Federalism – Notes



Federalism is derived from the Latin word which means treaty. In a federal constitution, there is a division of power between the federal and the state government and both are independent in their own spheres. The power in a federal system is divided as well as concentrated at some time. According to Article 1(1) of the Constitution, India is a Union of state. Chairman of the drafting committee (Dr. Ambedkar) said that the word union as a substitute for the word federation.  The drafting committee said that there was an advantage in describing India.  As a union, although it’s a constitution, was federal in structure.

Dr. Ambedkar made it clear that though India was to be a federation. The federation was not the result of an agreement (or a contract) by the states to join a federation, and that the federation, not being the result of an agreement on State had the right to secede from it.  The federation was a union because it was indissoluble.

Dr. Ambedkar emphasized the cardinals fact that the constitution in all its provision, looks to an indestructible Union, composed of indestructible states. Dr. B. R Ambedkar both union & states are made by the constitution, not dependent on each other but free in their own spheres.

Hamilton – federation is an association of state that forms a new one.

Garner – A system of central and local government combined under common sovereignty both the central & local organizations being supreme within definite spheres.

Indian constitution is not a strict form of the federation as word federation is nowhere used in the constitution. Under article 1 of the Indian constitution, it is called a union of state with a view to establishing stable & centralized federation, all efforts were made for the purpose of politics & administration.

According to the drafting committee union of India don’t need to be called as a federation. As Dr. Ambedkar said. “Indian constitution can be structurally Federal but with some definite purpose, drafting committee called it as a union” this statement of Dr.  Ambedkar proves 2 thing:

  1. Indian federation is not a result of an agreement between units of a union like American federation states.
  2. The state has no power to separate them from federation (union) at own will

This was done by framer’s of Indian constitution with a view to avoiding home was as faced by America. Indian federation is a never-ending union of the state & citizens are under the power of a union for the purpose of the administrator. The name of union is India the members enumerated in 1 schedule of the constitution are called its states.

Indian constitution is called a source of all laws of the country difference in opinion there is a difference of opinion about the nature of Indian constitution some call is as quasi-federal ( having more unitary feature than federal)  whereas others call it as a federal constitution.

 Federalism Features

  1. Written constitution – it was impossible to maintain the supreme of the Constitution unless the terms of the constitution have been reduced into writing.
  2. The supremacy of constitution – the Constitution in a federal State constitution this Supreme law of the land every power executive judiciary or legislative is controlled by the constitution.
  3. Distribution of power – In the federal system, two types of government is there in a country –  Union government and state government. These governments are independent of each other. They work in a co-ordination manner & no one is sub-ordination to other federation means the distribution of the power.
  4. Independent judiciary – in federal Constitution judiciary is independent the state or central government have no control over the court.
  5. Rigidity – Constitution of a country is considered to be a permanent document. This supremacy can be maintained if the procedure of amending the constitution is rigid. In a rigid constitution, the procedure of amendment is complicated & difficult.

Unitary Features

  1. Appointment of governors – The governor of the state is appointed by the president (Article 155 & 156) and answerable to him. There is a provision in the constitution under which the governor is required to send certain state laws for the assessment of the president. The president has the power to veto those state e.g article 200,288(2).
  1. Parliament power to make law in the national interest – under article 249 parliament is empowered to make laws with respect to every matter enumerated in the state list if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution by 2/3rd majority that it is necessary for the national interest.
  2. Parliament’s power to form a new state or alter boundaries of existing states – under my article 3 the parliament of India may form the new state, it may increase or diminish the area of any state and it may alter the boundaries or name of any state.
  3. Emergency provision – there are 3 types of emergency
    1. National emergency – (Article 352) caused by war.
    2. State emergency – (Article 356) due to the failure of constitutional machinery of the state.
    3. Financial emergency – (Article 360)  under this emergency the whole administration of states come into the hands of Central Government during an emergency the normal distribution of power between Central and state is complete spends which is the basic element of the federal constitution.

Federation various from place to place and time to time depending upon so many factories like – historical, geographical, economic and political.


We can conclude that the constitution of India is neither purely federal nor unitary but a combination of both so we can say that the Indian Constitution is Federal with a few unitary characters.

Cooperative Federalism in India

Though the Indian constitution has chosen to adopt the federal system of government get the Constitution does not establish Federation in the real sense of competitive federation.

As the new trends in all federation is to have a sort of co-operation Federalism with somewhat dominating power to the central the farmer of the Indian Constitution has also sought to proved for cooperative federalism. The following factors are responsible for cooperation federalism:

  1. Development of modern means of communication
  2. Expanding horizons of trade and Commerce
  3. Defense from external aggression and need for modern sophisticated arms ammunition.
  4. Welfare States

 In the Indian constitution following provisions Seek to establish cooperative federalism:

  1. Use of legislative power – under article 246 three lists of the 7 schedules is detailed with the distribution of power between the Union and State yet both Union and State have given power to legislative on matter enumerated in List III  that is the concurrent list.
  2. cooperation in administrative relations – according to article 73 and 162 executive power of the Union and State Are co-executive with legislative power yet both the article provides that in any matter with respect to which both Parliament and the state legislature has the power to make laws. article 256 and 257 and power Union executive to give direction to state executive under article 258 Central can with the constant of the Governor assign its function to the state and similar under article 258 – A state can with the constant of the governor of India assign their function to the central executive.
  3. full faith and credit two public acts record judicial proceeding – article 261 provides that full faith and credit shall be given throughout the literally of Indian to the public at records and judicial proceeding of the Union and of every state.
  4. resolution of interstate water dispute – article 262 authorize Parliament to make a law to provide adjusting to any dip spit or complete with respect to the use distribution or control of water of any interstate river or river valley.
  5. All India service – Article 312 provides that if the council of state declared by a resolution supposed by not less than two-thirds of members present and voting that is necessary for the national interest service, parliament shall be competent to make a law to provide for such all India service.
  6. Exemption of taxes – article 285 provide for the exemption of properties of the Union from state taxes and similarly article 285 exempts state properties from Union taxes.
  7. Financial co-operation – The whole scheme of distribution of taxing powers between the Union and the state is based on co-operation between the two –
  8. Some taxes are levied by the union but are collecting and appropriated by the states
  9. Some taxes are imposed and collected by the Union but are assigned to states.

Challenge to federalism

  1. No dual citizen single constitution in an emergency the constitution can become unitary no status except Jake and can draw its own constitution no consent required to alter state boundaries no state has the right to Secede.
  2. The main issue is proved in the case was the exercise of the sovereign power by the Indian state the legislative competence of the Parliament to enact a law for the compulsory acquisition by the union of land and other properties owned by the state and the sovereign authority by the state as district and trees were also examined. The supreme court held that in West Bengal versus Union of India.
  1. Indian constitution did not found a principle of abolition feudalism through the authority was densest centralized his was mainly due to the address task of governing the large territory.
  2. The court outlined the characteristics which highlighted the fact that the Indian Constitution is the traditional federalism constitution-
  3. There is a no separate constitution for each state as it is required in the federal system.
  4. The constitution is liable to be attended by the Union Parliament alone and the United States of the country that the state has no power to alter it.
  5. The distribution of power is a facility local governance by the state and the national policy to be declared by the central.
  6. The Indian Constitution rendered Supreme Power upon the court to invalidate any action qualitative of the constitution.
  7. Federalism and correlation of government its indicate the combination of a number of a body or a part into one body or whole.generally consolidation are said to be formed on the amount of one of his following reasons:
    • No single political party is able to secure a working measurer t in the popular house on amount of presence of the multi-party system.
    • In a bi party system, a clock may be created due of even balance between two parties align itself with the minority groups such as a natural or defects still the majority in the favor.
    • A correlation may be a necessity by National Carriers when the variation politics stuff and Co breast in the general cause of protecting and promoting their National interest.

Coalition government and its impact on Central state relationship:

The impact of the collision government on a central state relation can be disclosed under the following heading:

  1. The appointment of the government Verna has gone through a rough phase due to collision form of Government.
  2. Political competition to form the government at the nation level solely guides by the majority gaining politics party centrally result in written the touring Central state relation.
  3. The Preparation of religion parts in the center has significantly impacted the Indian Federal structure.
  4. The formation of the coalition government has a resulted in the large extent division form the characteristics of Indian federalism with centralizing tendencies.

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