An essay on the divisions of powers between the Union and the States . Because of its enormous size and economic, social, religious, cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversities our leaders thought unfit to give India a federal constitution. Our constitution provides for decentralization of political author¬ity. The powers of the Centre and the States have been divided carefully in our constitution. In addition, Part XI of the Constitution (Art. 245 to 255) deals exclusively with the relations between the Union and States.
The effort of the Constitution makers has been to grant autonomy to the States on one hand and to maintain unity and integrity of the vast country on the other hand by keeping co-coordinating authority with the Union, ‘Unity in Diversity’ is a unique feature, which has been kept in view by Constitution makers. The Constitution clearly enumerates the areas of control under the centre and the states in three lists. List I consists of subject under the Control of Union, while List II contains areas of Control of the States. Yet there is a third list known as concurrent list.
Associated essay: A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India Summary
The Union and States have concurrent powers on the subjects contained in this list. These lists are contained in seventh schedule of our Constitution. By and large, defense of the country, foreign affairs, currency, railways, shipping and navigation etc. are the subjects of the Union List, while maintenance of law and order, prisons, police force, local govern¬ments, public health etc. are subjects of State List. The subjects like criminal law and procedure, marriage and divorce, lunacy, forests, economic and social planning etc. are in the concurrent list.
The Union Parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of India in regard to subjects contained in Union List while the states have exclusive power to make laws for the state as a whole or any part there of will respect to any of the matters listed in the State List. State Legislatures can also make laws on the subjects contained in the concurrent list. The residuary powers are vested in the centre. Parliament can, however, legislate with respect to a matter in State List if the subject is declared to be of national importance by a resolution of Rajya Sabha or when a proclamation of emergency is in operation.
The centre has been given some administrative powers over the states for effective co-ordination. It is the responsibility of the States to ensure compli¬ance of Union laws within their territory. The centre can give directions to the states for die purpose. The Union can also give directions to a state regarding construction and maintenance of means of communication of national or military importance and for the protection of the railways within the state. The centre can deploy any grave situation of law and order in the state.
The power to settle disputes between states relating to distribution of waters of inter-state rivers lies with the Union. The centre can set up inter-state councils, if it feels necessary. For this administrative co-ordination, there is a provision of All-India Services in the Constitution. These services are common to the Centre and States. The recruitment and other service matters are controlled by the centre, while they continue to service their states. The centre, by rotation, utilizes their services on deputation for a specified period.