The Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature. As of 2017, seven (out of twenty-nine) states have a Legislative Council. They are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Each Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) serves for a six-year term, with terms staggered so that the terms of one-third of a Council's members expire every two years. This arrangement parallels that for the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.
MLCs must be citizens of India, at least 30 years' old, mentally sound, not an insolvent, and on the voters' list of the state for which he or she is contesting an election. He or she may not be a Member of Parliament at the same time.
The size of the Vidhan Parishad cannot be more than one-third the membership of the Vidhan Sabha. However, its size cannot be less than 40 members (except in Jammu and Kashmir, where there are 36 by an Act of Parliament.)
MLCs are chosen in the following manner:
- One-third are elected by members of local bodies such as Municipalities, Gram Sabhas/Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads.
- One-third are elected by members of Legislative Assemblies of the State from among the persons who are not members of the Assembly.
- One-sixth are nominated by the Governor from persons having knowledge or practical experience in fields such as literature, science, arts, the co-operative movement and social service.
- One-twelfth are elected by persons who are graduates of three years' standing residing in that state.
- One-twelfth are elected by persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower than secondary schools, including colleges and universities.
Proposed Vidhan Parishads
In 2010 the Parliament passed an Act to re-establish a Legislative Council for an eighth state, Tamil Nadu, but implementation of the Act has been put on hold pending legal action; the state government has also expressed its opposition to the council's revival. Union Cabinet of India has cleared the State of Assam to form a Legislative Council on 28 November 2013 Odisha state is preparing to set up a legislative council after conducting a study in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Abolition and revival
The existence of a Legislative Council has proven politically controversial. A number of states that have had their Council abolished have subsequently requested its re-establishment; conversely, proposals for the re-establishment of the Council for a state have also met with opposition. Proposals for abolition or re-establishment of a state's Legislative Council require confirmation by the Parliament of India. In April 2007, the State of Andhra Pradesh re-established its Legislative Council. The State's main opposition party, the Telugu Desam Party, had stated that it would abolish the council again if it came to power in the state. After the victory of the Akali Dal-BJP in Punjab, newly elected Chief Ministers Prakash Singh Badal stated that he would re-constitute the state's Vidhan Parishad.