Water in Indian Constitution – The Union Ministry of Water Resources has for long been arguing for a shift of water to the Concurrent List without any serious expectation of its happening, but has now begun to pursue the idea more actively. The Ashok Chawla committee, which was primarily concerned with the question of rationalising the allocation of natural resources with a view to reducing the scope for corruption, was reported by the media to have recommended inter alia the shifting of water to the Concurrent List.
Water in Indian Constitution
India is union of States. The constitutional provisions in respect of allocation of responsibilities between the State and Centre fall into three categories: The Union List (List-1), the State List (List-II) and the Concurrent List (List-III). Article 246 of the Constitution deals with the subject matter of laws to be made by the Parliament and by Legislature of the States. As most of the rivers in the country are inter State, the regulation and development of waters of these rivers is a source of inter-State differences and disputes. In the Constitution, water is a matter included in Entry 17 of List-ll i.e. State List. This entry is subject to the provision of Entry 56 of List-1 i.e. Union List.
Article 246 – Water in Indian Constitution
- Notwithstanding anything in clauses (2) and (3), Parliament has exclusive power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List I in the seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the “Union List”).
- Notwithstanding anything in clause (3), Parliament, and, subject to clause (1), the legislature of any State also, have power to make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List III in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the “Concurrent List”).
- Subject to clauses (1) and (2), the Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the “State List”).
- Parliament has power to make laws with respect to any matter for any part of the territory of India not included in a State notwithstanding that such matter is a matter enumerated in the State List.
Article 262 – Water in Indian Constitution
Water in Indian Constitution – In case of disputes relating to waters, Article 262 provides:
- Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
- Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in Clause (1).
Entry 56 of List I of the Seventh Schedule
Entry 56 of List I of the Seventh Schedule provides that “Regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest”. https://sarkarifocus.com/
Entry 17 under List II of Seventh Schedule
Entry 17 under List II of Seventh Schedule provides that “Water, that is to say, water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and water power subject to the provisions of Entry 56 of List I”.
As such, the Central Government is conferred with powers to regulate and develop inter-State rivers under Entry 56 of List I of Seventh Schedule to the extent declared by the Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest.
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It also has the power to make laws for the adjudication of any dispute relating to waters of Inter State River or river valley under Article 262 of the Constitution.