What are the Distinctive Features of Indian Constitution

What are the Distinctive Features of Indian Constitution

What are the Distinctive Features of Indian Constitution

Indian Constitution provides for a federal structure i.e., dual polity – one government at the Centre and the other government in each of the States and has the following essential ingredients of a federation:

  • Two Governments
  • Division of powers between centre and the states
  • Supremacy of the Constitution
  • Independent Judiciary
  • Rigid Constitution
  • Bicameralism
  • Written Constitution

Article 1 of the Constitution of India describes India, ie., Bharat as a Union of States consisting of

  • the territories of the States
  • the Union Territories
  • any territories that may be acquired

It lays down that India, shall be a Union of States meaning that the Union was not the result of a compact or agreement between the constituent units but a forthright declaration by the Constituent Assembly which derived its power and authority from the sovereign people of India.  No state could, therefore secede from the Union nor could it by itself alter its territory.

Also the word “Federation” is not mentioned in the Constitution. Thus it can be concluded that the provision of Union and State Governments in the Constitution of India aims at administrative convenience and does not adopt the standard model of Federalism in which states are guaranteed maximum autonomy.

The Constitution of India provides for a federal form of Government in which the centre has more powers and exercises control over the states. In other words, the Constitution of India provides for a federation with a strong centre. The most important reason for adopting the Canadian model of Federation with a strong centre in the Constitution is the social and geographical diversity of India.

Certain provisions of the Constitution which confer greater powers on the Centre, are termed as the distinctive features of the Indian Constitution.  These features form the basis to the contention that India is federal in form but unitary in spirit and often referred to as the unitary features of the Indian Constitution. The features are:

  1. Single Constitution for the Centre and the States
  2. Centre can change the names and boundaries of States
  3. Division of Powers in favour of the Centre
  4. Residuary powers (Article 248) vested in the Centre
  5. Integrated Judiciary
  6. Appointment of the Governor by the Centre
  7. Common All India Services
  8. Financial dependence of States on the Centre
  9. Centralized Electoral Machinery
  10. The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General
  11. Flexible Constitution
  12. Appointment of the High Court Judges by the President
  13. Inequality of Representation in the Council of States
  14. Unitary in Emergencies
  15. Single Citizenship

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