Explain the distribution of powers between the Union and the States in India.
The Constitution of India contains a three-fold distribution of powers between the Union and State Governments. There are three lists enumerating the legislative powers of the Union and the State Governments, and the residual powers are vested in the Union. Three lists are:
Union List: List I or the Union List consists of the subjects over which the Union Government has exclusive powers. These subjects include defense, atomic energy, science and technology, and foreign affairs, etc.
State List: List II or the State List has 61 items over which the States have exclusive jurisdiction. The subjects included in this category are Law and Order, Police, Agriculture, Fisheries, Forests, Public Health, etc. These are subjects of maximum concern to the people. Only under certain circumstances the Union Parliament can legislate on these subjects, those certain qualifying circumstances are defined in the Constitution.
Concurrent List: List III or the Concurrent List comprises 47 items over which both the Union Parliament and the State Legislatures have concurrent jurisdiction. Some of the important subjects included in the list aMarriage, Trusts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Civil Procedure, Insurance, etc.
With some exceptions, the executive power in respect of Concurrent List vests in the State Governments. However, in case of any repugnance between the Union and the State law relating to the same subject, the Union law prevails. Similarly, in case of overlapping of a subject between the three lists, the Union one prevails.