The Federal Context of India
India is known as a federal republic state. Although the word “Federation” finds no mention in the Constitution, India is a federation.
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation. Usage of the term republic is inconsistent but, as a minimum, it means a state or federation of states that does have a monarch.
In a federation, the division of power between federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution. It is in this way that the right to self-government of the component states is usually constitutionally entrenched. Component states often also possess their own constitutions which they may amend as they see fit, although in the event of conflict the federal constitution usually takes precedence.
In almost all federations the central government enjoys the powers of foreign policy and national defense. Were this not the case a federation would not be a single sovereign state, per the UN definition. Notably, the states of Germany retain the right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange for the Kingdom of Bavaria’s agreement to join the German Empire in 1871. Beyond this the precise division of power varies from one nation to another. The constitutions of Germany and the United States provide that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained by the states. The Constitution of Canada, on the other hand, states that powers not explicitly granted to the provincial governments are retained by the federal government. Much like the US system, the Australian Constitution allocates to the Federal government (the Commonwealth of Australia) the power to make laws about certain specified matters which were considered too difficult for the States to manage, so that the States retain all other areas of responsibility. Under the division of powers of the European Union in the Lisbon Treaty, powers are not either exclusively of European competence or shared between EU and state is retained by the constituent states.
The United States of America prides itself on it's democratic government, but the power of the federal government todays threatens American democracy. The Federal Government should grant states more powers to govern themselves. States' Rights, in United States history, advocated the strict limitation of the advantages of the federal government to those powers assigned to it in the Constitution of ...
In a federal republic, there is a division of powers between the national “federal” government, and the government of the individual subdivisions. While every nation manages this division of powers differently, national security and defense, monetary policy, and other issues of a “national” scope are handled at the “federal” level while more local issues such as road and infrastructure maintenance and education policy are handled at the local level. In other words, while the federal government has ultimate sovereignty, there is a limited sovereignty granted to the subdivisions, where the federal government does not have jurisdiction. This is in contrast to a unitary republic whereby the national government has complete sovereignty over all aspects of political life, and subdivisions are purely administrative in nature.
A federation is characterized by the following features which are enshrined in the Indian Constitution, thus entitling India to call itself a federally governed nation:
Essay Paper #3 A) The "Social Contract" was a theory written in the 17 th and 18 th century. This theory argued four important main points. These main points said that the state existed to serve the will of the people, that people were the only source of government power, that the people were free to withhold power of the government, but also had the ability to give power to the government, and ...
1. There must be two levels of government- the Central Government, and the State Governments.
2. The powers and functions of the Central Government and the State Governments must be defined in a written constitution.
3. Both the governments must be autonomous within their respective areas of operations. In other words, the Central Government should have its exclusive field of functioning and so should the State Government.
4. Disputes regarding the powers and functions of the Central Government and the State Governments should be decided by an independent judiciary.
The Indian Constitution meets all four conditions mentioned above. The Constitution visualizes two (since the 73rd amendment in operation from 1993, three) levels of government, each being autonomous in its own sphere of functioning. There is the constitutional distribution of functions between the two levels of government. The Central Government has jurisdiction over 97 subjects: strictly speaking there 96 subjects, the 97th being ‘any other matter not enumerated in List II or List III including ant tax not mentioned in either of those Lists’. This is really the residuary power. The State List includes 66 subjects, which are within the exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the State Legislature. Also, there is a Concurrent List consisting of 47 subjects over which both the Governments have concurrent jurisdiction, subject, of course, to the superiority of the Central Government. The disputes between the Central Government and States are to be decided by the Supreme Court, which is an independent body under the Constitution.
Nevertheless, the Constitution creates an extraordinarily powerful Central Government. Article 249 authorizes Parliament to enact legislation on any subject in the State List, provided the Rajya Sabha by a two-thirds majority empowers it to do so. Under Article 312, Parliament is empowered to create new all-India services common to the Central and the States, provided the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to this effect by a two-thirds majority. Article 257 places the States under the control of the Central Government in certain cases.
Further, Articles 200 and 201 empower the Governor-who is a presidential appointee- to reserve a bill passed by the State Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President who has the power to veto it without giving any reasons. The powers of the Central Government become far-reaching, indeed unrestricted, in times of emergency. The Union can virtually function as a unitary state (a) when the security of the country is threatened, (b) when there is failure of the Constitution in a State, or (c) when there is threat to the financial stability of any State.
The Constitution of the United States was fundamentally sound although in need of a few adjustments. It provided stability and union, a strong central government and only needed a few adjustments, one being the rights of free blacks. The Articles of confederation was the country s first true attempt at uniting the nation and having a central government. It provided a firm league of friendship ...
Finally, a most unusual feature of Indian federalism is that there is nothing permanent about the very identity of the States. Article 3 of the Constitution provides that the Parliament may by law
a. form a new State,
b. increase the area of any State,
c. diminish the area of any State,
d. alter the boundaries of any State, or
e. Alter the name of any State. And, as Article 4 confirms, such a law is not to be construed as an amendment of the Constitution. It is stressed that the Central Government has made ample use of this provision contained in Article 3.