Centre-State Administrative Relations – UPSC Notes

Centre-State relations is very important topic in UPSC point of view. It may be considered as a backbone of the UPSC exam. It will boost your thinking capacity and answer writing capacity. It is very important to read every line of this centre state relations and memorize it carefully. Here I have tried to make it easier for you to memorise it. I have also tried to connect points from one topic to another. So, that your concepts get clarified. I have preferred M. Laxmikant and tried to arrange the points and recommendations in organised way so that can be memorised easily. Please read it 2-3 times and try to analyse as well. My notes are in italic.

The centre state relations can be broadly categorised under three heads i.e. Legislative relations, Administrative relations and Financial relations. There are many aspects of Centre State Administrative Relationship.

  1. Distribution of Executive Powers
  2. Obligation of States towards the Centre
  3. Centre’s Direction to the States
  4. Mutual Delegation of Functions
  5. Cooperation Between the Centre and States
  6. All-India-Services
  7. Public Service Commission
  8. Integrated Judicial System
  9. Relations During Emergency
  10. Centre’s Ultimate Power

These seems difficult to understand and remember. But believe me, it’s very simple to understand at once and to remember, you need to revise it just 3-4 times.

1. Distribution of Executive Powers

Just like the powers of legislation have been distributed between Centre and States on the line of Union List, State List and Concurrent List. The powers of Executive have also distributed on the same line.

The executive power has been divided between the Centre and the States on the lines of the distribution of legislative powers, except in few cases. Thus, the executive power of the Centre extends to the whole of India. (i) to the matters on which the Parliament has exclusive power of legislation (i.e. the subjects enumerated in the Union List); and (ii) to the exercise of rights, authority and jurisdiction conferred on it by any treaty or agreement. Similarly, the executive power of a state extends to its territory in respect of matters on which the state legislature has exclusive power of legislation (i.e. the subjects enumerated in the State List).
In respect of matters on which both the Parliament and the state legislatures have power of legislation (i.e. the subjects enumerated in the Concurrent List) the executive power rests with the state except when a Constitutional provision or a parliamentary law specifically confers it on the Centre.

2. Obligation of States towards the Centre

As a son has some responsibility/obligation towards his father, in the same way, there are two obligation of states towards the centre.

The Executive powers of every state is to be exercised in such a way :-
(a) as to ensure compliance with the laws made by the Parliament and any existing law which apply in the state;
(b) as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of executive power of the Centre in the state.
The sanction behind these directions of the Centre is coercive in nature.Thus, Article 365 says that where any state has failed to comply with any directions given by the Centre, it will be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provision of the Constitution. It means, that the President’s rule can be imposed under Article 356.

3. Centre’s Direction to the States

There are so many executive powers of the states. But in some cases, the centre has power to give direction to the states, how to execute in that matters.

The following are the matters in which Centre is empowered to give directions to the states:
(i) the construction and maintenance of means of communication (declared to be of national or military importance) by the state
(ii) the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the state
(iii) the provision of adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups in the state
(iv) the drawing up and execution of the specified schemes for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the state.

4. Mutual Delegation of Functions

Delegation means transfer of powers/ functions. Mutual delegation means, both can transfer their executive powers to each other for administrative convenience.

The President may, with the consent of the state government, entrust to that government any of the executive functions of the Centre. Conversely, the governor of a state may, with the consent of the Central Government, entrust to that government any of the executive functions of the state.
The Constitution also makes a provision for the entrustment of the executive functions of the Centre to a state without the consent of that state. But, in this case the delegation is by the Parliament and not by the president. Notably, the same thing cannot be done by the state legislature.

5. Cooperation Between the Centre and States

Here are the four provisions, where centre and the states have to work together in cooperation with one another just to ensure the uniformity throughout the country.

(i) The Parliament can provide for the adjudication of any dispute with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.
(ii) The President can establish (under Article 263) an Inter-State Council to investigate and discuss subject of common interest between the Centre and the states
(iii) Full faith and credit is to be given throughout the territory of India to public acts, records and judicial proceedings of the Centre and every state.
(iv) The Parliament can appoint an appropriate authority to carry out the purposes of the constitutional provisions relating to the interstate freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse. But no such authority has been appointed yet.

6. All-India-Services

It will not be difficult to remember. But please remember why? Why there is All India Services? Remember the below written words.

Though the All India Services violate the principle of federalism under the Constitution by restricting the autonomy and patronage of the states, they are supported on the ground that (i) they help in maintaining high standard of administration in the Centre as well as in the states (ii) help to ensure uniformity of the administrative system throughout the country.
While justifying the institution of All India Services, Dr. B R Ambedkar observed that: In all federations, there is a Federal Civil Service and a State Civil Service. The Indian federation, though a dual polity, will have a dual service, but with one exception. It is recognised that in every country there are certain posts in its administrative set up which might be called strategic from the point of view of maintaining the standard of administration.

7. Public Service Commissions

It is not of that much important. But only important as prelims point of view. Here President and Governor play a very important role. So try to remember their roles.

  • The Chairman and members of a state public service commission, though appointed by the governor of the state, can be removed only by the President.
  • The Prliament can establish a Joint State Public Service Commission for two or more states on the request of the state legislatures concerned. The chairman and members of such commission are appointed by the president.
  • The Union Public Service Commissoin can serive the needs of a state on the request of the state governor and with the approval of the President.
  • THe UPSC assist the states (when requested by two or more states) in framing and operating schemes of joint recruitment for any services for which candidates possessing special qualifications are required.

8. Integrated Judicial System

How the judicial system is administered in centre as well as in states? We have integrated judicial system, which means that we have Supreme Court at the top of all the High Courts.

All the central laws as well as state laws are enforced by this system. The judges of a stae high court are appointed by the president in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the governor of the state. They can also be transferred and removed by teh President.
The above lines are written in constitution, however, in reality, it is not the President, who appoints Judges but Supreme Court itself. It is highly controversial topic till now. It is strongly suggested to read the ‘THREE JUDGES CASE’ and ‘National Judicial Appointments Committee’

9. Relations During Emergencies

As we know, there are three emergency provisions. So, we have three cases, during emergencies.
(i) During the operation of a national emergnecy (article 352), the Centre becomes entitled to give executive directions to a state on any matter. Thus, the state government are brought under complete control of centre, though they are not suspended.
(ii) When the President’s Rule is imposed in a state (article ) 356, the President can assume to himself the functions of the state government and powers vested in the Governor or any other executive authority in the state.
(iii) During the operation of a financial emergency (article 360), the Centre can direct the states to observe canons of financial propriety and the President can give other necessary directions including the reduction of salaries of persons serving in the state and the high court judges.

10. Centre’s Ultimate Power

Now comes the ultimate power of the centre.

  • Article 55 imposes two duties on the Centre (a) to protect every state against external aggression and internal distrubance, and (b) to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
    Here, as we can see, the centre has power to impose President’s rule in both the cases. So, the centre can act arbitrarily here with regard to President’s rule. But later it was ruled by the Supreme court that the imposition of President’s rule is subjected to judicial review.
  • The Governor of a state is appointed by the president. He holds office during the prleasure of the president. In addition to the Constitutional head of the state, the governor acts as an agent of the centre in the state.
  • The state election commissioner, though appointed by the governor of the state, can be removed only by the President.

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