The state rights render secondary the rights of institutions like family, race, society, etc. The state is supreme. It demands complete self submission of the individual. It says, “Forget that you are peasants, workers, businessmen, scientists, wives or mothers and remember only that you are a citizen.
Forget all other’s claims upon you, for none of them compares with mine.” Dictators tried to establish similar states in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
The tyranny hi Italy and Germany and the degradation of Mussolini and Hitler are evidence of the fact that monopolistic authority of state over the individual is incorrect the above quotation is not an appropriate image of the power and activities of the state.
The statement of Cornwall Lewis to the effect that, “The sovereign has the complete disposal of the life, rights and duties of the individual” is completely immoral. To assign such absolute authority to the state is to deal a serious blow to the moral freedom of the individual.
Especially, an effort to control the thoughts and feelings of a person will put an end to his individuality ultimately all social institutions are merely the means to an integral development of mankind and the state is no exception. Thus, Blackstone’s statement, “The sovereign is a supreme, irresistible, uncontrollable authority” strikes at the very root of morality.
Limits of State-rights:
Actually even the legal viewpoints set some limits upon statutory rights, the factors which limit the rights of state are follows:-
(1) Fundamental rights:
The citizens of every state are accorded certain fundamental rights. These fundamental rights are immune to any state attack.
(2) Rights of social organizations:
There are many social organizations in a state which have their own rights and which are essential to social life. Normally, the state does not violate the rights of these social organizations.
(3) Rights due to social traditions, customs and conventions:
Normally, the state does not interfere with the social customs, traditions and conventions and the rights ensuing from them.
(4) Constitution of the state:
The constitution of the state, too, limits the rights of the state. The rights in democracy, dictatorship and various other constitutions are different.
(5) International conditions:
In asserting its authority, the state has to pay due attention to other states and international conditions. Any overlooking of this aspect can even endanger its experience.
Thus when a state uses its rights it keeps in view not only its own citizens and their social institutions but external states as well. In brief, the fundamental rights of citizens, social customs.
Traditions and conventions, rights of social organizations, the nature of the state and international situations limit the rights of the state; otherwise the state is sovereign in its limited area. Thus the rights of the state are not unlimited even from the legal or practical viewpoint.
Functions of State Are Limited:
From the totalitarian union it seems that the state can perform every act but such an idea is false. Actually, from the viewpoint of means, too, the state is incapable of working for all the necessities of individuals.
Thus, the state cannot even be. Recognized the sole means let alone an end According to Maclver and Page, some functions are within the province of the state only, other functions for which the state is comparatively more, suitable, still others which would fare better if left alone by the state is incapable of implementing.
Having understood these four distinct kinds of functions, it will become obvious that the state cannot be treated as the sovereign over the individual. The following are the functions of the state:
1. Functions peculiar to the state:
There is a general difference of opinion in respect of this class of functions but generally only the state can organize justice, peace, education and order, determine the scales of measurements and arrange for currency etc. No other institution can perform these functions.
2. Functions for which the state is well adapted:
There are many functions which the state can carry out more efficiently than other institutions. Such functions include protection of forests, looking after the foodstuffs, protecting animals, arranging for education, constructing recreation grounds, installing public conveniences, etc.
In the state, natural resources can be exploited by other organizations too but in order to maintain a standard of efficiency and authority is required which only the state is capable of supplying.
Similarly the state can conduct plans of social welfare and security better than other institutions, which will have to make larger pecuniary sacrifice and would yet not achieve the same standard as would the state at less monetary expense to itself.
3. Functions for which the state is ill-adapted:
There are many cultural, religious and class addicted activities for welfare which the state is ill adapted to. These functions can be done better by other organizations.
4. Functions which the state is incapable of performing:
There- are many functions which cannot endure state control at all. For example, the state cannot control public opinion, formulate laws for the conduct of individuals or change and transform social customs, traditions and conventions.
Public opinion is formed due to many social and other causes; people’s conduct depends upon their individual characters while social customs, traditions and conventions are perpetually involved in a process of autonomous alterations.
The foregoing description of the functions of a state has made it obvious that the state cannot perform all functions. The state cannot be treated as the sovereign authority.
An individual is the member of a family and society before he is the citizen of a state. And before he is a member of society he is a human being, a self conscious being. In this way, the duties and responsibilities which he acquires by virtue of being a human being, a member of society and family, are outside the province of the state which cannot interfere with them on this account.
Actually when compared to the rights of the individual the rights of the state are ulterior. The state has been assigned its rights for their development, though it will have full authority to dissuade any individual from hindering the development of another fellow- being.