patel Bhavan’ in the memory of Late Shri Viththalbhai Patel, the first Indian Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly. The present speaker of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha is Ganpat Vasava.

Generally, Vidhan Sabha is formed for a period of 5 years. Though, in case of declaration of an Emergency, the term may be extended or it can be dissolved. Vidhan Sabha can also be dissolved if a motion of no confidence is passed against the majority party or coalition within the House.

Vidhan Sabha has some special powers. The biggest one being: A motion of no confidence against the Government in the state can only be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha. If it is passed by a majority vote, then the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers must collectively resign. Also, a money bill can be introduced only by a Vidhan Sabha. The budget of state is also presented in the Vidhan Sabha by the Finance Minister of the state in the name of the Governor of that state.

Some states also have a Legislative Council, i.e. the Vidhan Parishad. This can roughly be compared to Rajya Sabha and it serves as the indirectly elected upper house of a bicameral legislature. It is also a permanent house because it cannot be dissolved. In India, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh have Vidhan Parishads.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20State%20s%20Stronghold%20on%20Democracy:%20Vidhan%20Sabha_554

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