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The contemporary discourse on federalism in India is moving on a discursive note across multiple dimensions, be it economic, political, and cultural, to the extent that one is compelled to regard India to be at an inflection point vis­a­vis Centre­State relations owing to increasing asymmetry.

Federal, quasi-federal or hybrid

  • Indian version of Federalism- India consciously adopted a version of federalism that made the Union government and State governments interdependent on each other (latter more vis­a­vis the former) thereby violating the primal characteristic of a federal constitution i.e., autonomous spheres of authority for Union and State governments.
  • According to Ambedkar- Ambedkar called India’s federation a Union as it was indestructible which is why the Constitution does not contain words related to federalism. He also said that India’s Constitution holds requisite flexibility to be federal and unitary on a need basis.
  • According to SC- While the Supreme Court of India held that federalism was a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution in the S.R. Bommai vs Union of India case (1994), the Court also held that the Indian variant of federalism upholds a strong centre in the Kuldip Nayar vs Union of India case (2006).
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