Is India a Federal Country? Yes or No?

India is a member of the Forum of Federations, an international body based in Ottawa, Canada, which is dedicated to the study of Federalism. It is "concerned with the contribution federalism makes and can make to the maintenance and construction of democratic societies and governments".

John Kincaid, Professor of Government and Public Service at Lafayette College, Easton, PA, in an introduction to the 2002 Handbook of Federal Countries, defines federalism like this:
[It] can be said to be both a structure and a process of governance that establishes unity on the basis of consent while preserving diversity by constitutionally uniting separate political communities into a limited, but encompassing, polity. Powers are divided and shared between a general government having certain nation-wide, continent-wide, or world-wide responsibilities.
Here's an excerpt from an article on India on the forum's website:
At the time the constitution was written the predominant concern of the founding fathers was the preservation of the unity and integrity of India, which had more than 600 varied princely states plus the provinces of British India at the time of independence. Nowhere in the constitution is the word 'federal' mentioned. Indeed, the constitution says India is a 'Union of States' and it envisaged a strong centre. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution, has said that the use of the word 'Union' was deliberate. The drafting committee wanted to make it clear that although India was to be a federation, it was not the result of an agreement initiated by the constituent states. During normal times India functions as a federation but it can be and has been transformed into a unitary state during extraordinary circumstances.
Sure, India did not become a federation as the result of an agreement initiated by the constituent states. We know for a fact that Karnataka as defined today was itself torn into pieces at that point of time (and was united albeit with the loss of some areas because of the work of people like Alura Venkata Rao), so the question of Karnataka initiating any argument does not arise at all.

But the question which does arise is: is India a federation of states today? Yes or no? Can somebody clear the confusion?

3 comments:

ರಾಜ್ said...

Whether India is a federal country or not, it is clear that there are several severe flaws in the constitution of the country. And certain notorious criminal politicians and their boot-licking bureaucrats want to take advantage of the confusion to destroy every bit of federalism and diversity in the country and therefore destroy the country as a whole. This cannot be allowed at any cost.

There is no other option for a huge country like India than to become truly federal in nature. Even medium sized countries and some small countries that have diversity of some kind are federal in nature. If India tries to become less federal and more unitary, it would spell doom for the country.

Mani said...

My Australian Colleauge used to say that They perceive India more like Europe or Russia. They would

Biligere Ramachandra Rao said...

If, in India, we accept that the final word is that by the supreme Court of india, it ha already given its verdict.
the supreme Court has ruled , India is a Unitary state and not a Federation of States. The current states were created by an act of the parliament of India, and as such the creatures of the Parliament cannot claim to be the mother of the Parliament. The State assemblies, Governments and other statutory bodies can be dismised by wither the Union government or by the parliament. That the Indian state is a Federation is a matter of False perception, propagated by Press and illiterate writers

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