In a major development, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet, headed by chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy approved the decision to abolish the legislative council, just minutes after the meeting was convened on Monday morning. The resolution for the same has been moved in Andhra Assembly where the YSRCP enjoys brute majority.
This comes after the TDP led by Chandrababu Naidu heavily criticised the move and decided to boycott the assembly session. CM Jagan Reddy had said that the council is posing a hurdle for passing major bills and question the very purpose of the council. The legislative council of Andhra Pradesh has 58 members of which 27 belong to the opposition party, TDP while YSRCP has just 9 members. Whereas in the assembly, the YSRCP holds sway with 151 of the 175 legislators belonging to the ruling party.
During a special winter session of the Andhra Pradesh assembly last week, two crucial bills relating to the decentralisation of capitals in the state, Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill 2020 faced roadblocks in the council.
After the bills were passed in the assembly with ease, in the council, a decision was taken to send it to a select committee. Nettled with the obstacle, CM Jagan Reddy proposed doing away with the legislative council, claiming it is unnecessarily causing impediments to developmental projects.
While the resolutions expected to be passed quite easily in the assembly, it will be a long road before it is implemented. The decision on whether a state should have a legislative council or not rests with the assembly where a ⅔ majority should vote. The resolution then needs the assent of the center. The parliament will have to vote on the abolishment of the legislative council before it can be implemented.
Article 169 of the constitution says that ‘Parliament may by law provide for the abolition of the Legislative Council of a State having such a Council or for the creation of such a Council in a State having no such Council if the Legislative Assembly of the State passes a resolution to that effect by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Assembly present and voting’.
The current CM has questioned the prudence of spending Rs 60 crores per annul for legislative council if ‘the house of elders will only block governance’. The TDP which calls the move authoritarian has avowed that the council will be brought back once TDP comes back to power in the state.