Indian Federalism is a reflection of India’s historical experience

Indian Federalism


Federalism means division of power and authority between state and centre. This form of
government also called ‘federation’ or a federal state. The term ‘federal’ means ‘contractual’. A federal state is that state which brought into being through a contractual union of sovereign state. When it comes to Indian federalism, it reflects divided authority, but ultimate sovereignty and supremacy lies with the federal government i.e.

Central Government) just like Mauryan administration, Mughal administration and British administration.

Structure of Indian Federation

  • Indian Constitution is written and relatively rigid.
  • Provision of amendment that can be done with the consent of a majority of the state  legislatures.
  • The Supreme Court of India has original jurisdiction to decide disputes between
          -Union and state or a group of states.
         -State to another state or a group of states.
         -Our group of states to another group of states.

Historical Legacy of Federalism

Historical Legacy of Federalism
It is very important to know the historical legacies in the shaping of any polity. Especially when it comes to India because Indian socio-polito-economic was wrecked time to time by Huns, Delhi Sultanate, Mughals and lastly Britishers. And also through the development of mass communication, the spread of the English language and mass mobilisation under MK Gandhi which created political unity which the national leadership could build upon. The wisdom of founding fathers in the Constituent Assembly was great move in appeasing of existing turmoil as their first mission. They surpass the immediate context to lay the foundation of durable democracy, forsaking neither principles nor their vision of what the Republic of India intended to represent.


Finally, the framework adopted significantly from all existing models of federalism. The constituent assembly formulated a system which seemed most suited to the needs of the time and the requirements of federal society. In the absence of any back record from the existing template of norms and wisdom which were derived from the then dominant models. Therefore, it was called or declared Quasi-federal.



Today, India’s political institutions are widely recognised as a vigorous albeit hybrid variant of the federal species. Self rule and shared ruled have been linked in unorthodox ways which have enabled the union of India to not only survive, but also flourish and enhance in all its diversity.

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  1. Polity | Aspirant Forum - November 17, 2015

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