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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

07 Jul, 2021

55 Min Read

West Bengal to get a Legislative Council (LC)

GS-II : Indian Polity State Legislatures

West Bengal to get a Legislative Council (LC)

  • India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament.
  • At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

How to create a Legislative Council?

  • Under Article 169 of the constitution, Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.
  • Currently, six states have Legislative Councils (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana). AP was considering to abolish Legislative Council.
  • Earlier there were seven states including the state of Jammu and Kashmir but it had been abolished through the J&K Reorganization Bill 2019 which changed the status of the state to Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
  • Legislative Councils are permanent Houses, and like Rajya Sabha, one-third of their members retire every two years.

Why is there a need for Legislative Council?

A Legislative Council is considered important for the following reasons:

  • To act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House
  • To ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.
  • Having a second chamber would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.
  • A Legislative Council can help check hasty actions by the directly elected House.
  • The Legislative Council also enables non-elected individuals to contribute to the legislative process.

Arguments against LCs

  • Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
  • They can be used to delay progressive legislation.
  • It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
  • Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack the constitutional mandate to do so. Legislative Assemblies have the power to override suggestions/amendments made to legislation by the Council.
  • While Rajya Sabha MPs can vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t. MLCs also can’t vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.
  • As regards Money bills, only fourteen days’ delay can be caused by the Council, which is more or less a formality rather than a barrier in the way of Money Bill passed by the Assembly.

Strength of LCs

As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall not exceed one-third of the total number of the members in the Legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.

Election of members of LCs

  • 1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly.
  • 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.
  • 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.
  • 1/12th by registered graduates.
  • The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.

Powers of LCs vis-à-vis Rajya Sabha

  • The constitution gives Councils limited legislative powers.
  • Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack the constitutional mandate to do so.
  • Legislative Assemblies have the power to override suggestions/amendments made to legislation by the Council.

What is the news?

  • The West Bengal Government will set up a Legislative Council, or a Vidhan Parishad. A decision on setting up the council was taken up at a State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday.
  • The Trinamool Congress in its manifesto has promised formation of the Legislative Council and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also said that the Vidhan Parishad will be set up once the Trinamool Congress government returns to power. Ms Banerjee had indicated that certain members who will not face election can be nominated through the Legislative Council.
  • Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Finance Minister Amit Mitra are not members of the State Assembly. They can be easily nominated to the Legislative Council once the body is set up and will not have to face elections.
  • For setting up the council, a Bill has to be introduced in the State Assembly and then a nod from the State’s Governor is required. West Bengal Legislative Council, the Upper House of the bicameral legislature in West Bengal existed till 1969, till a resolution was passed in the State Assembly for its dissolution. Not all States in the country have Legislative Councils.

Source: TH

Cabinet creates a new and separate “Ministry of Cooperation”

GS-II : Governance Decentralized governance

Cabinet creates a new and separate “Ministry of Cooperation”

  • In a historic move, a separate ‘Ministry of Co-operation’ has been created by the Modi Government for realizing the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’.
  • This ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country.
  • It will help deepen Co-operatives as a true people-based movement reaching up to the grassroots.
  • In our country, a Co-operative based economic development model is very relevant where each member works with a spirit of responsibility.
  • The Ministry will work to streamline processes for ‘Ease of doing business for co-operatives and enable the development of Multi-State Co-operatives (MSCS).
  • The Central Government has signalled its deep commitment to community-based developmental partnership. The creation of a separate Ministry for Co-operation also fulfils the budget announcement made by the Finance Minister.

Cooperatives – Inserted in Part 9-B by 97th Constitutional Amendment, 2011

  • It gave Constitutional status and protection to Cooperative societies.
  • It made 3 changes to the Constitution

1. Art 19: It made the Right to form cooperative societies an FR.

2. It included a new DPSP on the promotion of cooperative societies (Art 43 B)

3. It added a new Part 9 B (Art 243 ZH to Art 243 ZT)

  • State Legislatures (SL) may make a law on the incorporation, regulation, and winding up of cooperatives based on principles of voluntary formation, democratic member control, member-economic participation and autonomous functioning.
  • Tenure = 5 years (re-election within 6 months) and

Composition

  • SL may provide for the directors but the max no. of directors should be less than 21. 1 seat for SC or ST and 2 seats for women.
  • SL shall make provisions for co-option of persons having experience in banking, management, finance, etc. but it should be ≤ 2 in addition to 21. Plus, they won’t have the Right to vote in any election of cooperatives society or be eligible to be elected as office bearers of the Board.
  • Functional directors of cooperative society shall also be member of the board. They won’t be counted in 21.
  • Election of Members of Board: Shall be vested in a body as provided by SL.
  • SL may make provisions for the maintenance of accounts and auditing of such accounts. Shall be audited within 6 months of the close of FY.
  • This part shall apply to UTs. But Prez may direct that provisions may or may not apply to UTs.
  • These provisions shall also apply to multi-state cooperatives.

Source: PIB

Matsya Setu App and Fisheries sector

GS-III : Economic Issues Allied agriculture activities

Matsya Setu App and Fisheries sector

  • The app was developed by the ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIFA), Bhubaneswar, with the funding support of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad.
  • The online course app aims to disseminate the latest freshwater aquaculture technologies to the aqua farmers of the country.
  • Matsya Setu app has species-wise/ subject-wise self-learning online course modules, where renowned aquaculture experts explain the basic concepts and practical demonstrations on breeding, seed production and grow-out culture of commercially important fishes like carp, catfish, scampi, murrel, ornamental fish, pearl farming etc.
  • Better Management Practices to be followed in maintaining the soil & water quality, feeding and health management in aquaculture operations were also provided in the course platform.
  • The modules are divided into small video chapters for the convenience of the learners, along with additional learning materials. In order to motivate the learners and provide a lively learning experience, Quiz/Test options were also provided for self-assessment.
  • Upon successful completion of each course module, an e-Certificate can be auto-generated. Farmers can also ask their doubts through the app and get specific advisories from experts.

Click here: to read complete news about the Fisheries sector in India

Source: PIB

Tele Law Programme under Department of Justice

GS-II : Governance Judicial reforms

Tele Law Programme under the Department of Justice

  • Tele–Law began its humble journey in 2017 by covering 170 districts in 11 States through 1800 CSCs. In 2019, 115 Aspirational Districts were added taking the number of CSCs to 29,860.
  • The tele-Law programme is presently operational in 633 districts (including 115 Aspirational Districts) across 34 States/UTs through a network of 50,000 CSCs.
  • The programme connects the disadvantaged and needy seeking legal advice from Panel Lawyers through an e-interface platform available in Common Service Centres(CSC).
  • Tele-Law saw a surge of 369% growth in the number of beneficiaries seeking legal advice during the last one year.
  • This medium was extensively used by common citizens for asserting their rights and entitlements during the Covid Pandemic.
  • We have touched a new milestone in June 2021 with more than 9.5 lakh citizens being benefited by Tele-Law.
  • Tele-Law is rightly moving in the direction of legal empowerment and in connecting the last mile through technology which is well documented in the booklet “Voices of the Beneficiaries”.
  • New Signboard for CSCs providing Tele-Law service was released that has been rechristened as “?????? ???? ????? ??????".
  • Even though the Tele-law programme is technology-driven, its success is dependent on the working of field functionaries comprising Village Level Entrepreneurs(VLEs), Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs), State Coordinators and Panel Lawyers. The event also marked the felicitation of twenty best-performing field functionaries under these categories in five zones of the country.

Source: PIB

Governor

GS-II : Governance Center - State Relations

Governor

  • Article 153 to Article 162 of the Indian Constitution deals with the Governor, her appointment, powers and the office of Governor.
  • Governor stands as executive head of a State and the working remains the same as of the office of President of India.
  • Governor has a dual role
  1. He is the constitutional head of the state, bound by the advice of his council of ministers.
  2. He functions as a vital link between the Union Government and the State Government.

Constitutional Provisions – Part 6

  • Article 153 says that there shall be a Governor for each State. One person can be appointed as Governor for two or more States.
  • The governor acts in 'Dual Capacity' as the Constitutional head of the state and as the representative.
  • He is the part of federal system of Indian polity and acts as a bridge between union and state governments.
  • Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor. They are as follows: A governor must:
  1. Be a citizen of India.
  2. Be at least 35 years of age.
  3. Not be a member of the either house of the parliament or house of the state legislature.
  4. Not hold any office of profit.
  • The term of governor's office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:
  1. Dismissal by the president on the advice of the council of minister headed by the prime minister of the country.
  2. Dismissal of governors without a valid reason is not permitted. However, it is the duty of the President to dismiss a governor whose acts are upheld by courts as unconstitutional and malafide.
  3. Resignation by the governor.
  • Article 163: It talks about the discretionary power of governor.
  • Governor is the constitutional head of a tribal council that falls under 6th Schedule.

Issues of Governor’s office

1) Governor and the formation of Government

  1. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, in 1948, said that Governor is required to follow the advice of his Ministry in all matters.
  2. Cases related to Governor's role in post poll majority: S R Bommai case, Rameshwar Prasad case, Nabam Rebia case.
  3. During Hung Assembly: According to Article 163 of the Constitution, Governor acts on the aid & advice of Council of Ministers, except in cases where he is required to act in his discretion.
  4. Is there a preferred order for this process?
    1. Governor may invite the leader of the largest single party first.
    2. If no ally or independent members, then he may invite the leader of the largest pre-poll alliance.
    3. If not, he may invite leaders one by one in the order of their size in the new Assembly.
  5. Is there any guidance to the Governor on this? Yes. Sarkaria commission on Inter State relations. It says Governor should follow the following orders
    1. A pre-poll alliance.
    2. Largest single party claiming with the support of others, including independents.
    3. A post electoral coalition, with all partners joining the Government.
    4. A post poll coalition, with some joining the Government and some extending support from outside.
  6. How does the Governor ascertain majority?
    1. Sarkaria Commission recommends that a person, appointed as CM without a clear majority should seek a vote of Confidence within 30 days.
    2. When the majority of CM is contested by legislators, Governor should not risk a determination of his own outside the House and it would be prudent to test it on the floor of the House.
    3. Normally under Article 174, Governor summons the House only on the advice of Council of Ministers but he can use his Constitutional rights to convene the House for floor testing the majority.
  7. Principles evolved by the SC
    1. S R Bommai case (1994): In this SC said that the proper course is floor test. (Even though the verdict was for the imposition of Prez rule).
    2. Rameshwar Prasad Case (2005): Post poll combination is ok and Governor cannot decline it on the ground that it is done through unethical means.
    3. Jagdambika Pal case (1998): Unique order. SC ordered a 'composite floor test' involving 2 rival claimants. Significance is that it was clear that the floor test is the only option. Applied in Jharkhand (2004), Uttarakhand (2016) and Goa (2017).
    4. In Karnataka (2018) and Maharashtra (2019), as the legislators were yet to take oath, the court said - appoint Pro Tem Speaker, then provide oath to new members and then conduct a floor test.
  8. Critical Analysis
    1. Appointments of the Governors has made the office vulnerable to influence of Union Government as they look towards Center for guidance. It opens manipulation & misuse of office of Governor.
    2. Constitutional expert A G Noorani says that a "State's autonomy comes to naught if it's people's mandate can be defied or ignored by a central appointee.
    3. In Maharashtra & Karnataka, Governor invited the leader of BJP even though it did not have the support of majority. It questions the claims of majority that BJP leaders made to Governors and how the Governors got satisfied even when there was adverse information available in public.
  9. Solution
    1. There is a need to reform the appointment and tenure of Governors.
    2. Justice P V Rajamannar Committee was set up to look into Center State relations in 1969, recommended that State Government be included in the appointment process of Governors to drastically reduce their discretionary powers.
    3. Governor enjoys the legal immunity granted by the Constitution. Any decision of the governor can be subjected to judicial scrutiny, including the materials placed to arrive at decision.
    4. The powers and privileges that are attached to the office of Governors must be accompanied by answerability, transparency and accountability.

2) Partisan use of Governor's office to appoint CM with respect to Hung Assemblies.

  • Governor has no tenure, no qualification, no consent of State while appointment.
  • Goa Governor asking minority leader to form the Govt.
  • Tripura: Governor modified speech. He should read what the Govt provides.
  • Tamil Nadu: Governor taking charge of officials doing official work.
  • Arunachal and UK: Governor imposed Prez rule without examining the situation. SC held it unconstitutional.
  • Puducherry Issue and comparison with Delhi
    1. Issue of Parallel administration by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi influence the work of legislature. Bediji informally made a Whatsapp group and asked authorities to report to her. She was working without the advice of Council of Ministers (CoM) and was directly interacting with administration which is against protocol.
    2. Madras HC also said that LG must act on the aid and advice of CoM and not interfere in day to day matters of the Govt. It relied on 2018 SC decision of Delhi where CM and not LG is the Executive Head of NCT. (But now LG is the executive head of NCR Delhi.)
    3. Delhi
      1. Issues of appointment of officials especially Anti Corruption Bureau.
      2. Office of profit issue against Councillors. Hold files of projects.
    4. Art 239 A has merely enabling provisions which allows Parliament to create a law for Puducherry. Hence it enacted UT Act, 1963 which gives power to make laws in "any matter" in State list or Concurrent List. Art 239 AA with respect to (wrt) Delhi limits the powers of Delhi LA wrt Police, Law and Order and Land. Hence Legislative powers of PY >> DL.
    5. Article 239 B = Lt Governor can issue an ordinance only when assembly is not in session and with prior approval of President. If there is difference of opinion on any matter like in Delhi then LG can refer it to President of if Emergency then self.
    6. But SC in Delhi case said that "any matter" does not mean all matter and it should be used only for exceptional situations. Hence there is no legal basis for LG to exercise powers independently and bypass the elected govt of Puducherry.
    7. Respecting Federalism: SC in Delhi interpreted that since Representative Govt is a Basic Feature of the Constitution, the elected Govt must have the primacy.
    8. Conclusion: While PY may not be a State under Constitution, the principle of Federalism should not be limited to States and should also include UT and their LA and arguably councils of Local Govt.

3) Other issues of the Governor office

  • Appointment: Politicians and former bureaucrats identifying with a particular political ideology have been appointed as the Governors by the Governments. This is against neutrality.
  • Governor’s discretionary powers under Article 163 to invite the leader of the largest party/alliance, post-election, to form the government has often been misused to favour a particular political party.
  • Recently, the Governor of Rajasthan has been charged with the violation of the model code of conduct. His support of the ruling party is against the spirit of nonpartisanship.
  • The imposition of President’s rule (Article 356) in case of breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State has been frequently misused by the central government.

Recommendations for misuse of Article 356

  • Supreme Court in the Nabam Rebia judgment (2016) ruled that the exercise of Governor’s discretion Article 163 is limited and his choice of action should not be arbitrary. It must be a choice dictated by reason, actuated by good faith and tempered by caution.
  • The Rajamannar Committee (1971) recommended the deletion of Articles 356 and 357 from the constitution of India. It also said that the governor of the state should not consider himself as an agent of the centre but play his role as the constitutional head of the State.
  • The Sarkaria Commission (1988) recommended that Article 356 should be used in very rare cases when it becomes unavoidable to restore the breakdown of constitutional machinery in the State.
  • Justice V.Chelliah Commission (2002) recommended that Article 356 must be used sparingly and only as a remedy of the last resort after exhausting all actions under Articles 256, 257 and 355.

What is the news?

Source: TH

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