Federal and Unitary Features of Indian Constitution

On the basis of relations between the central government and the units, the governments are classified as unitary and federal. In a unitary system of government, all powers are vested in Centre while in a federal system; the powers are divided between the centre and the states by the constitution. The constitution of India provides a federal system even though it describes India as union of states. The term union of states implies that states have no freedom to recede from India. Indian Constitution is also called quasi-federal because it has features of both federal and unitary types of governments. It has been called a unique blend of unitary and federal features by the Supreme Court. The key federal features are written constitution; concept of constitutional supremacy; complex procedure of amendment of constitution in certain matters; an independent judiciary; clear division of powers via 7th schedule; provision of Rajya Sabha {it is a federal feature as states have been given representation in this house} etc.

Unitary features include strong centre; absence of separate constitution of states, right of parliament to amend major portions of constitution, unequal representation in Rajya Sabha, states not given guarantee of territorial integrity, single constitution; single citizenship; flexibility of constitution; integrated judiciary; appointment of state governor by the centre; all India services and emergency provisions, single election machinery for state / centre government elections, CAG office which looks into the accounts of both states and union etc.

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