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aditi srivastava   02 April 2021


Can anybody provide examples through simple instances as to why India is not a typical federal form of the constitution?

 2 Replies

JINALI SHAH   06 May 2021

Indian Constitution is quasi-federal which means it has both unitary and federal features. Few examples through which it shows that India is not a typical federal form of the Constitution are: 

1. In the U.S, territories of the States can't be altered by the Central Government whereas in India the Central Government has the power to alter the boundaries of the States, creates new States or UTs, change the names of States, etc. Example: Formation of Telangana, Special status of J&K removed. Ladakh declared as Union Territory. 

2. Even when it comes to matters not specified in the list and it is ambiguous whether it comes under the State or Central list, then in such cases in India only the Parliament has residuary powers of legislation whereas in the U.S such residuary powers are vested in the States to make laws for such matters or fields not specified in the Constitution. 

3. In India laws can be amended easily whereas in America amendments can be made by the 2/3rd majority of both houses. Very few amendments have taken place in the U.S while India has made many amendments till now. Thus, India is a blend of rigid + flexible form of the constitution while the U.S has a rigid form.

BHAVYA SOM GARG   11 July 2021

The reason for India not being a typical federal structure like the United States lies in its political, cultural and religious heterogeneity which can become a bottle-neck in undertaking policy actions. We have such a diverse population with varying interests that if given absolute provincial autonomy to the state governments, as is the feature of a classic federal structure, it may result in the Federal Government being handicapped on various issues like law and order situation in the state and can also lead to instances of frequent insubordination between the Federal and State Governments like the one we are witnessing between the government of West Bengal and Union Government.

Apart from that, the states can demand to cecede from the Federation if there demands are not met. Though in Texas v.White, the USA SC laid down that USA Federation is indestructible, such conditions can become grave in Indian conditions. For eg. The demand for a Khalistan state in the Punjab region and for Telangana state and various states on linguistic lines could have led to disintegration of the Union had it been not for a powerful Union Government which could control the situation while ensuring fulfillment of national interests.  So a typical federal structure cannot be set up in India.

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