(1) Every Legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer and the expiration of the said period of 1 [five years] shall operate as a dissolution of the Assembly: Provided that the said period may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.

 

(2) The Legislative Council of a State shall not be subject to dissolution, but as nearly as possible one-third of the members thereof shall retire as soon as may be on the expiration of every second year in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf by Parliament by law.

Debate Summary

Article 151, Draft Constitution, 1948

(1) Every Legislative Assembly of every State, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the Assembly.

(2) The Legislative Council of a State shall not be subject to dissolution, but as nearly as may be one-third of the members thereof shall retire as soon as may be on the expiration of every third year in accordance with the provisions made in that behalf by the Legislature of the State by law.


Draft Article 151 (Article 172) was debated on 2nd June 1949. It set out the duration of the State Legislative Assemblies and Councils.

 

A member moved an amendment to insert the following proviso after clause (1):

'Provided that the said period may, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, be extended by Parliament for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate.'

 

He pointed out that this was analogous to the provisions of Draft Article 68 (Article 83) which applied to Parliament. He argued that it was necessary for the State Legislative Assemblies to extend this period in public interest, during exceptional circumstances like war or emergency. In response, another member claimed that this was ‘wholly undemocratic’ and could be used as an excuse for the Assemblies to hold on to power, as they could refuse to conduct elections during such periods. However, the amendment was accepted by the Assembly.

 

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee moved an amendment to clause (2), requiring one-third of members in the State Legislative Councils to retire every two years, rather than three. This amendment was accepted without debate.

 

One other amendment was withdrawn. The amended Draft Article was adopted on 2nd June 1949.