A Member of Legislative Assembly, or MLA, is a representative elected by the voters of an electoral district to the Legislature of a State in the Indian system of government. Each state has between four and nine MLA for every Member of Parliament (MP) that it has in the Lok Sabha. There are also Members in two unicameral legislatures in Union Territories: the Delhi Legislative Assembly and Puducherry Legislative Assembly.
The qualifications to member of the state Legislature are largely similar to the qualifications to be the members of Parliament. A person should be i) a citizen of India ii) not less than 25 years of age to be member of the Legislative Assembly and not less than 30 years as per Article 173 of Indian Constitution to be a member of the Legislative Council.
No person can become a member of the Legislative Assembly or the Legislative Council of any state, unless he himself is a voter from any constituency of the state. Those who cannot become members of Parliament can also not become members of state Legislature. He is elected by the people of that particular constituency and represents those people in the legislative assembly and debates on issues related to his or her constituency.His position is like an MP only but the difference is only that MLA is in the state level and the MP is in the national level.
The term of the Legislative Assembly is five years. But it may be dissolved even earlier than five years by the Governor on the request of Chief Minister. The term of the Legislative Assembly may be extended during an Emergency, but not more than six months at a time.In the State of Jammu and Kashmir the tenure of the Legislative Assembly is 6 years.
The Legislative Council is the Upper House in the State. Just like the Rajya Sabha it is a permanent House and cannot be dissolved. The term of each member is 6 years and 1/3 members of the House retire after every two years.
The most important function of the Legislature is law making. The State Legislature has the power to make laws on all items on which Parliament cannot legislate. Some of these items are police, prisons, irrigation, agriculture, local governments, public health, pilgrimages, burial grounds etc. Some items on which both Parliament and states can make laws are education, marriage and divorce, forests, protection of wild animals and birds etc.
As regards Money Bill, the position is the same. Bills can originate only in the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council can either pass the bill within 14 days from the date of the receipt of the Bill or suggest changes in it within 14 days. But these changes may or may not be accepted by the Assembly.
The State Legislature besides making laws also has one electoral power in electing the President of India. Elected members of the Legislative Assembly along with the elected members of Parliament are involved in this process.
We have seen that some parts of the Constitution can be amended by Parliament with the approval of half of State Legislatures. Thus the State legislatures take part in the process of amendment of our Constitution..