Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sarkaria Commission

Sarkaria Commission was set up in June 1983 by the central government of India. The Sarkaria Commission's charter was to examine the relationship and balance of power between state and central governments in the country and suggest changes within the framework of Constitution of India.

The Commission was so named as it was headed by Justice Rajinder Singh Sarkaria, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.The other two members of the committee were Shri B.Sivaraman and Dr.S.R.Sen.

The Commission submitted its final 1600-page report in 1988. The final report contained 247 specific recommendations. In spite of the large size of its reports - the Commission recommended, by and large, status quo in the Centre-State relations, especially in the areas, relating to legislative matters, role of Governors and use of Article 356
It is widely accepted that to whatever extent the Commissions suggested change, the recommendations were not implemented by the government.
The Commission after conducting several studies, eliciting information, holding discussions and after detailed deliberations submitted its report in January 1988.
The report contains 247 recommendations spreading over the following 19 Chapters. (Till December 2007, the Central government has implemented 1 79 (out of 247) recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.)

Chapter 0. Introduction
 Chapter I. Perspective
 Chapter II. Legislative Relations
Chapter III. Administrative Relations
 Chapter IV. Role of the Governor
Chapter V. Reservation of Bills by Governors for President's consideration and Promulgation of Ordinances
Chapter VI. Emergency Provisions
Chapter VII. Deployment of Union Armed Forces in States for Public Order Duties
Chapter VIII. All India Services
Chapter IX. Inter-Governmental Council
Chapter X. Financial Relations
 Chapter XI. Economic and Social Planning
Chapter XII. Industries
Chapter XIII. Mines and Minerals
Chapter XIV. Agriculture
Chapter XV. Forests
Chapter XVI. Food and Civil Supplies
Chapter XVII. Inter-State River Water Disputes
Chapter XVIII. Trade, Commerce and Inter-course within the Territory of India
Chapter XIX. Mass Media
Chapter XX. Miscellaneous Matters
Chapter XXI. General Observations
Chapter XXII. Appendices


·  It made the strong suggestion that Article 370 was not a transitory provision. This appears to have been made specifically in response to "one all-India political party" that demanded the deletion of Article 370 "in the interests of national integration."
·  It recommended that the residuary powers of legislation in regard to taxation matters should remain exclusively in the competence of Parliament while the residuary field other than that of taxation should be placed on the concurrent list.
·  That the enforcement of Union laws, particularly those relating to the concurrent sphere, is secured through the machinery of the states.
·  To ensure uniformity on the basic issues of national policy, with respect to the subject of a proposed legislation, consultations may be carried out with the state governments individually and collectively at the forum of the proposed Inter-Governmental Council. It was not recommended that the consultation be a constitutional obligation.
·  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.
·  On administrative relations, Sarkaria made the following observation: "Federalism is more a functional arrangement for cooperative action, than a static institutional concept. Article 258 (power of the Union to confer powers etc on states in certain cases) provides a tool by the liberal use of which cooperative federalism can be substantially realised in the working of the system. A more generous use of this tool should be made than has hitherto been done, for progressive decentralisation of powers to the governments of the states."
·  On Article 356, it was recommended that it be used "very sparingly, in extreme cases, as a measure of last resort, when all other alternatives fail to prevent or rectify a breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state.

No surprise that the Justice Sarkaria Commission in the late Seventies called Karunanidhi a veteran of 'scientific corruption'.
Till December 2007, the Central government has implemented 1 79 (out of 247) recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.

Sarkaria Commission was set up for reviewing the relations

(1) The Prime Minister and the President

(2) Legislature and Executive

(3) Executive and the Judiciary

(4) Centre and the States

Ans – (4)

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