Overview of the Indian Federal System
India has had a written constitution since 1950. This document was officially adopted on January 26, stating that India is a union of states. The Indian Constitution is silent on using the term federation; however, as a unitary document, it is also federal. This precedent is set according to the requirements of time and circumstances. The framework of their political structure mainly works as a national system. It reverts to a unitary system when the country faces the threat of war. This method concentrates power at the Centre to execute strategic war decisions.
Overview of the Canadian Federal System
Canada functions similar to the U.K. in that it is a constitutional monarchy. The nation has a constitution founded on the rule of law and respect for rights and freedoms. The heads of State in this country mainly handle ceremonial tasks whilst governing is done through representative democracy in Parliament. All decisions taken by Parliament in Canada are said to be in the name of the Crown. Regardless of this gesture, the proper governing authority derives its legitimacy from the Canadian people.
The lawmaking chambers in Canada’s Parliament were passed down from the British system. The Centre of decision-making in the U.K. rests in Westminster; however, there is also the Royal Crown, the Senate, and the House of Commons. Canada embodies the Crown aspect; however, it is mainly a federal state. One national, ten provincials and three territorial governments handle issues with lawmaking. The judicial branch of the Canadian government has the mandate and experience to interpret the law. This department handles applying the law and the Constitution and giving impartial judgments. This branch is the leading arbitrator when there is a conflict between branches and states.
Characteristics of Federalism in India
Written and Rigid Constitution
The Indian people are bound by a written constitution adopted in 1950. This document has twenty-two chapters on governance and 395 Articles. This document is precise and forms the source of states’ and central government‘s powers and authorities. The Indian Constitution is rigid on issues related to centre-state relations. Amendments to these laws need to be approved by a majority of the total membership in Parliament. If a majority cannot be obtained, then the decision must have not less than two-thirds of the members of the house. These lawmakers must be present and vote when issues of centre-state relations and division of powers are being decided.
Division of Powers
The Indian federal system explicitly defines the formula for how power is divided in schedule seven of the Constitution. The Constitution describes the primary power holders as the Centre, states and unions. The central government has exclusive jurisdiction over 100 subjects. The State has exclusive jurisdiction over 61 subjects. The unions currently have a list of 52 subjects under their jurisdiction. The Constitution states that in times of conflict between central and State government laws, the Centre’s law prevails over the state laws. The core powers and final say in a dispute always rest with the Centre.
Dispute Settlement Mechanism
The three branches of government have the autonomy to help settle disputes between states and branches of government. The Constitution caters for the Indian judiciary and inter-governmental bodies as the two mechanisms in the Indian federal system that can manage and resolve conflict. The Supreme Court has the final say in arbitration for these processes to remain amicable. When there is a case where the Centre vs State or State vs State occurs, these issues can be directly taken to the Supreme Court. This legal branch of government has the knowledge and power to interpret the Constitution. The professionals in these offices have judicial review functions. They can declare when there is a possible encroachment of powers and authorities. This body provides legitimacy to actions taken by states and the Centre, reducing conflict escalation.
Pros and cons of Federalism in India
- India has a very diverse community that would leave minorities underrepresented without Federalism.
- Explicit division of powers allows for efficient conflict resolution between states.
- A Majority in Parliament is required to implement power-sharing amendments.
- Economic disparities among states due to uneven power-sharing formula.
- States compete to attract business by lowering taxes and minimizing essential regulations.
Characteristics of Federalism in Canada
The Constitution empowers the ruler of Canada. These laws state their role is to fulfil more traditional and ceremonial duties. The Governor General in Canada is mandated to represent the Monarch in official acts of the federal government. When local policy decisions are made in the provincial governments, the Monarch can participate through the Lieutenant-Governors.
The Canadian political system is based on multiple levels of government. The Constitution specifies the primary duties given to Canada’s federal and provincial governments. The federal government designs and implements policies that affect the country. Federalism is an efficient bureaucratic system often best applied to areas such as defence, foreign relations, and treasury.
The main branch of strategic decision-making is the Executive branch. In the Canadian federal system, the Executive Branch consists of the Governor General, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers. These officials all have support staff that handles administration, such as government departments and the armed forces. The Canadian Constitution and laws enacted by Parliament are critical to legitimizing the decisions made by the executive.
Pros and cons of Federalism in Canada
- Promotes political participation among Canadian citizens
- Encourages economic equality across the country through improved service delivery.
- Multiple levels of government action mean that a diversity of opinions are available.
- Challenging to take prompt action when there is an issue of national importance.
- Ceremonial heads of State cost significant revenue in taxpayer dollars.
Difference between Indian and Canadian Federalism
The critical difference between these two nations is that Canada has a Constitutional Monarchy as its Head of State. This ceremonial title gives little authority to decisions being made in Parliament and by the Prime Minister. This system differs from India, which has a President and a Prime Minister without a Monarchy.