• Legal Armor


Updated: Jan 18


Before the formation of the Indian Federation, the states were not ‘sovereign entities. There was no need for defences to protect the state but with time Indian Federation acquired characteristics different from the American model.

In the Indian Constitution, the residuary powers are assigned to the Union. Although the Canadian Constitution uses the same track, it cannot be considered as eroding the federal nature of the Constitution.

With power delegation, the Union exercises the power of control of the legislation and administration of states. The President of the Union appoints the Governor and he holds office ‘during his pleasure’. This is found in the Canadian Constitution but not in the US Constitution. In the matter of the constitutional amendment, a state need not be consulted, but can be amended by a bill in the Union Parliament passed by a special majority. The Union is indestructible while the States are not.

Distribution Of Powers

India's Constitution provides for a dual polity with a simple separation of powers between the Union and the States, each of which is sovereign in the area assigned to it. The Indian federation is not the product of an independent unit arrangement, and its units cannot leave the federation. Accordingly, the Constitution includes detailed rules regulating the different aspects of the interactions between the center and the States.

A total of 56 Articles in Section XI and XII of Article 245 to 300 are dedicated to relations between the State and the Centre. Part XI (Articles 245-263) includes the legislative and administrative relations and the financial ties under Part XII (Articles 246-300).

Legislative Relations

Articles 245 to 255 of Part XI of the Constitution deal with the Centre's constitutional ties with the Government. Article 245(1) provides that, according to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make laws in respect of all or part of the territory of India, and the Legislature of a State may make laws in respect of all or part of that State. Article 245(2) states that no legislation drawn up by Parliament shall be deemed invalid on the ground that it would function outside the territory. Article 246 states that Parliament has exclusive authority to legislate on any of the matters mentioned in List I (i.e. Union List) and List III (i.e. Concurrent List) of the Seventh Schedule. Article 248 stipulates that the Parliament has exclusive power to legislate on any matter not specified in the Concurrent List or State List. Moreover, Article 250 states that, when a Proclamation of Emergency is in effect, Parliament shall, despite anything in this Section, have the power to make laws on any of the matters mentioned in the State List for the whole or any part of the territory of India.

Administrative Relations

Articles 255 to 263 define the relationship between the rules. Article 256 stipulates that the executive power of each State shall be exercised in such a way as to ensure conformity with the laws of the Parliament. Such power is exercised with all existing laws applicable in that State, and that the executive power of the Union shall extend to the State which may seem appropriate for that reason to the Government of India. Article 257(1) stipulates that the executive power of each State shall be exercised in such a way that it does not hinder or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union and that the executive power of the Union shall apply the directions to that State which may seem appropriate to the Government of India. Article 258(2) provides that a law made by Parliament which applies in any State can, confer powers and impose duties or allow the conferment of powers and the imposition of duties on the State or its officers, irrespective of the fact that it relates to an issue in respect of which the Legislature of the State has no power to make laws. Article 261(3) states that, in compliance with the constitution, final judgments or orders given or passed by civil courts in any part of India's jurisdiction shall be enforceable anywhere within that jurisdiction. Article 262(1) states that Parliament may, by statute, make provision for the adjudication of any conflict or complaint concerning the use, distribution, or regulation of any contiguous river or river valley waters. Article 262(2) states that irrespective of the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may be a law providing that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction over any such dispute or complaint as provided for in clause.

Financial Relations

The financial ties are mentioned in Articles 268 to 293. Article 268 defines duties levied, imposed by the States, and retained by the Union. Article 269 defines taxes levied by the Union and raised but delegated to the States. Article 270 defines the taxes levied between the Union and the States.


In India, relations between the Centre-States are the core elements of federalism. The Central Government and State Governments shall collaborate for the well-being and health of our citizens.

The Indian constitution seeks to achieve national unity by granting the State governments the power to preserve democracy. The union has indeed been given more powers than the State governments, but that is a matter of degree and not of nature. The Indian constitution includes all the basic features of a federation. It is also known as being quasi-federal. Thus, it can be said that the Indian Constitution is primarily federal, even though it has unique characteristics that allow it to assume unitary characteristics when needed.


Akshita Kesharwani is currently pursuing BA.LLB from Alliance University.

They can be contacted at akshitakesharwani06@gmail.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/akshita-kesharwani-07aa511a4

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.


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