The Indian Constitution is called quasi federal because it is federal in character and unitary in spirit.
- In a federal country, the powers are divided between the central and state governments. While the central government takes all the decisions regarding the governance of the country, the state governments independently administer their states.
- The state governments are not the agents of the central government and do not draw their authority from it. Both central and state governments draw their authority from the Constitution.
- The Indian Constitution is called quasi federal because it is federal in character and unitary in spirit.
Why Our Constitution is Quasi Federal in character
Our Constitution is federal in character because of the following reasons:
The powers are divided between the legislature, executive, and judiciary. The judiciary functions independently of the control of the government. The independence of the judiciary is maintained in the following ways:
- The judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court are appointed by the President.
- The salaries and allowances of the judges cannot be reduced to their disadvantage.
- Once appointed, the judges cannot be removed from their office till their retirement except in the cases of gross misconduct.
- The Supreme Court can declare any law framed by the Parliament as null and void if it is not consistent with the spirit of the Constitution.
There is a division of power between the union and state governments while making laws. The three lists in which the government can make laws are
- Union List: It has 97 subjects on which only the centre can make laws.
- State List: It has 66 subjects on which only the state government can make laws.
- Concurrent List: It has 47 subjects on which both state and central governments can make laws.
The revenues of the country are distributed between the center and the state. The Indian Constitution has unitary features also. These are
- India has a strong central government. Both central and state governments can frame laws on the Concurrent List. In case of any dispute, the central law prevails.
- The union government frames laws on economic policies, foreign affairs, and currency. These subjects are more important than the others.
- Residuary powers rest with the union government in India. The residuary powers relate to those subjects which are not included in any of the three lists.
- The governors of the state are appointed by the President.
- During an emergency, the powers of the central government are enhanced and those of the state governments are curtailed.
- India has one single constitution for the entire country. Any amendments to the Constitution can be made only by the central government. The people of the country have single citizenship.
- India has a single unified judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex and High Courts with subordinate courts below it. Only the Parliament of the country can change or fix the boundaries between two states or create new states.
- Also Read Salient Features of the Constitution