Kinds of Sovereignty

Sovereignty can be classified into different kinds. This classification is based on the location of sovereignty.

Titular Sovereignty: By titular sovereignty we mean sovereignty by the title only. It refers to the sovereign powers of the king or monarch who has ceased to exercise any real authority. In theory he may still posses all the powers but in practice some other person or body of persons enjoys sovereign power. Titular sovereign is only a symbol of authority, a legacy of past. Britain presents a good example of titular sovereign. The king is the titular head and he does not enjoy any real powers. Actual powers are enjoyed by council of ministers and parliament. In India president is a titular sovereign and the cabinet is a real sovereign.

De Facto and De Jure Sovereignty: De facto sovereignty indicates to a sovereign who without legal support or constitutional support enjoys sovereign power. De jure sovereign is recognized by law or the constitution, but not in position to practice its power. In case of revolutions, that is a successful overthrow of Theory of Sovereignty, by the existing regime in a state tree may be de facto and de jure sovereigns. For example when Mussolini came to power in Italy in 1922, de facto sovereignty passed into his hands although Victor Emmanual was the de jure sovereign. The military dictatorship of the present world, established after a coup d’etate also represents de facto sovereignty until it evolves suitable means to legitimize its authority. Usually de facto and de jure sovereign stay together for a very short period and the de facto sovereign tries to become De Jure sovereign. The de facto and de jure sovereigns should ultimately coincide; otherwise there is danger of conflict between them. New laws are made in order to give him definite status to the de facto sovereign to give it legal support.

Legal and Political Sovereignty: Distinction is some times drawn between legal and political sovereignty. The sovereign is supposed to be absolute and omnipotent. It functions according to its own will. Law is simply the will of sovereign. There is none to question its validity. Legal sovereign grants rights to its citizens and there can be no rights against him. It means rights of citizens depend on the will of legal sovereign and any time he can take away. Legal sovereign has following characteristics- . The legal sovereignty is always definite and determinate. . Legal sovereignty may reside either in one person or in a body of persons. . It is definitely organized, precise and known to law. . Rights of citizen are gift of legal sovereign; The will of state is expressed by the legal sovereign only; Legal sovereignty is absolute. It cannot be question. But behind the legal sovereignty there is another power, which is unknown to law. It is political sovereignty. In practice absolute and unlimited authority of the legal sovereignty does not exist anywhere. Even a dictator cannot act independently and exclusively. The will of legal sovereignty is actually sharpened by many influences, which are unknown to law. All these influences are the real power behind the legal sovereign; and this is called political sovereignty. As Professor Gilchrist says- “The political sovereign is the sum total of the influences in the state which lie behind the law.” Law does not know the political sovereignty. In modern representative democracies the political sovereignty is very often identified with either the whole mass of he people or with electorate or with public opinion. The legal sovereign cannot act against the will of political sovereign. Dicey says that “body is politically sovereign which the lawyers recognize there is another sovereign to whom the legal sovereign bow- that body is political sovereignty; that which is ultimately obeyed by the citizens of the state.” A lot of confusion arises when we attempt the exact definition of political sovereignty. It is a vague and indeterminate and cannot be located with exactness. It is suggested by some writers that there is no justification for making a distinction between legal and political sovereignty, as that involves the division of sovereignty, which is not possible.

Popular Sovereignty: When the sovereignty resides in the people of he state it is called as popular sovereignty. This theory was expounded by Rousseau, when later became the slogan of French Revolution. The doctrine of popular sovereignty regards people as the supreme authority. It is people who decide right or wrong. People are not bound by any natural or divine law. Government exists only as a tool for the good of the people. It should be held directly responsible to the people. It can exercise authority only on the basis of the law of land. Will of the people should not be ignored popular sovereignty is the basis of modern democratic system.