Every Constitution has only one design. It will be either Federal or Unitary. Before defining the design of Indian Constitution, I would like to explain the difference Federal and Unitary Constitution. By a unitary state is a state governed by on single unit in which the central government is supreme and executive division work out only powers that the central government chooses to delegate. By a federal we mean a constitutional division of power between one general government (that is to have authority over the entire national territory) and a series of sub national governments individually have their own independent authority over their own territories, whose sum represents, almost the whole nationality.

The adoption of the G.I. Act, 35 as the basis of the new Constitution had the great advantage of making the transition from British rule to the new Republic of India without any break with the past; the old laws and constitutional provisions continued without a break; and thus secured for India the advantage which an evolutionary change has over a revolutionary break with the past. Besides, the G.I. Act, 35 had great merits as an instrument of federal government.

As the basic feature of Federalism is—
A) Division of power
B) Independence of state
C) Idea of cooperation between general authority and regional authority
D) Dual government
E) Have be to a rigid as well as written constitution f) Union of autonomous units G) Direct authority over the people of both Government
H) Supremacy of Constitution

In Union of autonomous units, subject to exception or modifications, there is one feature common to all Federal Constitution, namely, that the general and regional governments under these Constitutions have plenary power within their respective jurisdiction, as assigned by the Constitutions, – the general or Federal government having control over nation-wide problem, extending over the entire Federal territory, while the regional governments control matter within respective regions only. While in a unitary state, there is only one government but in Federal State, there are two Governments.

A Federal State derives its existence and every power- executive, legislation or judicial- whether
it belongs to the federation, or to the component State, – is subordinate to and controlled by the
Constitution. A constitutional division of power between the center and the component territorial
units is a central point in most definitions of federalism between the center and the component
territorial units is a central point in most definition of federalism and also in our graphic model
of a federal system and under the VII Schedule and part Vth, VI th of Constitution of India, power
is clearly distributed between center and state. The special feature of a Federal Constitutions, which is relevant in the present context and present, is that since it has to enumerate and limit2
the respective power of two governments Federal and State, it must be written Constitution.

If we talk about the rigidity of the Indian Constitution is rigid as well as flexible. Under the Indian Constitution the power and procedure for amendments have been provided under Article 4, Schedule VI and principally under Article 368 of the Constitution. The power to initiate the amendment is vested with the union in all cases. Ratification of the states for amendments are not required. However, Article 368(2) identifies certain types of Amendments which essentially need the ratification by at least half of the states. The Amendment that requires ratification by at least half of states are provided under Article 368 (2) (a) to (e) of the Indian Constitution. Thus it is clear that the Indian Constitution is rigid also.

In a federal system there seems to be an even more acute need for an impartial agency because the interpretation of the meaning of the constitution includes also the delicate original political agreement between territorial communities from which the whole federal system had issued. Under Article 131 of Indian Constitution speaks about the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in any intra-federal dispute between the Government of India and one or more States, or between two or more state. Thus there is a judicial authority in India, which can ascertain the meaning of the nation’s supreme law, the constitution, and that in light of its findings, can determine the compatibility of any given law or official act, national or local and that has power of judicial review. And all these power has been provided to the Supreme Court under article 131, 137, 141 and etc., Chapter IV, Part V of the Indian Constitution.

to decide what is the design of Indian Constitution, it is clear that the Constitution of India
satisfies the majority of them to qualify as a federal constitution. According to Wheare, the Constitution of India is not federal, it is quasi-federal. He said that any constitution will be federal if it is similar to USA Constitution. But I would like to say that the American Constitution in itself is not federal. The basic feature of federalism is not satisfied by the USA Constitution. For example- there should be one written Constitution but in USA, Centre and states have their own Constitution. There are some other basic features of the federalism that is not fulfilled by the USA Constitution. It was only an example to show that how USA Constitution is not federal Constitution. In S. R. Bommai v Union of India, several judges have characterized the Indian Federalism in different ways. SAWANT, J., has observed that:

“Democracy and Federalism are essential part of our Constitution and are parts of its basic

As I have mentioned that the design of Indian Constitution is federal, but there some areas which create a doubt that is the design of Indian Constitution federal or not. During emergency, under article 352, the center gets more overriding powers vis-à-vis the State. It can be directions to the way they should exercise their executive power [Art. 353(a)]. During a financial emergency, the Centre can give directions to a state [art. 360(3)], and, under art. 356, the Centre can take over a State Government when it cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution. Under the Plantation Labor Act, 1951, the executive power is let with the state but the Central Government has power under S. 41 to give directions to a State Government as to the carrying into execution of the provision of the Act.

In State of Rajasthan v Union of India, BEG, C.J., sought to judge the Indian federalism by the yardsticks propounded by WHEARE (which is not generally accepted now) and characterized the Constitution as “more unitary than federal”, and having the „appearances‟ of a federal structure. He also went on to say “In a sense, therefore, the Indian union is federal. But, the extent of federalism in it is largely watered down by the needs of progress and development of a country which has to be nationally integrated, politically and economically coordinated, and socially, intellectually, and spiritually uplifted.”

Exercise of center was again justified in Karnataka v Union of India, the court held that “Our
Constitution has, despite whatever federalism may be found in its structure, so strongly unitary
features also in it ” If we talk about the finance freedom of the state that is also not fulfilled. Under article 280 (3) (a) of Indian Constitution, the Finance Commission has been provided power that it shall be the duty of Commission to make recommendations to the President as to the distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes, but the Union was not satisfied with this provision and it makes a body i.e. Planning Commission to decide in the matter of finance. By the de jure authority Prime Minister is appointed as Chairman of Planning Commission and the vice-chairman is appointed by Prime Minister itself. By this body near about 70% of taxes go to center and only 20% goes to the states.

Finally I would like to conclude that in Indian Constitution the provision is such that Center has
been some extra-ordinary power, which has been already discussed that in certain conditions how centre has supervision over the state. By only that reason Indian Constitution is Federal but with Strong Union.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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