Kerala Assembly on top 3 of highest number of Assembly session days in 2022: Report
The think tank PRS Legislative Research reported that state assemblies across India convened for an average of 21 days in 2022, and the number of state legislature sittings has been continuously decreasing since 2016. The research also stated that in 2022, the 28 state assemblies met for an average of 21 days. West Bengal (42 days), Kerala (41 days), and Karnataka (45 days) held the most sessions.
According to a study by the think tank PRS Legislative Research, state assemblies across the nation convened for an average of 21 days in 2022, and the number of state legislature sittings has been continuously decreasing since 2016.
The research stated that in 2022, the 28 state assemblies met for an average of 21 days. West Bengal (42 days), Kerala (41 days), and Karnataka (45 days) held the most sessions.
In the majority of states, the legislature meets twice or three times a year, with the longer budget session taking place between January and March and the shorter monsoon and winter sessions following. In 2022, twelve states convened for just two sessions, five of which were in the northeast.
Around 61 percent of the sittings were held during the budget session. The Tamil Nadu Assembly held more than 90 percent of its sittings in the budget session. Gujarat and Rajasthan held more than 80 percent of their sittings in the budget session.
The average duration of a sitting across 20 states was five hours. On average, a sitting in Maharashtra lasted eight hours, while in Sikkim, it lasted two hours.
Between 2016 and 2022, 24 state assemblies met for an average of 25 days. Kerala had the highest average number of 48 sitting days a year, followed by Odisha (41 days) and Karnataka (35 days).
The number of average sitting days has declined steadily from 2016 to 2022, with a dip in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2016, the assemblies of 24 states held sittings for an average of 31 days, in 2017, it was 30 days, in 2018, 27 days and in 2019, it was 25 days.
In 2020, the number of sittings was down to 17 days due to the pandemic. In 2021, it was 22 days.
The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) had recommended that the states set a minimum number of sitting days for their legislatures, based on the number of members.
States such as Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have mandated a minimum number of sitting days for their legislatures and the limits vary from 35 days in Himachal Pradesh to 90 days in Uttar Pradesh.
However, the report said none of these states has met the target since 2016.
Article 202 of the Constitution requires the state governments to present the budget before the legislature every year. On an average, 20 states discussed budgets for eight days in 2022. Tamil Nadu spent 26 days on the entire budget discussion, followed by Karnataka (15 days), Kerala (14 days) and Odisha (14 days).
Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab discussed their budgets for two days each. Nagaland discussed and passed its budget in a day.
In 2022, the state legislatures passed more than 500 bills on various subjects, including land, labour and social justice. Appropriation bills and finance bills, which are passed to sanction government expenditure, were not included in the report.
All 28 states passed 21 bills on average in 2022. The highest number of 85 bills were passed by Assam, followed by Tamil Nadu (51) and Goa (38). Assam passed 85 bills in 2022, 51 more than it passed in 2021 (34).
State legislatures often pass bills quickly, without much debate and deliberation, the report said.
In 2022, 56 percent of the total 322 bills were passed on the day of introduction or the very next day. In 2021, this proportion was 44 percent. In 2022, nine states, including Bihar, Gujarat, Punjab and West Bengal, passed all bills within a day of introduction. These states passed all bills within a day in 2021 as well.
Four states -- Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya and Rajasthan -- took more than five days to pass a majority of the bills. Rajasthan passed 73 percent of the bills after at least five days of their introduction in the legislature. The corresponding figure was 67 percent for Kerala and 59 percent for Karnataka.
In 2022, across the states, less than 30 bills were referred to committees for a detailed study.
(With inputs from PTI)