What is Federalism?
Federalism is a legal system that establishes two orbs of government in a
country, one at the centre with power over the entire nation and the other at
the State with regional jurisdiction.
As a result, a citizen of a federal country thus becomes subject to decrees of
It is part of a decentralization process that, among other specialities, is
based on the principles of the legislature. Government standards are combined
and defined by legal and regulatory norms.
It is a two-tiered system of government with the centre and the units/ states
having clearly defined roles.
The central tenets of federalism are the legislature, the distribution of power,
the State's supremacy, the right to a fair trial, the enactment of laws, the
division of regions, and the distribution of tangible power.
The Essential features
The most significant feature of a federation is that its Constitution should be
written so that both the Union Government and the State can guide that as and
when needed. The Constitution of India is a written document and is the most
intricate Constitution on the planet. It establishes the supremacy of the
Constitution because both the Union and the states are given powers by the
Constitution to be self-reliant in their spheres of administration.
The procedure of amending the Constitution in a federal system is commonly
rigid. Indian Constitution provides that some amendments require a special
majority. Such an amendment must be passed by a majority of the total members of
each house of the Parliament and by the two-thirds majority of the members
present and voting therein.
However, in addition to this process, some amendments must be approved by at
least 50% of the states. After this procedure, the amendment is signed by the
head of the State, i.e., the President. In India, important amendments can be
amended through this procedure. Hence, the Indian Constitution has been rightly
called a rigid constitution.
Supremacy of the Constitution:
In the Minerva Mills case whereby the Supreme Court held that "government,
legislature, executive and judiciary are all bound by the Constitution, and
nobody, is above or beyond the Constitution."
Division of Powers
In our Constitution, there is a clear division of powers, so the States and the
Centre must enact and legislate within their sphere of activity. None violates
its limits and tries to encroach upon the functions of the other. Our
Constitution enumerates the Union, the State and the Concurrent List.
The Union List consists of 97 subjects of national importance such as Defence,
Railways, Post and Telegraph, etc. The State List consists of 66 subjects of
local interest, such as Public Health, Police etc. The Concurrent List has 47
subjects important to the Union and the State. Such as Electricity, Trade
Unions, Economic and Social Planning, etc.
Supremacy of the Judiciary
Another important feature of a federation is an independent judiciary to
interpret the Constitution and maintain its sanctity. The Supreme Court of India
has the original jurisdiction to settle disputes between the Union and the
States. It can declare a law unconstitutional if it contravenes any provision of
The concept of federalism in India emerged as early as 1927 during the Simon
Commission. This led to deliberations during the constituent assembly meetings
to focus on the concept of federalism and how it could be better than the
pre-existing examples of the United States, Australia and Canada. This process
of Reform continued until 1969, when all the states were properly formed.
He asserted that the Union was a "large corporation" and that it was not a
federal government. At the Constitutional Court, Ambedkar stated that the
Constitution of India is a Federal Constitution and defines what is called a
dual policy, which is a Union in the Core and States on the periphery of each
the powers of the monarchy to be exercised in their places of competence under
In Kesavananda Bharati vs the State of Kerala
, the Supreme Court upheld
its view of the constitutional nature of the Constitution.
In Rajasthan State vs Union of India
, the Constitutional Court held that
the Constitution is amphibian and can travel on a federal or corporate plane. In
the case of work under Article 356, there is movement on a joint aircraft.
Article 249 is well-designed and intended to ensure a high level of consistency
in the organization's work. States are obligated to comply with the laws
outlined in the State List.
In America, one is a citizen of the State in which he is a resident and of the
Like in India, some powers are given to the centre and some to the states. A
latent point to note is that the American Civil war took place because the
states had the right to declare slavery legal or illegal with no provision for
the centre to overrule this. Finally, the three-fifths compromise was reached,
counting each enslaved person as 3/5th of a person.
All rights not granted by the Constitution to the United States of America are
reserved for Americans or individuals.
Significant consequences for the separation between the states Given the local
capital, trustworthiness has become as important as the commercial sector as a
machine for centralized power control.
Do we say that the United States is a Confederation? In the case of Texas V.
White, Chief Justice Salmon held that the United States was indelible.
In Chisholm vs Keokia
, the first constitutional decision of the Northern
Court of Justice was passed in 1793, Concerning public authority.
To conclude, Dr Ambedkar said that, unlike America, a confederation of states
which had entered into an agreement and could secede at any time, the Indian
structure was more of a union because division was now impossible.