Q. "In the scheme of distribution of Legislative Powers under the constitution of India one finds central dominance." Point out in detail five such areas.


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The Constitution of India provides a dual polity with a clear division of powers between the Union and the States, each being supreme within the sphere allotted to it. One phrase which is fit for describing the nature of polity of India is: “India is an indestructible union of destructible states”, which clearly implies, that though India is a federal state, but with strong Centre tendency.

For the purpose of clear distribution of powers between both the level of governments, the clear demarcation of powers has been made in Constitution itself, which can be find in article 246 and in the 7th schedule. But since Indian federalism is not the copied version of American or Canadian federalism, therefore, our Constitution makers gave some special privileges to the union government, which can be discussed in following heads:

I.                                           article 246(1) states that the power of state legislatures to legislate over subject mentioned under state and concurrent list are subject to powers mentioned under this article i.e. states cannot override the Centre’s power to legislate at any cost.

II.                                         Under article 248, it is provided that Residuary powers, (subjects which are not mentioned in any of the lists), rests with the central government.

III.                                       Article 254 provides that whenever the dispute arose over the subject mentioned under concurrent list, the Laws made by Centre government shall prevail.

IV.                                      Expansion of the Legislative Powers of the Union under Different Circumstances like:

A.                Article 249 empowers to parliament make laws over any of the subject mentioned under state list, provided the Rajya Sabha, with the 2-3rds majority, declare it as of national importance.

B.                 Under the Proclamation of National or Financial Emergency,

C.                 To implement treaties,

D.                Under a Proclamation of Failure of Constitutional Machinery in the States etc.


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V.                                        Though there is a division of powers between the union and the states, the Indian constitution provides the union with power to exercise control over the legislation as well as the administration of the states. Legislation by a state can be disallowed by the president, when reserved by the governor for his consideration, and the governor is appointed by the president of the union and holds office “during his pleasure”.

VI.                                      When considering the amendment of the Constitution we find that except in a few specific matters affecting the federal structure, the States need not even be consulted in the matter of amendment of the Constitution. The boundaries of states can be altered very easily, even without the assent of that particular state.


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