State, Local and Municipal Law, Types of Legislation: Supreme and Subordinate Legislation

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State Laws

  • The laws made by the State Legislature are known as ‘State Laws’. It has the jurisdiction and applicability over the territory of the State. The State Government has the jurisdiction to legislate up on the matters enumerated in the State List of Schedule VII. This list contains 66 items which concern the interest of the State.

  • Article 254 (1) enumerates the rule that in the event of a conflict between a Union and State Law, the former prevails. The provisions of two Acts should be such that they can stand together or operate in the same field.

  • The expression ‘Existing Law’ refers to laws made before the commencement of the Constitution by any Legislature.

  • In case of overlapping between three lists, regarding a matter, the power is given to the Union Law:

    • Some subjects normally intended to be in the jurisdiction of the States are in the Union.

    • Power to legislate with respect to any matter not included in any three lists is given to the Union.

    • Expansion of powers of Union Legislature under certain circumstances of emergency, failure of constitution etc.

Local Laws

‘Local Laws’ refer to laws applicable to the locality of a territory within a State.

  • The Local Enacted Law has its foundation or power in the local Legislative Authorities. The State Legislature is also empowered to legislate local laws.

  • The Local Customary Laws

Municipal Laws

  • Provisions relating to Local Governments which mean Rural Local Government and Urban Local Government are the Panchayat Law and Municipal Laws.

  • As per 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, the Rural Local Government includes Gram Panchayat at village level, Panchayat Samiti at the Block Level, Zilla Parishad at the District Level.

  • 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 Urban Local Government includes Nagar Panchayat at area level, Municipal Council for a smaller urban area, Municipal Corporation for a larger Urban Area.

  • Democratic decentralization: the idea is to empower the local people. Schedule 11 of Rural government and Schedule 12 of Urban government include them.

Types of Legislation

Supreme Legislation

‘Legislation’ is said to be supreme when it is proceeded from the supreme power of the Parliament and State Legislatures.

Subordinate Legislation

‘Legislation’ is set to be subordinate when it is proceeded from any authority other than supreme authority. It is under powers delegated by supreme authority. This is further divided into five categories:

  • Executive: The branch of the Government that executes the laws or runs the administration.

  • Judicial: The Judicial powers to frame rules for the regulation of their procedures.

  • Municipal: powers delegated to municipal authority for carrying on various activities entrusted to them.

  • Autonomous: The independent Bodies, like Universities are given power by the State to make rules.

  • Colonial: The laws of the countries which are not independent or which are the control of some other State are subject to the supreme legislation of the State who controls them.

  • Autonomous law: Corporations called Public Utility Concerns are invested with the powers of making laws for themselves and in many cases for the public at large. The example is the ‘Articles of Association of a Joint-Stock Company, laws of a Railway Company.

  • Customary Laws: they are a part of local laws. Those rules and principles which have been observed in a particular community in actual practice by society for a long time.

Requisites of Valid Customs

  • Reasonableness

  • Consistency

  • Compulsory Observance

  • Continuity and Immemorial Antiquity

  • Certainty

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