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Indian Constitution

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Unique Nature of Indian Constitution

The Constitution of India has its own exemplary nature. It is both federal and unitary, as well as, quasi-federal. The Indian Constitution came into being on 26th January 1950 under the supervision of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the head of the drafting committee. Its unique qualities surely make it one of the best constitutions in the world that directs the second highest populated country in the world aptly. In this article, we will discuss the brilliance and nature of Indian Constitution.


Constitution of India: A Brief Introduction

The Indian Constitution is considered to be one of the longest among the democratic countries due to its exemplary features covering all the grounds of a diverse republican country. It has both federal and unitary features that make it a unique constitution to study.


The diversity in the population of India and the presence of different religions, castes, sects, tribes, backward classes, etc made it quite stringent to formulate a constitution. The drafting committee was headed by Dr. B R Ambedkar and 389 members (before independence) took three years to complete the features and provisions of the Constitution of India. The number of members reduced to 299 after India got its independence from British rule.


To understand its nature, we need to follow the unitary and federal features of Indian Constitution separately and then proceed to the quasi-federal features.


Federal Features of Indian Constitution

  • The prime feature of our federal constitution is its dual-government system where a central union and state unions exist at the same time. The central and state governments have sovereign powers that they exercise in their respective fields following the provisions mentioned in the Constitution of India.

  • The union or the central government deals with the national and international matters related to foreign affairs, international trade, defense, etc. The state governments take care of internal matters such as agriculture, health, resources, etc.

  • A written constitution must have a federal shape. This is why the Indian Constitution is the lengthiest documented constitution in the world.

  • The division of power between the central government and the state governments following the union list, concurrent list, and state list mentioned in Schedule VII.

  • It is the supreme law that every recognized Indian has to follow at all costs. In fact, all the authorities of the state and center will also follow the stated provisions.

  • The amendments in the constitution are rigid in terms of federal features. it cannot be changed by any of the governments. It can be changed only by the joint action of the union and state governments.

  • An independent judiciary system is formed and headed by the Supreme Court following the provisions of the Indian Constitution. It is formed to protect the Constitutions’ supremacy by aptly exercising judicial review power and authority. It is also formed to settle disputes and frictions between states or between the central government and state governments.


Unitary Features of Indian Constitution

  • As per the unitary features of Indian Constitution, Article 1 suggests that the union of states is not because of signing an agreement between the states. It also suggests that no state has the power to separate itself from this union.

  • Article 3 dictates that the Central Government has the authority to alter the state boundaries.

  • Amendments done via the unitary terms are less rigid than what is observed in the federal features. The unilateral action in the Parliament can bring certain changes in the existing law.

  • An integral judiciary system is set where the Supreme Court is at the top and the state or high courts underneath in terms of authority.

  • There is no separate constitution for the states but a single constitution for all. Hence, Indians hold single citizenship for the states and union.


Quasi-Federal Features of the Indian Constitution

If you look very closely, you will find that the Constitution of India is both federal and unitary in nature. This is why it has its own set of features that make it a quasi federal system. Here is the list of features that will help you understand its nature.

  • The power of intervention bestowed upon the central government lets it encroach or enter the reserved fields of the states to resolve disputes and for contingencies. It means that the nature of Indian Constitution is unitary whereas a two-tier setup is observed in the governance of India following federal features.

  • The intervention power of the central government is inconsistent with the federal system making it a unitary system.


Conclusion

This is how the Constitution of India is defined on both unitary and federal grounds. Its unique nature makes it a brilliant blueprint of law and provisions that all Indians follow irrespective of social status, power, gender, race, caste, religion, etc. The drafting of this constitution was done following the same of different countries enjoying democratic status. To get all the points of the features, download the nature of Indian constitution PDF and keep it handy for recollecting the points at ease.

Last updated date: 27th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Indian Constitution

1. Why the Indian Constitution is considered quasi-federal?

As described in this article, the presence of both federal and unitary features makes the Constitution of India quasi-federal. A perfect balance is brought into the terms and features of the constitution in order to maintain harmony in such a diverse population. It also describes how the power and authority are divided between the center and state governments.

2. When can we observe the unitary features of the Indian Constitution?

When there is a state of emergency or crisis in a state or between states, the Central Government takes over for the time being. It is done to neutralize the power of the states involved and to restore harmony. It is practiced as a contingency to overcome critical situations. It is then the unitary features of Indian Constitution that can be visualized overpowering the federal structure. This condition recedes when the situation is under control.

3. What is the difference between unitary and federal features of the Indian Constitution?

India does follow dual polity and presence of the Union Government and State Government can be seen here. The powers, functions and responsibilities are said to be distributed among the both as per the constitution. The features which includes both states and the Union are federal features whereas the features includes only the Union are called Unitary features etc. For example, the federal features can be division of powers and Unitary features can be some powers which are excercised by the Union only such as emergency powers.