Different kinds of sovereignty
Titular and Real Sovereignty: A titular sovereign is one who is sovereign only in name and
not in reality. Although outwardly, the power is vested in one person, the real power is
enjoyed by another. Such a situation prevails in parliamentary democracies. The King or
Queen in England is the titular head and he/she does not enjoy any real power. Actual powers
are enjoyed by ‘King/Queen-in-Parliament’ which constitutes the real sovereign. In case of
India, the President of India is the titular sovereign and the real power lies in the hands of the
Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister which constitutes the real sovereign.
De facto and de jure Sovereign: Sometimes, the existing regime in a state is overthrown
through unconstitutional means, as in the case of a military takeover. In such a situation, until
the new sovereign is legally established and recognised, there may exist two sovereigns-one
in the legal sense, who has lost his real powers; the other in the practical sense who has not
yet been legally established. The de-facto sovereign may not have any legal claim to
obedience, but he is a practical sovereign whose authority is based on physical force or moral
persuasion and the people are compelled to obey him. Under such circumstances, the legal or
formal sovereign retains de-jure sovereignty while the actual sovereign is said to be the defacto sovereign.
In the present-day world, there have been several instances where military generals have
overthrown constitutionally elected governments, thereby usurping all powers of the state.
Such a takeover makes the military general the de-facto or actual sovereign possessing real
powers, while the dethroned regime, which still is the legal or formal sovereign, retains dejure sovereignty.
In course of time, the de facto sovereign, by securing the consent of the people through
elections or otherwise, may become a de-jure sovereign. A classic example of de-facto
sovereignty, in modern times, is noticed in the case of Spain under General Franco who
captured the authority of the State by defeating the Republican Government of Spain. Though
he began to rule by force, gradually he was trying to be a de-jure sovereign by winning the
consent of the people. Historically too, there have been several examples of the emergence of
de facto sovereignty in the earlier times. Some of these are: the authority exercised by
Cromwell in England, by Napoleon in France and the Bolshevist group in Russia after 1917.
Legal and Political Sovereignty: The legal sovereign is the supreme law-making body. In
every independent state, there are some laws which must be obeyed by the people and there
must be a power to issue and enforce these laws. The power which has the legal authority to
issue and enforce these laws and final commands is the legal sovereign. It may vest in one
person or a body of persons. It alone declares, in legal terms, the will of the state. Law is a
command of the sovereign and he who violates it is liable to be punished