The Indian Constitution provides a federal system of government since it incorporates all of the typical characteristics of a federation, such as dual administration, division of powers, written constitution, supremacy, rigidity, independent judiciary, and bicameralism.

The Indian Constitution, on the other hand, incorporates a substantial number of unitary or non-federal elements. Furthermore, India is described as a ‘Union of States’ in Article 1 of the Indian constitution.

Characteristics of the Indian Constitution That Suggest a Desire To Centralize Power:

Inequitable Power Distribution:

From a federal standpoint, the division of powers favours the Centre and is very inequitable. Because the Union List comprises more vital subjects (such as defence, currency, external affairs, citizenship, and railways) than the State List, the Centre has overriding jurisdiction over the Concurrent List, as well as residuary powers.

States have no territorial integrity:

Any state’s area, boundaries, or name can be changed unilaterally by the Parliament.

The Constitution’s Flexibility:

The Constitution of India enshrines not only the national but also the state constitutions.

Furthermore, the majority of the Constitution can be modified unilaterally by Parliament, and the ability to initiate a constitutional amendment rests solely with the Centre.

Provisions For An Emergency:

During a national emergency, the federal government becomes all-powerful, and the states are completely under the control of the federal government.

Without a formal revision to the Constitution, it transforms the federal structure into a unitary one.

Governor’s Appointment:

The governor is the state’s chief executive, but the President appoints him. He is in office when the President is in office.

He also works for the Centre as an agent.

The Indian constitution establishes an integrated auditing system, as well as an election commission, over which the states have no jurisdiction.

Single Citizenship, Integrated Judiciary, and All India Services are other signs of a centralising trend.


There is an ultimate centralising inclination in practically every federation in the globe, according to rigorous examination. In order to maintain integrity and meet the country’s distinct needs.

In Kuldip Nayar v Union of India, the Supreme Court declared that Federalism is a fundamental component of the Indian Constitution, that it is distinctive in nature and fitted to the country’s special circumstances.

As a result, it would not be incorrect to conclude, as stated by K C Wheare, that the Indian Constitution is federal in form and unitary in spirit, i.e., it is quasi-federal in character.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish June 19, 2023