The Second commission on Centre-State Relations was set-up by the Government of India in April 2007 under the Chairmanship of Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of India.It was required to look into the issues of Centre-State relations keeping in view the sea-changes that have taken place in the polity and economy of India since the Sarkaria Commission had last looked at the issue of Centre-State relations over two decades ago.
In all, the Commission made over 310 recommendations, touching upon several significant areas in the working of Centre-state relations. The important recommendations are mentioned below:
- To facilitate effective implementation of the laws on List III subjects, it is necessary that some broad agreement is reached between the Union and states before introducing legislation in Parliament on matters in the Concurrent List.
- The Union should be extremely restrained in asserting Parliamentary supremacy in matters assigned to the states. Greater flexibility to states in relation to subjects in the State List and “transferred items” in the Concurrent List is the key for better Centre-state relations.
- The Union should occupy only that many of subjects in concurrent or overlapping jurisdiction which are absolutely necessary to achieve uniformity of policy in demonstrable national interest.
- There should be a continuing auditing role for the Inter-state Council in the management of matters in concurrent or overlapping jurisdiction.
- The period of six months prescribed in Article 201 for State Legislature to act when the bill is returned by the President can be made applicable for the President also to decide on assenting or withholding assent to a state bill reserved for consideration of the President.
- Parliament should make a law on the subject of Entry 14 of List I (treaty making and implementing it through Parliamentary legislation) to streamline the procedures involved. The exercise of the power obviously cannot be absolute or unchartered in view of the federal structure of legislative and executive powers.
- Financial obligations and its implications on state finances arising out of treaties and agreements should be a permanent term of reference to the Finance Commissions constituted from time to time.