All You Need To Know About Federal And Unitary Features

All You Need To Know About Federal And Unitary Features


The Indian Constitution establishes a federal government with a unitary bias. Subjects on the State List are administered by the states, whilst those on the Union List are under the control of the federal government. States in India do not have the authority to draught their own constitutions, in contrast to states in the US. The term "unitary bias" refers to the residual powers of the Central Government. The Canadian model is the foundation of the Indian federal structure. 


The Indian Constitution's federal features are listed below:

Written Constitution

•    The Indian Constitution is the longest constitution in the world and is not just a written document. A Prologue, 395 articles (in 22 parts), and 8 schedules were originally included.

Dual Polity

•    The union is included in a dual polity that is established under the constitution. Each has been given sovereign authority to use in the sphere that the Constitution has given to them individually.


•    A bicameral legislature with an upper house (Rajya Sabha) and a lower house is established by the constitution (Lok Sabha). The Lok Sabha represents all of India's citizens, while the Rajya Sabha represents the states that make up the Indian Union.

Division of Authority

•    In terms of the Union List, State List, and Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule, the Constitution divided the authorities between the Center and the states.

Constitution's Supremacy

•    The Constitution is the country's highest law. The laws created by the federal government and the states must follow the provisions. If not, the Supreme or High Court could invalidate them using its judicial review authority.

Rigid Constitution

•    Only if its amendment process is tight will the Constitution's established division of powers and supremacy of the law be preserved. In order to change the constitution, both chambers must consent.

Independent Judiciary

•    In order to maintain the supremacy of the constitution and to resolve conflicts between the Center and the states or between the states, the constitution provides an independent judiciary led by the Supreme Court. 
All You Need To Know About Federal And Unitary Features


The Indian constitution also has the unitary features listed below in addition to the federal aspects mentioned above:

Strong Center

•    The division of powers is unfair from a federal perspective and favors the central. Firstly, the Union list is longer than the State list, secondly, the Union list includes the more significant subjects, and thirdly, the Centre has final say about the Concurrent List.

Single Constitution

•    Both the federal and state constitutions are incorporated into the Indian constitution. Operating under this one framework is required by both the Center and the States.

States not indestructible

•    In contrast to other federations, India's states don't have a claim to geographical integrity. Every state's area, boundaries, or name are all revocable by the parliament.

Emergency Provisions

•    The emergency provisions are found in Articles 352 to 360 of Part XVIII of the Indian Constitution. In the emergency provisions, the federal government is given absolute power, and the states have complete influence over the federal government.

Single Citizenship

•    One person has the same rights as the entire nation under the concept of single citizenship. In Part 2 of the Constitution, Articles 5 and 11 discuss citizenship.

All India Services

•    There are all-India services [IAS, IPS, and IFS] in India that are available to both the federal government and the states. These services go against the constitution's federalism principle.

Appointment of governor

•    The president appoints the governor. He represents the Center as well. He serves as a conduit for the Center's authority over the states.

Integrated election machinery

•    Elections for the national and state legislatures are held by the election commission. Nonetheless, the president appoints the members of the Election Commission, and the states have no influence over this.

Lack of equitable state representation

•    Based on population, the states are assigned representation in the upper house. The membership ranges from 1 to 31 as a result.

Integrated Justice System

•    The phrase "integrated judiciary" describes a system in which decisions made by higher courts are binding on lower courts. All lower courts in India, from the Gram Panchayat to the High Courts, are included into the Supreme Court. The highest court is the Supreme Court.
All You Need To Know About Federal And Unitary Features

Integrated Audit Machinery

•    Officials from the Indian Audit and Account Services, a central agency in charge of overseeing not only the accounts and auditing of the Union Government but also the accounts and auditing of the States, work for the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.

Veto Over State Bills

•    The governor has the power to refer certain types of state legislature-passed laws to the president for review. Both in the first and second cases, the President has the right to decline to sign such bills. As a result, the President's veto over state law is absolute rather than conditional. States are independent in their various fields in Australia and the United States, where there is no such reserve.
•    It is evident from the aforementioned that India has strayed from the classic federal systems like the USA and added a significant number of unitary elements, tipping the scales of power in the Center's favor. K C where called the Indian constitution "quasi-federal."


•    The Supreme Court determined in the S. R. Bommai decision of 1994 that the Constitution is federal and referred to federalism as one of its "basic elements." The SC stated that states had independent constitutional existence in the Bommai case. They are not the Center's satellites or agents. The states are paramount within the area that is assigned to them.
•    In Kuldeep Nayyar v. Union of India, the Supreme Court ruled that federalism is a key component of the Indian Constitution, unique in nature, and specially crafted to meet the needs of the nation.


The authors of the Constitution took into consideration the fact that India has a distinctive diversity that is unmatched worldwide, particularly in any of the federal nations. As a result, the administration needed some kind of force to connect the various capabilities of the units together, or else. A check on the power of the national government was also necessary, and this was accomplished by giving the units (states) authority to handle issues pertaining to their individual affairs. The Indian Constitution is distinctive because it is a brand-new form of constitution that combines the qualities of a unitary and a federal government. It is referred to be a "union of states" rather than a "true federation."

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