Administrative Relations Between Central And State


The research paper is written in layman’s terms and is totally comprehensive in nature. The paper discusses the topic “Administrative Relations Between Central And State” in wholesome nature and is inclusive of Background, provisions and technicalities. The paper right from the beginning sets the base for readers by briefing about the necessity of administrative relations while discussing the earlier situations.


The Indian Constitution is not solely “federal” or “unitary.” The constitutional division of powers between the federal government and the states—including the legislative, executive, and administrative spheres—clearly reflects the federal form. In normal circumstances, the constitutional framework must guarantee the independence of the states with regard to the areas of responsibility set apart for them in the Constitution. With the caveat that in the “state” and “concurrent” fields, the states should have the freedom to follow their own policies except to the extent that Parliament itself decides to legislate under the powers granted to it by the Constitution, specific subjects have been allocated to the exclusive fields of the center and the states, respectively, and certain subjects have been allocated to the “concurrent field.”

A highly centralized colonial authority had historically been gradually replaced by a semi-feudal system. The necessity for planned growth, national unification, and the upkeep of law and order in India after independence led to a significant degree of authority being centralized in the hands of the center. The long-term dominance of a single party has also contributed to the center’s growing dominance. In fact, the center-state relationship is a result of interactions between the two tiers of government as they carry out their responsibilities to the populace.

The Administrative Relations Between Central And State are outlined in Articles 256 to 263 of the Indian Constitution. Under Article 256, the states’ executive authority “must be utilized in such a manner as to guarantee compliance with the statutes of Parliament.” Additionally, the executive authority of the union includes the ability to command the states as the Indian government may see appropriate. Article 246 of the Constitution also provides that the union government may require the states to comply with the legislation approved by the Parliament that fall under their purview if the state government refuses to do so. Under Schedule 7, which separates the topics into central, state, and concurrent three lists are created concurrently including subjects considered by both Centre and State.

To assess Centre-State relations, the Punchhi Commission was established in 2007.

Any federal plan calls for the establishment of a dual government and the division of authority, but the viability and strength of the federal polity depend on the highest level of intergovernmental coordination and collaboration.

A. Techniques of Union Control Over States

It would be convenient to discuss this matter under two headings –

1. Under Emergencies

The emergency provisions of our Constitution enable the federal government to take on the strength of a unitary system if the necessities of the situation so require. The Constitution also grants the union special powers in case of certain situations.

The Constitution lists three distinct types of crises or extraordinary circumstances that call for deviation from the regular governance framework established by the Constitution.

  1. Emergency due to war external aggression or armed rebellion (under Article 352)
  2. Failure of constitutional machinery in a state (under Article 356)
  3. Financial emergency (under Article 360)

The President may declare a state emergency whenever he determines that war, external aggression, or armed rebellion poses a threat to India’s security, in whole or in part. In cases where external aggression is suspected prior to the occurrence of any such disturbance, the President may declare an emergency.

Additionally, after an emergency has been declared, the union’s executive power will be extended for the proclamation’s duration to include delivering instructions to any state about how to use its executive power [per Article 353(a)].

In normal times, the union executive has the authority to direct the state, but this authority only extends to matters pertaining to Articles 256 to 257. However, in the event of a proclamation of emergency, the government of India will be granted the authority to direct a state on any issue, meaning that even though the state government will not be suspended, it will be entirely under the control of the union executive and the country will be administered as under the proclamation.

2. Normal Times

To prevent state governments from interfering with the legislative and executive policies of the union, as well as to ensure the effectiveness and strength of each individual unit, which is crucial for the union’s strength, the Constitution has a variety of techniques for controlling state by union power during normal times.

Pacific agencies for union control are namely:

  1. Directions to state government
  2. Delegations of union functions
  3. All India services
  4. Grants in aid
  5. Interstate Council
  6. Interstate commerce commission

i. Directions to State Government

The Government of India Act of 1935 is where the concept that the Union gives instructions to the state originated, although it is foreign and revolting to a really federal system. considering the unique circumstances of this nation, in particular the setting from which the federation was born. The constitution specifies the conditions and the subject matter with respect to which the union shall have the authority to command the state. The sentence prescribed by the Constitution to secure compliance with such directions remains to be discussed and be noted that the Constitution prescribes a course of sanction for the enforcement of the directions issued under any of the following powers namely the power of the President to make proclamation under Article 356 (Failure of constitutional machinery in the state) this is provided in Article 365 as follows:

When any state has failed to comply with or to give effect to any directions given by the exercise of the executive power of the union under any of the provisions of the Constitution it shall be lawful for the President to hold that situation has arisen in which government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

And as soon as a proclamation under Article 356 is made by the government which will be entitled to assume any of the functions of the state government as specified in the article.

ii. Delegations of Union Functions

A state’s president may, with its approval [under Article 258(1)], take an interest in the government executive activities of the union with regard to any topic.

Insofar as the statute is relevant in the particular state, Parliament may provide authority to the state government and its officers when enacting legislation on a union topic [under Article 258(2)].

When it is not practical for either government to carry out its administrative duties directly, it may delegate those duties to another government with the approval of the government of India. On the other hand, the state government may grant administrative functions to the letter relating to the state subject. As has already been mentioned, in addition to the employees who work for the union and the states, there are also some services that apply to both the union and the states; these are known as all India services.

iii. All India Services

As has been previously said, there will be other troops besides those working for the state and the union. These are referred to as all Indian services, and current examples include Indian administrative services and Indian Police Services. However, the constitution also grants the government the authority to establish new all India services.

If the council of states declares by a resolution supported by less than two third of the members present and voting that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest so to Parliament may by law provides for the creation of one or more all India services common to the union and the states and regulate the recruitment and the conditions of service persons appointed to many such services. The object behind this provision for all Indian services is to impact greater cohesion in the administration in both unions and states.

iv. Grants in Aid

Parliament is given the power to make grants as it may deem necessary to give financial assistance to any state which is in need of such assistance [under article 275] by means of the grants and the union would be in a position to correct interstate disparities in financial resources which are not conducive to and all-round development of the country and also to exercise control and coordination Uber welfare schemes of the state or national scale.

Schemes of development for the welfare of scheduled Tribes and for raising the level of administration of scheduled areas may have been undertaken by a skate with the approval of the government of India.

To the state of Assam for the development of the tribal areas in the state under provisions one and two of Article 275(1).

v. Interstate Council

The president is empowered to establish an interstate council under Article 263 if at any time it appears to have that the public interest would be served thereby though the President is given the power to define the nature of the duties to be performed by the council the Constitution outlines the three-fold duties that may be assigned to the body.

One such duty is the duty to inquire into and advise upon disputes which may have arisen between states. Other phones switch off such calls and go to them to investigate and discuss subjects of common interest between union and state or between two or more states.

In exercise of this power, the president has so far established the Centre Council of health Centre, the council of local self-government and the urban transport development Council for coordination in the policies of the state related to these matters. The primary objective of an interstate Council is coordination and federal cohesion.

vi. Interstate Commerce Commission

For the purpose of enforcing the provisions of the Constitution relating to the freedom of trade commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India under Article 301-305 Parliament is empowered to constitute an authority similar to the interstate commerce commission in the United States of America to confer on such authority such power and duties as it may deem fit under Article 307.

B. Co-Operation Between The Union And The States

In addition to the federally regulated agencies, there are other measures that try to ensure that there are no unwarranted conflicts of authority between the Union and State Governments.
These are-

  1. Mutual delegation of functions.
  2. Immunity from mutual taxation.

(a) As explained already our Constitution distributes between the Union and the States not only the legislative power but Mutual Delegation of also the executive power, more or less on the same lines [Article 73, 162].

As a result, unless specifically permitted by a Constitutional provision, neither a State nor the Union may exercise administrative authority over Union subjects or assume management of any State function. A tight separation like this might occasionally result in deadlocks in administrative problems. To prevent this, the Constitution provides provisions that let the Union and a State mutually delegate their respective administrative responsibilities:

(b) There are two approaches to the delegation of Union duties.

  1. With the consent of the State Government, the President may without any legislative sanction, entrust any executive function to that State. [Article 258 (1)].
  2. Irrespective of any consent of the State concerned, Parliament may, while legislating with respect to Union subject, confer powers upon State or its officers, relating to such subject (Article 258 (2)), there is, in essence, a legal foundation for this delegation.

(c) Conversely, with the consent of the Government of India, the Governor of a State may entrust to the Union Government or its Officers functions relating to a State subject, pertaining to the State [Article 258A].

C. Immunity From Mutual Taxation

i. Need for Mutual Immunity of proper working of Federal Systems

The property of one Government must be exempt from taxes by another in order for the system of dual government established by a federal Constitution to function properly. The notion that reciprocal protection from taxation would save a substantial lot of time and effort in the assessment, computation and cross-accounting of taxes between the two governments is accepted, notwithstanding minor differences between working federal constitutions over how far this immunity should extend (Union and State). Our Constitution’s Articles 285 and 289, which speak to the immunity of the Union and a State, respectively, deal with this issue.

ii. Immunity of Union Property from State Taxation

The property of the Union must be exempt from any taxes levied by a State or by any authority within a State [Article 285(i)], unless Parliament may by legislation rule otherwise.

iii. Exception of Property and Income of a State from Union Taxation

Property of a State is immune from Union taxation [Art. 289(1)]. The immunity, however, does not extend to all Union taxes, as held by our Supreme Court,” but is confined only to such taxes as are levied on the property. Therefore, a State is not exempt from paying customs duties, which are levied on the act of importing or exporting commodities rather than on actual property. A State is immune from Union taxation on both its “property” and its “revenue.” However, the exemption only applies to the State Government and does not include any municipal authorities that are located inside a State. The above immunity of the income of a State is, again, subject to an overriding power of Parliament as regards any income derived from commercial activity. Thus-

(a) Ordinarily, the income derived by a State from commercial activities shall be immune from income tax levied by the Union.

(b) However, the money a state receives from commercial activities may be taxed by the parliament.

(c) The income from such services, however, must no longer be taxable as long as Parliament maintains its proclamation that any ostensibly commercial functions are “incidental to the routine functions of government.”


The Indian Constitution seeks to foster collaborative or cooperative federalism. The distribution of powers between the Centre and the States grants the States some authority to ensure that administration at the grassroots level stays efficient. To preserve equilibrium, the Centre uses its influence over the states at the same time.

There are various obstacles to maintaining a federation, but the primary answer is good debate and discussion among the parties concerned.


1. Basu, Durga D. Shorter Constitution of India. Calcutta: S.C.Sarkar, 1959.

2. Administrative Reforms Commission, 1980, Report on Centre-State Relationship, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi.

3. Chandrapal, 1983, Centre-State Relations and Cooperative Federalism, Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi

4. Government of India, 1988, Report of the Commission on Centre-State Relations (Part-I), Nashik.







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This article has been written by Krishna Aghav, student at Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai.

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