The clear distribution of Legislative powers are mentioned in article 246 of the Constitution which reads as under-
“Subject-matter of laws made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of the state.”
1. Notwithstanding anything in clauses (2) and (3) the Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any or all matters enumerated in list I in the seventh schedule in this construction referred to as the ‘Union List’ –
2. Subject to clause (1) the Legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in list III in the seventh schedule (in list Constitution referred to as ‘Concurrent List’.
3. Subject to clauses (1) and (2) the Legislatures of any State has exclusive powers to make laws for such State or any part with respect to any of the matters enumerated in list II in the seventh schedule (in this Constitution referred as the ‘State List’)
4. Parliament has powers to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included in a list notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in State List.
Thus there are three lists in the seventh schedule. Union List contains 98 subjects for which union Parliament is to legislate. The important subjects of defence, bank, currency, foreign affairs, coinage etc. are included in this list.
As present the State List (List II) contained 62 items only. Previously there were 66 items in this list, but 4 items have now been excluded and there are 62 items only which include public order, the health and sanitation, police, forest, local self Govt, salt, the education and fisheries etc.
The list III is the concurrent list. It consists at present of 52 items after addition of 5 items to previous list of 47 items. This list includes Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, marriage, contracts, torts, trusts, labour, economics and social planning etc.
Another important point is that the Union Parliament exercises exclusive powers to legislate in respect to those items which are not included in the Concurrent list. State list or union list as provided in Article 248 of the Constitution.
The Parliament shall have power to legislate for State or States in the national interest.
When the questions regarding implementing treaties, international agreements and other diplomatic matters and the like arise, it will be competent for the Parliament to use their legislative powers and to enact suitable laws for the said purpose.
During emergency the Parliament shall have powers to enact Acts in respect of whole of the country, or any part of the territory as provided in article 250.
It is thus clear that our Constitution is on the same lines as the Constitution of Canada.
So far as the legislative powers are concerned we have double enumeration i.e. Federal and Provincial, leaving the residual powers for the Centre making the Centre strong.
Thus our Constitution differs from the American Constitution which only provides for powers of the Central Governments leaving States to have their own powers for legislation.