Administrative Relations

The administrative jurisdiction of the union and the state Governments extends to the subjects in the union list and state list respectively, which clearly establishes the superiority of the Union Government in the administrative sphere as well. In addition the Constitution contains a number of provisions which accord a position of superiority to the Union Government. Article 256 lays down that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose. Similarly, Article 257 of the Constitution provides that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose. In short, the Union Government can issue directions to the state Government even with regard to the subjects enumerated in the state list. The Union Government can also give directions to the state with regard to construction and maintenance of the means of communication declared to be of national or military importance. It can also ask the state Governments to construct and maintain means of communication as part of its functions with respect to naval, military and air force works. It can also issue them necessary directions regarding the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the jurisdiction of the state. It may be noted that the expenses incurred by the state Governments for the discharge of these functions have to be reimbursed by the Union Government. It may be noted that the state Governments cannot ignore the directions of the Union Government, otherwise the president can take the plea that the Government of the state cannot be carried on the accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and impose President’s rule on the state. In such an eventuality the President shall assume to himself all or any of the functions of the state Government. The President of India can also entrust to the officers of the State certain functions of the Union Government. However, before doing so the President has to take the consent of the state Government. Further, the extra cost incurred by the states in the discharge of these obligations has to be reimbursed by the Union Government. The Presence of the All India Services like the Indian Administrative Services, and the Indian police Services etc. further accords a predominant position to the Union Government. The members of these services are recruited and appointment held by the Union Public Service Commission. The members of these services are posted on key posts in the states, but remain loyal to the Union Government. The right to create new All India Services also rests with the Union Parliament. The Union Parliament can create a new All India Service only if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by two-thirds majority of the members present and voting that it is necessary in the national interest to do so. The Parliament has been vested with power to adjudicate any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in any inter-state river of river-valley. In this regard, the Parliament also reserves the right to exclude such disputes from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or other Courts. Under the Constitution it is the responsibility of the Union Government to protect the states from external aggression and internal disturbances. This leaves much scope for Centre’s interference in the spheres of the state. The President can declare national emergency in case of war or possible threat of war as well as armed rebellion. During this emergency the Centre can give directions to the states as to the manner in which their executive power is to be exercised. The President can authorize the Parliament to make laws with respect to any matter including power to make laws conferring powers and imposing duties or authorizing the conferring of power and the imposition of duties upon the Union officers and authorities of the Union as respects that matter unmindful of the fact, that the matter does not belong to the Union list. Similarly, it is the duty of the President to ensure that the government of the state is carried on in accordance with provisions of the Constitution. If the President is satisfied that the government of the state cannot run along constitutional lines, he can declare constitutional emergency in the state and assume to himself all or any of the functions of the Government of the state and all powers of the State other than those exercised by the legislature and High Court of the State. The President can also declare that the powers of the state legislature shall be exercised under the authority of the Parliament and make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to him to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of the Proclamation. The Central Government exercises effective administrative control over states through the Governors of State who are appointed by the President and hold office during his pleasure. The Governors can reserve certain bills passed by the State legislatures for the consideration of the President. President can also issue directions and orders to the Governor which are binding on him. Thus, the Centre can exercise effective control over the States through the Government to topple State Governments which are irksome to the Central Government. As the Constitution of India provides for a single judicial system both the Union and the State Governments are duty bound to give full faith and credit to public acts, records, proceedings and judicial decisions of the Supreme Court and the High Court. The manner in which these acts, records and proceedings have to be preserved is determined by Parliament by law and the states do not have any say in this regard. In the matter of appointment of the Chief Justice and the Judges of the Supreme Court as well as the High Courts, the states have no say. They are appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and such other judges of the supreme courts and the High Court as he deems fit to consult. The initiative for the removal of these judges also rests with the Parliament which can pass necessary resolution for their impeachment and recommend to the President to take necessary action. The States are in no way connected with the appointment or removal of the judges of the Supreme Court or High Court. The State Governor can entrust conditionally or unconditionally certain functions with respect to the executive powers of the state to the officers of the Union with the consent of the Union Government. (Article 258A). It may be observed that the original Constitution did not contain this provision. This provision was added through seventh amendment in 1956 in view of the objections by the Comptroller and Auditor-General over construction of Hirakud Dam by the Central Government on behalf of the Orissa Government and debiting, of cost to the state accounts.

A new turn was given to the Centre-State Relations in the administrative sphere by the Forty- Second amendment, which empowered the Central Government to deploy armed forces for dealing with any grave situation of law and order in the States. The contingents so employed were to act in accordance with the instructions of the Central Government and not to work under the direction, superintendence and control of the state government concerned, unless specifically directed by the Central Government. This change naturally greatly restricted the autonomy of the states and was resented by the states. Ultimately this provision was nullified by the 44th Amendment. It is thus evident that in the administrative sphere the states cannot act in complete isolation and have to work under the directions and in cooperation with others of the federation.

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