[Answered]What is quasi-federalism? Is India a quasi-federal state?

Demand of the question

Introduction. What is quasi-federalism?

Body. How India is a quasi-judicial state?

Conclusion. Way forward.

 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. India is regarded as a semi-federal state or a quasi-federal state as described by Prof. K.C. Wheare. The Supreme Court of India also describes it as a federal structure with a strong bias towards the Centre.

 Quasi federal nature of Indian Constitution: Article 1 of the Constitution of India states that ‘India that is Bharat shall be a union of states’. Indian model of federalism is called the quasi-federal system as it contains major features of both a federation and union.

Federal Features of the Indian ConstitutionUnitary Features of the Indian Constitution
1. Supremacy of the Constitution: Constitution is the supreme law of land in India. A federal state derives its existence from the Constitution.1. Single Constitution: In India, there is only one 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.
2. Bicameral Legislature: The main feature of federalism is a bicameral legislature. The Constitution of India also provides for a bicameral legislature i.e. Parliament with two houses of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.2. Rajya Sabha does not represent the States equality: In a true federation, the upper house of the legislature has equal representation from the constituting units or the States. But 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.
3. Dual Government Polity: The Constitution of India has divided powers between the Central government and the state governments through the 7th schedule. It contains three legislative lists which enumerate subjects of administration, viz. Union, State and Concurrent Legislative Lists. Both the governments have their separate powers and responsibilities.3. Division of power is not equal: In a federation, power is divided equally between the two governments. But in India, the Central government has been given more powers and made stronger than the State governments.
4. Written Constitution: The Indian Constitution is a written document containing 395 Articles and 12 schedules, and therefore, fulfils this basic requirement of a federal government. The Indian Constitution is the most elaborate Constitution of the world.4. Existence of States depends on the Centre: In India, the existence of a State or a federal unit depends upon the authority of the Centre. The boundary of a State can be changed by created out of the existing States.
5. Rigid Constitution: The Indian Constitution is largely a rigid Constitution. All the provisions of the Constitution concerning Union-State relations can be amended only by the joint actions of the State Legislatures and the Union Parliament.5. Constitution is not strictly rigid: The Constitution of India can be amended by the Indian Parliament easily. On many subjects, the Parliament does not need the approval of the State legislatures to amend the Constitution. In a true federation, both the Union and the State legislatures take part in the amendment of the Constitution with respect to all matters.
6. Independent Judiciary: In India, the Constitution has provided for a Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of India can declare a law as unconstitutional, if it contravenes any provisions of the Constitution.6. Unified judiciary: India has a unified or integrated judicial system. The High Courts which work in the States are under the Supreme Court of India.
7. Revenue Sharing: In the case of a federal country there is a system of revenue sharing between the Center and the State. In India, there is the principle of dual GST system adopted by the legislation for the constitutional requirement of fiscal federalism.7. Proclamation of emergency: The Constitution of India has given emergency powers to the President. When an emergency is declared, the Union or Central governments become all powerful and the State governments come under the total control of it. The State governments lose their autonomy.

Thus, on a careful analysis of the federal and unitary features of the constitution, it is evident that with every federal feature, there is an ultimate centralising force which is existing. Therefore, it would not be wrong to conclude that the Constitution of India is federal in structure and unitary in spirit i.e. it is quasi- federal in nature.

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