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Inter State Council, History, Objective, Functions & Challenges

Inter State Council

The Inter State Council is a consultative body with the authority to examine and discuss issues of mutual interest between the Union and State(s) or between States. In order to preserve coordination between the state and centre levels, this mechanism establishes norms for debate forums and other types of discussions. Article 263 of Part XI of the Indian Constitution, which was created in 1990, established the Inter State Council. An Inter State Council may be established by the President.

The Inter-State Council are covered under the Indian Polity and Governance section of the UPSC Syllabus. Students can also go for UPSC Mock Test to get more accuracy in their preparations.

Inter State Council Background

In order to assess how the current agreements between the Union and the States were operating, the government established a commission in 1988, which was presided over by Justice R.S. Sarkaria. Creating a permanent Inter-State Council as an impartial national platform for deliberation with a clearly defined mandate in conformity with Article 263 of the Indian Constitution was one of the key recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission.

The inter-state council is a consultative body with the authority to look into and have discussions about issues of mutual interest between the Union and a state or states. Additionally, it conducts discussions on issues of broad concern to the states that may be brought to it by its chairman and provides suggestions for better policy and active cooperation on these topics. Additionally, it considers any additional issues of general concern to the states that the chairman may bring to the council. At least three times a year, the Council may convene. Moreover, the Council has a Standing Committee.

Inter State Council Constitutional Provisions

According to Article 263 of the Constitution, the President may create the Inter-State Council, a constitutional body made up of Members of States. Despite Article 131’s restriction on the Supreme Court’s power, the judiciary can settle interstate disputes. One sort of such dispute may be decided by extrajudicial tribunals in accordance with Article 262. Similar to how Article 263 of the Indian Constitution outlines the administrative body’s inquiry and recommendations for resolving interstate issues.

Inter State Council and Article 263

On May 28, 1990, the President issued an executive order creating the Inter State Council (ISC) in accordance with Article 263 of the Indian Constitution. According to Article 263, a council should be formed “if it seems to the President at any time that the creation of a Council would serve the public interests.” This was in response to the advice of the Sarkaria Commission.

The provision contained in the study and recommendations on potential or impending disputes between states. Help all the states or maybe some of the—discuss and investigate various issues. Making suggestions on diverse subjects ensures the synchronization of all policies, and every action taken in response to a recommendation needs to be approved by a presidential order. A council that could address the aforementioned recommendations is formed with the president’s assistance. It also outlines the duties that the council and their organization must carry out in accordance with the right procedure.

Inter State Council Composition

  • The Prime Minister serves as the Council’s chair.
  • The chief ministers of all states
  • All union territory chief ministers with Legislative Assemblies
  • Governors of states governed by the President; administrators of union territories without legislative authority
  • Six members of the central cabinet, including the minister of the home, are to be proposed by the prime minister.
  • The Prime Minister, who serves as the Council’s chairman, has the authority to propose five ministers of cabinet rank or ministers of state (independent charge) to the Council as permanent invitees.

Inter State Council Functions

According to the President, the Inter State Council’s duties under Article 263 include looking into and providing advice on potential interstate disputes. Offering recommendations on any topic, especially for greater coordination of their policy and action on it, and debating topics in which the states or the Centre and the states have mutual interests.

The executive function of the Interstate Council is not mentioned in the Constitution. Although the Inter State Council, unlike a court, can address both legally and morally controversial problems, its duty is advising rather than binding. The Zone Council may discuss and offer recommendations on any issue of shared interest in the fields of economic and social planning, as well as any issue involving or resulting from the Act’s reorganization of States, border disputes, linguistic minorities, or interstate transportation.

Inter State Council Bodies

The Inter State Council is made up of three bodies:

The Zonal Council

It is a governmental organization that reports to the Inter-State Council. The State Reorganization Act of 1956 established five Zonal Councils to foster the habit of teamwork.

Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Chandigarh are all members of the Northern Zonal Council. The states of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha are members of the Eastern Zonal Council. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu are all members of the Western Zonal Council. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry make up the Southern Zonal Council. Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Sikkim make up the North-Eastern Zonal Council.

Inter-State Trade and Commerce Council

Trade, commerce, and intercourse relations within Indian Territory are covered under Articles 301 through 307. The Constitution’s Part XIII covers it in detail.

Inter-State Water Disputes

According to Article 262, Parliament will consider whether a dispute regarding the use or management of water in an interstate river or interstate river valley falls under its purview. The River Board Act and the Inter-State Water Dispute Act were passed by Parliament in 1956. The Inter-State Water Dispute Act gives the Center the authority to create an Ad Hoc Tribunal, and any recommendations made by the tribunal are legally binding and conclusive. The Ad Hoc Tribunals for Inter-State Water Disputes are:

  • Krishna Tribunal
  • Kaveri Tribunal
  • Narmada Tribunal
  • Godavari Tribunal

Inter State Council Challenges

The Inter-State Council serves as a vehicle for collaboration, coordination, and the advancement of governmental initiatives. However, it does encounter difficulties at work. Although the Constitution established an Inter-State Council, it serves only as a recommendation body on matters that all states, some states, or the federal government have a shared interest in. Like in the case of the courts, their advice is not legally enforceable.

The fact that the Inter State Council is not a permanent constitutional organization for coordinating between the federal government and the state governments has also drawn criticism. Instead, the President created the Inter State Council when it seemed to him that doing so would be in the best interests of the general public. The Inter State Council has also suggested that they hold three sessions a year, but there was a ten-year break between their meetings from 2006 to 2016, and the eleventh meeting was conducted in 2016.

Inter-State Council UPSC

The Polity Syllabus for the IAS Exam includes an important section on the Inter State Council. The Inter-State Council must first establish a regular meeting schedule if it is to become the primary organization for managing inter-state conflicts. The Indian union now has an institutional void that has to be rectified before interstate tensions spiral out of hand. Additionally, the council needs a permanent secretariat to make sure that its regular meetings are more productive. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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Inter State Council FAQs

Who is the Chairman of the Inter State Council?

The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Interstate Council. Narendra Modi is the head of the Inter State Council.

What is the important role of the Inter State Council?

Inter State Council is a recommendatory body the main role of the Council is to minimize the contention between Centre and State/States or between States.

What is the important function of the Inter-State Council?

Inter-State Council is a recommendatory body with duties to investigate and discuss the subjects of common interest between the Union and States.

What is the important role of the Inter State Council?

Inter State Council is a recommendatory body the main role of the Council is to minimize the contention between Centre and State/States or between States.

Which of the following has the authority to form the Inter-State Council?

The President of India has the authority to form the Inter-State Council.

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