Annual review of state laws 2020 report by PRS


Synopsis: PRS Legislative Research’s “Annual review of state laws 2020” shows that the productivity and efficacy of State legislatures is poor.

Background
  • Public information on the working of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha is readily available to Indian citizens because of the efforts of PRS Legislative Research.
  • In contrast, the public information available on the functioning of state legislatures and their productivity has been limited.
  • The good news is that PRS has now ventured into monitoring state legislatures and has recently released a report on the legislative work performed by states for the year 2020.
About Annual review of state laws report
  • The report is based on data compiled from state legislature websites and state gazettes.
  • It covers 19 state legislatures, including the Union Territory of Delhi, which together accounts for 90% of the population of the country.
  • Some of the state’s data are not available because few states do not have a systematic way of reporting legislative proceedings and business.

Important Findings of Annual review of state laws 2020

  • One, less number of working days: Pre-2020, these 19 states met for an average of 29 days a year as compared to the Parliament that met for 33 days in 2020.
  • Two, lack of detailed scrutiny over Bills: For instance, in 2020, 59% of the Bills were passed on the same day that they were introduced in the legislature. A further 14% were passed within a day of being introduced.
    • Whereas, In Parliament, Bills are often referred to Parliamentary Standing Committees for detailed examination. In most states, such committees are non-existent.
  • Three, no uniformity in policies that are related to National interest. For instance, while some states decided to reduce salaries of the members of state legislature, some states did not take any such action to maintain financial propriety.
Kuldip Nayar v. Union of India case:
  • In 2003, Section 3 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act) was amended.
  • Section 3 of the RP Act, stipulated that for a person to be a member of the Rajya Sabha, he needs to be an “ordinary resident” in the State, from which he or she is contesting the election.
  • By amending the RP Act, the government did away with the ‘domicile’ requirement to be a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • This amendment was challenged before the Supreme Court in the case Kuldip Nayar v. Union of India.
  • The petitioner argued that to “represent” a state, the member needs to have some domiciliary nexus with the State he is representing
  • However, the Supreme Court held that domicile requirement of a representative is not an essential attribute of federalism. Therefore, it does not violate the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Source: Indian Express

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