Polity Notes


In earlier times, smaller states used to unite themselves to protect their Independence and sovereignty and for their mutual benefit. In case of attack by a bigger power, they used to fight against that power unitedly to protect their Independence.

In America there used to be 13 Independent sovereign States. In 1787, the representatives of these 13 States held a meeting at Philadelphia and made an agreement known as Philadelphia convention 1787. Through this agreement the 13 States agreed to make common mutual policies on 7 subjects e.g., Defence, Currency, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship, International Trade, etc to maintain their Independence, sovereignty and mutual benefits and formed a Union known as United States of America (U.S.A.). So, 13 States of America gave birth to a Union known as United States of America (U.S.A.). The agreement came into force in 1789 and became constitution of U.S.A. George Washington became its First President, Abraham Lincoln 16th President and now Joe Biden is 46th President.

UNION (United States of America U.S.A.) 13 States of America
Having law making power on seven subjects. E.g. Defence, currency, Foreign Affairs, citizenship, International Trade etc. 13 states of America having law making power on rest of the subjects. They transferred their law making power on seven subjects to the Union.

Centripetal Federation

Centripetal Federation i.e. flow of rights is from States to Union (Centre) meaning states are stronger than Union.

Six Essentials features of Federalism:

(i) Written Constitution

(ii) Strong Constitution

(iii) Supremacy of Constitution

(iv) Distribution of Powers between Centre and States

(v) Independent and Impartial Judiciary

(vi) Bicameralisms.

In India we do have all these six essential federal feature in our constitution, but we have so many non federal (Unitary) features too in our constitution as–


1) Single Constitution

2) Single Citizenship

3) Single National Flag

4) Single National Emblem

5) Single National Anthem

6) Three Lists under division of power instead of just one list (Union List).

7) More Powers to Union List. (Union List have 97 Subjects).

8) Uneven representation of states is Rajya Sabha.

9) Residuary Power with Centre.

10) Presence of Concurrent List

11) Appointment of State Governors by Centre

12) Emergency provisions-National Emergency (Article 352), State Emergency (Article 356) and Financial Emergency (Article 360).

13) All India Services.

14) Single Judicial system (Chief Justice and Judges of High Courts are appointed by President and can also be transferred from one High Court to another).

15) Parliament can establish or abolish Vidhan Parisad in a State (Article 169).

16) Amendment Procedure of Our Constitution (Article 368) States have no right to initiate any Amendment in Constitution.

17) States have no right to leave Indian Union.

18) Union can change the name of a State, can change the boundary of the state, can bifurcate a state into two or more states and can Unite two or more States into one etc.

In Fact our Federalism is as below:

Indian Union 28 States

Centrifugal Federalism

Centrifugal Federalism i.e. flow of rights is from Union (Centre) to States meaning Union is Stronger than states.

Our Federalism is of Centrifugal in nature similar to the Canadian Federalism.

Reasons of giving more powers to Union in our Constitution

Our Constituent assembly members were very foresighted. Their intension was to make India a strong Nation. A strong Centre was needed to keep India United and Stronger. That is why we have so many Unitary features in our Constitution to make centre stronger. Prof. K.C. Wheare called Indian Constitution as quasi-federal. Article 1 of our Constitution States – India i.e. Bharat shall be a Union of States. We deliberately choose the word Union instead of federation to make it clear that Indian Union is not a result of contract among States and that is why States have no right to leave Indian Union.

U.S. President Lincoln described U.S. federation as– U.S.A. is an indestructible federation of indestructible states.

Presently America is a federation of 50 States. U.A.E. is federation of 7 States, erstwhile U.S.S.R. was a federation of 15 States. Erstwhile Yugoslavia was a federation of 5 states. U.S.S.R. has been disintegrated into 15 sovereign Independent States. Yugoslavia into 5 Independent sovereign States. Czechoslovakia between Czech and slovakiya States etc.