The rope of federalism and an unwanted tug-of-war (GS-2, Polity, The hindu)

Context:- Issue of alapan bandyopadhyay who was the chief secy of bengal government, here he attended the meeting of P.M. bit late and then abruptly ended it and went away with the C.M. he was served a notice under the section of 51b in disaster management act-2005.

Federal Features of the India Union

  • Two governments i.e. Union Government and State governments
  • Division of powers between the union and its constituents
    • The Seventh Schedule of the Constitution contains three lists such as the Union List, State List, and Concurrent List. here they have exclusive power in their sphere in the normal times.
  • Supremacy of the Constitution 
    • Basic structure of the Constitution is made indestructible by the Judiciary in kesavananda bharati case
  • Partial rigidity of the Constitution means blend of flexibility and rigidity
  • An Independent Judiciary
  • Bicameralism or 2 houses of legislature.

 Big picture issues in the indian federalism:-

  • Federalism is a system of government where power is divided between two governments i.e. central and state or regional.
  • Regionalism
    • Example of recent bifurcation of andhra pradesh in to AP and telangana. Issue of gorkhaland.
  • The refusal of the Central government to compensate for Goods and Services Tax (GST) shortfall on account of lower revenue which was a legal commitment.
  • Issues in the recent Farm Acts
    • That allows farmers to sell their produce outside the APMC
    • Its aim is to promote inter-state trade but the Acts are and encroach upon the State list.
  • Recent amendment in banking regulations by the central government  by bringing cooperative banks under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) supervision.

Supreme court intervention:- State of West Bengal vs Union of India (1962)

  • The Supreme Court held that the Indian Constitution is not federal.
  •  S R Bommai vs Union of India (1994),
    • Supreme Court held federalism a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

Mechanism to Solve Dispute:

    • The Supreme Court has used two mechanisms to solve the dispute between Centre and states over  Seventh Schedule.
  • Doctrine of Pith and Substance
  • Doctrine of Colourable Legislation.
  • The Doctrine of Pith and Substance 
    • Constitutionality of legislation is upheld if it is largely covered by one list and touches upon the other list only incidentally.
    • finding out the true nature of a statute.
  • Pith denotes the ‘essence of something’ or the ‘true nature’, while substance states the most significant or essential part of something.
  • The Doctrine of Colourable Legislation 
    • This is all about the competence of the legislature against an enacted law. This doctrine states the fact that what cannot be done directly, cannot also be done indirectly.

Way Forward

  • A proper balance between the pillars of federalism, i.e. autonomy of states, national integration, centralisation, decentralisation, nationalisation, and regionalisation. 
    • Extreme political centralisation or chaotic political decentralisation can both lead to the weakening of Indian federalism which ultimately hurt the interest of the common man.
  • Reforms at the institutional and political level can deepen the roots of federalism in India. E.g.
    • The contentious role of the Governor in suppressing the states needs a review in the light of new challenges and opportunities
    • Proper utilisation of the institutional mechanism of the Inter-state Council under article 262 must be ensured to develop political goodwill between the Centre and the states on contentious policy issues.
    • The gradual widening of the fiscal capacity of the states has to be legally guaranteed without reducing the Centre’s share.

 

Download Daily Current Affairs of 11th June 2021

Swarn Singh

Plutus IAS Current Affair Team

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