02nd December, 2015 (MAINS)


Q1. Though the federal principle is dominant in our Constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss. [12.5marks/2014/GS-4] 150 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Sooraj Mehra

    Federalism: When the sovereignty is divided between the central government authority and the political units such as the states, the system of government is called federalism.

    1.The Indian federalism resembles more closely to the Canadian model with strong central government rather than the American model. Although the term “federal” is not used in the Indian Constitution but the structure of governance is basically federal in nature.
    2.The jurisdiction powers and functions of the Union and states are demarcated under the Seventh Schedule. The central government has overriding powers within this basic framework. State government has to exercise its powers in compliance with the laws made by Central government and must not impede on the executive powers of the Union.
    3.The Governors of the states are also appointed by the central government. The central government can take over the state government in case of breakdown of Constitutional machinery in the state.
    4.The unified judiciary, single CAG and Election Commission, more financial powers to the Central government also show that the federal principle leans in favour of strong center.

    But a strong center is needed for strong states and vice versa which is the essence of co-operative federalism.

    • Nikhil Singh

      point wise answers are allowed in UPSC????

      • Deepak Tomar

        provided you write an answer related to the queston and your language should be simple..

  • Shashank Garg

    The Constitution of India has a federal character and clearly defines the powers and role of state government in legislative, executive and financial domain.

    1. It provides for an independent judiciary, bicameral system at centre and rigidity for amending federal provisions.

    2. Several judgements such as S.R. Bommai Vs. Union of India 1994 strengthened the federal fibre.

    In constitution assembly debates Dr Ambedkar said “India is not a result of states coming together to form a federation, and the states don’t have the right to secede from the Union.” Due to this reason Indian Constitution tends towards a strong central government.

    1. The provisions of articles 356 and 365 and the non-transparent method for appointment of governor has weakened the federal spirit in the country.

    2. President’s veto over state’s bills and provisions allowing Parliament to legislate on state subjects (Article 249, 252) shows the centralizing tendencies.

    K.C Wheare called Indian Constitution as quasi-federal i.e. unitary with several federal features.