Nature of the Constitution and Federalism

While the American Constitution is the shortest (of any major government in the world) and the first written constitution, India’s Constitution is the lengthiest written constitution in the World.

The American Constitution is a very rigid constitution consisting of only Seven Articles and twenty-seven amendments, so far. Originally, the India Constitution consisted of 395 Articles in 22 Parts, with 8 Schedules. As of January 2020, it consists of 470 articles in 25 parts, 12 schedules, and 5 appendices.

The US Constitution was finalized in a convention held on September 17, 1787, which required its ratification by a minimum of nine States, for it to be enforced. By the end of July 1788, eleven States had ratified it and the Constitution was put into operation on 13th September 1788. The Indian Constitution, on the other hand, was adopted by her Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949, and came into effect on 26th January 1950.

America has adopted the doctrine of dual ship in respect of its Constitution and citizenship. It has two Constitutions, one, for America as whole and another for each State. American people have two citizenships, one of USA and another of their respective State. On the other hand, India has one constitution and concept of single citizenship for every citizen of the country.

Nature of the Constitution

The American Constitution is described as a truly Federal Constitution. It was ratified by 50 Independent States. Further, the Federal Government and States have their own Constitutions and do not interfere in each other’s functions.

On the other hand, India has only one Constitution, wherein the Central government interferes with functions of State governments in the form of, inter alia:

• Appointment of Governors,
• Governor having the power of reserving the States’ bills for consent of the President,
• Central government’s power to impose President’s rule in the States etc.

Nature of Federalism

While the USA is a Dual Federation, India is a Cooperative Federation.

Dual Federation (USA) – both the Centre and state are completely independent. They are complete governments Cooperative Federation (India) – Interdependence of Centre and state govt. Neither of them is independent of
the other. Centre usually has the role of big brother
Centrifugal federalism Centripetal federalism
Symmetrical federalism – all states are given equal representation in Senate Asymmetrical federalism –
1. States have been given representation in Rajya Sabha on the basis of their population.
2. Articles 370, 371 provide special provisions to few states.
USA is a Legislative federation. This means that States have dominance in law making. India is an Executive federation. This means that states are important at the executive level only.
USA is an indestructible union of indestructible states India is an indestructible union of destructible states
USA constitution provides a role to states in ratifying the international treaties through the Senate There is no such provision for states in the Indian Constitution

Form of Government Student Notes

USA

• America has adopted a Presidential form of government, in which the people directly elect the executive President.
• The President is powerful and not accountable to the House of Congress.
• The term of the American President is 4 years (fixed term).
• One can hold the office of the President for only two terms.
• The President can appoint his own staff, which may be neither from the House of Representative or Senate, in assisting in the administration of the government. The staff is not accountable to the Houses of Congress.
This means that the President is independent in the administration of the government and rather directly responsible to the people of USA.

India

• India has adopted a Parliamentary form of government.
• The President of India is the executive head of the Indian government. He is indirectly
elected by the legislators of Centre and states, and is not accountable to the Parliament.
• The President runs the government with the aid and advice of the Prime Minster and the
Council of Ministers.
• Unlike USA, the Indian President holds the office for five years.
• He can be elected any number of times.
The impeachment of the President by the legislature is the only similarity in both the Constitutions.

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