Does the Centre have absolute control over State Legislature? Substantiate your position. (15 marks)

Does the Centre have absolute control over State Legislature? Substantiate your position. (15 marks)


  • Introduce with the division of powers between central and state legislatures
  • Enumerate the Constitutional provisions on Centre having control over state legislature
  • Explain how despite provisions for control, they are extraordinary powers and thus the control overall is limited
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

In terms of law making powers, the Constitution has accorded more powers to the Union than States. It has kept state laws out of extra-territorial operation (Article 245); it has given residuary power of legislation to the Parliament (Article 249).

The Constitution also provides the Union control over State legislature through various provisions:

  • Power of Governor: Governor can reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the consideration of the President. For such bills, President has absolute veto power (Article 200).
  • Prior sanction: Bills on certain matters such as those putting restrictions on freedom of trade & commerce can be introduced in legislature only on prior sanction of President (Article 304).
  • Emergency:In case of national emergency, the Centre can make laws even on the subjects in State list (Article 250).
  • Financial emergency: During a financial emergency, the President can direct the states to reserve money and financial bills for his consideration.
  • National Interest: Article 249 provides that Centre can make law on state subject, if the Rajya Sabha declares by a resolution supported by not less than 2/3 of its members present and voting, that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest that the Parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List.
  • To Implement Treaties: Article 253 provides that the Parliament can make law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, international agreement. Any law passed by the Parliament for this purpose cannot be invalidated on the ground that it relates to the subject mentioned in the State list.

Control is not absolute:

  • Thus, the above mentioned provisions reflect that the centre has certain control over the State Legislature.
  • However, this control is not absolute. The Centre has control only under specific circumstances provisions for which have been provided in the interest of the integrity of the Indian union.
  • An ever vigilant judiciary and the civil society along with the rise of regional parties and coalition governments means that the Centre is allowed to exercise its power to veto state legislation or the power to make state legislation in only rare cases.

The Constitution makers have endaevoured to uplold federalism while also balancing the need to preserve the unity and integrity of the nation. We are on the right path of cooperative and competitive federalism with states enjoying their due position.


Subjects : Polity