Importance and Challenges to Distribution of Legislative Powers In India


The Indian Constitution is a complicated record that frames the powers and obligations of  the central government, state governments, and local governments. The division of  legislative authority between the federal government and the state governments is the  subject of Articles 245-248. 

Article 245: Territorial Limits of Legislative Powers 

Legislative powers are restricted geographically by Article 245 of the Constitution. It  expresses that the Parliament has the ability to make regulations for the entire or any piece  of the domain of India, and that the state legislatures have the ability to make regulations  for the entire or any piece of their particular states. 

Article 246: Union List, State List, and Concurrent List 

The legislative powers of the central government and the state governments are broken  down into three lists in Article 246: the Union List, the State List, and the Concurrent List. 

The Union List contains subjects that are of national importance, such as defense, foreign  affairs, and currency. The Parliament is the only body with the authority to pass laws on  these topics. 

The State List contains subjects that are of local importance, such as education, health, and  agriculture. Legislation on these topics can only be passed by state legislatures. 

The Concurrent List contains subjects that are of both national and local importance, such as  trade and commerce, criminal law, and labour. Legislation on these topics can be enacted by  either the Parliament or the state legislatures. However, if there is a conflict between a  central law and a state law on a subject in the Concurrent List, the central law will take  precedence. 

Article 247: Power to Establish Additional Courts 

Article 247 grants Parliament authority to establish additional courts for the resolution of  any Union List matter. The purpose of this authority is to guarantee that there are sufficient  courts to handle cases involving issues of national significance.

Article 248: Residuary Powers 

Article 248 enables the Parliament to make regulations on any matter excluded from the  Union List or the State List. This power is known as the residuary power. The Parliament is  able to legislate on emerging and new issues such as space exploration and nuclear energy,  which are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution thanks to the residuary power,  which is crucial. 

The dissemination of legislative powers between the central government and the state  governments is a complex and steadily developing issue. The Indian Constitution’s Articles  245-248 provide the fundamental framework for this distribution, but the Supreme Court  has significantly interpreted and clarified these provisions. Consequently, the Constitution  does not explicitly state how legislative powers are divided; rather, the actual distribution is  more nuanced. 

Supreme Court’s interpretation on the provisions of Articles 245-248 in the landmark case  of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973) 

In the landmark 1973 case Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, the Supreme Court held  that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution is subject to the fundamental structure of  the Constitution. As a result, Parliament cannot amend the Constitution in a manner that  would undermine its fundamental principles, such as democracy, secularism, and federalism. 

The provisions of Articles 245-248 are a significant piece of the Indian Constitution. They  ensure that each level of government is able to function effectively and that there is a power  balance between the Union Parliament and the State Legislatures. 

The Importance of the Division of Legislative Powers (Articles 245-248) 

Articles 245-248 are significant in light of the fact that they lay out the essential structure  for the Indian government framework. Power is split between the central government (the  Union) and state governments in the Indian federal system of government. The division of  force depends on the standard of ‘devolution’, and that implies that power is regressed  from the central government to the state governments. 

The Indian federal system’s efficient operation is crucially influenced by the aforementioned  articles. They guarantee that the central government and the state governments have  obviously characterized areas of power. Conflict between the two levels of government can  be avoided thanks to this. 

The articles likewise guarantee that the Indian government framework is adaptable and  versatile. For instance, the residuary power enables the central government to legislate in  emerging and new legal fields. This is crucial because it ensures that the Indian federal  system can adapt to the country’s shifting requirements.

The Challenges of the Division of Legislative Powers (Article 245-248) 

The division of legislative powers is not without its challenges. One challenge is that it can  be difficult to determine which government has jurisdiction over a particular issue. Another  challenge is that the division of powers can lead to conflicts between the Union government  and the state governments. 

In a number of cases, the Supreme Court of India has interpreted the provisions of Articles  245-248. The Court has held that the three lists cover everything, and the Union Parliament  and state legislatures can’t pass laws about things that aren’t on any of the lists. The Court  has also held that the Union Parliament’s residual power is limited and that the Union  Parliament cannot pass laws that violate the Constitution’s guarantee of fundamental rights. 

Some commentators have criticized the provisions of Articles 245-248. They contend that  the division of regulative powers between the Union and state governments is excessively  intricate, and that it is hard for organizations and people to know which government has the  ability to make regulations on a specific matter. Others contend that the Union Parliament  receives an excessive amount of power as a result of the Union Parliament’s residual power  being too expansive. 

Notwithstanding these reactions, the arrangements of Article 245-248 have been to a great  extent effective in accomplishing their objective of splitting legislative powers between the  Union and state governments. In addition to ensuring that the Indian government is capable  of effectively meeting the requirements of its citizens, the division of powers has  contributed to the prevention of conflict between the two levels of government. 

The Future of the Division of Legislative Power (Article 245-248) 

It is likely that the division of legislative powers will continue to change in the future. Finding  a way to strike a balance between the requirements of the Union government and those of  the state governments will become increasingly important as India becomes more  complicated and diverse. 


The Indian Constitution’s Articles 245-248 are essential for comprehending the division of  legislative authority between the central and state governments. These articles give  Parliament the authority to establish additional courts, residuary power, and territorial  limits of legislative powers and their division into three lists. Therefore Supreme Court  interprets and clarifies legislative powers.

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