Federalism: System of Governance and Purposes of Federalism

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System of Governance

  • A political principle for Multicultural Society

  • Provides Framework for Unity

  • Unity not Uniformity

  • Promotes Democratic Pluralism

  • In a federal government power is divided between the national and regional government

  • Federation derived from Latin tinwo “Foedus”

  • United States is the first federation in the World

  • India has a federal system but nowhere mentioned in the constitution

  • Indian federal system is based on Canadian Model and not of American model.

Purposes of Federalism

  • Vertical Division of Powers

  • Promotes National Integration

  • Inclusive political system

  • Prevent Conflicts

  • Makes government efficient and responsive

  • Preserve Identities and Rights

Federal Features of the Indian Constitution

  • Dual Polity

  • Written Constitution

  • Division of Powers

  • Supremacy of the constitution

  • Rigid Constitution

  • Independent Judiciary

  • Bicameralism

Non Federal Features of the Constitution

  • Strong Centre

  • States not destructible

  • No Equality of State Representation

  • Emergency Provisions

  • Single Citizenship

  • Integrated Judiciary

  • All India Services

  • Parliament authority over states

  • Appointment of Governor

Critical Evaluation of Federalism in India

  • K C Wheare described the Indian Constitution as Quasi - Federal

  • Ivor Jennings describes it as Federation with strong centralizing tendency

  • Granville Austin called it as Cooperative Federalism


1. In which case Supreme court held that Indian Constitution is Federal ?

a) Kesavananda Bharti Case

b) Golaknath Case

c) Bommai Case

d) Minerva Mills Case

Answer: C