The listing of 'Public Order' in the state list under seventh schedule of the constitution denies the parliament / central government any legislative / policy-making role in matters relating to Public Order. Since many public order situations are now having national security ramifications, there is a view that "public order" should be brought under concurrent list. Do you concur with this view? Discuss while analyzing the possible implications of such move on federal structure and stating if this can be done without diluting the federal nature of our polity.

Yes, I concur with this view and I consider that there is a need for inclusion of Public Order in Concurrent list because of significance of public order for national security, economic development and legitimacy of the state. By including public order in concurrent list, the central government can play a more proactive role in curbing the violation of public order at a nascent stage. Further, there has been a recent surge in crimes that are inter-state in nature and tackling these crimes at present is very difficult. The rise of new technologies such as internet, communication and mobile technologies demand that the organized crimes and terrorism should be tackled through a unified legal, administrative and operational framework for the police forces across the nation.
Such a change also flows from the mandate of Article 355 which says that Union government has the responsibility of protecting States from “external aggression” and “internal disturbance”.
However, making this change will change the federal structure to a great extent and may violate the principle of subsidiary also. The state governments would protest and any such change is bound to be challenged in court for its being violative of basic structure.
In my view, it’s not possible to include Police and Public Order in concurrent list without altering the status quo and diluting / changing some features of federal structure. The current system has its own advantages because of too much diversity in India. The crimes of local nature must be addressed by local police but some kind of arrangement should be made for tackling crimes that are inter-state in nature and that are done using modern technologies.

Question for UPSC Mains:
The listing of ‘Public Order’ in the state list under seventh schedule of the constitution denies the parliament / central government any legislative / policy-making role in matters relating to Public Order. Since many public order situations are now having national security ramifications, there is a view that "public order" should be brought under concurrent list. Do you concur with this view? Discuss while analyzing the possible implications of such move on federal structure and stating if this can be done without diluting the federal nature of our polity.

Published: November 21, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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