Rajamannar committee related to a commission set up by the Tamil Nadu government to study the state autonomy and centre-state relations by the DMK government under its Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
The Tamil Nadu government established the Rajamannar committee to analyze and provide recommendations for restructuring the centre-state relations in our constitution.
The committee consisted of the retired Chief Justice of Madras High Court Justice.
P.V.Rajamannar, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Madras, Dr. A.Lakshmanaswamy, and a former Chief Justice of Andhra, Dr.P. Chandra Reddy. It submitted its report to the government in 1971 marking a great milestone in the history of autonomy debate in the country.
Rajamannar Committee recommendations
The major suggestions of the Rajamannar committee report include:
- Article 263 of the constitution should be implemented and the Interstate commission should be formed to promote cooperation among central and state governments.
Provisions with respect to an inter-state CouncilArticle 263
- The proposed council must consist of the Chief Ministers of the states or their nominees as members and the Prime Minister as the Chairperson.
- It should be endowed with far-reaching powers and all the major bills of the Parliament and decisions of the union government that affect the interest of one or more states must be placed and discussed in the council and its opinion should be considered in the decision-making process.
- The committee’s made consultation with the Inter-State council is mandatory in all matters barring those related to the two subjects, namely defense and foreign affairs.
- The committee argued that the present scheme of centre-state relations in the constitution favors center’s supremacy and erodes state autonomy and therefore recommended the elimination of Articles 256,257,399 (2) for the constitution.
Obligation of States and the Union – 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 256
Control of the Union over States in certain cases – (1) 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 the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
(2) The executive power of the Union shall also extend to the giving of directions to a State as to the construction and maintenance of means of communication declared in the direction to be of national or military importance:
Provided that nothing in this clause shall be taken as restricting the power of Parliament to declare highways or waterways to be national highways or national waterways or the power of the Union with respect to the highways or waterways so declared or the power of the Union to construct and maintain means of communication as part of its functions with respect to naval, military and air force works.
(3) The executive power of the Union shall also extend to the giving of directions to a State as to the measures to be taken for the protection of the railways within the State.
(4) Where in carrying out any direction given to a State under clause (2) as to the construction or maintenance of any means of communication or under clause (3) as to the measures to be taken for the protection of any railway, costs have been incurred in excess of those which would have been incurred in the discharge of the normal duties of the State if such direction had not been given, there shall be paid by the Government of India to the State such sum as may be agreed, or, in default of agreement, as may be determined by an arbitrator appointed by the Chief Justice of India, in respect of the extra costs so incurred by the State.Article 257
- The committee was against specifically these articles as they enable the centre to issue instructions to the state governments.
- It favored the shifting of the residuary powers of legislation and taxation from the union government to the state governments to empower the states.
- Article 356 in Part XVIII of the constitution should be diligently used by the union government only as a measure of last resort in the event of a complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state and not in a mere law and order break down the situation.
- The committee wanted to introduce far-reaching changes in All India Services.
- It opined that there should be only two kinds of services, central services devoted to the needs of Union administration and state services looking after the state administration.
- It suggested the abolition of All India Services including the elite Indian Administrative Service as they are against the spirit of federalism and state autonomy.
- It highlighted the concerns of the state governments ruled by opposition parties of the ruling party at the centre about the All India Services acting as agents of the Union Government.
- In the domain of financial resources, the committee recommended greater devolution of powers and resources to the states.
- For the purpose of expanding the financial capacity of the states, it suggested changes in certain taxes like corporation tax, customs, and export taxes.
- The committee recognized the finances as the fulcrum of state rights and balanced federalism and therefore recommended the transfer of many items from Union List and Concurrent List to state list in the 7th schedule of the constitution.
- It argued for making the Finance Commission a permanent, impartial body devoted to the priorities of national unity, development, and state rights and identities.