Articles 256 to 263 in Part XI of the Constitution deal with the administrative relations between the Centre and the states. In addition, there are various other articles pertaining to the same matter.
The administrative jurisdiction of the Union and the State Governments extends to the subjects in the Union list and State list respectively. The Constitution thus defines the clauses that deal with the administrative relations between Centre and States.
Article 256 lays down that the executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
Article 257 of the Constitution provides that the executive power of every state shall be so exercised as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to giving of such directions to a state as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose. In short, the Union Government can issue directions to the state Government even with regard to the subjects enumerated in the state list.
The Union Government can give directions to the state with regard to construction and maintenance of the means of communication declared to be of national or military importance.
Union can issue State Governments necessary directions regarding the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the jurisdiction of the State. It may be noted that the expenses incurred by the State Governments for the discharge of these functions have to be reimbursed by the Union Government.
Union can direct the State Governments to ensure execution of schemes essential for the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the States.
Union can direct the State Governments to secure the provision of adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.
Union can direct the State Governments to ensure the development of the Hindi language.
Union can direct the State Governments to ensure that the government of a State is carried on in accordance with the provision of the Constitution. If any State failed to comply with any directions given by the Union in exercise of its executive power, then President may hold that, a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Thus he may proclaim President's Rule in that State.
The President of India can entrust to the officers of the State certain functions of the Union Government. However, before doing so the President has to take the consent of the State Government. But the Parliament can enact law authorizing the Central Government to delegate its function to the State Governments or its officers irrespective of the consent of such State Government. On the other hand, a State may confer administrative functions upon the Union, with the consent of the Union only.
Union has major say in appointment and removal of Governor and appointment of Judges of High Court and Members of State Public Service Commission.
The presence of the All India Services - the Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services - further accords a predominant position to the Union Government. The members of these services are recruited and appointed by the Union Public Service Commission. The members of these services are posted on key posts in the states, but remain loyal to the Union Government.
The Parliament has been vested with power to adjudicate 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. In this regard, the Parliament also reserves the right to exclude such disputes from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or other Courts.
The State Governments cannot ignore the directions of the Union Government, otherwise the President can take the action against the Government of the State stating that the administration cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and thus can impose President's rule on the State. In such an eventuality the President shall assume to himself all or any of the functions of the State Government.
During a Proclamation of National Emergency, the power of the Union to give directions extends to the giving of directions as to the manner in with the executive power of the State is to be exercised relating to any matter.
During a Proclamation of Financial Emergency, Union can direct the State Governments to observe certain canons of financial propriety and to reduce the salaries and allowances of all or any class of person serving in connection with the affairs of the Union including the Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. Union also requires all Money Bills or Financial Bills to be reserved for the consideration of the President after they are passed by the Legislature of the State.
It is thus, evident that in the administrative sphere the States cannot act in complete isolation and have to work under the directions and in cooperation with the Center.