Chapter 15: CENTER STATE RELATIONS
Parliament can make laws for the whole or any
part of the territory of India.
Only Parliament can make law applicable to
Indians and their property in any part of the world
[extra-territorial jurisdiction]. States can make laws for
whole or part of the state only.
President can make regulations for peace,
progress and good government of UT’s
A&N, Lakshadweep, dadra nagar haveli and
daman diu. Such a regulation can amend or repeal law of
parliament for these territories.
Parliament can make laws on any matter in all
three lists for UT’s. Even though Delhi and puducherry
have CM + CoM the supreme control of president and
parliament over it isn’t affected. However legislative
assembly of both UT’s can make laws on state list [Delhi
can’t make on public order, police and land] and
Provision for administration of acquired
territories also is same as UT’s.
Governors are empowered to direct that an act
of parliament don’t apply to scheduled area of state or
apply with amends. Governor of Assam can do same for
tribal autonomous districts and president for the tribal
autonomous districts in Meghalaya, Tripura and
Union list has precedence over concurrent
list [and state list] and concurrent over state list. Only
parliament can make laws on residuary subjects [not on any
lists]. However if a state bill has been given assent by
the president then it prevails for that state. But
parliament can override this by making an act on the same
Under extraordinary circumstances the
parliament can make laws on matters on the state list
- Rajya Sabha passes a resolution with
two-third majority. Such a resolution has a life of one
year and can be extended any times. All such acts lapse
after 6 months of the resolution lapsing. The state can
still make a law on this matter when the resolution is
in force but union law prevails.
- During national emergencies the union can
make laws on matters in the state list but such laws
expire in 6 months of the emergency expiring. States can
make laws on the matter too but union laws prevail.
- Parliament can make laws on any matter of
state list to implement international conventions,
agreements and treaties.
- If two or more states pass a resolution
requesting parliament to make laws on a matter in the
state list then parliament can legislate for that matter
only. Such a law shall apply only to those states but
other states can join by passing similar resolutions.
Henceforth only parliament can make laws or amend/repeal
them on that matter for those states. The states shall
have lost that power with respect to that subject.
- During presidents rule in the state,
parliament can make laws for any matter in the state
list but for that state only. After the rule is over
these laws don’t lapse. But states can
Parliament can exercise control on state
- President can direct states to reserve
money and other financial bills for his assent during
- Bills on certain matters on state list can
be introduced in state legislatures only after
- Governor can reserve bills passed by state
legislatures for presidential assent. President enjoys
absolute veto over them.
Division of executive powers:
Centre has executive powers on matters on
which it can make legislations. This is for the entire
territory of India. Similarly states have executive powers
throughout their entire territory for all matters on which
it can legislate.
For matters in concurrent list executive
with state unless the constitution or the said law
confers it to the centre.
Executive power of state should be used in a
manner to ensure compliance with central laws and to
ensure that no impedance is caused to exercise of
executive powers of centre in the state.
Centre can give directions to the state for
the above purposes and non-compliance with such directions
can be a valid reason for declaring presidents rule in
President can assign an executive function
of the centre to the state government if it consents.
Governor too can entrust executive function of state to
centre if it agrees.
However, only parliament can confer executive
duties to a state government without the states consent by
passing a law.
ANY federal scheme involves the setting up of dual governments and
division of powers. But the success and strength of the
federal polity depends upon the maximum of co-operation and co-ordination between the governments. The topic may be discussed under two beads:
Relation between the Union and States;
Relation between the States inter Se.
TECHNIQUES OF UNION CONTROL OVER STATES
It would be convenient to discuss this matter under two heads-(i) in
emergencies; (ii) in normal times.
It has already been pointed out that in 'emergencies'
the government under the Indian Constitution will work as if it were a
In Normal Times. Even in normal times, the Constitution has
devised techniques of control over the States by the Union to ensure that the
State governments do not Interfere with the legislative and executive policies
of the Union and also to ensure the efficiency and strength of each
individual unit which is essential for the strength of the Union.
Some of these avenues of control arise out of the executive and
legislative powers vested in the President, In relation to the States,
The power to appoint and dismiss the Governor; the
power to appoint other dignitaries in the State, e.g., Judges of the High
Court; Members of the State Public Service Commission
Legislative powers, e.g., previous sanction to introduce legislation in
the State Legislature; assent to specified legtslauon which
must be reserved for his consideration,
instruction of President required for the Governor to make Ordinance relating to specified matters; veto power in
respect of other State Bills reserved by the Governor
It has already been stated that with the consent of the Government of a
Delegation of State, President may entrust to that Government executive functions of the Union relating to any matter. While legislating on a Union subject,
Parliament may delegate powers to the State Governments and their officers
insofar as the statute is applicable in the respective States
Conversely. a State Government may, with the consent of the
Government of India, confer administrative functions upon the latter,
relating to State subjects
Thus. where it is Inconvenient for either Government to directly carry
out its administrative functions, it may have those functions executed
through the other Government.
As stated earlier, Parliament is given power to make such grants as it
It may deem necessary to give financial assistance to any
State which is in need of such assistance [Art. 275]
By means of the grants, the Union would be in a position to correct
inter-State disparities in financial resources which are not conducive to an
all-round development of the country and also to exercise control and coordination
over the welfare schemes of the States on a national scale.
Besides this general power to make grants to the States for financial
assistance. the Constitution provides for specific grants on two matters:
For schemes of development, for welfare of Scheduled Tribes and for raising
the level of administration of Scheduled Areas, as. may have been
undertaken by a State with the approval of the Government of India.
the State of Assam, for the development of the tribal Areas in that State
For the purpose of enforcing the provisions. of the Constitution relating
to the freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse throughout the territory
Parliament is empowered to constitute an authority similar to the inter state
Commerce Commission in the US.A
And to confer
on such authority such powers and duties as it may deem fit . No
such Commission has, however been set up.
As explained already Our Constitution distributes between the
Union and the States not only the legislative power
but also the executive power, more or less on the
The result is that it is not competent for a State to exercise
administrative power with respect to Union subjects, or for the Union to take
up the administration of any State function, unless authorised in that behalf
by any provision in the Constitution.
In administrative matters, a rigid
division like this may lead to occasional deadlocks.
To avoid such a
situation, the Constitution has engrafted provisions enabling the Union as
well as a State to make a mutual delegation of their respective administrative
(b) As to the delegation of Unlon functions, there are two methods:
With the consent of the State Government, the President may,
without any legislative sanction, entrust any executive function to that State
Irrespective of any consent of the State concerned, Parliament may,
while legislating with respect to Union subject, confer powers upon a State
or its officers, relating to such subject. Such delegation has, in
short, a statutory basis.
Conversely, with the consent of the Government of India, the
Governor of a State may entrust on the Union Government or its officers,
functions relating to a State subject, so far as that State is concerned
The system of double government set up by a federal Constitution
requires, for its smooth working, the immunity of the
property of one Government from taxation by
Though there is some difIerence between
federal Constitutions as to the extent to which this
immunity should go, there Is an agreement on the
principle that mutual immunity from taxation would save a good deal of
fruitless labour in assessment and calculation and cross-accounting of taxes
between the two governments (Union and State).
The property of the Union shall, save insofar as
Parliament may by law otherwise provide, be exempt
from all taxes imposed by a State or by any authority
within a state
Similarly the property of a State is immune from
The Immunity, however,
does not extend to all 'Union taxes, as held by our
Supreme Court, but is confined only to such taxes as are levied on property.
A State is, therefore, not immune from customs duty,
which Is Imposed, not on property, but on the act of import or export of
Not only the 'property' but also the 'income' of a State is exempted
from Union taxation. The exemption Is, however, confined to the State
Government and does not extend to any local authority situated within a
The above immunity of the income of a State is, again, subject to an
overriding power of Parliament as regards any income derived from a
Ordinarily, the income derived by a State from commercial
activities shall be immune from income-tax levied by the Union.
(b) Parliament Is, however, competent to tax the income of a State
derived from a commercial activity.
(c) if, however, Parliament declares any apparently trading functions as
functions 'incidental to the ordinary functions of government', the income
from such functions shall be no longer taxable, so long as such declaration
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