FEDERALISM: POLITICS OF SECESSION.
“Though the country and the people may be divided into
different states for convenience of administration, the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under asingle imperium derived from a
Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar
The Indian Constituent Assembly under the Presidentship of Dr. B.R Ambedkar thus pledgedfor a Secular Republic with its own form of Federalism. Federalism has been widely acceptedas the form of government which involves two or more tiers within the polity, each with ameasure of constitutional autonomy, each directly governing and being accountable to thepeople.
federalism is a viable political and legal tool for addressing the critical issues of conflict that exist in a multi- cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic country, the makers of the Constituent assembly devised a system which best suited the prevailing conditions post-British rule. However, in the absence of any track record or reliable radar to assessdepartures from the existing template of norms and yardsticks, which were derived fromthe then dominant models, jurists found it difficult to certify that the system was indeed
federal. It was therefore declared ‘Quasi
India is thus considered as a federal country with unitary features. The constitution of Indiaexplicitly adopted a federal political and administrative structure with enormous powers tothe central government and assigned certain specified financial and administrative powersto the state governments. In India, the inequality of states, and of regions within states, hascommonly generated tensions and dissatisfactions. Following are some of the basic reasonsfor these dissatisfactions:
Centralisation of power:
India is an example of “Cooperative Federalism” wherein, the
Centre or Union is stronger than the federal units or the States. The centre is strongenough to ensure that policies are formulated at this level (By the Parliament). Anexample of such powers is explained under Article 248 of the Indian Constitution, whichprovides the Union with
Another example of the Centre prevailingover the states is depicted through Article 201 of the Indian Constitution according towhich, legislation by a State is subject to disallowance by the President, when reservedby the Governor for his consideration. There are numerous such examples of India havinga strong Union which makes it all the more difficult for the state to govern themselves asmany a times the Centre is seen as encroaching upon its interests. This leads to clashesand tension between the centre and the states.
India is a Union of 28 states and 8 Union Territories wherein eachstate and Union territory is distinct in terms of Size, Population, Linguistics, Culture, etcand each aspires to fulfil the interests of its people. Unequal States give rise to the needfor the constitutional recognition of inequality, to be built into the federal polity in wayswhich protect diversity without sacrificing unity or imposing uniformity. In India, theinequality of states, and of regions within states, has commonly generated tensions and