Federation in India| Indian Polity Notes

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Nature of Federalism| Development, Controversy and Criticism

Federalism has two aspects -static and dynamic. It is a structure as well as a process. It has been defined as “a method of dividing powers so that the general and the regional governments are each within a sphere, co-ordinate and independent.”

Federalism is also the process of federalising a political community, that is to say, the process by which a number of separate political communities enter into arrangements for working out solutions, adopting joint policies, and making joint decisions on joint problems and conversely, is also the process by which a unitary political community becomes differentiated into a federally organised whole.

A Federal society is characterised by the continuing existence of both centripetal and centrifugal forces; the former tends towards integration and unity, while the latter tends towards disintegration and disunity.

Federalism provides the constitutional device for bringing about unity in diversity by harmonizing these opposing forces for the achievement of common national goals.

“A Federal government is one which divides powers between the states and the national government. Each level guarantees certain rights, including the right to exist, so that the states cannot conspire to destroy the national government or another state government, and the national government may not dissolve the states. Thus the union is one and inseparable.

The essence of a federal government is the distribution of powers between the national government and the constituent units. The constitution provides for the basic division of powers, but the dynamic nature of the federal system is illustrated by the judicial and political interpretations which have made it possible for national problems to be solved by unilateral action on the part of the national
government, through the co-operation of the central government and the states, or by co-operation among the state.

The distribution of subjects is made by a written constitution. Considerable care is taken while dividing the subject between the centre and the units so that, a proper balance is maintained between the jurisdictions of the two sets of governments. The allocation of powers may be made in the following three ways:

1) To enumerate the subjects to be dealt with by the central government and the units;
2) To enumerate only the subject of the centre and to give the rest to the units; and
3) To enumerate the subjects of the units and give the rest to the centre by a general grant.

Each federation has its own way of distributing powers according to historical conditions, the needs of the state and the genius of the people. Federal relations are dynamic by nature as, in actual practice human beings refuse to be ruled by rigid definitions and static patterns. Each federal society, faced with its own peculiar problems, has to work out its own federal scheme, often after bitter and protracted negotiations.

A federation comes into being when there exist two conditions – a body of countries so closely connected by locality, by history, by race or the like, as to be capable of bearing, in the eyes of their inhabitants, a very peculiar state of sentiment among the inhabitants of the countries, which it is proposed to unite.

The legal framework of the federal solution is hammered out through prolonged and protracted negotiations and reflects the impact of political, economic, social and historical forces existing in the country concerned.

The Development of Indian Federalism

The framers of the Indian Constitution wanted to built a strong united India. They all have adopted federalism to actualise and uphold the values of national unity, cultural diversity, democracy, regional autonomy and rapid socio-economic transformation through collective efforts.

The seeds of Indian Federalism were there right from the Regulating Act of 1773 to the Government of India Act of 1935. During this period the form of government was unitary. All powers were concentrated in the hands of viceroy, and through him, in the secretary of state for India and the home government.

The imperial hegemony was imposed over this vast country, and centralized power was the only way for the imperial control. There were no serious suggestions to reconstruct the government of India on federal model till the end of First World War. The Sepoys Mutiny of 1857 was also responsible for the political and administrative centralization of the British government. The process of decentralization of powers appeared on the Indian map during the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919.

These reforms expressed the federal idea in India. This was in response to the Declaration of 20th August 1917, which intended to establish a little responsible government. This report indicated federalism as a form of government in future. This Act also gave the ‘chamber of princes’ to the native states. This report also stated that the provinces will ultimately become self-governing units. The federal solution was also found in the Indian Statutory Commission’s Report of 1929. This report recommended a Council for Greater India. The British Indian representatives and the Indian states were included in this Council and the Viceroy was the president. The Simon Commission also said something about the idea of Indian federation. Heated discussion were held about the federal idea during the Round Table Conference, which opened in London in the winter of 1930. Federalism was very much in the air during this session.

The Indian National Congress was out of this session. Tej Bahadur Sapru proposed a responsible self-government in an All India Federation. The Government of India Act of 1919, was a new milestone in the political system in India. The Act blazed a new trial and laid the foundation of Indian Federalism. It has been described by Wynes as federalism in embryo. The Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed on 5th March 1931. Here, Gandhiji agreed to a federation. The Government of India Act 1919 gave the terms like, ‘dyarchy’ and ‘provincial autonomy’. It injected a dose of autonomy in Indian political system. In 1929 too, Simon Commission recommended for complete autonomy at provincial level.

The Nehru Report also envisaged that the constitution of India should be federal in character. The present constitution is a carbon copy of Government of India Act 1935. In other words it is called a “blue print” of the Act. It means, the present constitution has taken most of the elements from Government of India Act, 1935.

Nature of the Indian Federal System: A Matter of Controversy

Some scholars describe India as a quasi-federal state, and some even regard it as more unitary than federal. It is really a debatable issue. Marcus Franda, remarks that in India, there is not one model of federalism but in practice various models of federalism are in operation. The Centre has encouraged different models of relations with the different states, and hence a varied mode of federalism is perceivable. Thus, numerous scholars, reflecting on the vast powers left with the Government of India and the subordinate role of states, and also the crucial powers of the union to practically annihilate an existing state, doubt whether India is a federation at all. Some have called it a ‘pseudo – federation’.

Others feel that it would be more appropriate to call it a ‘quasi-federation’. However, many political thinkers have suggested that there is no such tiling as a quasi-federation, and that a system is either a federation or it is not a federation and that India should be grouped among the federations by virtue of its constitution.

Here, a question may arise as to why the framers of the Indian constitution thought of giving more powers to the union or made union government stronger than the state governments in the fashion of a true federation?

The answer to this particular question could be found in the long historical background of India. The students of Indian history know that whenever there was a strong central government, there was a united India; on the other hand, whenever there was a weak central government, India was disunited. So, the Indian National Congress during the freedom movement advocated “Akhand Bharat”. And this could be achieved and maintained only by making central government strong. India has adopted federalism, and through collective efforts, she upheld the values of democracy, national unity, cultural diversity, regional autonomy and socio-economic developments transformation.

Federal Features of the Indian Constitution

Division of Powers

The division of powers between two levels of governments is an essential feature of federalism. Federalism means the distribution of powers of the state between the central and the state governments.

The basis of such distribution of power is that in matters of national importance, in which a uniform policy is desirable in the interest of the units, authority is entrusted to the centre and matters of local concern remain with the states.

In a Federation there should be clear division of powers so that the units and the centre are required to enact and legislate within their sphere of activity and none violates its limits and tries to encroach upon the functions of others.

The Seventh schedule contains three legislative lists which enumerate subjects of administration viz., Union, State and Concurrent lists.

The union list consists of 97 subjects, the more important of which are defence, railway, posts and telegraph, currency etc. The state list consists of 66 subjects, including public order, police, administration of justice, public health, education, agriculture etc. The concurrent list embraced 47 subjects including criminal law, marriage, divorce, trade unions, electricity etc. The residuary powers have been vested in the central government.

In the U.S.A., the governmental powers are divided between the centre and the state by means of a written constitution. In U.S.A. the enumerated powers are exercised by the central government. But the residuary powers are left to the state governments unlike in India where whenever there is a conflict between centre and the states, it will be decided by the Supreme Court, whose decision is final.

Federal government means a dual government because the central and the state governments are working on parallel lines. Usually, the national government will not interfere in the state affairs.

Supremacy of the Constitution

A federal state derives its existence from the constitution. The constitution in a federal state constitutes the supreme law of the land.

In a federation, the constitution should be the supreme source of strength, both for the centre as well as the federating units.

Accordingly, Indian constitution is also supreme and not the hand maid of either the centre or of the states. If, for any reason, any organ of the state dares to violate any provision of the constitution, the court of law is there to ensure the dignity of the constitution, which is upheld at all costs.

A Written Constitution

A Federal constitution must almost be a written constitution. It will be practically impossible to maintain the supremacy of the constitution and division of powers between the centre and the states, unless the terms of the constitution have been reduced into writing.

Accordingly, the Indian constitution is a written document containing 395 Articles and 10 Schedules, and therefore fulfils this basic requirement of a federal government. In fact the Indian constitution is die most elaborate constitution of the world.

All the modem federations like the U.S.A., Australia, Switzerland and Canada have hammered their constitutions, and they are ‘written’ in nature.

The Indian constitution clearly demarcates the powers between the centre and the state. Dual polity and a clear written constitution are absolutely essential for the functioning of federalism.

In a written constitution the central government will not encroach upon the state powers, and both have to work within their jurisdiction. The United States of America, Australia, Switzerland, Canada and India are the examples of federal constitution.

Rigid Constitution

A natural corollary of a written constitution is its rigidity. In a rigid constitution the procedure of amendment is complicated and difficult. But this does not mean that the constitution should be legally unalterable.

A Rigid constitution, as we know, is one which cannot be changed easily. The Indian constitution is largely a rigid constitution. All the provisions of the constitution concerning federal state relations can be amended only by the joint actions of the state legislatures and the union parliament. Such provisions can be amended only if the amendment is passed by a two-third majority of the members present and by voting in the parliament, and is ratified by at least one half of the states.

However, in India the constitution prescribes three different methods for amending the different provisions of the constitution.

In the first category, it can be amended by a majority of the total membership in each house, and by
a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present, and voting in each house of parliament.

In the second category, it requires a majority of total membership in each house, and a majority not less than two-thirds of the members present, and voting in each house of parliament and ratification by at least one half the state legislatures.

The third category requires a simple majority in each house of the parliament.

In other federations, the amending procedure is different. In case of America, the Congress will propose the amendment bill, and it should be passed by two-third majority in the Congress and it should be ratified by three quarters of the states. Sometime the states will initiate the amendment to the constitution. For this two-thirds of the states should apply for amendment. Then the Congress will summon a convention to make proposals for amendment; and lastly, it should be approved by the three quarters of the states. The constitution of Canada was the result of British North America Act of 1867, which was passed by the British Parliament. The United States, Australia and Switzerland adopted rigid constitutions. Though the Canadian constitution is a federal one, the constitution is not rigid like those of other classical federations. But the Indian constitution is a mixture of rigidity and flexibility. It strikes a balance between flexibility and rigidity.

Independent Judiciary

For a federation, it is also essential that the judiciary is impartial and independent. A Federal court is indispensable to a federation. It acts as the guardian of the constitution. Especially, this principle has been playing an important and key role in the working of federal government.

The judiciary has occupied a very important status in federal countries like the United States, Switzerland, Australia, Canada and India. The constitution has provided for a Supreme Court, and every effort has been made to see that the judiciary in India is independent and supreme.

The Supreme Court of India can declare a law as unconstitutional if it contravenes any provisions of the constitution. In order to ensure the impartiality of the judiciary, our judges are not removable by the executive and their salaries cannot be curtailed by the Parliament.

Most of the federal governments have given more prominence to judiciary, and in these federations the doctrine of judicial review has been playing a dominant role. Especially in the United States, the judicial review occupies an important place.

In the U.S.A., if the federal and the State legislatures pass an act beyond their jurisdiction, then the Supreme Court will declare the act as unconstitutional or ultra virus. In India too, the federal judiciary is the highest court of the land. It also acts as a tribunal in solving the disputes between the centre and the states.

The British North America Act of 1867 provides for a Federal Court to Canada. This Act establishes two types of Courts, namely, the Federal Court and the Provincial Court. But in Canada, Court system is not like that in American system. Unlike in India, in the U.S.A., there is one unified judicial system, and federal courts cannot interfere in the affairs of the state courts, and federal Courts and the state courts work on parallel lines. In India, the Supreme Court (which is the federal court) and the High Courts belong to the same integrated judicial system.

Bicameral Legislature

• A bicameral system is considered essential in a federation because it is in the Upper House alone that the units can be given equal representation.

• The Constitution of India also provides for a bicameral legislature at the Centre consisting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. While the Lok Sabha consists of the elected representatives of people, the Rajya Sabha mainly consists of representatives elected by State Legislative Assemblies.

• In fact, most of the modem federations have adopted the principle of bicameralism. America, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and India have adopted the bicameral system.

Unitary Features of the Indian Constitution

The framers of the Indian constitution have made the central government very strong. To realise the powerful position of the central government, it is necessary to discuss the unitary features of the Indian federal system. The following discussion has been devoted to describe the unitary features of the Indian federal system.

Single Citizenship

The makers of the Indian constitution have provided only a single citizenship. But usually the federal constitutions provide dual citizenship, that is, national, and state citizenship.

Among the world federations, the United States and the Swiss Republic provide the dual citizenship. In case of America, the citizen of New York is also a citizen of the United States of America. The Swiss constitution also provides for dual citizenship. The Swiss citizen is naturally a cantonal citizen too. Though the Indian constitution provides the concept of dual polity, in this case it has departed from the federal principle.

In the United States, the constitution made a logical provision for the double citizenship, a double set of officials and a double system of Courts. The Indians, in whatever the states they might have been bom, are called the Indian citizens.

A Strong Centre

In India, the centre is very strong. Though our constitution has adopted the federal principles, it has been gradually heading towards a strong centralised constitution. Our constitution clearly democrats the division of powers between the centre and the states.

The distribution of powers is presented in the eleventh part of the constitution. The three lists are embodied in the seventh schedule of the constitution. The union list consists of 99 subjects. The state list covers 61 subjects and the concurrent list consists of 52 subjects. The residuary powers are with the centre. In America, Australia and Switzerland the constitution has specifically enumerated the powers of the federal government.

In all these federations, the residuary power rests with the states. Our constitution follows the Canadian model. The centre and the state has powers to make the laws on the concurrent list, but if there is a conflict between the two, then the central law will prevail over the state law. This shows that the centre is strong in India.

Single Constitution for Union and States

The framers of the Indian constitution hammered out a single constitution for the union and the states. Usually, under a federal system, the states have their own constitution separate from that of the union. But unlike other federations of the world, the Indian states have not been permitted to frame their own constitutions. Unlike the American States, the States in India have had no voice in initiating the amendment to the constitution. This power exclusively vests in the Indian Parliament. Some eminent political scientists have criticized their non-federal principle under the Indian federal structure.

Centre can Change Name and Boundaries of States

In a federation, the centre has no right whatever to change die boundaries of the states. But in India the centre has a right to change the boundaries of the state and to carve out one state out of the other. In the fifties, Andhra Pradesh was carved out of the then Madras state.

There is perhaps no state whose boundaries have not been changed at one stage or another. The right of the centre to change the boundaries of the states is against the federal set up.

A Single Judiciary

In India, there is a single unified judiciary. This system has been working since 1950. The Supreme Court is the highest Court in India and it is at the apex of the judiciary hierarchy. But the Indian constitution has adopted a single integrated judicial system.

In the United States of America there is a dual system of Court. All the states in America have adopted their own Independent Judicial System.

In India, the Supreme Court exercises supervision and control over the functioning of other courts including High Courts. The Supreme Court is known as a Court of record. The writs of the Supreme Court are binding in all the spheres namely, civil, constitutional and criminal. This shows the unitary character of our constitution. It is quite opposite of the American judicial system.

Unitary in Emergencies

The Indian constitution has given emergency powers to the president.

During the time of emergency, the central government will become powerful. Even it makes the laws on the state list also; the states will lose their voice. Articles 352, 356 and 360 will play dominant role. The President proclaims emergency in the country under Article 352, if there is an internal or external threat to the country’s security, unity and integrity.

If the constitutional machinery fails in the concerned state, then the President will impose the President’s rule in that state under Article 356. During this period, the state legislative Assembly will be suspended or dissolved. The entire state administration will come under the control of the central government. If there is a threat to the country’s finance, then the President will declare financial emergency under Article 360.

During emergency, the centre gives financial directions to the states to observe the specified canons of economy. Even the state governments have to reserve the money bills for the consent of the President. Our constitution has given the vast emergency powers to the centre.

Common All India Services

The constitution has certain special provisions to ensure the uniformity of the administrative system, and to maintain minimum common administrative standards without impairing the federal principle. These include the creation of All India Services such as Indian Administrative and Police Services and placing the members of these services in key administrative positions in the states.

Inequality of Representation in the Council of States

The traditional and the classical federations have adopted the equal representation to their states in the upper chamber of the National legislature. But the Indian constitution deviates from this traditional principle of providing the equal representation to the states in the upper chamber of federal legislature.

In America, the true federal principle has been followed. The American legislature is known as ‘the Congress’. The upper chamber is called ‘the Senate’. There is equal representation to all the states in the Senate. But in India, the states have no equal voice in the Rajya Sabha. The representation depends upon the population of the concerned states. It is unlike America, Australia and Switzerland. This shows the clear departure from the federal principle in India.

Appointment of Governor by President

The President appoints the Governors of the concerned states. They hold office as per the pleasure of the President. In America, the Governor of the States are elected directly by the people. In India, too, this aspect was discussed during the debates of ‘Constituent Assembly’. The American fathers of the constitution adopted the presidential executive but in India they adopted the parliamentary executive. This system has been adopted both at the centre and the states in India.

Under the parliamentary system of government, the ministers in the states are also elected directly by the people, whereas, the Governor is appointed by the President of India.

The Governor is the constitutional head of the state, like the President at the centre. At the state level, the executive authority is vested in the Governor.

Article 154 vests all the executive powers with the Governor. Article 200 and 201 of the constitution empower the Governor to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the concerned state legislature. Sometimes the Governor reserves the bill for the President’s consent. This again shows the Central’s dominating power over the state administration.

The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

The Comptroller and Auditor General is appointed by the President. He keeps a careful vigilance over the finances not only of the centre but also of the states. He controls the issue of public money. As an auditor, he audits the accounts of both central and state government and reports to Government of India annually. Here also, the states have no voice.

Centralized Electoral Machinery

In India, we have adopted the unified and single electoral machinery. The periodical elections are the bed-rock of democracy. Democracy needs the proper electoral machine. India is the biggest democratic country and she has the largest electorate in the world.

The Election Commission has been functioning since the dawn of Independence. The authorities of the Election Commission are appointed by the President. The states have had no say in this field. The states too, have no independent Election Commission of their own.

Appointment of the High Court Judges

In India, there is a single integrated judicial system. Under this judiciary hierarchy, the President appoints the judges of the State High Courts. He can transfer the judges from one High Court to another.

The President will not consult the state authorities in this matter. Only, Parliament has the power to remove the Supreme Court and High Court Judges through the process of impeachment. The state legislatures have no voice in this field.

The Flexibility of the Constitution

Our constitution is a mixture of both flexibility and rigidity. On some issues the parliament amends the constitution with the simple majority. On some occasions it needs two-third majority.

For important issues, the Indian parliaments amends the constitution with two-third majority in both the houses and ask ratification of half of the states. The states in America have the right to initiate amendment to the constitution. Also in an ideal federation there should be a rigid constitution.

In the U.S.A., the constitution is very rigid. In India, many parts of the constitution can be easily amended. This flexibility of constitution is against the spirit of federal system. All this has contributed to the strength of the centre at the cost of the states.

Special Powers of Council of States

The Indian Parliament has also been empowered to legislate on any matter in the state list. If the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution with two- third majority, then it gives power to the Parliament for the transfer of state subject to the union list.

Article 249 empowers the Rajya Sabha to make laws on any comer of the nation if the issue is of national interest and importance. Even, this chamber can create the new All India Services.

Financial Dependence of the States

The States in India have been depending on the centre for their finances. Especially, during the time of floods and drought, the states have to depend only upon the center’s financial help.

In a Federation, the states should be financially self-sufficient. They should enjoy the maximum autonomy. The Finance extremely complicated aspects of federal relations. For this purpose, the Indian Constitution has established a Finance Commission. This Commission allocates and adjusts the receipts from certain sources. No other Federal Constitution has made such provisions.

The Government of India Act 1935 has tried to allocate every possible source of revenue between the centre and the provinces. But the real drawback of the Act was the extremely limited revenue resources were given to the provinces.

According to the present existing scheme of distribution, the taxing powers of the states and the centre have been completely separated. The Indian Constitution has not been provided the concurrent jurisdiction in the financial field. But it exists in other federations of the world. Especially it is there among the Non-Congress ruling states. Till today, the states have been depending only on the centre for the financial help. But it is not healthy for the working of a true federation.

Federation in India

Indian Federal character is based on the assimilation of different features like language, regionalism, unity and culturalism. It is based on supremacy of the centre over the state. According to Dr. Ambedkar, “Indian Federation has not resulted by virtue of instrumentality of agreement with the units, and that the union is indestructible; no unit can secede from it”

In practice, the Indian federation works as an admixture of both federal and unitary traits. We believe that die Indian union, though it is a federation of a special type, is a federation in which the paramount powers which the British Government had over the Indian states has been taken over by the union government and applied to all its units.

The National leader had agitated against this doctrine of paramount powers, but the Constituent Assembly has effectively installed those powers in the constitution. As such, our federation may be called
paramount federation.

With this background, both constitutionally and politically, India’s federal system, as originally conceived, is of the union type, in which the structural, functional balance is in favour of the centre.

Proposed Indian Federation

Under the Act of 1935, Indian was to be a federation. Accordingly, there was distribution of subject between the centre and the provinces. There was much controversy as to whether residuary powers should be left with the centre or with provinces.

The authors of the Act did not wish to see a weak centre, and at the same time also did not wish to give many powers to the provinces Then another characteristic of Indian federation was that it was made a bicameral legislature consisting of the Council of States and Legislative Assembly.

Indian States were to send 104 members to the Council of States and 125 to die federal Assembly. This federation was to consist of eleven Governor’s provinces and six Chief Commissioner’s provinces. Their joining the proposed federation was absolutely compulsory.

A Peculiar Federation

In spite of the fact that the Act of 1935 created the structure of a federation in India, the whole system was unlike many other federations, which made it a peculiar federation. It may however be remembered that Indian States and their princes who had been given the option of joining the federation did not come forward in equisetic number.

Deviations from Federal Pattern

Usually, in a federation, residuary powers are left either with the Central Government or with the federating units. In the case of proposed Indian Federation the subjects to be dealt with by federal government and provincial governments were specified and clearly defined. A concurrent list was also prepared on which both the centre and the provincial governments could enact laws.

Residuary powers were, however, left with the Governor-General. This never happens in the case of federation, where such powers are left either with “the centre or the provinces.”

In the words of Dutt, R.P., “A federation is a voluntary union of independent sovereign units impelled by common political aims, ideals or external needs, to establish a sovereign central organ based on the units, and responsible to them or to their populations and establishing a restricted measure of common organisation, falling short of full centralization but such as to institute within the voluntarily agreed limitations a single federal laws far all the citizens of the Union.

But in India the proposed units of the proposed federation never desired to come closer to one another. They never drafted a constitution for themselves, and in fact, never agreed to the constitution which was given to them. The Act which was bringing them closer was prepared by the British parliament and passed by that body.

When a federation is usually created, federating units have almost similar type of political awakening and mission to make the system a success. But this was not so with the Indian Federation. In Indian Federation, the states had less political awakening and much less a desire to make the federation success, as compared ‘with the Indian provinces’.

In a federation, federating units as well as the central government enjoy full powers to amend the constitution in the way they like. But in the case of Indian Federation power of amendment of the Act was not vested in Indian Federation, but with the British Parliament.

In the proposed federation, the states, which were a part of the federation, were given under representation than what these deserved. In a good federation, no unit is given any weight age over the other and both are equally well treated and kept at par.

Then, in a federation, centre has much more autonomy than the federating units. In the case of Indian federation the reverse was the case. Under the Act, the provinces were given more powers and the system of provincial autonomy was introduced.

On the other hand, dyarchy, which had failed in the provinces, and which put many restrictions, was introduced at the centre and as such even technically centre was not made autonomous. Thus where provinces were autonomous, centre was not. This peculiar situation does not prevail anywhere else.

Criticism of Indian Federal System

It has been stated earlier that the Indian federal system has been subjected to severe criticism. Due to the prominence of the centripetal forces some critics were not prepared to accept it as a federal constitution.

1. The Territorial sanctity of the federating units which is a vital principle of a federal government is not allowed by the Indian Constitution. The states can be re-organized and their territorial limits changed, cut short or enlarged by the Parliament unilaterally without the consent ofthe concerned state or states.

2. The practice of appointment of the Governors by the President smacks of centralism. The Governor enjoys their office during the pleasure of the President and they are expected to work as the agents of the Union Government in the states. The action of some of the Governors in dissolving the state government has been severely criticized.

3. The President is empowered to transform the federal constitution into a unitary one during the time of national emergency. Under such circumstances, the Union Parliament shall have the power to make laws for the whole of India.

4. While in the U.S.A. an individual enjoys dual citizenship, that is the citizenship of his state and federal citizenship; in India there is single citizenship throughout the country. Wherever in the country an individual might have been from, he is regarded as an Indian citizen.

Reasons for Adopting Federal Structure

The founding fathers of the constitution preferred federal constitutional structure because of the certain factors. These were:

1. It would have been very different to rule over such a vast country from one centre. As Justice P.N. Sapru said, “our founding fathers wisely did not establish for this country a completely unitary sovereignty among various units composing it. Any such attempt would have completely broken down, as India is too vast a country to be governed as a completely unitary state.”

2. The reason for India to go for federation was that the foundation of federation had since been laid down by the Government of India Act, 1935. The New Constitution was thus obliged to go in for federal structure. The Indian constitution in its federal aspect is very much influenced by that Act.

Federalism as a Concept

The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution have mainly been influenced by the provisions of the American, Canadian and Australian federations. It is desirable to state briefly the theory of federalism as revealed in these constitutions.

According to A.V. Dicey, there are two requisite conditions for the formation of a federation:

• First, by history there must be a body of states so closely connected by locality, by race or the like, as to be capable of having, in the eyes of their inhabitants, can impress of common nationality.

• Secondly, there must be the existence of a very peculiar state of sentiment among the states which propose to unite. They must desire union but not desire unity.

The aim of federalism is to give effect, as far as possible, to both these sentiments. “A federal state is thus a political connivance intended to reconcile national unity and power with the maintenance of “States” rights”.

It is a union of a number of independent states whose territories are contiguous and whose citizens have certain affinities, either racial or traditional, which have a common historical background or heritage, a community of economic interests, and feel a craving for spiritual and national unity.

The Federal state is the embodiment of the nation as a whole, and it has a direct Mid organic contact with the citizens of all the states, who are citizens of the federation and who owe a double allegiance to their own states and to the federal state.

The federal form of government came into existence where a unitary form of government was not possible owing to a strong sentiment of local patriotism.

The states are, first of all, sovereign states. They then enter into an agreement to part with a portion of their sovereignty, and thus to create a national state which discharges certain functions in relation to all the state functions which are common to all. Such a federation is essentially created for national purposes.

A study of modem federal system reveals three leading characteristics of a federal constitution. They are:

1) Supremacy of the Constitution.

2) Distribution of power among bodies with limited and coordinate authority.

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