The Difference Between Union Legislature and State Legislature
The political structure of a country can be complex and multi-layered, with various levels of government and legislative bodies. In a federal system, such as India, the power is shared between the central government and the state governments. This division of power is reflected in the legislative bodies, with a Union Legislature at the central level and State Legislatures at the state level. While both serve the purpose of lawmaking, there are key differences between the Union Legislature and State Legislature.
One of the primary differences between the Union Legislature and State Legislature is in their respective jurisdictions. The Union Legislature, also known as the Parliament, has the authority to make laws on subjects specified in the Union List. This list contains subjects of national importance or subjects that require uniformity throughout the country. It includes areas such as defense, foreign affairs, railways, banking, and national highways. On the other hand, the State Legislatures have the power to make laws on subjects listed in the State List, which are matters of local or regional importance. This list includes subjects like police, public health, agriculture, irrigation, and state highways. In addition to these two lists, there is also a Concurrent List on which both the Union and State Legislatures have the power to make laws. This list contains subjects like criminal law, marriage, bankruptcy and insolvency, and bankruptcy and insolvency.
Another significant difference between the Union Legislature and State Legislature lies in the composition and structure of their respective bodies. The Union Legislature consists of two Houses - the House of the People (Lok Sabha) and the Council of States (Rajya Sabha). The Lok Sabha is the directly elected lower house, representing the people of India, whereas the Rajya Sabha is the upper house that represents the states and is indirectly elected. The Lok Sabha has a maximum strength of 545 members, out of which 543 members are elected from the states and union territories, and the remaining two members are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. The Rajya Sabha has a maximum strength of 250 members, of which 238 members are elected by the state and union territory legislatures, and the President nominates the remaining 12 members who have special knowledge or practical experience in literature, science, art, and social service.
In contrast, the State Legislature consists of only one House, known as the Legislative Assembly. It is the directly elected lower house that represents the people of the respective state. The strength of the Legislative Assembly varies from state to state, depending on factors such as population and area. For example, states with smaller populations have fewer members in their Legislative Assemblies, while states with larger populations have a higher number of members. Additionally, some states may also have a Legislative Council, which serves as the upper house of the State Legislature. The Legislative Council is a permanent body, with one-third of its members retiring every two years. However, not all states have a Legislative Council, and its existence is optional for states.
The manner in which members are elected to the Union Legislature and State Legislature also differs. Members of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Union Legislature, are elected through direct elections. The country is divided into various constituencies, and each constituency elects one representative to the Lok Sabha. The members of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house, are elected by members of the state and union territory legislatures. On the other hand, members of the State Legislature, both in the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council where applicable, are elected through direct elections. Just like in the Lok Sabha elections, the state is divided into constituencies, and each constituency elects one representative to the respective Legislative Assembly or Council.
The duration of the terms for members of the Union Legislature and State Legislature also differs. Members of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Union Legislature, have a term of five years. However, the President of India can dissolve the Lok Sabha before the completion of its term if deemed necessary. Members of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house, are not elected for a fixed term but rather serve for a period of six years. However, one-third of the Rajya Sabha members retire every two years, and new members are elected to replace them. In the case of the State Legislature, members of both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council have a term of five years. Just like in the Union Legislature, the Governor of the state can dissolve the Legislative Assembly before the completion of its term.
In conclusion, while both the Union Legislature and State Legislature serve the purpose of lawmaking, there are notable differences between the two. The Union Legislature, with its Houses of the People and Council of States, deals with matters of national importance and has the power to make laws on subjects listed in the Union List. On the other hand, the State Legislature, consisting of the Legislative Assembly and sometimes the Legislative Council, focuses on matters of local or regional importance and has the authority to make laws on subjects listed in the State List. The composition, structure, and manner of election also differ between the two bodies, as well as the duration of the terms of its members. An understanding of these differences is important in order to grasp the functioning of the legislative bodies in a federal system such as India.