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The States

The system of government in states closely resembles that of the Union.

Executive

GOVERNOR

State executive consists of Governor and Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as its head. The Governor of a State is appointed by the President for a term of five years and holds office during his pleasure. Only Indian citizens above 35 years of age are eligible for appointment to this office. Executive power of the State is vested in Governor.

Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as head aids and advises Governor in exercise of his functions except in so far as he is by or under the Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion. In respect of Nagaland, Governor has special responsibility under Article 371 A of the Constitution with respect to law and order and even though it is necessary for him to consult Council of Ministers in matters relating to law and order, he can exercise his individual judgement as to the action to be taken.

Similarly, in respect of Arunachal Pradesh, Governor has special responsibility under Article 371H of the Constitution with respect to law and order and in discharge of his functions in relation thereto. Governor shall, after consulting Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgement as to the action to be taken. These are, however, temporary provisions if President, on receipt of a report from Governor or otherwise is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for Governor to have special responsibility with respect to law and order, he may so direct by an order.

Likewise, in the Sixth Schedule which applies to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram as specified in para 20 of that Schedule, discretionary powers are given to Governor in matters relating to sharing of royalties between district council and state government. Sixth Schedule vests additional discretionary powers in Governors of Mizoram and Tripura in almost all their functions (except approving regulations for levy of taxes and money lending by non-tribal by district councils) since December 1998. In Sikkim, Governor has been given special responsibility for peace and social and economic advancement of different sections of population.

All Governors while discharging such constitutional functions as appointment of Chief Minister of a State or sending a report to President about failure of constitutional machinery in a State or in respect of matters relating to assent to a Bill passed by legislature, exercise their own judgement.

Council Of Ministers

The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor who also appoints other ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to legislative assembly of the State.

Legislature

For every state, there is a legislature, which consists of Governor and one House or, two Houses as the case may be. In Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, there are two Houses known as legislative council and legislative assembly. In the remaining states, there is only one House known as legislative assembly. Parliament may, by law, provide for abolition of an existing legislative council or for creation of one where it does not exist, if proposal is supported by a resolution of the legislative assembly concerned.

Legislative Council

Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) of a state comprises not more than one-third of total number of members in legislative assembly of the state and in no case less than 40 members (Legislative Council of Jammu and Kashmir has 36 members vide Section 50 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir). About one-third of members of the council are elected by members of legislative assembly from amongst persons who are not its members, one-third by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state, one-twelfth by electorate consisting of persons who have been, for at least three years, engaged in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower in standard than secondary school and a further one-twelfth by registered graduates of more than three years standing. Remaining members are nominated by Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Legislative councils are not subject to dissolution but one-third of their members retire every second year.

Legislative Assembly

Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) of a state consists of not more than 500 and not less than 60 members (Legislative Assembly of Sikkim has 32 members vide Article 371F of the Constitution) chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the state. Demarcation of territorial constituencies is to be 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 throughout the state. Term of an assembly is five years unless it is dissolved earlier.

Powers and Functions

State legislature has exclusive powers over subjects enumerated in List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and concurrent powers over those enumerated in List III. Financial powers of legislature include authorisation of all expenditure, taxation and borrowing by the state government. Legislative assembly alone has power to originate money bills. Legislative council can make only recommendations in respect of changes it considers necessary within a period of fourteen days of the receipt of money bills from Assembly. Assembly can accept or reject these recommendations.

Reservation of Bills

The Governor of a state may reserve any Bill for the consideration of the President. Bills relating to subjects like compulsory acquisition of property, measures affecting powers and position of High Courts and imposition of taxes on storage, distribution and sale of water or electricity in Inter-state River or river valley development projects should necessarily be so reserved. No Bills seeking to impose restrictions on inter-state trade can be introduced in a state legislature without previous sanction of the President.

Control Over Executive

State legislatures, apart from exercising the usual power of financial control, use all normal parliamentary devices like questions, discussions, debates, adjournments and no-confidence motions and resolutions to keep a watch over day-to-day work of the executive. They also have their committees on estimates and public accounts to ensure that grants sanctioned by legislature are properly utilised.

Source: India 2010 - A Reference Annual