Article 263 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of an Inter-State Council. This article deals with ‘Co-ordination between States and Union’.It enforces Relations between the Union and the States. The Inter-State Council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the States of the Union. It can be established ‘at any time’ if it appears to the President that the public interests would be served by the establishment of such a Council.
The article reads as follows-
Provisions with respect to an inter-State Council – If at any time it appears to the President that the public interest would be served by the establishment of a Council charged with the duty of –
a) inquiring into and advising upon disputes which may have arisen between States;
b) investigating and discussing subjects in which some or all of the States, or the Union and one or more of the States, have a common interest; or
c) making recommendations upon any such subject and in particular, recommendations for the better co-ordination of policy and action with respect to that subject, it shall be lawful for the President by order to establish such a Council, and to define the nature of the duties to be performed by it and its organization and procedure.”
It was adopted in the Constituent Assembly on 13 June 1949.
The idea of council came from Section 135 of the Govt. of India Act, 1935 provided for establishment of Inter-Provincial Council for different matters such as Agriculture, Forestry, Irrigation, Education and Public Health.
The provision of article 263 of the Constitution was invoked for the first time on 9 August 1952 when President by a notification established the Central Council of Health under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Health and Family Planning ‘to consider and recommend broad lines of policy in regard to matters concerning health in all aspects’.
The Council shall consist of:-
a) Prime Minister – Chairman
b) Chief Ministers of all States -Member
c) Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly – Member
d) Six Union Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers nominated by the Prime Minister – Member
The Council is a re commendatory body with the following duties: –
a) Investigating and discussing such subjects, in which some or all of the States or the Union and one or more of the States have a common interest, as may be brought up before it;
b) Making recommendations upon any such subject and in particular recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject; and
c) Deliberating upon such other matters of general interest to the States as may be referred by the Chairman to the Council.
By now 10 councils have been set up.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with union ministers Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj among others, on 16 July, 2016 chaired the 11th meeting of Inter-State council in Delhi.