What do you mean by State ? Explain its essentials.


Q. 19(a). What do you mean by State ? Explain its essentials. 

Ans. Definition of State—The term ‘State’ is derived from the Latin term ‘status’, which means `standing’; i.e., position of a person or a body of persons. It is difficult to give a precise definition of State because different political thinkers and jurists have defined it in different ways. Some of the generally accepted definitions of the State as given by emi-nent jurists are as follows —

I. According to Woodrow Wilson, “State” as a people organised for law within a definite territory.”

2. According to Holland, “A State is a numerous assemblage of human beings, generally occupying a certain territory amongst whom the will of the majority or of an ascertainable class of persons is, by the strength of such majority or class made to prevail against any of their member who oppose it.”

3. According to Salmond, “State is an association of human beings established for the attainment of certain ends by certain means.” The State is a society of men established for the maintenance of peace and justice within a definite territory by way of force. It, therefore, follows at the central authority of political society which is called State must be powerful enough to command obedience of its subjects and must be able to withstand external aggression.

4. According to Brierly, “A State is an institution, that is to say, it is a system of relations which men establish among themselves as a meansof securing certain objects, of which the most fundamental is a system of order within which their activities can be carried on.” 

5. According to Prof. Goodhart, “The purpose of society which we call a State is to maintain peace and order within a demarcated society. The minimum and essential purpose of the State is, therefore, to make life possible.” 

6. According to R.G. Gettell, “State is a community of persons permanently occupying a definite territory, legally independent of exter-nal control, and possessing an organised government which creates and administers law over all persons and groups within its jurisdiction. Ab-stractly considered, the State is juridical entity of persons, concretely considered, is the community the territory it occupies and the governmen-tal organisation through which it wills and acts.”

7. According to Oppenheim, “A State proper is in existence when a people is settled in a country under its own sovereign government.”

8. According to Garner, “State as a community or persons, more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite portion of territory, independent or nearly so of external control, and possessing an organised government to which the great body of inhabitants render habitual obedi-ence.” 

It appears from the perusal of the above definition of the state that it is an association of human beings, whose members are considerably united with the appearance of permanence, for political ends, for the achievement of governmental institutions. It is an association exclusively meant for political ends. Thus, there must be —1. people, 2. territory, 3. government, and 4. sovereign for the existence of a State.”

It may, however, be noted that the Duguit’s conception of State is entirely different from that of Holland, Gra.), and Salmond. According to him, State is a body of men residing upon a determined territory, of which the stronger impose their will on the weaker, which power is called sover-eignty. However, Duguit’s definition has not been accepted by most of the writers because there is no such thing as the imposition of will by the stronger on the weaker in case of a State.

It must, however, be stated that the modern concept of State radically changed as the State now exists for the welfare of its subjects and therefore, pursues endless welfare activities other than mere administra-tion of justice and maintenance of law and order or thwart external aggres-sion.

Essentials of a State – There are following essentials of a state —

1. Population —It is to be noted that the population implies a large majority of people living together as a community. There can be no state without a populace (people). People means “an aggregate of individuals of both sexes who live together as a community of the fact that they may belong to different races or creeds or be of different colours.” No fixed number of persons is required to constitute a State.

2. Territory—A territory in popular sense means an area under the control of a ruler or State : the whole, or a portion, of the land belonging to a State. Territory may be small or large, it makes no difference. A nomadic tribe cannot be designated as a state unless they settle down in a definite territory.

3. Government-A Govt, may be called as the body of persons authorised to administer laws, or to govern a state : the group of people who govern a state. The governing body of the country may consist of the executive and the Legislature or the executive only. Indian democratic form of Government has three wings — executive, legislature and judi-ciary. The form of the Government depends largely on the nature of the State which in turn depends largely upon the political policies of a particular State. An organised Government is necessary prerequisite of a State, the Government should be such as to which the population renders ha-bitual obedience.

4. Sovereignty—Sovereignty signifies exclusive power of dispo-sition and control which each state has over its territory and freedom from control external or internal. Generally, sovereignty means the supreme power or authority, over which there is no control. In other words, sover-eignty has an attributes of freedom.

5. Capacity to Enter into Relations with Other States —According to Art- I of the Montevideo Convention of 1933, one of the essential qualifications of a State is —”capacity to enter into relations with other states”. So far international law is concerned this attribute of State is absolutely essential. A State must have recognised capacity to maintain external relations. This distinguishes States proper from lesser units such as federating units or protectorates, which do not manage their own for-eign affairs and are not recognised by other States as fully fledged mem-bers of ‘he international Community.