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Quasi federalism

  • IASbaba
  • May 3, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Indian Constitution-Features)

Quasi federalism

  • Federal theorist K.C. Wheare has argued that the nature of Indian Constitution is quasi-federal in nature.
  • The SC in Sat Pal v State of Punjab and Ors (1969) held that the Constitution of India is more Quasi-federal than federal or unitary.

What is Quasi-federalism?

  • Quasi-federalism means an intermediate form of state between a unitary state and a federation. It combines the features of a federal government and the features of a unitary government.

Why India opted for Quasi Federalism/centralized federalism

  • First was the partition of India and the immediate concerns.
  • The second reason was the reconstitution of social relations in a highly hierarchical and discriminatory society towards forging a national civic identity
  • The third reason concerns the objective of building a welfare state and
  • The final reason was to alleviate inter-regional economic inequality.

To achieve the above mentioned objectives, centralized federalism was essential

What are the Quasi federal features of Indian State?

  • Article 3 – Destructible nature of states, unlike in other federations, the states in India have no right to territorial integrity. The parliament can change the area, boundaries, or name of any state.
  • Single Constitution, it is applicable to both the Union as a whole and the Stares. In a true federation, there are separate constitutions for the union and the States.
  • In Rajya Sabha, the States do not have equal representation. The populous States have more representatives in the Rajya Sabha than the less populous States.
  • The emergency provisions are contained in Part XVIII of the Constitution of India, from Articles 352 to 360. In the emergency provisions, the central government becomes all-powerful and the states go into total control of the Centre.
  • All India Services violate the principle of federalism under the constitution.
  • The governor is appointed by the president. He also acts as an agent of the Centre. Through him, the Centre exercises control over the states.
  • India has a unified or integrated judicial system. The High Court’s which work in the States are under the Supreme Court of India.
  • Union veto over State Bills: The governor has the authority to hold certain sorts of laws passed by the state legislature for presidential consideration.

Advantages of Quasi Federal System

  • National Integration – With the various provisions like Article 356, separatist tendency can be tackled
  • Cooperation and Coordination: A Quasi Federal structure allows Centre to coordinate National level programmes. For instance, Canter and State collaborated in their against pandemic
  • Resolving Inter State Conflicts: A quasi federal structure allows centre to act as an arbiter in case of Inter State dispute. For example Border dispute and River Water dispute

Challenges

  • Abuse of Power by Centre: The federal provisions of the Constitution can only be amended with consent of the States. But Center often violates this provision. For instance, the recent Farm Laws.
  • Misuse of Governor Office: imposition of constitutional Emergency in a state, reserving bills for President assents etc
  • Other problems: delayed disbursal of resources and tax proceeds, bias towards electorally unfavorable States, evasion of accountability, blurring spheres of authority, weakening institutions etc
  • All these signal towards the diminishing of India’s plurality or regionalization of the nation — a process that is highly antithetical to the forging of a supra-local and secular national identity that preserves and promotes pluralism.

Way Forward

  • Reforms at the institutional and political level can deepen the roots of federalism in India.
  • Democratic Decentralization of administration and strengthening governments at all levels in true spirit.
  • Proper utilization of the institutional mechanism of the Inter-State Council must be ensured to develop political goodwill between the Centre and the states

Source: The Hindu

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