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Indian Polity / Centre State Relations

Centre State Legislative Relations in India

Articles 245 to 255 of the Constitution deal with centre state legislative relations in India. Article 245 talks about the extent of Laws made by the Parliament and State Legislatures. The Laws made by the State Legislature are coextensive with territorial boundaries of the State, whereas the laws made by the Parliament are not only applicable to the entire territory of India but also applicable to citizens living in foreign countries. This power is known as Extraterritorial legislation. Very famous example for extraterritorial Legislation is Sarala-Mudgal case.

Legislative Relations

  • Article 246 deals with 3 fold division of powers between Centre and States. Division of powers into 3 lists was borrowed from Government of India Act, 1935. These 3 lists are Union List, State List and Concurrent List.

    • Union List - Originally, this list had 97 items and now it has 98 items in number. All the matters of national importance are given to the Union, which include International relations, Defence, Banking, Currency, Nuclear energy, Major tertiary sectors (railways, airways, telecom, postal, telegraph), Lotteries including those lotteries maintained by the States, etc.

    • State List - Originally, it included 66 items and right now it contains 59 items. All the matters of regional importance or local significance are included in this list like Agriculture, Law and Order, Jails, Local self governments, Co-operative sector, Motor vehicle registration, etc.

    • Concurrent List - Originally, it included 47 items and right now it has 52 items. It includes matters like Civil and criminal procedures or administration of justice, Socio-economic planning, Population control, Price control, Education (general and technical), Forests, Protection of environment and wild life, Legal Metrology, etc.

    • Residuary powers are being assigned to the Central Government, for example, Rights of surrogate mother on children, etc.

  • Article 246A gives Right to the Parliament and the State Legislatures to make laws in respect of Goods and Service Tax to be imposed on the intra-state trades by both Central or State Governments.

    In case of inter-state trade, only Parliament can make laws on Goods and Service Tax.

  • Article 249 says that if Rajya Sabha approves a resolution with a special majority declaring that one of the subject matters in the State List has acquired national significance and basing on this resolution, Parliament of India can make a relating law in the State List.

    The Laws made by the Parliament to that effect are valid for 1 year. If required, it can be extended for another 1 year. It is an exclusive power of Rajya Sabha and is an anti-federal feature.

  • Article 250 says that if there is a proclamation of National Emergency under Article 352, Parliament of India can make a law for the State under Article 250.

  • Article 252 says that if two or more than two States request the Parliament to make a law in the State List, Parliament can make a law for such States and other States can adopt such a legislation.

  • Article 253 says the Parliament of India has the authority to make a law in the State List in order to implement or give effect to all international agreements and treaties.

Extra Information

  • Earlier subjects like education (general and technical), forests, Protection of environment and wild life, Legal metrology were in State List. They were transferred to the Concurrent List in the 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976.

  • Article 247 deals with establishment of special courts and Article 248 deals with residuary powers of legislation.

  • Article 251 says that if there is an inconsistency between the law made by the Parliament in the State List under Article 249 and 250 with the laws made by the State in their own List, Central law prevails.

  • Article 254 talks about making laws in Concurrent List by both Centre and States. In case of inconsistency with the Centre and State laws, Central law prevails to the extent of inconsistency only. Remaining consistent laws, State laws prevails.

    But in case of a State law which was reserved for the assent of President and if received the assent, the State law will prevail even if it conflicts with the Central law. However, Parliament can override even such a State law by a subsequent legislation.

  • Article 255 says that obtaining or ascertaining the prior permission of President of India on certain Bills is a matter of a procedure only.