The Constitution provides a scheme for demarcation of powers through three ‘lists’ in the seventh schedule. The aim of the concurrent list was to ensure uniformity across the country where independently both centre and state can legislate.
However, there is increasing centralization of power vis a vis Concurrent list which is axiomatic-
- Since 1950, the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution has seen a number of amendments.
- The Union List and Concurrent List have grown while subjects under the State List have gradually reduced.
- The 42nd Amendment Act, restructured the Seventh Schedule ensuring that State List subjects like education, forest, protection of wild animals and birds, administration of justice, and weights and measurements were transferred to the Concurrent List.
- The PV Rajamannar Committee also spurred other states to voice their opposition to this new power relation born due to the 42nd amendment act and Centre’s encroachment on subjects that were historically under the state list. Parliament on concurrent list items i.e. in case of conflict; a central law will override state law.
Issues with concurrent list:
- It snatch away the autonomy of state if the law was enacted on Concurrent list.
- Some laws leave little flexibility for states to sync the laws according to their needs for achieving uniformity. A higher degree of detail in law ensures uniformity across the country and provides the same level of protection and rights, however, it reduces the flexibility for states to tailor the law for their different local conditions.
To conclude, The residuary powers of taxation should continue to remain with the Parliament, while the other residuary powers should be placed in the Concurrent List. The Centre should consult the states before making a law on a subject of the Concurrent List.
Ordinarily, the Union should occupy only that much field of a concurrent subject on which uniformity of policy and action is essential in the larger interest of the nation, leaving the rest and details for state action.