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Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Center State Relations |

Inter State Relations – Inter State Council and Water Disputes

Although in federal system, each state or unit has complete sovereignty in their territorial limits but these states or units can never remain in isolation from each other, so it is necessary to lays down certain rules of comity which units or states are required to observe and follow while contacting with each other. These rules includes following matters:-

Recognition of Public Acts

  • As power and jurisdiction of each state is limited to its territory, the acts and records of one state may not get recognition in other state without any binding provision to do so. So Constitution provides that “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” (Article 261).
  • So laws or statutes of one state get similar recognition in other states. The Parliament has power to law down manner and conditions to enforce above provisions.
  • Similarly, 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.

Inter State Water Disputes

  • Article 262 states that
    • Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any Inter State river or river valley.
    • Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such Inter State water dispute or complaint.
  • As per above provisions, Parliament has enacted two laws so far a) River Boards Act (1956) provides for regulation and development of Inter State river and river valleys and b) Inter State Water disputes act (1956) empowers govt of India to set up a Water Dispute Tribunal for settlement of Inter State water disputes b/w 2 or more states. The decision of tribunal shall be final and binding on the parties to dispute.
  • Till now, six water tribunals have been established and these are Krishna, Godavari, Narmada, Ravi & Beas, Cauvery and 2nd Krishna Water disputes tribunals.

Coordination b/w States

Inter State Council

  • Article 263 of the Constitution states that If at any time it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of a Inter State Council charged with the duty of
    • inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between States;
    • investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of  the States, have a common interest;
    • making recommendations upon any such subject and, in particular, recommendations for the better co-ordination of policy and action with respect to that subject,

It shall be lawful for the President by order to establish such Inter State Council, and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it and its organisation and procedure.

  • In exercise of power, President has already constituted the Central Council of a) Health, b) Local Self Govt, c) Indian Medicine and d) Homeopathy.
  • Sarkaria Commission – As per advice of Sarkaria Commission, V.P. Singh led Janata Dal govt constitute an Inter State Council in 1990 which shall consist of following members:-
    • PM as Chairman;
    • CMs of all states;
    • CMs of all UTs which have legislative assemblies;
    • Six Cabinet Ministers (including Home Minister) to be nominated by PM.

The duties of Inter State council are same as above and council shall meet thrice in a year.

Zonal Councils

  • These are statutory bodies (i.e. not provided in the constitution) and created by an act of Parliament called State Reorganisation Act (1956). The Zonal Councils are outcome of the reorganisation of the states on basis of language or culture. Other factors are river or mode of communication, security, basis and needs of economic development, law and order.
  • The objectives to crate Zonal Councils are to strengthen federal system and to foster or develop habit of Cooperative working among states and/or Union.
  • Each Zonal council shall consist of
    • Home Minister of Central Govt act as Chairman for all Zonal councils;
    • CMs of all states in the zone (each CM act as Vice Chairman by rotation and hold office for 1 yr;
    • Two ministers from each state in the zone;
    • Administrator of each UT in the zone.
  • At present there are Six Zonal Councils and these are as follows:-
    • Northern – HQ at Delhi;
    • Central – HQ at Allahabad;
    • Eastern – HQ at Calcutta;
    • Western – HQ at Bombay;
    • Southern – HQ at Chennai;
    • North Eastern – created in 1971.

Freedom of Inter State Trade & Commerce

Article 301 of the Constitution states that no restrictions can be imposed on trade, commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India (i.e. b/w two states or UTs as case may be) except following restrictions that are included under Article 302 to 305:-

  • Parliament can impose non discriminatory or fair or unbiased restrictions (i.e. giving preference to one state over other) on Inter State trade or commerce in Public interest. Such as essential commodities act (1956) to control the production, supply or distribution of coal, steel, cotton, iron and petroleum.
  • Even unfair or biased restrictions can be imposed by Parliament in case of scarcity of goods in any part of India.
  •  The State Legislature may, by law, impose reasonable restrictions on freedom of Inter State trade or commerce in Public Interest but such law or amend shall be moved only with prior sanction of the President.
  • The State Legislature may, by law, impose any tax on imported goods from other states which similar to goods produced in that state but not to discriminate between goods so imported and goods so produced.
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