State

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According to the American Law Institute, a State under International Law is an entity which has

  • a defined territory
  • a permanent population
  • is under the control of a Government
  • engages in, or has the capacity to engage in, formal relations with other entities

Essential features of a State

There are four essential elements of a State:

  • Territory
  • Population
  • Government
  • Sovereignty

Defined Territory

Every State should have a defined and definite territory enjoying its complete sovereign control. There is no prescribed minimum size.

Examples: Russia, China, India, Canada are vast in terms of size. Vatican City, Monaco, Macao, Tuvalu are tiny in terms of size.

Permanent Population

A State is an aggregate of individuals who forms its permanent population. Every Citizen is generally given a right to vote in the General Assembly.

Examples: China and India are hugely populated. Narua, Tuvalu, Montserrat are thinly populated.

Control of Government

Every State should be functioning under one Government which has complete independent control over legislative and administrative affairs of the State. The Government should be sovereign and should not depend on other foreign governments or foreign military for its functioning. Non-dependence is an important feature for a State as stressed in the International Committee of Jurists in 1920.

Capacity to enter into international relationships

Every State should have the capacity to enter into international relationships. It should have political independence in order to do so.

Functions of a State

Salmod said that the functions of a State are War and Administration of Justice. According to him, War symbolizes independence of state from outside control while administration of justice and maintenance of legal order is exercise force within the society to deal with the violation of law.

From the Constitution

Article 12 of Constitution of India: Definition of State

Other Usages

In Administrative Law, the term 'Administration' is synonymously used with 'State' or 'Government'.

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