BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Friday started the process for establishing legislative council by deciding to set up a five-member committee to study the proposal and submit its recommendations by the end of the month.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting presided by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh at the State Secretariat here. The committee will study functions and power of legislative councils in other States and submit a detailed report. The committee members will visit some of the States which have council before finalising the recommendations.
The BJP, however, criticised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for starting the process for establishment of the legislative council. When the Assembly is not able to meet for the mandatory 60 days in a year, what is the use of setting up the council, State BJP president KV Singhdeo asked.
Singhdeo alleged that the Chief Minister has floated the proposal to accommodate the disgruntled elements in the BJD by offering membership of the legislative council before their exodus to the BJP.
There are legislative councils in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. The Centre has cleared a proposal to set up a legislative council of Assam in 2013.
As per the provision of the Constitution, legislative council can be set up only after two-third members of the Assembly support the proposal. The size of the council cannot be more than one-third of the strength of Assembly. However, its size cannot be less than 40 members (except in Jammu and Kashmir, where the strength is 36 by an Act of Parliament.)
Arukh said the strength of the council in Odisha will be 49. One third of them will be elected by the MLAs and one third by members of municipal corporations, municipalities and zilla parishads. One sixth of the members will be nominated by the Governor from the fields of literature, science, art and social service.
The tenure of a member of the legislative council will be six years. Arukh said the State Government initiated the exercise to set up legislative council after considering demands made by different organisations.
Opposition Congress refrained from reacting to the development. “Our party is yet to decide on the issue,” Leader of the Opposition Narsingh Mishra said.