This answer was originally written by shri Yogesh Unhale and published here as written.
“Indian polity is federal in nature with a central government while having elected governments at state levels also. At both federal as well as state level, polity is bicameral with two houses of legislature. A the central level they are called as Rajyasabha (Upper House) and Loksabha ( Lower House), Along similar lines are Vidhan Sabha (Lower House) and Vidhan Parishad (Upper House) at state level. Elected representatives of Vidhan Sabha are called MLA while those nominated to Vidhan Parishad are called MLC. There are many similarities between MLA and MLC though there are differences as well. Let us take a closer look.
MLA stands for Member of Legislative Assembly and is an elected representative of the constituency from where he fights election. He is elected directly through adult suffrage by the voters. On the other hand MLC stands for Member of Legislative Council and is either a nominated member of the legislature or elected by a restricted electorate like teachers and lawyers. While MLA represents his constituency and works for the development of his area, MLC is a member of legislature who is mostly chosen from experts and influential people in different walks of life.
Another difference between an MLA and MLC is that MLC’s are considered to be wiser and knowledgeable than MLA’s. While MLA’s from ruling party propose bills, they are deliberated upon by MLC’s just as they are reviewed by members of Rajyasabha at the center. However, MLC’s, together with MLA’s are referred to as members of state legislature and have same status in the polity.
Normally, members of legislative assembly are preferred over members of legislative council when it comes to government formation and a vast majority of any ministry comprises members of legislative assembly. One notable difference between MLA and MLC’s lies in their power to vote in a vote of confidence. Only MLA’s can take part in this exercise and thus wield considerable clout in the legislature.
There are a few states in India which do not have a bicameral legislature and as such there are only MLA’s and no MLC’s.
MLA vs MLC
• MLA’s and MLC’s are members of state legislatures in India
• MLA’s are elected directly by the voters whereas MLC’s are elected by a restricted electorate comprising teachers and lawyers
• MLA’s propose money bills while MLC’s do not have this power
• MLA’s can participate in a vote of confidence whereas MLC’s do not have this power
• Ministers in a government at the state level are mostly MLA’s while very few MLC’s get a chance to serve as ministers.”
Written by: Yogesh Unhale on Quora.