Federalism in India
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Federalism in India


Part XI(11) of the Indian constitution
defines the power distribution between the federal government and the States in
India. This part is divided between legislative, administrative and
executive powers. The legislative section is divided into three lists:
Union list, States list and Concurrent list. Unlike the federal governments of
the United States, Switzerland or Australia, residual powers remain with
the Centre, as with the Canadian federal government.
Legislative Powers The power of the states and the Centre
are defined by the constitution and the legislative powers are divided into
three lists. i.e.=Union List=
Union list consists of 100 items on which the parliament has exclusive power
to legislate with including: defence, armed forces, arms and ammunition,
atomic energy, foreign affairs, war and peace, citizenship, extradition,
railways, shipping and navigation, airways, posts and telegraphs,
telephones, wireless and broadcasting, currency, foreign trade, inter-state
trade and commerce, banking, insurance, control of industries, regulation and
development of mines, mineral and oil resources, elections, audit of
Government accounts, constitution and organisation of the Supreme Court, High
Courts and union public service commission, income tax, custom duties
and export duties, duties of excise, corporation tax, taxes on capital value
of assets, estate duty, terminal taxes.&ltBabulal Fadia. State politics
in India Volume I. Radiant publishers, New Delhi. pp. 92–122.
=State list=State list consists of 61 items.
Uniformity is desirable but not essential on items in this list:
maintaining law and order, police forces, healthcare, transport, land
policies, electricity in state, village administration, etc.The state
legislature has exclusive power to make laws on these subjects. But in certain
circumstances,the parliament can also make laws on subjects mentioned in the
State list.Then the parliament has to pass a resolution with 2/3rd majority
that it is expedient to legislate on this state list in the national
interest. Though states have exclusive powers to
legislate with regards to items on the State list, articles 249, 250, 252, and
253 state situations in which the federal government can legislate on
these items.=Concurrent List=
Concurrent list consists of 52 items. Uniformity is desirable but not
essential on items in this list: Marriage and divorce, transfer of
property other than agricultural land, education, contracts, bankruptcy and
insolvency, trustees and trusts, civil procedure, contempt of court,
adulteration of foodstuffs, drugs and poisons, economic and social planning,
trade unions, labour welfare, electricity, newspapers, books and
printing press, stamp duties. The subjects that are not mentioned in
any of the three lists are known as Residuary Subjects.The power to
legislate on these, rests with central government.
Administrative powers The Union and states have independent
executive staffs fully controlled by their respective governments and
executive power of the states and the Centre are extended on issues they are
empowered to legislate.As in legislative matters, in administrative matters also,
the Central government has been made more powerful than the States. The
Constitution has made it clear that the State governments cannot go against the
Central government in administrative matters. The State governments have to
work under the supervision and control of the Central government. The States
should exercise its executive powers in accordance with the laws made by the
Parliament. The Central government can make laws for maintaining good relations
between the Centre and the States. It can control the State governments by
directing them to take necessary steps for proper running of administration. If
the State fails to work properly or according to the Constitution, it can
impose President’s rule there under Article 356 and take over its
administration. Again, there are some officials of the Central government,
working in the States, through which it can have control over the State
governments. Union control over States
According to the Article 356 of the Constitution of India, states must
exercise their executive power in compliance with the laws made by the
Central government. Article 357 calls upon every state not to impede on the
executive power of the Union within the states. Articles 352 to 360 contain
provisions which empower the Centre to take over the executive of the states on
issues of national security or on the breakdown of constitutional machinery.
Governors are appointed by the Central government to oversee states. The
president can dissolve the state assembly under the recommendation of the
council of ministers by invoking Article 356 if and when states fail to comply
with directives given by the Centre. The Constitution provides that, except
in a few cases, union law trumps state law. If any provision of a law made by
the Legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of a law made by
Parliament which Parliament is competent to enact, or to any provision of an
existing law with respect to one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent
List, then, the law made by Parliament, whether passed before or after the law
made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing
law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to
the extent of the repugnancy, be void. There is an exception to this in cases
“where a law made by the Legislature of a State with respect to one of the
matters enumerated in the Concurrent List contains any provision repugnant to
the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament or an existing law with
respect to that matter, then, the law so made by the Legislature of such State
shall, if it has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has
received his assent, prevail in that State. Union Law is considered superior
to State Law. Provided that nothing in this clause shall prevent Parliament
from enacting at any time any law with respect to the same matter including a
law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the
Legislature of the State.” References
External links Constitution of India

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