National Commission for Scheduled Castes

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has been constituted under Article 338 of the Constitution of India as amended by the Constitution (Eighty-Ninth Amendment) Act, in the year 2003. The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and three other Members.

Article 338 of the Constitution provides for a National Commission for Scheduled Castes-


(1) There shall be a Commission for the Scheduled Castes to be known as the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes.

(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice- Chairperson and three other Members and the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members so appointed shall be such as the President may by rule determine.

(3) The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

(4) The Commission shall have the power to regulate its own procedure.

(5) It shall be the duty of the Commission-
(a) To investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;

(b) To inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Castes;

(c) To participate and advise on the planning process of socio- economic development of the Scheduled Castes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;

(d) To present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards; (e) to make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio- economic development of the Scheduled Castes ; and (f) To discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.

(6) The President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.

(7) Where any such report, or any part thereof, relates to any matter with which any State Government is concerned, a copy of such report shall be forwarded to the Governor of the State who shall cause it to be laid before the Legislature of the State along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the State and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.

(8) The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to in sub-clause (a) or inquiring into any complaint referred to in sub-clause (b) of clause (5), have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and in particular in respect of the following matters, namely:-

(a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
(b) Requiring the discovery and production of any document;
(c) Receiving evidence on affidavits;
(d) Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
(e) Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents;
(f) Any other matter which the President may, by rule, determine.

(9) The Union and every State Government shall consult the Commission on all major policy mattes affecting Scheduled Castes.

(10) In this article, references to the Scheduled Castes shall be construed as including references to such other backward classes as the President may, on receipt of the report of a Commission appointed under clause (1) of article 340, by order specify and also to the Anglo-Indian community.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission was set up by a Resolution of the Government of India in March 1950 in pursuance of declared objectives of the Government to promote a rapid rise in the standard of living of the people by efficient exploitation of the resources of the country, increasing production and offering opportunities to all for employment in the service of the community. The Planning Commission was charged with the responsibility of making assessment of all resources of the country, augmenting deficient resources, formulating plans for the most effective and balanced utilisation of resources and determining priorities. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first Chairman of the Planning Commission.

The first Five-year Plan was launched in 1951 and two subsequent five-year plans were formulated till 1965, when there was a break because of the Indo-Pakistan Conflict. Two successive years of drought, devaluation of the currency, a general rise in prices and erosion of resources disrupted the planning process and after three Annual Plans between 1966 and 1969, the fourth Five-year plan was started in 1969.

The Eighth Plan could not take off in 1990 due to the fast changing political situation at the Centre and the years 1990-91 and 1991-92 were treated as Annual Plans. The Eighth Plan was finally launched in 1992 after the initiation of structural adjustment policies.

For the first eight Plans the emphasis was on a growing public sector with massive investments in basic and heavy industries, but since the launch of the Ninth Plan in 1997, the emphasis on the public sector has become less pronounced and the current thinking on planning in the country, in general, is that it should increasingly be of an indicative nature.

Organisation of the Planning Commission of India
The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Planning Commission, which works under the overall guidance of the National Development Council. The Deputy Chairman and the full time Members of the Commission, as a composite body, provide advice and guidance to the subject Divisions for the formulation of Five Year Plans, Annual Plans, State Plans, Monitoring Plan Programmes, Projects and Schemes. 

Functions of the Planning Commission of India

The 1950 resolution setting up the Planning Commission outlined its functions as to:
a. Make an assessment of the material, capital and human resources of the country, including technical personnel, and investigate the possibilities of augmenting such of these resources as are found to be deficient in relation to the nation`s requirement;

b. Formulate a Plan for the most effective and balanced utilisation of country`s resources;

c. On a determination of priorities, define the stages in which the Plan should be carried out and propose the allocation of resources for the due completion of each stage;

d. Indicate the factors which are tending to retard economic development, and determine the conditions which, in view of the current social and political situation, should be established for the successful execution of the Plan; Determine the nature of the machinery which will be necessary for securing the successful implementation of each stage of the Plan in all its aspects;

e. Appraise from time to time the progress achieved in the execution of each stage of the Plan and recommend the adjustments of policy and measures that such appraisal may show to be necessary; and

f. Make such interim or ancillary recommendations as appear to take it to be appropriate either for facilitating the discharge of the duties assigned to it, or on a consideration of prevailing economic conditions, current policies, measures and development programme or on an examination of such specific problems as may be referred to it for advice by Central or State Governments.

Evolving Functions of the Planning Commission of India
From a highly centralised planning system, the Indian economy is gradually moving towards indicative planning where Planning Commission concerns itself with the building of a long term strategic vision of the future and decides on national priorities. It works out sectoral targets and provides promotional stimulus to the economy to grow in the desired direction.

Planning Commission of India plays an integrative role in the development of a holistic approach to policy formulation in critical areas of human and economic development. In the social sector, schemes which require coordination and synthesis like rural health, drinking water, rural energy needs, literacy and environment protection have yet to be subjected to coordinated policy formulation. It has led to multiplicity of agencies. An integrated approach can lead to better results at much lower costs.

The emphasis of the Commission is on maximising the output by using our limited resources optimally. Instead of looking for mere increase in the plan outlays, the effort is to look for increases in the efficiency of utilisation of the allocations being made.

With the emergence of severe constraints on available budgetary resources, the resource allocation system between the States and Ministries of the Central Government is under strain. This requires the Planning Commission to play a mediatory and facilitating role, keeping in view the best interests of all concerned. It has to ensure smooth management of the change and help in creating a culture of high productivity and efficiency in the Government.

The key to efficient utilisation of resources lies in the creation of appropriate self-managed organisations at all levels. In this area, Planning Commission attempts to play a systems change role and provide consultancy within the Government for developing better systems. In order to spread the gains of experience more widely, Planning Commission also plays an information dissemination role.

Union Public Service Commission

The Union Public Service Commission is one of the important Constitutional Bodies in India which has been formed to recruit various civil servants of the country by conducting competitive examinations. Originally the first Public Service Commission was constituted by the British Government in the year 1926. Article 315 of the Constitution provides for the creation of Public Service Commissions both for the Union and the States and also for Joint State Public Service Commission. According to Article 316, the Chairman and other members of the Union Public Service Commission will be appointed by the Indian President who may by regulations determine the number of members of the commission and their conditions of service and for the staff of the commission.

History of Union Public Service Commission

As long as British East India Company ruled over India, it did not feel the need and necessity of having Indians in the civil services. The Company had its own rules and regulations for the recruitment of personnel for manning their services. It was after 1885 that consciousness came among the Indians and they gradually began to demand a share in running their own administration. But conditions did not materially improve for long. It was only in 1919 that a provision was made for setting up a regular service commission for recruiting personnel for running the administration and services in the Government of India. But it took the government about 6 long years to implement the provision. It was only in 1926 that the first Central Service Commission was constituted. The Government of India Act 1935 also provided for setting up a Federal Service Commission.

Composition of Union Public Service Commission

The number of members of the Union Public Service Commission is seven including the chairman. As nearly as may be, one half of the members of every Public Service Commission shall be persons who at the dates of their respective appointments have held office at least for 10 years under the Government of India. A member of the Union Public Service Commission will hold office for a term of 6 years or until he attains the age of 65. All the appointments are made by the Indian President who is also dismissing authority in their case. But dismissal can be made only when a member has been charged with misbehaviour and such a charge, after investigation, has been established by the Supreme Court of India. He can also be removed from service, if he has been declared of unsound mind, insolvent, a disqualified citizen or he got gainful employment outside his official responsibilities, without prior approval of the government. The chairman and the members are ineligible for reappointment after retirement. The Forty-second Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976 provides for the creation of an All-India Judicial Service Commission by Parliament by law.

Functions of Union Public Service Commission

The functions of Union Public Service Commissions have been laid down in Article 320. The duty of the Union Public Service Commission will be to conduct examinations for appointment to the services of the Union. The Union Public Service Commission may, if requested by any two or more states, assist them in framing and operating a scheme of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special qualifications are required. The commission has a right to be consulted on all matters relating to methods of recruitment, principles of appointment, in making promotions and transfers from one service to another, on all disciplinary matters affecting a government servant Parliament may by law confer additional power to be exercised by the commission. All expenses of the commission will be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India.

The Public Service Commission is required to submit annually to the President a report as to the work done by the commission and on receipt of such report the President shall cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament. It is also the duty of the Union Public Service Commission to summit a monthly report to the President and then after the report is examined by the President it is sent to each House of Parliament.

Impartiality of Union Public Service Commission

In order to ensure the impartiality of the Union Public Service Commission, the Commission has been declared an independent statutory body, which is responsible to the Parliament, through the Ministry for Home Affairs, for all its activities. The appointments in the commission are made by the President and thus both in the cases of appointment and dismissal the political government has no hand. Similarly, the members of the Service Commission will continue to hold office for a fixed tenure, during their good behaviour. As a further measure towards securing impartiality, it has been provided that during the tenure of their office and after retirement the members of the service commission shall not accept any gainful employment without the prior permission of the government.

Constitutional Bodies in India are formed by the Constitution which helps the Government to run properly. Each of these permanent or semi-permanent organizations is responsible for the administration of specific functions. Some additional bodies help them by providing advisory functions. After the release of India from the clutches of British, introduction of these independent bodies in government helped to develop India into a Social, Secular and Democratic Republic. Either the president or the Prime Minister of India appoints the chief of these bodies. Constitutional bodies are framed by the Constitution of a nation and can't be abolished without consent of the states.

Constitutional body is formed to continue the objectives of the Constitution.

A list of Constitutional bodies in India

•    National


1.     2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC)
2.     Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC)
3.     Central Information Commission
4.     Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)
5.     Central Water Commission (CWC)
6.     Committee on Infrastructure (CoI)
7.     Competition Commission of India
8.     Expenditure Reforms Commission
9.      First National Judicial Pay Commission
10.    Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC)
11.    Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
12.    Law Commission of India
13.    National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
14.    National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT)
15.    National Commission for Minorities (NCM)
16.    National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
17.    National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)
18.    National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)
19.    National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
20.    National Commission for Women (NCW)
21.    National Commission on Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS)
22.    National Commission on Farmers
23.    National Commission on Population
24.    National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)
25.    National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
26.    National Knowledge Commission, India
27.    Oversight Committee
28.    Planning Commission
29.    Staff Selection Commission (SSC)
30.    Thirteenth Finance Commission
31.    Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

•    State/UT



1.     Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (APERC)
2.    Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC)
3.    Assam Public Service Commission
4.    Bihar State Selection Commission
5.    Chhattisgarh Public Service Commission
6.    Delhi Commission for Women
7.    Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC)
8.    Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission
9.    Jammu and Kashmir State Electricity Regulatory Commission
10.  Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC)
11.  Kerala Law Reforms Commission
12.  Kerala Women's Commission
13.  Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission
14.  Madhya Pradesh State Minority Commission (MPSMC)
15.  Manipur Public Service Commission
16.  Public Grievances Commission, Delhi
17.  Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission
18.  Rajasthan Public Service Commission
19.  Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (RSHRC)
20.  Sikkim Public Service Commission (SPSC)
21.  State Election Commission, Chandigarh UT
22.  State Election Commission, Goa
23.  State Election Commission, Andhra Pradesh
24.  State Election Commission, Arunachal Pradesh
25.  State Election Commission, Bihar
27.  State Election Commission, Delhi
28.  State Election Commission, Haryana
29.  State Election Commission, Karnataka
30.  State Election Commission, Kerala
31.  State Election Commission, Madhya Pradesh
32.  State Election Commission, Maharashtra
33.  State election Commission, Orissa
34.  State Election Commission, Rajasthan
35.  State Election Commission, Tamil Nadu
36.  State Election Commission, Uttar Pradesh
37.  State Information Commission, Madhya Pradesh
38.  State Information Commission, Orissa
39.  State Information Commission, Punjab
40.  State Information Commission, West Bengal
41.  State Planning Commission (SPC), Tamil Nadu
42.  Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC)
43.  Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission
44.  Third State Finance Commission, Tamil Nadu
45.  Tripura Public Service Commission
46.  Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission
47.  West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC)

Constitutional Bodies in India

Constitutional Bodies in India are the permanent or semi-permanent organization within the machinery of government. These bodies are responsible to look after the administration of specific functions. The functions of these bodies are normally executive in character. Moreover, different types of organisation or commissions are used for advisory functions. The bodies are of national importance and help in the effective function of the government. India is a Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic and after independence, the introduction of the independent bodies as a part of the government helped the country. These constitutional or independent bodies have extensive administrative functions. The chief of these bodies are either appointed by the president of India or the Prime Minister serve as the chairman.

Among the major Constitutional Bodies in India, Election Commission is a permanent Constitutional Body. It was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950. The Constitution has vested to this body superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections. Comptroller and Auditor General of India is another authority established by the Constitution of India. He is provided with the power auditing all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments. In order to ensure independence of the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General from the executive government, the position thus remains permanent.


Planning Commission of India is among the Constitutional Bodies in India. The planning commission was charged with the service of the opportunities to all for employment in the service of the community. The Prime Minister is the chairman of the Planning commission and the whole commission works under the guidance of the national Development Council. Finance Commission also serves a constitutional body for the purpose of allocation of certain resources of revenue between the Union and the State Governments.

Other significant Constitutional Bodies in India include Central Vigilance Commission, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Human Rights Commission as well as National Commission for Women. The Union Public Service Commission was given autonomous status both at Federal and Provincial levels for ensuring unbiased recruitment to the civil services and also for protection of service interests. All India Services are the civil services of India that supports in the recruitment of employees on the basis of an examination conducted through the Union Public Service Commission. The All India Services Act of 1951 authorizes that the government of India can make rules and regulation for the recruitment and conditions of service of the persons appointed for the ranks of All India Service.

The organisations such as National Commission for Backward classes, National Commission for Minorities and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes are the other significant Constitutional Bodies in India

1. Explain the methods of measuring poverty in India?
 

2. Explain the methods of measuring unemployment in India?

3. What are the properties that determine poverty and explain the reasons why poverty is a major economic issue in developing countries like India?

4. Explain the poverty estimates after independence and types of methods used for estimating poverty in developing and developed countries?

5. Explain why poverty did not reduce that level when compared to economic development Post-reform period?

6. What are the concepts used by NSSO for measuring unemployment and explain the different ways of unemployment in rural India?

7. Wage employment schemes, self employment schemes- which one does you think are the best to ameliorate poverty and unemployment?

8. Discuss the progress of NREGA and explain how this act helped in employment generation?

9. What are the steps need to be taken to improve employment opportunities?

10. What was done to ameliorate poverty?

11. What should be done to ameliorate poverty?

12. What is the status of poverty in India in pre- and post reform period?

13. What are the causes of unemployment?

14. what was done to ameliorate unemployment?

15. What should be done to ameliorate unemployment?

16. Discuss NREGA , its implementation and its pros and cons?

17. What is the status of unemployment in India?

The financial relations between the Union Government and the States are discussed in Article 268 to 281 of the Constitution of India. In a Federation, the Centre and the units are given their separate sources of revenues so that they can stand on their feet. We can see in the following paras the financial relations between the Government of India and the States:
 
(i) Duties levied by the Union but collected and appropriated by the States
 
(a) Article 268 of the Constitution lays down that the stamp duties and such duties of excise on medicinal and toilet preparations as are mentioned in the Union List shall be levied by the Government of India but shall be collected by the States.
 
(b) The proceeds in any financial year of any such duty leviable within any State shall not form part of the Consolidated Fund of India, but shall be assigned to that State.
 
(ii) Taxes levied and collected by the Union but assigned to the States
 
The following duties and taxes shall be levied and collected by the Government of India but shall be assigned to the States in accordance with such principles of distribution as may be formulated by Parliament by law.
 
(a) Duties in respect of succession to property other than agricultural land.
(b) Estate duty in respect to property other than agricultural land.
(c) Terminal taxes on goods or passengers carried by railway, sea or air.
(d) Taxes on railway fares and freights.
(e) Taxes other than stamp duties on transactions in stock exchanges and future markets.
(f) Taxes on the sale or purchase of newspapers and on advertisements published therein.
(g) Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers, where such sale or purchase takes place in the course of inter-State trade or commerce.
 
(iii) Taxes levied and collected by the Union and distributed between the Union and the States
 
Article 270 says that taxes on incomes, other than agricultural incomes, shall be levied and collected by the Government of India and distributed between the Union and the States in the manner prescribed by the President after considering the recommendations of the Finance Commission.
 
(iv) Taxes which are levied and collected by the Union and may be distributed between the Union and Stales .

Under Article 272, Union duties of excise other than such duties of excise on medicinal and toilet preparations as are mentioned in the Union List shall be levied and collected by the Government of India, but, if Parliament by law So provides, these shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of India to the States in accordance with such principles of distribution as may be formulated by such law.
 
(v) Grants in lieu of export duty on Jute and Jute Products
 
Under Article 273 the States of Assam, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal will get grant in-aid every year in lieu of assignment of share of the net proceeds of export duty on jute and jute products. This amount will be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India. This sum will continue to be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India so long as any export duty on the jute products continues to be levied by the Government of India.
 
(vi) Grants from the Union to certain States
 
(a) Under Article 275 of the Constitution, such sums as the Parliament may by law provide shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India in each year as grants-in-aid to the revenues of such States as Parliament may determine to be in need of assistance and different sums may be fixed for different States.
(b) It has also been provided that these sums shall be paid out of Consolidated Fund of India as grants-in-aid to the States to meet the costs of such schemes of development as may be under-taken for the purpose of promoting the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the State or raising the level of administration of the Scheduled Areas therein to that of the administration of the rest of the areas of that State.
(c) The Slate of Assam will be given a special grant in-aid for raising the level of administration of tribal areas to that of the administration of the rest of the areas of that State.
 
Under the 89th Constitution Amendment Bill, the States will get 29% of Central taxes as per the recommendations of the 10th Finance Commission.

The Constitution has clearly delimited the scope of legislative and executive authority of the union and the states. It is at the same time expressly provided under Article 256 of the Constitution that the executive power of the states shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws of Parliament. Also the union executive power extends to the giving of such directions to the states as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for the purpose. It is further stipulated under Article 257 of the Constitution that if the state government fails to endorse the laws passed by the Parliament within its jurisdiction, the union government can issue directions to the states to ensure their compliance. Adequate provisions have been made in the Constitution for the division of executive powers between the centre and the states.

The executive power of the centre extends primarily to matters with respect to which Parliament has exclusive authority to make laws. Similarly the executive powers of the states extend to all those matters which are within their legislative domain. But with regard to the matters which are in the concurrent list there are three courses of action with the parliament in reference to the enforcement of legislation. It can leave it entirely to the states or may take over the task of enforcing it or it may take upon the enforcement of a part of the law, leaving the rest of it to the states for enforcement.

The executive power of the union also extends to giving of directions to the states as to the construction and maintenance of means of communication declared to be of national or military importance. The union government can give directions to the states for the protection of railways within the states. There is a constitutional provision under which the President may, with the consent of a state government, entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to a state or to its officers, functions in relation to any matter falling within the ambit of union executive power.

A state can also, with the consent of union government confer administrative functions on the union. India, being a federation, the Constitution establishes dual polity with the union at the centre and the states at the periphery. The dual government system-and the division of powers are key features of the federal system. Since cooperation and coordination between the central and state governments are necessary for smooth running of the federation, the Constitution provides for a detailed division of executive, legislative and financial powers.

The administrative relations between the union and states can be discussed under two parts (a) powers exercised by union over the states as granted by the Constitution and (b) powers exercised by extra constitutional agencies.

Division of Administrative powers between the centre and the states as per Centre-State Administrative constitutional provisions:

a) Directives by the union to the state governments: The executive power of the union also extends to giving of direction to the state under Article 256 for their compliance. This power of the Union extends to the limit of directing a state in a manner it feels essential for the purpose. For instance, the union can give directives to the state pertaining to the construction and maintenance of means of communication declared to be of national or military importance or protection of railways within the state. This is essential to ensure the implementation of parliamentary laws throughout the country. Non-compliance of the directives might lead to a situation where the union can invoke Article 356, for imposition of President’s rule in the state and take over the administration of state.

b) Delegation of union functions to the states: Under the constitutional provision of Article 258 the President may, with the consent of the state government entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to the government, functions relating to any matter falling within the ambit of union executive power. Under clause (2), Parliament is also entitled to use the state machinery for the enforcement of the union laws, and confer powers and entrust duties to the state. A state can also, with the consent of union government confer administrative functions on the union.

c) All India Services: Besides central and state services, the Constitution under Article 312 provides for the creation of additional "All-India services" common to both the union and states. The state has the authority to suspend the officials of All India Services.
The power of appointment and taking disciplinary action against them vests only with the President of India. The idea of having an integrated well knit All India Services to manage important and crucial sectors of administration in the country which was the legacy of the past was incorporated in our Constitution. Their recruitment, training, promotion disciplinary matters are determined by the central government. A member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) on entry into the service is allotted to a state where he/she serves under a state government. This arrangement wherein a person belonging to the All India Service being responsible for administration of affairs both at the centre and states, brings co-operation in administration.

d) Deployment of Military and Para-military Forces: These can be deployed in a state by the union, if situation warrants, even against the wishes of the state government.

e) Constitution of Joint Public Service Commission for Two or more States: When two or more states through a resolution to that effect, in their respective legislatures agree to have one such Commission, the Parliament may by law, provide for a joint commission. The constitution of the Commission facilitates inter-governmental co-operation. There is also a provision in the Constitution wherein, on request by two or more states the UPSC can assist those states in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment to any service for which candidates with special qualifications are required.

f) Judicial System: A distinctive feature of our federal system is the presence of integrated judicial system. Though we have federal form of government with two sets of government and dual powers, there is no dual system of administration of justice. This is clear by the presence of single integrated chain of courts to administer both union and state laws with the Supreme Court at the apex of hierarchy of courts. The practice of having one set of courts which was present in our country under the Government of India Act 1935 continued thereafter under our Constitution.

The state governments are empowered to undertake the administration of justice and to constitute courts for this purpose. Hence, there is a High Court in each-state as the highest court within the territory of state which is required to administer both the union and the state Iaws. Hence, the Constitution stipulates that the Chief Justice of the High Court be appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State. The Constitution also provides for creation by the Parliament through law, a common High Court for two or more states. For example, the states of Assam and Nagaland have a common High Court, Maharashtra & Goa, and Punjab & Haryana. The administration of justice falls entirely within the sphere of state irrespective of whether a matter pertains to civil or criminal law or whether such a law is enacted by Parliament or state legislature.

g) Inter-State Council: India is a union of states wherein the centre plays a prominent role but at the same time is dependent on the states for the execution of its policies. The Constitution has provided for devices to bring about inter-governmental co-operation, effective consultations between the centre and states so that all important national policies are arrived at through dialogue, discussion and consensus. One such device is the setting up of the Inter-State Council. The President is given the powers under Article 263 of the Constitution to define the nature of the duties of the Council. The Council is to inquire into and advise upon disputes which may have arisen between the states. In addition, it may investigate and discuss subjects of common interest between the union and the states or between two or more states in order to facilitate co-ordination of policy and action.

Three such councils have been set up - (i) Central Council of Health; (ii) Central Council of Local Self-Government; and (iii) Transport Development Council.

Based on the Sarkaria Commission’s recommendations, a permanent Inter-State Council has been created on 1 April 1990, consisting of six Union Cabinet Ministers and the Chief Ministers of all the States and those Union Territories with a Legislative Assembly with Prime Minister as the Chairman. The Sarkaria Commission recommended that in order to differentiate the Inter-State Council from other bodies set up under the Article it must be called Inter-Governmental Council.

h) Inter-State Water Disputes: In India there are many inter-state rivers and their regulation and development has been a source of inter-state function. These relate to the use, control and distribution of waters of inter-state rivers for irrigation and power generation. In the Indian Constitution, water-related matters within a state are included in the state list, while the matters related to inter-state river waters are in the union list. Keeping in view this problem of unending river water disputes, the Constitution framers vested the power to deal with it, exclusively in Parliament. The Parliament hence, may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint, with regard to use, distribution or control of the waters. The Inter-State Water Disputes Act was enacted by the Parliament in 1956 according to which tribunals are set up for adjudication of water disputes referred to them.

The Union government has so far, set up four Inter State Tribunals for Narmada, Krishna, Godavari and Cauvery. Parliament may constitute an authority like the Inter-State Commerce Commission in the USA to enforce the provisions of the Constitution relating to freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India. Such an authority has however not yet been set up.

Federal government involves dual government. It is therefore necessary to provide for the acceptance of public acts of both governments to avoid inter-governmental conflict. In the functioning of federation, a state refusing to recognize acts and records of another state may give rise to confusion and inconvenience. To eliminate such a possibility, the Constitution of India provides the ’full faith and credit clause’. Article 261 (i) of the Constitution stipulates that full credit and faith shall be given throughout India to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of the union and all the states. The term ’public acts’ relates to not only statutes but to all other legislative and executive acts of the union and the states. This clause serves a very important purpose of eliminating any possible hindrance to the normal transaction of administrative activities in the Indian federation.

Distribution of Legislative Powers
 
Important Provisions

Since India is a federal State, there is distribution of powers among the Centre and the state.  In this regard, Article 246 provides for the following lists: 


List 1 or the Union List:  This list includes subjects over which Parliament has the exclusive poser to legislate. The list contains 97 items, some of which are defence, foreign affairs, citizenship, currency, judiciary, central taxes, etc.

List II or the State List: This list contains 66 items over which the state legislature have the exclusive power to legislate.  Some of the important items are public health and sanitation, pilgrimage, roads, agriculture, state taxes, etc.

List III or the Concurrent List: This list contains 47 entries over which both Parliament and the state legislatures can legislate, Some of the important items are marriage, economic and social planning, trade union, stamp duties, etc.

It may be noted that Parliament has exclusive powers to make any law with respect to any matter which is not covered in any of three lists.  This is known as residuary powers of legislature.

Power of the Parliament to make Laws on State List Matters 
Normally the state legislature has the exclusive powers to make laws with respect to subjects enumerated in the state list.  But Article 246 of our constitution empowers Parliament to make laws even on state list matters under the following five circumstances;







In the National Interest (Article 249) : National Interest has been defined but whenever parliament feels that it is necessary to pass laws on state list matters in public interest, it is covered under this Article.

During proclamation of emergency (Article 250) : While proclamation of emergency is in operation, Parliament shall have the power to make laws for whole or any part of the territory of India on any matter in the state list.  Here emergency includes period of internal disturbances and external aggression etc.

On request of two or more states (Article 252) : If there is a dispute between two or more states and they pass a resolution in their assemblies to refer the matter to Parliament for any law on state list matters concerning them, the Parliament can pass law.


Legislation for enforcing international agreements (Article 253) :  If there is any international agreement between foreign country and India, and to give effect to such agreement if a law is to be passed, the Parliament can pass the law ever if the matter is contained in state list.

Breakdown of Constitutional machinery in a state (Article 356) : parliament can make law with respect to all state matters as regard the state in which there is breakdown of constitutional machinery and is under President Rule.

THE distribution of Legislative Powers between the Union and the States in the Draft Constitution of India is dealt with in Chapter I of IX and is covered by Articles 216–232.

Under Article 216, Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India, and the Legislature may make laws for the whole or any part of the State. No law of Parliament shall be invalid because of its extra-territorial operation. Under Article 217, Parliament has the exclusive power to make laws regarding the Union List, and for any part of the territory of India not included for the time being in Part I of III of the First Schedule. Both Parliament and State Legislatures can make laws on subjects in the Concurrent List. The State Legislature alone can make laws affecting matters in the State List, subject to the limitations in Article 217 (1) and (2). The control and Powers over the legislation affecting the constitution and organisation of the Supreme Court is vested in Parliament, and the Legislature of the State has the exclusive power to deal with matters affecting the High Court, as also its jurisdiction, and the procedure to be followed in Criminal and Civil matters. In any of the matters affecting the High Courts in Parts II First Schedule (Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, and Coorg), Parliament and also the State Legislatures have the power to legislate. Under Article 223, matters not enumerated in the Concurrent or State List are strictly within the legislative ambit of Parliament and it shall extend to imposing a tax not mentioned in either the Concurrent or State List.

Article 224 restricts the power of Parliament to make laws with respect to certain matters regarding (a) Posts and Telegraphs in any State or group of States which has not yet entered into an agreement with the Government of India, (b) Telephones, Wireless and Broadcasting in the Indian States in Part III – (First Schedule), except for their regulation and control, (c) the incorporation, winding up and regulation of corporations in the States. Under Article 225, the power of Parliament to legislate for the Indian States in Part III (A) is subject to the limitation of the agreement between them and the Government of India.

Article 226 gives power to Parliament to legislate with respect to any matter in the State List on a resolution to that effect by two-thirds of the members present, that it is expedient in the national interest to do so. During a Proclamation of Emergency, Parliament has the power to legislate for the whole of India in regard to any matter in the State List. In the event of any repugnancy between the State Legislation and that of Parliament, the latter shall prevail. Under Article 229, Parliament can legislate for one or more States by consent on matters on which it has no power to make laws for the States, and such an Act can be amended or repealed by the State Legislature. Parliament can make laws for any State to implement any treaty, engagement, or convention with another country. Under Article 231, in case of inconsistency between the laws enacted by Parliament and those of the State Legislature, the law made by Parliament shall prevail, except in regard to matters in the Concurrent List, in which case the State legislation shall prevail, if the same had been reserved for the consideration of the Governor and received his assent. Article 232 removes any defect in legislation due to technical flaws, as in the case of a want of recommendation by the Governor, if he has subsequently given his assent, or that of the President, if he gives his assent later.

The division of Legislative Powers between the Centre and the Provinces has always been a vexed question in all Constitutions. Its satisfactory solution has for long been evading leading students of constitutional law. Dicey in his Law of the Constitution suggested four tests to discover the distribution of powers between the Center and the States Governments in a Federal State: (1) Whether it is the National Government (Central Government) or the States to which belong only ‘definite powers’ i.e., the powers definitely assigned to it under the Constitution. (2) Whether the enactment’s of the Federal Legislature can be nullified by any other authority or tribunal, or treated as void. (3) To what extent the Federal Government can control the legislation of separate States. (4) What is the nature of the body (if such there be) to amend the Constitution.

In the Constitution of the U.S.A., the powers conferred on the Central Government are strictly ‘definite’; those left to the States are undefined and indefinite, with the result that the Central Government cannot claim any power which is not expressly conferred by statute, while the federating States could claim to exercise all powers of independent States, which have not been expressly removed under the Constitution. So much so, the Federal Legislation is subject to the Constitution and could be challenged in Courts, as in the case of the State Legislation, if it were to transgress the Constitution. No power is vested in the Federal Government to disallow or annul the States Legislation. Amendment of the Constitution can be effected only with the sanction of three-fourths of the States.

In the Dominion of Canada, the authority of the Dominion Government is indefinite; that of the Provinces is circumscribed within the narrowest limits. The legislative field of the Dominion Parliament extends to all matters not exclusively assigned to the federating Units, while the powers of the States Legislatures are restricted to subjects specifically allotted to them. Both the Dominion and Provincial Legislation could be nullified by a competent court in the event of their infringing the Constitution. Acts passed by the States could be disallowed by the Dominion Government. Before the Statute of West-minister, 1931, a modification of the Constitution was possible only by an amendment of the British North America Act of 1867, by an Act of the Imperial Parliament of the United Kingdom.

In Australia, the authority of the Federal Government is limited; that of the component States, unlimited. The Legislation of both is subject to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Commonwealth Government is powerless to annul the State Legislation. Amendment of the Constitution is permitted by a Bill to be passed to that effect by the Commonwealth Parliament and approved by a majority of voting electors and of the federating States. As in the case of Canada before 1931, the British Parliament alone was competent to amend the Constitution. But the position has changed after the Statute of Wesbn1nster.

In the Union of South Africa, under the Act of 1909 which constituted the Provinces into the Union, the Union Parliament possesses un-limited powers of Legislation for the peace and good government of the Union. The Legislative Powers of the Provinces are limited to (1) making ordinances, (2) subjects specified in the Act and as subsequently amended, (3) matters which the Union Parliament may delegate to them, and (4) all subjects which in the opinion of the Union Government are purely local or of a private character.

The Authors of the Draft Constitution of India did not accept any one of the above Constitutions in its entirety. From the analysis of the provisions enumerated above, it will be apparent that their effort has been to build up a strong Centre in which should vest the Residuary Powers, and the Provinces should have only such powers as are expressly assigned to them in the Constitution Act. This is a departure from the principle of decentralization, which culminated in the Provincial Autonomy of 1937. During the Round Table Conference (1930-33) the British India delegates from predominantly Muslim areas like the North-West Frontier, the Punjab, Sind, and Bengal pleaded that the Residuary Powers in the Indian Federation, envisaged at the time, should vest in the Provinces and not with the Centre; on the other hand, the delegates from Provinces like Madras, Bombay, U.P., Bihar etc., where the Hindus are in a majority, pressed for the retention of those powers with the Centre. The Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Indian Constitutional Reforms tried to meet the demand of both, half-way; but in effect the distribution of Legislative Powers was defective in many particulars. The plan adopted in the White Paper of 1933, and subsequently approved, was that the allocation of residuary legislative power should be left to the discretion of the Governor-General and settled by him ad hoc on each occasion when the need for legislation arose. Dealing with the inherent difficulty of a clear scheme of allocation of powers, the Joint Select Committee in their Report (Vol. I Part I) said: -

“……It will be observed that, for the purpose of reducing the Residuary Powers to the smallest possible compass, the lists of subjects dealt with in all the three Lists are necessarily of great length and complexity: whereas, apart from the question of Concurrent List, if it had been possible to allocate residuary legislative powers to, e.g., the Provinces, only a List of Central Powers would have been required, with a provision to the effect that the legislative powers of the Provinces extended to all power, not expressly allocated to the Centre; and, conversely, if the residue had been allocated to the Centre. This, broadly, is the plan which has been adopted in Canada and Australia, the Residuary Powers being vested, in the case of Canada, in the Dominion Legislature, and in the case of Australia, in the Legislatures of the States. Even so, experience has unhappily shown that it has been impossible to avoid much litigation on the question whether legislation on a particular subject falls within the competence of one legislature or the other…..On the point of constitutional substance it seems to us that, if a choice were to be made between the two alternative principles to which we have just drawn attention, the logical conclusion in the White Paper would be the allocation of all Residuary Powers to the Provincial Legislatures; but this solution would, we think, require to be accompanied by the insertion in List of some general overriding power of Central legislation in matters of all-India concern, since any new subject cannot be said to fall automatically into the Provincial field, irrespective of its natural implications….

While therefore matters of a purely local nature would fall within the provincial field of legislation, there would be cases where the frontiers of the Provinces extend beyond their geographical boundaries, e.g., (1) legislation affecting the Indian Codes which deal with the main principles of law throughout the country and are of an all-India character, (2) Labour legislation, (3) Legislation to combat epidemic diseases. On such matters the Central Government can legislate concurrently with the Provinces. The Authors of the Draft Constitution have drawn up three Lists, (1) Union List, (2) State List, and (3) Concurrent List. This is at variance with other Constitutions where the method adopted is to allocate exhaustively powers to one Legislature, and to assign the entire unspecified residue to the other. A statutory delimitation of legislative jurisdictions is capable of mischief, because so far as the Concurrent List is concerned, there may be overlappings which will have to be decided by a judicial tribunal. But there is danger the other way too, in the enumeration of powers to the Centre and the allocation of unspecified residue to the Provinces, which might involve a reservation to the Central Government of an overriding power, and the possibility of the Provinces assuming for themselves any unspecified sources of taxation to be devised hereafter, such as provided under Article 223. The broad principle therefore is that while the Centre should have a power of coordinating or unifying regulation in the Concurrent List, if they have a closer semblance to the State list than to the union List, they shall be administered mainly on lines of Provincial policy. In the event of a conflict, the Union legislation shall prevail as provided in Article 228. But an unqualified provision to that effect would cut across the Provincial jurisdiction in the List, so as to throw overboard the Provinces by an aggressive Centre.

Under Article 223, the Residuary Powers are expressly vested in Parliament which is given exclusive power to make any law with respect to any matter not enumerated in the Concurrent or State Lists. Under Article 227, the power of Parliament to legislate for the whole of India on any subject in the State List arises during a Proclamation of Emergency. It shall be lawful for Parliament to make laws for the whole of India in the national interest, under Article 226, on any subject in the State List if agreed to by two-third members of the State Legislature. These are all-embracing powers which the Authors have thought fit to confer on the Centre to make it strong, and to guard against fissiparous tendencies among the States so as to build up a powerful national Government. The attempt is indeed laudable, but it is sought to be achieved at a high cost to the Provinces.

The main argument of the enthusiasts of a strong Centre is that, in the face of the present uncertain state of affairs in India, which is further complicated by the fluid international situation abroad, it is only a Powerful Centre that can cope with the political situation. This would necessarily involve the vesting of Residuary Powers with the Centre, as against the Provinces, and these provisions should stand at least for some years, till things settle down to normal. The contention is sound, especially if viewed against the background of the defence of India, the protection of Indian Nationals and their rights abroad, the food problem, and other industrial and hydro-electric power projects in which the Government of India’s interests are predominantly linked with those of the Provinces, and wherein the Centre alone can give an effective lead. But even here, there are limits to such special features: they are unusual events of a passing phase though their incidence may be abnormal. To be obsessed with such eventualities as to deprive the Provinces of a liberal field of Legislative Powers, and to arm the Centre with all the powers may not be an ideal solution. Any subsequent amendment of the Constitution to set right the uneven allocation, if an actual working it proves defective, would be a difficult process. One of the main objections against the Indian Federation envisaged under the Government of India Act 1935, was that nearly 75 per cent of the revenues of India was reserved for the Federal Center, and the Provinces were to share the small residue. An amendment of the Constitution after the Act comes into force would be a laborious and thankless task with uncertain results. Such amendments have been equally complicated in other Constitutions. While therefore the anxiety of the Authors for a strong Centre can be appreciated, especially to meet a grave emergency or an abnormal crisis, the Provinces should not be made to depend on the mercy of the Union Centre in regard to their Legislative Powers. It would be against the principles of devolution and decentralisation which reached their acme in the Provincial Autonomy of 1937. It will throw to the winds the healthy notion that the Provinces are to be autonomous Units in a federal India, as visualised earlier. The distribution of Legislative powers in the Draft Constitution requires an equitable revision, so that the Provinces can be met half-way, without the Centre losing its all-India role of an effective coordinating authority.
 

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