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Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Center State Relations |

Executive Powers – Distribution among Union and States

The executive powers of state and union has been divided on same lines as of the legislative powers. But actually distribution of executive powers is more complicated than legislative as state govt has executive powers on subjects that are listed in both state and concurrent list. Articles 256 to 263 in Part XI of the Constitution deal with distribution of executive powers b/w union and states.

Obligation of States and Union

  • Article 256 directs that the State shall exercise its executive power to ensure compliance with laws made by Parliament and executive power of Union shall extend to giving of such directions to a State as considered necessary by Govt of India.
  • State List – The State shall extend its executive power only to its territory and on subject matters over which it has legislative competence. So State has exclusive executive power over matters enumerated in State List or List II of the Seventh Schedule.
  • Union List – The Union has exclusive executive power over subject matters which are under exclusive legislative power of Parliament (i.e. Union List or List I).
  • Concurrent List – However State has executive power over subjects matter which are enumerated in Concurrent List or List III of Seventh Schedule except in two cases:-
    • Where a law of Parliament in relation to such subjects vests with some executive function specifically in the Union. For e.g. Land Acquisition Act 1894 or 2013; Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. So Constitution basically provides that Union may itself take up with the administration on Union Laws whenever it thinks fit.
    • Where provisions of Constitution itself vest some executive functions on Union such as executive power to implement any international treaty or agreement.

Directional Power of Union

  • Article 257 state that executive power of a State shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of executive power of the Union and Union is empowered to give directions to State govt in regard of exercise their executive power in following matters:-
    • The construction and maintenance of means of communication declared in the direction to be of national or military importance.
    • To ensure protection of railways within the state;
    • To secure provisions of adequate facilities for instruction in mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups (Article 350 A).
    • To drawing up and execution of the schemes specified in direction to be essential for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the State (Article 339 (2))
    • To ensure development of Hindi Language and secure its enrichment (Article 351).

The President Rule can be imposed on violation of these directions as treated as failure of constitutional machinery.

  • National Emergency – On proclamation of the emergency under Article 352, the Centre is empowered to give directions to states and State have to act in accordance of directions i.e. State is under complete control of Centre.
  • President Rule – If President Rule is in operation under Article 356 then President shall be entitled to himself all or any executive powers of the state.
  • Financial Emergency – During Proclamation of Financial Emergency under Article 360, the Centre can directs the state govt a) to cut salaries or allowances of employees, b) to reserve all money or financial bills for consideration of President and c) to observe cannons of Financial Property as may be specified.

Mutual Delegation of Executive Powers

  • Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the President may, with the consent of the State Govt, entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that State Govt or to its officers functions in relation to any matter to which the executive power of the Union extends. Here President actually means executives or ministers of the union govt as President has to act on aid and advice of Council of Ministers.
  •  Also Governor of a State with consent of Union govt can entrust to Union govt or its offices functions in relation to any matter to which executive power of state extends.
  • Without Consent of State – Also Constitution states that Parliament (but not President as above) can impose its executive power on State without prior consent of state govt but state can’t impose on union govt. But here Parliament (legislative body) is empowered not President or executives of union govt.

Miscellaneous Provisions

  • Full faith and credit shall be given throughout the territory of India to public acts, records and judicial proceedings of the Union and of every State.
  • Final judgments or orders delivered or passed by civil courts in any part of the territory of India shall be capable of execution anywhere within that territory according to law.
  • The following provisions enable the Central govt to take over the state administration
    • The Constitution imposes two duties on the central govt under Article 355; a) to protect ever state against external aggression and internal disturbance and b) to ensure that every state govt shall act in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
    • The Governor of state is appointed by the President and hold office under pleasure of President. So governor in state act as agent of centre and submit periodical reports about administration affairs of the state.
    • The State Election Commissioner is appointed by governor of state and hold office under pleasure of President.
  • All India Service – The IAS, IFS IPS act as agent of centre in states to control state administration but recruit and trained exclusively by centre. Article 312 of the constitution provides that only Parliament is empowered to make new all India service by passing resolution in RS.
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