Sovereignty is one of the essential features of the state. It is this feature which differentiates the state from other human associations and organizations. Bodin defines it as “the supreme power of the state over citizens and subjects unrestrained by law.

” Grotius defines it as “the’ supreme political power vested in him whose acts are not subject to any] other and whose will cannot be over-ridden.

” Burgess defines it as ‘original, absolute, unlimited power over the individual subjects and over all other associations of subjects. It is the underused and independent power to command and compel obedience.

” Woodrow Wilson identifies) sovereignty with ‘the daily operative power of framing and giving’ efficacy to the laws’. Willoughby defines sovereignty as “the supreme will of the state’.


Sovereignty has two aspects—internal and external. Internally,, sovereignty is supreme over all citizens, aliens, associations and organizations. Its law is final and binding. All have to obey it. If it is disobeyed,! it is followed by physical penalties.

Legally, the sovereign is not subject to any restrictions except those provided in the constitution itself. Within its constitutional authority, there is no higher power to restrain the sovereign.

Externally, sovereign is free and independent, equal to other sovereigns. A state is master of its destiny and decides about peace and war. It sends and receives diplomatic agents, enters in contracts, treaties and participates in international conferences on an equal footing with other states irrespective of its size, population or power.