TRIPURAINFO

Centre State Relations

Justice (Retd.) S. C. Das

1. The Constitution of India is not a mere law, but it is a machinery by which all laws of the land are made. It is the father of all laws made by the Parliament and the State Legislatures in India. 

2. The object of the Constitution is specified in the preamble. It reads as follows:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure in all its citizens;

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

In OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-six day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

3. The Constitution defines:-

(a) Various institutions and the areas of governance;

(b) Executive, Legislature and Judiciary;

(c) Central Government, State Governments, Local self Governments;

(d) People and the Government;

(e) Political, social and economic issues;

4. The Constitution of India has some basic structures which have evolved by the judgment laws. Those basic structures cannot be amended by applying the provisions of Article 368 of the Constitution. The theory of basic structure was evolved in Keshavananda-Vs.- State of Kerala, AIR 1973 SC 1461, Minarva Mills Ltd. -Vs.- Union of India, AIR 1980 SC 1789, etc.

5. The Constitution has guaranteed certain fundamental rights and simultaneously some duties for the citizens. It has set up a parliamentary form of democracy and a federal structure of governance. It has also prescribed independent judiciary and the government through adult franchise.

6. Our Constitution is the longest written Constitution with details in the world. It is said to be a vibrant living document. It has XXII parts with total 478 Articles and 12 schedules, 5 appendices after 101st amendment, 2016..

7. In a democracy, constructive criticism is always welcome. But at the same time, destructive and/or damaging criticism is a serious danger for the democracy and the country as a whole. Policies of a particular Government can be criticised at political level by the people or the party, but irresponsible and motivated criticism to achieve political milage and/or to earn easy popularity is a threat not only for democracy but also for the unity and integrity of the nation.

8. In a multi-party political system, each of the political party or group of the political parties, flow their manifesto at the time of General Election. Political thinkers often observed that now it has become a trend and/or competition of making popular promises to gather vote which practically affect progress of the state and/or nation as a whole and destroys proper utilisation of the resources and man power. It is also observed by the political thinkers that the parties occupy power securing even less than 50% votes of the total electorate, but it is the spirit of the democracy that the Govt. shall work for the benefit of the citizens i.e., entire society and this is the sanctity of the governance.

9. Political scientists classify Constitutions into either unitary or federal. American Constitution may be considered as a good example of federal Constitution. Indian Constitution is federal in form but tends to be unitary in character. Federal principle gets circumscribed by the dominant powers vested with the Centre in the political, legislative, administrative and financial sphere.

10. The framers of the Constitution consciously felt the need for a strong centre and, therefore, designed the Constitution to give the Central Govt. adequate powers to cope with all threats to the country's integrity and to ensure uniformity, co-ordination and cohesion in the administration. 

11. Simultaneously, the framers also felt that the State Governments should not be made mere agents of the Central Government, but the State governments should also be vested with extensive powers so that they may be free to pursue its own way of administration and development without hindrance. The framers practically thought of unity in diversity in a way fair to all institutions.

12. There were different school of political thinkers. Some advocated scraping of the federal schemes with the substitution of the system of unitary Government. They thought federalism shall stand in the way of effective planning and development and thereby weakening the government. The subversive forces will raise their heads and create the danger of disintegration. 

The other school of thinkers advocated autonomy of States and they deplore unitary bias of the Constitution which they thought as incompatible with the spirit of federal government. They urged the transfer of powers and resources from the centre to the States to make autonomy in reality. In a vast country like India, where the people are of different culture, language, political, social and economic conditions, diversity should be allowed full scope.

13. American Constitution may be said to be an example of federal constitution. They thought entrusting of the subjects of common interest to the Central Government and the rest with the States. The constitution of America only enumerated the powers of the Central Government and residue left to the States. The Australian Constitution followed almost the same principle.

In Canada, there is enumeration for federal and provincial leaving the residue for the Centre. Our Constitution makers followed almost the Canadian principle and thereby opted for a strong Centre. Accordingly, there are Union list, State list and the concurrent list and thereby given dominance to the Union Legislature.

In the Union list, there are 97 subjects which are of national importance, such as, defence, foreign affairs, currency and coinage etc.

The State list consists of 66 subjects which relate to local importance, such as, public order, police, local government, public health and sanitation, agriculture, etc.

The concurrent list consists of 47 subjects. Both Centre and the States can make laws on the concurrent list subjects but in case of a conflict between the Central law and the State law, the central law will prevail.

14. Article 248 of the Constitution vests the residuary powers in the Parliament. It says that Parliament has exclusive power to make any law with respect to any matter not enumerated in the concurrent list or the State list.

Entry-97 of the Union list has empowered the Parliament to make laws with respect to any matter not mentioned in the State list or concurrent list. Thus, Indian Constitution has a departure from the practice prevalent in USA, Australia, Switzerland etc. where residuary powers are vested in the State. This reflected leaning of the Constitution makers towards a strong Centre. 

Federal principle is the method of dividing powers so that Union and Provincial government are each within a sphere co-ordinate and independent. Unity in diversity is our strength. The language, culture, dress, food habit, religious affinition are different, but still we are together because of our Constitutional mechanism.

15. The Constitution of India permits subordinate legislation by delegation. 

Article 13(3) prescribes that "law" "includes any ordinance, order, bye-law, Rule, Regulation, notification, customs or usage having in the territory of India the force of law".

It has now been settled that there is no constitutional impropriety in the practice of delegating legislative power to the executive. This practice of delegating legislative power to make subordinate legislation has increased greatly now-a-days. Subordinate legislation has also been found suitable because of technicality of the subject matter for which the expertise knowledge of problem requires to be gathered and for so many other unforeseen contingencies, the subordinate legislation has been found to be of great help to enable the Govt to deal with problems which could not be foreseen when the Act was passed. There was an apprehension that the power of subordinate legislation may be misused by the executives and, therefore, it has now been made obligatory to publish subordinate legislation. The Supreme Court has held that unless the delegated legislation is published, it cannot be enforced.

16. Parliamentary time is precious. But now the nation with concern observed that parliamentary time is wasted because of political reason. We are having an indirect democracy. People do not directly participate in the law making/decision making process. They elect their representatives by way of casting their votes. Those representatives are to ventilate their causes to the highest body of the country/state i.e. Parliament & State legislatures. It is painfully observed that the Parliament though in session, but does not/ cannot transact any business. Precious Parliamentary time is wasted by making noise etc. In many State legislatures also either sessions are not regularly summoned and/or when summoned, constructive discussion does not held and the valuable time is wasted. Sometimes, legislatures are summoned only for a short period of time to abide by the Constitutional obligation. If this trend continues, people will ultimately lose their faith in the system and the strong structure of democracy founded by our forefather will collapse. The political leaders and the Parliamentarians/ Legislators should keep it in mind the spirit of democracy and the huge public money spend in the process. They should try to rise above narrow political gain for the greater benefit of the country and the democracy as a whole. If democracy does not survive, it will be a disaster for the whole country.

17. The relation between union and the States may broadly be classified as (1) legislative relation; (2) administrative relation and (3) financial relation.

Article-245 to 255 of the Constitution deal with the subject of legislative relation.

18. Article 245 prescribes that the Parliament may make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India and Legislature may make laws for the whole or any part of the State. It has also been prescribed that no law made by the Parliament shall be deemed to be invalid on the ground that it would have extra-territorial operation.

The above provision makes it abundantly clear that the State law would be void if it has extra-territorial operation, i.e., if it takes effect outside the State. Only one exception is that of doctrine of territorial nexus which means the law will be valid if there is sufficient nexus between object and the State as propounded by Privy Council.

The legislative power is a plenary power subject only to its legislative competence and other constitutional limitations. The power to make law includes the power to give effect prospectively as well as retrospectively.

19. Article 246 prescribes that the Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matter enumerated in list -1 of the Seventh schedule ( Union list) and also have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters in list -3 (concurrent list). The State legislature has exclusive power to make laws for any of the matter enumerated in list -2 of the 7th Schedule (State list).

20. Article -246(4) prescribes that Parliament has power to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included in a State notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in the state list.

21. Article 247 prescribes that the Parliament may by law provide for establishment of any additional courts for better administration of law made by the Parliament or any existing laws with respect to a matter enumerated in the union list.

22. Article 248 prescribes that the Parliament has exclusive power to make any law with respect to any matter not enumerated in the concurrent list or state list and such power shall include power of making laws imposing tax not mentioned in either of those two lists.

23. Article 249 empowers Parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the State list in the national interest if the Council of State has declared by resolution supported by not less than two-third of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that Parliament should make law with respect to any matter enumerated in the State list specified in the resolution. Such a resolution of the Council of the State shall remain in force for such a period not exceeding one year as may be specified therein.

24. Article 250 empowers Parliament to legislate with respect to any matter in the State list if a proclamation of emergency is in operation. Such a law made by the Parliament which parliament would not but for the issue of a proclamation of emergency have been competent to make , shall, to the extent of incompetency, seize to have effect on the expiration of a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate except as respective things done or omitted to be done before expiration of the said period. 

25. Article 251 prescribes if there is inconsistency between the law made by the Parliament under Article 249 and 250 and law made by the legislature of the State, the law made by the Parliament whether passed before or after the law made by the legislature of the State shall prevail so long as the law made by the parliament continues to have effect.

26. Article-252 prescribes the parliament's power to legislate with consent of the States. If the legislatures of two or more States, passed resolution to the effect that it is desirable to have a law passed by the Parliament on any matter in the State list, it shall be lawful for the parliament to make laws regulating the matter. Any other State may also adopt such a law by passing a resolution to that effect. Such a law can only be amended or repealed by an Act of Parliament.

27. Article 253 empowers the Parliament to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any international treaty, agreement or convention. 

Normally distribution of powers does not stand in the way of Parliament to pass a law for giving effect to an international obligation even though such law relates to any of the subject in the State list.

28. Article-254 says that if any provision of law made by the legislature of a State is repugnant to any provision of law made by the Parliament competent to enact or to any provision of an existing law with respect to the matters enumerated in the Concurrent list, then the law made by the Parliament, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislature of such State, or, as the case may be, the existing law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislature of the State shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void. 

The repugnancy is, however, subject to the exception provided in Clause (2) of the Article.

Clause-(2) provides, if a state law with respect to one of the matters, enumerated in the Concurrent list contains any provision repugnant to the provisions of an earlier law made by Parliament, or an existing law with respect to that matter, then, the State law, if it has been reserved for the consent of the President and has received assent, shall prevail notwithstanding such repugnancy. But Parliament under the provision of Clause - (2) to over-ride such a law, subsequently may make law on the same matter. If it makes such a law, the State law would be void to the extent of repugnancy with the union law.

29. We need a strong central government because a strong central government can provide political stability and effectively manage the defences of the country. Such a govt. only can achieve rapid economic growth and promote social justice. The History of the country well speaks against weakening central government. Our past is the example that when there was a strong central decision making authority, the country witnessed rapid economic growth and could effectively deal with the external aggressors as well as internal divisive forces. Weak Central govt. is a threat for the unity and integrity of the nation, besides a weak govt. cannot take strong decision and as a result, all round development including trade and commerce receives a serious jolt. With the integration of the country, consequent upon the advent of communication and transport and advance of overall economy, it became inevitable that the central power should grow to secure uniformity in laws relating to interstate commerce, industry and transport etc. In the underdeveloped and developing countries which have adopted socialistic economic planning, the need for extensive central power is much more imperative. The Central govt. has to supervise, direct and control the economy which is the basis of a welfare state. The framers of the Constitution have purposely provided for a central govt. with extensive powers so that it may be in a position to cope with any problem, however, serious or difficult.

The Constitution makers very consciously provided that the State governments have to ensure compliance with laws created by parliament and that the central govt. is authorised and empowered to give such directions to the State govts, as it may deem necessary for the purpose. The State govts are barred from doing anything which may prejudice or impede the exercise of constitutional powers by the union govt. in the State. We have experienced frequent clashes between the Centre and the States and the later sometimes stood in the way of exercise of Central power which is detrimental to our Constitutional scheme. 

The financial scheme of the constitution takes into account the growing needs both of the Centre and the States. Finance Commission/Niti Ayuog examines the financial needs of the States and recommends allocations to the States from the Centre to enable them to meet and to help backward States to come up to the level of affluent States.

30. The Constitution in Article 256 to 263 dealt with the matter of administrative relations between Union and the States.

Essentially, the characteristics of a federal constitution may be said to be, (i) Distribution of powers (ii) Supremacy of constitution (iii) A written constitution (iv) Rigidity and (v) Authority of courts. All those characteristics are available in the Indian Constitution and, so, it may, fairly be said that the Indian Constitution is a federal constitution. But, because of some other feature of the provisions, the Constitution cannot be said to be with strict federal principles and mainly those are - (i) Appointment of Governors (Art. 155 & 156), (ii) Parliaments power to legislate in the national interest (Art. 249), (iii) Parliaments power to form new states and alter boundaries of existing states (Art. 3) (iv) Emergency provisions (Art. 352, 356, 360). 

A federal constitution establishes the Union Govt. and the State Govt. within the territory of the country and the division of power between the two. The success and strength of the federal policy depends on the cooperation and co-ordination between the Union and the State Governments.

There must be a smooth administrative relation and adjustment in the exercise of powers between the Union and the States. It is no doubt a very critical issue, but the Constitution makers tried to include detailed provisions to avoid any clash between Union and the States in the administrative domain and to ensure federal executive control of matters falling within the jurisdiction of the Union. For the smooth and proper functioning of the administrative machinery to ensure comprehensive development, the Constitution makers included provisions for meeting all types of eventualities which might develop in the working system of the federation. The cooperation and co-ordination between the Centre and the State administrative authorities have been found to be indispensible. In emergency situation, Govt. of India exercises complete control, but in normal circumstances, the State should be allowed to function independently within the limitation prescribed by the Constitution.

Even in normal times, the Constitution makers thought it appropriate to empower the Union to have some sorts of control over the States especially by way of giving directions to the State Governments as well as delegating the functions of the union to the States, all India services and grants-in-aid etc.

The idea of giving directions by the Union to the States is no doubt foreign and repugnant to the rule of a federal system, but the framers of our Constitution thought it appropriate to take such a idea from the Govt. of India Act, 1935 in view of the peculiar conditions of this country and different circumstances of diversity out of which federation emerged.

31. Article 256 prescribes that the executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by the Parliament and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to the State as may appear to the Govt. of India to be necessary for that purpose. It is the obligation of the States to abide by such direction of the Centre.

32. Article-257 prescribes that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of executive power of the Union, 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 the purpose.

The executive power of the Union shall also extend to the giving of directions to the States on matters:-

(1) Construction and maintenance of means of communication which are declared to be of national or military importance;

(2) Measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the State.

33. Constitution also prescribes under Article 356 that if the State fails to comply with or to give effect to any decision given by the Central Government, then President is empowered to declare an emergency to the effect that the State Govt. cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and assume himself all functions of the State.

34. This emergency powers vested in the Centre is an assurance so that the Central govt. does not find itself handicapped for want of powers in a case when a real state of emergency arises. No one who knows the situation prevailing in the country or there is an external threat can say that such powers are not required. There are lot of criticisms regarding exercise of power of the governor. It is often criticised that the governor works at the wisdom of the ruling party in power in the centre. It is expected that the emergency powers should be sparingly exercised only in an extraordinary given situation. The governor is expected to be impartial and very cautious while exercising his powers of reporting to the Centre and/or inviting the leader of a particular party to form government. His decision is expected to be supported by settled precedents and the law. Because of some alleged aberrations here and there, it cannot be said that the post of Governor is unnecessary. In a vast country like India, there must be a constitutional head of the State to maintain a bridge between the Centre and the State for the interest of unity and integrity of the country.

35. Article-258 of the Constitution prescribes that the President may with the consent of the Governor of the State entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that Govt or to its officers function in relation to any matter to which the executive power of the union extends. 

A law made by the parliament which applies in any State, may, notwithstanding that it relates to a matter with respect to which the legislature of the State has no power to make laws, confer powers and impose duties or authorise the conferring of powers and the imposition of duties, upon the State or officers and authorities thereof. 

Where powers and duties have been conferred or imposed upon the State or officers or authorities thereof, the Govt. of India shall pay to the State such sum as may be agreed, or, in default of agreement, as may be determined by an arbitrator appointed by the Chief Justice of India, in respect of any extra costs of administration incurred by the State in connection with the exercise of those powers and duties. 

Simultaneously, Governor of a State also with the consent of the Govt. of India entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that govt. or to its officers functions in relation to any matter to which the executive power of the State extends.

36. Article-261 declares 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.

37.Article 262 authorises Parliament to make law for 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. 

Parliament may by law also provide that neither Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise its jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.

38. Article 312 of the Constitution prescribes that if the Council of the State passes a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest so to do, Parliament may by law provide for the creation of one or more all India services including all India Judicial Service common to the Union and the States and, subject to the other provisions contained to regulate the recruitment, and the conditions of service of persons appointed, to any such service.

The object of the provisions is to ensure greater inter-State coordination and inter-state policy of national character. This also enables the Central Govt. to exercise control over the States in matters of execution of union laws.

39. Financial resources of the State are limited in comparison to the centre, whereas, the State Governments have to do many works of social uplift under directive principles. Financial resources of all the States are also not similar. In order to cope with the situation, the Centre makes grants-in-aid to the States. These grants-in-aid serve two purposes:-

(1) The Central Govt. exercises control over the State because grants are granted subject to certain conditions and if any State fails to agree to the conditions, the Central Govt. may withdraw the grant and 

(2) It generates a Centre-State coordination and cooperation. 

40. In a system of federation, independence of different units are most important. But they cannot work in complete isolation from each other. The units shall be allowed to work with freedom in their territorial limits, at the same time, a co-ordination between different units is required for its progress. A federal Constitution, therefore, provides certain rules for coordination. This co-ordination between the States and Centre is called co-operative federalism.

41. Article-263 of the Constitution prescribes for establishment of the inter-States Council to effect co-ordination between the States. The objective behind is to establish regular recognized machinery for inter-Governmental consultation and inter-State relations so that co-ordination in all respect are maintained so far as in the matters of agricultural, irrigation, education, public health, forestry, etc. fields of general public interest. Such a body provides opportunity to the States to openly express their views on common matters and to make Union understand the feelings and/or requirements of the States so that the developmental activities can be carried out smoothly.

The inter-state Council consists of Chief Ministers of all the States and the Prime Minister as its Chairman and the decisions taken in the Inter-State Council are normally of national importance and expected to get preference. The process if strictly followed will remove stress and strain between the Centre and the States and strengthen federal character of the Constitution.

The Council is normally a recommendatory body.

FINANCIAL RELATION

42. Part-12 of the Constitution deals with the matter of financial relations between the Union and the States in Article 264-291.

Our Constitution has provided a concept of welfare state. Both the Union and the States must have adequate financial resources at their disposal to enable them to discharge their respective responsibilities under the Constitution to have successful federation. The financial autonomy is an important aspect for the units of federation. Our Constitution makers thought it proper to have a stronger Centre with financial resources so that the Union Government can distribute funds taking into consideration the financial position and needs of the States.

43. No tax can be imposed without constitutional authority. The Constitution has prescribed on which subject the Centre can make law imposing tax and on which, the State can make law for imposing taxes.

44. The resources for the States are no doubt limited in comparison to the Centre. The States, therefore, remain dependent on the central aid or grants. The Constitution, therefore, recommended particular mechanism to review scheme of financial relations which can be very flexible.

45. Article-280 of the Constitution provides for appointment of a Finance Commission which consists of a Chairperson and other members to be appointed by the President. The Finance Commission is to recommend to the President in respect of changes to be made in distribution of taxes between the Union and the States and to define the principle on which the Union was to make grant-in-aid to the States. The Constitution of India thereby introduced a unique elements of flexibility while dealing with the problems of distribution of public revenue.

46. As already discussed earlier, no tax can be levied or collected except by authority of law. No tax can be imposed by an executive order. The law providing for imposition of tax must be a valid law and it should not be in conflict with any provision of the Constitution.

47. There are gulf of difference between a tax and a fee. A tax is compulsory exaction of money by public authority for public purposes enforceable by law and is not a payment for services rendered. On the other hand, a fee is generally a payment for services rendered, benefit provided or privilege conferred. The concept that the elements of quid pro is always a sine-qua-non for a fee, that has a change though generally fee must have relation to the services rendered or the advantage conferred. Such relation need not be direct, even a casual relation may be enough.

48. The Constitution prescribes that all revenue received by the Govt. of India, or loan raised by that Govt. by the issue of treasury bills, loans or ways and means, advances and of money received by that Govt. in repayment of loans shall form one consolidated fund to be titled (the consolidated fund of India) and all revenues received by the Govt. of a State or loans raised by that Govt by the issue of treasury bills, loan or ways and means, advances and all money received by that Govt. in repayment of loans, shall form one consolidated fund to be titled ( the consolidated fund of the State).

All other public money received by or on behalf of the Govt. of India or of a State shall be credited to the public account of India or the public account of the State as the case may be.

No money out of the consolidated fund of India or the consolidated fund of a State shall be appropriated except in accordance with law and for the purpose and in the manner provided by the Constitution. 

49. The Parliament may by law establish a contingency fund in the nature of an imprest to be titled “the contingency fund of India” into which shall be paid from time to time such sums as may be determined by such law and such fund shall be placed at the disposal of the President to enable advances to be made by him out of such fund for the purpose of meeting unforeseen expenditure pending authorisation of such expenditure by the Parliament by law under Art. 115 or Art. 116 (Art 267) of the Constitution.

50. The legislature of a State may by law establish a contingency fund in the nature of an imprest to be titled “the Contingency Fund of the State” into which shall be paid from time to time such sums as may be determined by such law and the said fund shall be placed at the disposal of the Governor of the State to enable advances to be made by him out of such fund for the purpose of meeting unforeseen expenditure pending authorisation of such expenditure by the Legislature of the State by law under Art. 205 and 206 (Art. 267 of the Constitution).

51. Art. 268 prescribes that such stamp duties as mentioned in the Union list shall be levied by the Central Govt. But shall be collected by the Govt. of India in the case the duties are leviable within the Union territory and by State within which duties are leviable. The proceeds of such duties are assigned to the States.

52. Art. 269A has been newly inserted by 101st Amendment regarding levy and collection of goods and services tax in course of inter-state trade or commerce. Such tax shall be levied and collected by the govt. of India and shall be appropriated between the Union and the States in the manner as may be provided by Parliament by law on the recommendation of the goods and services tax council.

53. Art 270 prescribes that all taxes and duties referred to in the Union list, except the duties and taxes referred to in Articles 268, 269 and 269A respectively, surcharge on taxes and duties referred to in Art. 271 and any cess levied for specific purposes under any law made by Parliament shall be levied and collected by the government of India and shall be distributed between the Union and the States in the manner provided in clause (2) and (3) of that Article.

54. Art.271 prescribes that the Parliament may, at any time, increase any of the duties or taxes mentioned in Art. 269 and 270 by imposing surcharge for the purposes of the Union and the whole proceeds of any surcharge shall form part of the consolidated fund of India.

55. Art. 275 empowers parliament to make such grant as it may deem essential to the State which are in need of financial assistance. The Constitution also provides for special grant given to the State which undertakes schemes for development for the purpose of promoting of the welfare of the schedule tribe for raising level of administration of the scheduled areas.

56.Art. 279A is a new incorporation after 101st amendment of the Constitution which has prescribed that the President shall constitute a council to be called Goods and Services Tax Council (GST) which shall consist of Union Finance Minister- Chairperson, Union Minister of State in-charge of Revenue or Finance-Member, Minister in-charge of Finance or Taxation or any other Minister nominated by each state govt.-Member. Members from the State govts. may choose on amongst themselves as Vice Chairperson of the Council. The GST Council has been empowered, inter alia, to recommend to the Union & the States, the taxes, cesses and surcharges levied by the Union, the States and the local bodies, the exemption from the taxes, model GST laws, special provisions for the North Eastern States, H.P & Uttarakhand and any other matter relating to GST.

The new provision has brought about uniformity in tax laws throughout the country. It may take some time to get perfection in the implementation of the new law.

57. Art. 282 provides that Union and a State may make grant for any public purpose, even if relates to the subject over which it cannot make laws. Under this Art. , the Central Govt. can make grants to hospital or the schools.

58. Art. 292 gives the Union unlimited power to borrow money upon the security of the consolidated fund of India. The Union of India can borrow within such limit as may be fixed by the Parliament from time to time. Similarly, Art. 293 permits a State subject to any limit fixed by the State legislature to borrow money within the territory of India on the security of the consolidated fund of the State. The borrowing power of the State is subject to the limitation that it cannot borrow from outside India. However, the Govt. of India may itself extend a loan to the State under law passed by the Parliament. So long such a loan or any part thereof remains outstanding; no fresh loan can be raised by the State without the consent of the Central govt.

59. It is expected that the Centre and the States shall work together with harmony and cooperation within the frameworks of the Constitution with a common goal of upliftment of the whole country. There may be different political parties ruling in the Centre and in the States but all the govts. are bound to obey the constitutional mandates and shall have cooperation in the exercise of executive powers. The tendency of blaming of the one govt. by the other will destroy the federal structure. A federation is an excellent mechanism to achieve unity in diversity but it requires political honesty, dedication and statesmanship, tolerance and restraint. Mutual understanding, I hope, will strengthen our federation.

(Note- Consulted Universal's The Constitution of India, D. D. Basu's Shorter Constitution of India and Dr. J. N. Pandey's Constitutional Law of India and taken note thereof.)

Dated
24.04.2018



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