Introduction -

                                Constitutions are either Unitary or Federal. In a Unitary Constitution the powers of the government are centralized in one Government viz. The central government. The provinces are subordinate to the centre. In a federal Constitution, On the other hand, There is a division of powers between the federal and state government and both are Independent in their own spheres .
There is a different opinion amongst the constitutional jurists about the nature .
One view is that it is a Quasi federal Constitution and contains more Unitary features than federal. The other view is that it is a federal Constitution wia novel feature adopting itself national emergencies .

The view of the framers of the Indian constitution -

                                                                                       The Indian constitution is a federal Constitution. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar , the chairman of the drafting committee, observed thus , " I think it is agreed that our Constitution notwithstanding the many provisions which are contained in it whereby the centre has been given powers to override the provinces nonetheless is a federal Constitution".

Meaning of Federal principle -
                A federalism is one in which there is separation of powers between the centre and the States. The American Constitution is universally regarded as an example of federal Constitution.
The principle of federalism was adopted in the Government of India Act,1935 and thereafter the Indian Constitution. It is one of the basic features of the Indian Constitution, as held in KeshavNand Bharti Case.

Meaning of a Unitary constitution -

                     According to this, the entire power is vested in a single Central authority. There is no division or sharing of powers between other states or regional authorities with the centre.
A federal constitution usually has the following essential characteristics :

1.Separation of power

2. Written constitution

3.Rigid constitution

4.Independent Judiciary

5.Bicameral legislature

6.Supremacy of the constitution.

1) Separation of powers -

                                        As stated above, the constitution of India has incorporated the principle of federalism under part VII . This part comprises of three lists called as..

1)Central list

2) State list And

3)Concurrent list.

                                       The legislative powers of the centre and the states have been divided under these lists, the number of the entries/ subject in each list is 100,  67 and 52 respectively. In this scheme the central government can legislate on the central list subjects, the state government can legislate on the state list subjects, and both the centre and state can legislate on the concurrent list subjects. Furthermore, residual power to legislate remain with the centre.

2) A written Constitution -
                                               The Indian Constitution is a written constitution and not  unwritten like in Britain.

3) Rigid Constitution-
                                        It is called Rigid  because the amendment process is not easy and requires special majority in certain cases concerning the centre and state relations. Where an amendment can be passed the only with two third majority of the members present and voting in the Parliament (including absolute majority of the total membership)  and subsequent ratification by one half of the States.

4) Independent Judiciary -

                                           The Indian judiciary is the guardian of the Constitution. It is empowered by the constitution to strike down any law that contravenes the constitution.

5) Bicameral legislature -
                                            The system of polity in India compresses of two houses the Lok Sabha (lower house) and the Rajya Sabha (Upper house). The former comprises of members are elected directly by the way of Universal adult franchise and the latter consists of representative members from units based upon population. India links this feature to its Federal structure.

6) Supermacy of the Constitution-
                                                                 The Indian Constitution is the supreme as compared to all order laws at National and regional level. It is the pedestal on which every other law is tested for being within the constitutional limits. 

                                    Hence, the federal structure is not strictly Federal in India, like USA or Australia. It has centralising tendency. It can be also called as Qusi-Federal or cooperative federalism.


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