The Constitution has set up a federal form of government. It has defined the powers of the Centre and the States very clearly. There are three lists in which the governments can make laws: 1. Union list, 2. State list and 3. Concurrent list.
There are about 97 subjects in the union list. These are subjects of national importance and so the Union alone has the right to make laws on them. The important ones are Defense, Railways,Finance, Foreign Affairs, Post and Telegraph, Coinage, Currency, Shipping, Airways, International relations, Preservations of ancient historical monuments, National Highways, Reserve Bank of India, etc.
There are 66 subjects in the state list. They include, among others Police, Prisons, Agriculture, Health, Irrigation, Sanitation, Forests, Law Courts, etc.
Besides the union and the state list, there are some subjects on which both the union and the state government can make laws. They are about 47 in number. The important subjects are:
Education, Marriages, Divorce, Joint family, Civil and Criminal Procedures, Labour welfare, Factories, Newspaper, Religious, endowments, etc.
In case of a dispute over any subject, it is the will of the union government that prevails. This is essential in order to maintain the unity of the country.