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Federal Form Of Government In India

Languagelaw_9223843057.jpgThis paper helps in understanding the nature of the Constitution in India. As we know India is the seventh largest country in the world and second most populous country and also followers of different religions might not be possible to run a country with help of single book called constitution. Indian Constitution is as detailed and comprehensive documents in which every minute things are included. If it is a federal constitution, then it elaborates on which grounds it is federal in nature.

No Indian constitution is not purely federal in nature. The Constitution of India establishes a federal structure to the Indian Government, it to be a "Union of States" under Article 1. Indian model of federalism is called the quasi-federal system as it Contains major features of both a federal and unitary government.

As per K..C Wheare has argued that the nature of Indian Constitution is quasi-federal in nature.

Federalism establishes a dual polity, a two-tier governmental system, with the Central Government at one level and the State Government at the other. The Constitution marks off the sphere of action of each Level of government by devising an elaborate scheme of distribution of legislative, administrative, and financial powers between the Centre and the States. A Government is entitled to act within its assigned field and cannot go out of it or Encroach on the field assigned to the other government.

The Indian Federalism has been designed after a close and careful study of the contemporary trends in these federations. Consequently, the Indian federal scheme while incorporating the advantages of a federal structure yet seeks to mitigate some of its usual weaknesses of rigidity and legalism.

A federal system is different from a unitary system in that sovereignty is Constitutionally split between two territorial levels so that each level can act Independently of each other in some areas. There are two kinds of federations:
  1. Holding Together Federation: In this type, powers are shared between Various constituent parts to accommodate the diversity in the whole entity. Here, powers are generally tilted towards the central authority. Example: India, Spain, Belgium.
  2. Coming Together Federation: In this type, independent states come together to form a larger unit. Here, states enjoy more autonomy as compared to the Holding together kind of federation. Example: USA, Australia, Switzerland.
To understand the federal constitution there are various parameters like:
  • Dual Government
  • Written Constitution
  • Division of powers between the national and regional government
  • Supremacy of the Constitution
  • Rigid Constitution
  • Independent judiciary
  • Bicameral legislature

Making amendments to the Constitution is a very rigid, process as compared to passing of ordinary laws. Amendments pertaining to those parts of the Constitution, which define the relationship between the Union and States, Are required to be passed by a two-third majority of the members present and voting in the Parliament and be ratified by half of the states of the Indian Union.

Written Constitution
In India, we have a written Constitution, which is the supreme law of the Land. Both the Central and State governments derive their powers from it. It Serves, as a written contract between the two levels of governments.

Division of Powers
The very objective for, which a federation is formed, is the division of powers Between the union and the states. There seems to be a comprehensive attempt To define the limits of the Central and State governments in the Indian Constitution. The Constitution has three lists, List I that is the Union List, List II that is the State List, and List III that is the Concurrent List. List III Includes residuary subjects on which both the governments can make laws.

In fact, it was presumed that central coordination in certain fields would be Desirable in the national interest and, therefore, the subjects of national and Common interest were placed in the concurrent jurisdiction of the two Governments. This exhaustive attempt to define the jurisdiction of the two Governmental levels supports the federal claim of the Indian Constitution.

Independent Judiciary
Indian Constitution provides a system of judicial review of the governmental Legislations by the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Judiciary can set Aside an Act of any government, if it goes against the provisions of the Constitution or if, in its opinion, has been passed without concurrence to The procedure laid down by the law.

Bicameralism means there are two houses of Parliament-a lower house or a Popular house having representatives elected directly by the people; and an In case both the governments make laws on any subjects of the Concurrent List at the same upper house or a second chamber representing the federating units. The Indian Parliament is also bicameral. It has two houses, namely the lower House, that is, the Lok Sabha; and the upper house namely the council of States, that is, the Rajya Sabha.

In some exceptional situations it attaints unitary in nature.

Single Citizenship
Indian Constitution does not provide for dual citizenship. Every citizen of India is Indian by birth. There is only one nationality.

Centre's Supremacy
Theoretically, in a federation, both the governments should be independent of each other, and none should be allowed to encroach upon the autonomy of the other. In our federation, we have a strong Centre, as compared to the states. Owing to its strong position politically, economically, and financially the Centre can make inroads into the provincial sphere of action.

This does not uphold the federation spirit. It is not just 'distribution of powers' but is the constitutional guarantee of the state autonomy that makes the 'distribution of powers' the essence of federalism. In Indian case, a powerful Centre with a large jurisdiction can always show its supremacy over the states.

Appointment of Governors and other High Appointments
The Governors are appointed by the President at the behest of the Centre &State governors hold office at the pleasure of President. There is no effective say of a state government in regard to the appointment or removal of a Governor. A Governor merely acts, as an agent of the centre. Apart from the appointment of Governors, the judges of the High Courts, who come under the jurisdiction of the state, are appointed by the President of India.

Centre also dominates the States in regard to All India Services (AIS) like Indian Administrative Services (IAS) and Indian Police Services (IPS). Members of AIS are appointed by the President of India. The Parliament may also create a new AIS, if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by a 2/3rd majority of its members present and voting. The manner of posting and promotion of the members of AIS is also decided by the Centre.

Disciplinary action against such officers can be initiated by the UPSC alone. The Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India are the central government employees and they do work for the states also. This reflects the state governments are virtually run by the high officials of the Union Government.

Hence it cleared that Indian constitution is beg of borrowing neither federal nor unitary but in between called quasi federal constitution of India. In my point of view, it is best form of democracy where no wings cannot use unlimited powers followed constitutionalism. There is check and balance among different wings which helps in smooth functioning of constitution.

It is based of doctrine of separation clearly reflects in given articles 245 to 246. In certain situation it attains unitary character; Articles 249,250,252,253, or 356 expressly mentions that situation in which Centre makes law with regard to subject matter of state. It makes Indian constitution a comprehensive document.

  • MP Jain constitution of India
  • Bakshi, P.M., 2004, The Constitution of India, Universal Law Publishing Co. Ltd., Delhi
  • Bhagwati, P.N., 1985, Judicial Activism and Public Interest Litigation, Jagrut Bharat Press, New Delhi

Written By: Shivam Kumar Sahu, Central University Of Kashmir (2nd Year)

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