fifty years ago January 13, 1970 Archives

From the Archives (January 13, 1970): Divided sovereignty


Though there has so far been no strong feeling in favour of secession or independence, there is a school of thought airing views on divided sovereignty. The classical theory of undivided sovereignty has been discarded by political thinkers in the context of an expanding technological age, shrinking distances, and giving rise even in the international field to power clusters in place of sovereign States. The concept of divided sovereignty as applied to Centre-State relations in India would involve acceptance of complete division of powers between the Centre and the States, the Centre being sovereign within its sphere, and the States enjoying unfettered authority within their own sphere. There will then be no question of higher authority and lower authority. The State and the Union are to be on a basis of equality in their respective mutually exclusive spheres. The late Mr. Annadurai was a powerful exponent of this view. The most important impediment to the realisation of this concept is of course finance. Taxation powers have developed all over the world in such a way that the Union has the larger resources; and any scheme for division of pooled revenue cannot avoid dependence on the goodwill of the Central power.

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