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7th schedule of Indian Constitution

7th schedule

The Constitution provides a scheme for demarcation of powers through three ‘lists’ in the Seventh Schedule under Article 246. It states :

  • Parliament has exclusive competence to make laws onany matter listed in List I or the Union List. e.g. defence, foreign affairs, railways, banking, etc.
  • The State Legislatures have exclusive competence over List II or the State List. e.g. Public order, police, public health and sanitation, hospitals and dispensaries, betting and gambling etc.
  • Both the Parliament and the State Legislatures have competence over List III or the Concurrent List. e.g. Education, population control and family planning, criminal law, prevention of cruelty to animals, protection of wildlife and animals, forests etc.
  • Broadly, entries that are analogous to national importance allocated to the Union and entries of local concern allocated to the States.
  • Concurrent list mostly serves as a device to loosen the excessive rigidity of the two-fold distribution. It is reckoned as the twilight zone of the Constitution as it allows the legislative power to vary from state legislature to Parliament based on the importance of the matter. as per Sarkaria Commission, concurrent list subjects are neither exclusively of national concern nor of local concern and hence occupy a constitutional ‘grey’ area.
  • The Seventh Schedule is thus indicative of the spirit of cooperation between the Union and the States. Also, it represents a limitation to powers of both Centre and States. Such a limitation is essential to ensure that the different institution.
7th schedule of Indian Constitution

Union List of the 7th schedule of the Indian constitution

  • The Union List of the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution consists of a range of subject matters on which only the Parliament of India has the power to make laws. The seventh schedule of the Indian constitution concerns power distribution between states and the center.
  • The Constitutional framers listed 97 subjects under the Union list originally. However, with several amendments, the Union list now consists of 100 subjects.
  • The subjects of national importance are in the Union list. It states that the “Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation.”

State List of the 7th schedule of the Indian constitution

1. The State List of the seventh schedule of the Indian Constitution consists of subjects on which only the respective State Legislature has the power to make laws.

2. Originally, the State list consisted of 66 subjects. However, in the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976, five issues were transferred from the State list to the Concurrent list. They are,

3. Education

  • Weights and measurements
  • Forests
  • Administration of justice
  • Protection of wild animals and birds

4. At present, there are only 61 subjects on the State list. The Union government adds matters related to regional and local importance to the State list.

Concurrent List of the 7th schedule of the Indian constitution

  • Concurrent list subjects allow both the Center and State to legislate, unlike exclusive Union or State lists.
  • However, when there is a conflict between the Union and the State regarding the law passed by the Parliament and State Legislature on concurrent subjects, the law devised by the Parliament prevails.
  • The Constitutional framers borrowed the concept of concurrent list from the Constitution of Australia
  • Originally the Concurrent list consisted of 47 subjects. In 1976, the Union government transferred five subjects from the State list to the concurrent list, increasing the number of subjects under the concurrent list to 52.
  • The Sarkaria Commission called the concurrent list the grey area of the Constitution as these subjects are neither of national importance nor local importance.
7th schedule of Indian Constitution

Residuary Powers

  • Residuary Powers Definition: Refers to authority over subjects not mentioned in state or concurrent lists.
  • Union Government Authority: Sole jurisdiction lies with the union government for these matters.
  • Constitutional Basis: Article 248 states the Union Parliament’s exclusive power for matters not in the Concurrent or State List.

Delivery of public goods

  • We loosely understand public goods as something that the government must deliver, ignoring the narrow and technical definition.
  • It cannot, or should not, be delivered by the private sector.
  • Notwithstanding the use of private security guards, most people will agree “law and order” is a public good.
  • Most public goods people will think of are efficiently delivered at the local government level, not Union or state level.
  •  There is a Seventh Schedule issue that is thus linked to the insertion of a local body list.
  • Countervailing pressure by citizens increasingly demands efficient delivery of such public goods.
  • But without delegation of funds, functions and functionaries, presently left to the whims of state governments, local governments are unable to respond.

Why Seventh Schedule need to be reform?

  1. Historical Roots: The 7th schedule traces its origin to the Government of India Act of 1935, reflecting its 1950 version today.
  2. Centralization Trend: Over time, centralization has increased, with items shifting among state, concurrent, and union lists, contrary to decentralization goals.
  3. Effective Service Delivery: Optimal governance levels are crucial for public goods delivery; local governments often outperform higher levels in efficiency.
  4. Citizen Expectations: Growing citizen expectations underscore the importance of responsive governance for efficient public goods delivery.
  5. Delegation Challenges: Despite citizen demands, local governments struggle due to constraints in delegating funds, functions, and functionaries, primarily under state governments’ discretion.

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