Posted on


This is the supremacy of the State over the individual. The supremacy of the State is not just over the people alone, it also has to do with the internal and external supremacy of the State authority.

Internally, sovereignty implies the supreme control of the State over its domestic affairs within its territorial waters and over its air space, its ultimate control over all its citizens at home and abroad, and over organisations within the State as well as supreme authority over aliens.

Externally, sovereignty implies absolute independence and ultimate control of the State over its foreign affairs without foreign interference. A sovereign State must not only be legally independent of other States, it must also have a substantial measure of political independence and have virtually a free-hand in the formulation and conduct of its external affairs.

Types of Sovereignty

(a) Legal Sovereignty:
This refers to the supreme authority in a State that has the regular power to make laws and amend the constitution of the State. John Austin is one of the well-known scholars on legal sovereignty. According to him, the sovereign is the authority which gives command that is habitually obeyed, itself not receiving commands. To Austin, the will of the legal sovereign is indivisible and a source of the positive law.

(b) Political Sovereignty:
This simply means the will of the people. Political sovereignty is one of the major characteristics of modern democracy. In modern democracy, it is believed that the sovereign authority is the people of the State. It is the political sovereignty that establishes the legal sovereignty. In other words, political sovereignty is the final arbiter in matters of relating to the authority pattern of a State.