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Posted by on Mar 16, 2014 in Center State Relations |

Legislative Powers – Distribution b/w Union and States

The Federal system means division of power b/w Centre and States. The Constitution of being federal divides all powers (Legislative Powers, Financial and Executive) b/w centre and states except judicial powers due to independence of judiciary. Here we will discuss about distribution of legislative powers among the union and states that are included under Article 245 to 255 of the constitution.

Territorial Extent of Legislative Power

  • The Parliament has wide legislative powers to make laws for whole territory of India which includes UTs, States and any other area for time being included in the territory of India.
  • The State Legislature has legislative powers to make laws only for whole or any part of state but can’t exceed its jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of state.
  • Only Parliament is empowered to make laws for extra territorial operation. It means legislation or legal protection for any Indian resident and their property anywhere in the world.
  • Limitations to Parliament Territorial Jurisdiction – The extensive legislative power of Parliament is subjected to following special provisions of the constitution:-
    • Union Territory – The President can make regulations in relation to four UTs (Andaman, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Daman) which have same force as law of Parliament but such regulations can be amended or repeal by Parliament (Article 240(2)).
    • Scheduled Area – Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, governor may direct that any particular act of Parliament or state legislature shall not apply to Scheduled Area or shall apply with such exceptions or modifications as may be notified (5th Para of Fifth Schedule).
    • Tribal Area – The Governor of Assam may direct that any act of Parliament or State legislature shall not apply to an autonomous district/region in Assam or shall apply with such exception or modifications as may be notified. The Same power is vested with President in relation to autonomous regions of Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram (Sixth Schedule).

Legislative Subjects

  • Union List (List I) – The Parliament has exclusive legislative power to make laws on all subjects included in List I (Union List) in the Seventh Schedule. It includes 100 subjects such as defence, foreign affairs, banking, insurance, patents, copyrights, UNO, international treaties, taxes, Railways, Airways, census, currency or inter-state trade.
  • State List (List II) – The State Legislature has exclusive legislative power to make laws for such state on all subjects enumerated in List II (State List) in the Seventh Schedule. It includes 61 subjects such as Agriculture, Fisheries, Markets & Fairs, police, betting, gambling, public health, local govt, land or taxes.
  • Concurrent List (List III) – Both Parliament and State legislature are authorized to make laws with respect to matters included in List III in the Seventh Schedule. It includes 52 subjects such as CrPC, CPC, Electricity, education, economic & social planning, factories, boilers, price control, social security, trade unions, forests, wild animals and welfare of labour.
  • Residuary Powers – The Parliament has exclusive power to make law on any subject matter not enumerated in above three lists. In India, the residuary legislative powers are vested with Parliament as in Canada rather than with states as in Australia and USA.
  • However both Parliament and State Legislature can make laws on any matter enumerated in Concurrent list but in case of overlapping of provisions, the former shall prevail. But if any such law passed by State Legislature reserved for consideration of President and get assent of President then such law shall prevail in that state.

Extraordinary Legislative Powers of Parliament

  • National Interest – If Rajya Sabha passed a resolution by a majority of not less than 2/3rd present and voting that it is necessary in national interest to make law on any matter enumerated in State List then Parliament can pass a law on that subject. Such resolution remains in effect for 1yr but can be renewed. The law cease to have effect on expiration of 6months after such resolution ceased to be in force.
  • National Emergency – In case of Proclamation of Emergency, the Parliament can extend its legislative powers to make laws on state subjects but such laws cease to have effect on expiration of 6months after proclamation cease to operate. Either in national interest or emergency, if any provision of a law made by legislature is in repugnancy or in conflict with Parliament law then latter shall prevail till its existence.
  • On Request of State Legislatures – If any resolution passed by all legislatures of two or more states by declaring that it shall be lawful for the Parliament to pass an act on any matter included in state list for those state then such act passed by parliament shall apply to those state or any other state which passed resolution even after enactment of that act. But such law can be amended or repealed by the Parliament only and not by concerned states.
  • International Agreements – The Parliament has legislative power to make any law for execution of any treaty or agreement with other countries or at any international conference or association.
  • President Rule – On failure of constitutional machinery, the President rule can be imposed and under it Parliament is empowered to make laws on any matter in State List. Such laws shall remain in force even after the President Rule but can be repealed or amended by state legislature.
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