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Eligibility Criteria to become an MLA

Posted by Admin on September 15, 2014 | Comment

Legislative Assembly or the lower house of state legislature is the main law-making body at the state level. The Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are democratically elected representative of the electorates. For every Lok Sabha MP from the state, there are between four and nine MLAs. An individual must fulfill a certain set of criteria to become eligible for holding the position of an MLA.

Eligibility Criteria to become an MLA

Eligibility Criteria to become an MLA

The qualifications needed to become an MLA are almost similar to the eligibility criteria for an MP.  Besides being a citizen of India, the individual should not be less than 25 years of age. On a more fundamental note, a person, who is not a voter from any constituency of the state, is not eligible to become an MLA. 

It’s to be noted that an MLA is elected by the people of a particular constituency and he/she represents those electorates in the legislative Assembly. MLAs enjoy the same position in the state as MPs on a national level.

Responsibilities of an MLA 

The principal responsibility of an MLA is to represent the people’s grievances and aspirations and take them up with the state government. An MLA has the power to utilise several legislative tools including ‘calling attention motion’ to raise issues concerning his/her constituency. It’s also expected of the MLA to raise the issues with the relevant government agency and minister. As a legislator, his cardinal role will be to make optimum use of the local area development (LAD) fund in a bid to develop his constituency.

In a response to one of the queries under RTI act it came to pass that no responsibility is binding on the MLA. Indian Constitution has no mention of obligatory duties of a member of legislative assembly. While it’s an accepted norm that the legislators would serve their voters, there is no fixed roadmap laid down for them. Hence, it’s not incumbent upon them to perform any of the above mentioned tasks.

Disqualification of an MLA 

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the “charge-sheeted MPs and MLAs, on conviction for offences, will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months’ time for appeal.” According to the Bench of justices, the Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act is unconstitutional since it gives protection to MPs and MLAs and allows them to continue in office even after conviction if they appeal before a higher court within three months. The Act has been misused by the convicted legislators as they could file an appeal against their convictions and get a stay on the sentence.

While striking down this section, the bench pointed out the existing dichotomy – while convicted individuals could be disqualified from contesting elections, yet they are allowed to remain the Members of Parliament and State Legislatures. As per the apex court verdict, if an MLA is convicted of any offence (and sentenced to imprisonment) under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3), he/she must be disqualified “from the date of conviction.” The court also ruled that the MLA will remain disqualified for “a further period of six years since his release”.