Distribution of Legislative Powers
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.
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