Essential characteristics of Federal Constitution.

Constitution usually has the following the essential characteristics- There are five main characteristics of federal constitution are as follows

1)  Distribution of powers -

2)  Supremacy of constitution.

3) Written Constitution

4) Rigidity

5)  Authority of Court -

1)  Distribution of Powers -

               Distribution of power is an essential feature of federalism. Federalism means the distribution of the powers of the state among a number of co-ordinate bodies bodies each originating in and  controlled by the constitution. 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 interested to the union , and matter of local concern with the states .

2) Supremacy of the Constitution -

              A Federal states derives its existence from the Constitution, just as a Corporation derives its existence from the grant by which it is created. Hence , every, Power, executive, legislative or judicial whether it is belongs to the nation or to the individual state is subordinate to and controlled by the Constitution. The Constitution in a Federal state constitutes the supreme law of the land .

      Prof. Wheare says "that those  two institutions - the Supreme Constitution and the written constitution are then ,  essential institutions to a Federal government. The  Supreme constitution is essential if  government is to be federal; the written constitution is  essential if  Federal government is to work well.

3) A Written constitution

        A  Federal constitution must almost necessarily be a written Constitution. The foundations of a federal state are complicated contracts. It will be practically impossible to maintain the Supremacy of the Constitution unless the terms of the Constitution have been reduced  into writing.  To base an arrangement of this kind upon understanding or conventions would be certain to generate misunderstandings and disagreements.

4) Rigidity -

          A natural corollary of a written constitution is its rigidity. A constitution which is the supreme law of the land must also be rigid.  In a rigid constitution the procedure of amendment is very complicated and difficult . This does not mean that the constitution should be legally unalterable. It simply means that the power of amending the Constitution should not remain exclusively with either the central or state governments. A Constitution of a country is considered to be a permanent document.  It is the supreme law of land. This supermacy of the Constitution can only be maintained if the method of amendment is rigid.

5) Authority of courts -

            In a federal state the legal supremacy  of the Constitution is essential for the existence of the federal system . The very nature of the of a federal state involves a division of powers between the central and the state governments under the framework of the Constitution. It  is therefore essential to maintain this division of powers between the two levels of governments. This must be done by some independent and impartial authority above and beyond the ordinary bodies whether Federal or state final power to interpret the Constitution and guard the entrenched provisions of the Constitution.

         The Indian Constitution possess all the essential characteristics of a Federal constitution mentioned above.


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