Generally, State legislatures have exclusive power to make laws with respect to the subjects included in the State List and the Parliament has no power to intrude them.
However, our Constitution makes a few exceptions to this general rule by authorizing Parliament to make laws on the subjects enumerated in the State List.
Following are the extraordinary exceptions, recognized by the Constitution:
1. In the National Interest (Article 249): If the council of states has declared by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of the member present and voting that it is necessary in the national interest that parliament should make laws with respect to any matter enumerated in the State List specified in the resolution. Parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to that matter while the resolution remains in force.
2. During a proclamation of emergency (Article 250): The Parliament acquires the power to legislate with respect to matters in the State list, while the Proclamation of national emergency is in operation. Parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to the matters enumerated in the State List. The law becomes inoperative on the expiration of six months after the emergency has ceased to operate.
3. When States make a request (Article 252): If it appears to Legislatures of two or more States that on any particular item included in the State List there should be a common legislation applicable to all such State then they can make a request to Parliament to make such law on that particular subject.
Examples: Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994
4. To implement International Agreements (Article 253): Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any International conference, association or other body.
Examples: Geneva Convention Act, 1960; Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982.
5. During President’s Rule: When the president’s rule is imposed in a State, the Parliament becomes empowered to make laws with respect to any matter in the State List. A law made by the Parliament continues to operative even after the president’s rule. But, such law can be repealed or altered or re-enacted by the state legislature.
Conclusion: The scheme of distribution of legislative powers between the Centre and the States is to be maintained in normal times. But, during abnormal times, the scheme of distribution is either modified or suspended. Therefore, the Constitution empowers the Parliament to make laws on any matters enumerated in the State List.
Credit: Megha Balakrishna Kotian
Clg name: VES College of Law