Government is a very important body in the functioning of any country. Government regulates the nation by making the rules and regulations for the country. There are two types of government.

  1. Unitary
  2. Federal

In Unitary government, there is a Central Government and other Regional Governments too. However, the Regional Governments derive their authority from the Central government only. In addition, the Central Government has the power to delegate the functions to the Regional Governments. Federal is a type of the Government in which there are two Governments, i.e. the Unitary Government and the State Government. Both are supreme in their own perspectives. It means the distribution of the force of the State among a number of co-ordinate bodies each originating in and controlled by the Constitution. This distribution is made from the standpoint of the distribution of Governmental powers.

In a Unitary State, all power is vested in a Single Central Government, without imposing any constitutional limitations upon its authority, and the local authorities operate as administrative agencies of the Central Government, exercising such powers as the Central Government might delegate to the latter. On the other hand, in the federal state, the Constitution divides the powers between the central and Regional Governments, each deriving its powers from the provisions of a written Constitution, so that there is a sphere of autonomy belonging to the territorial organizations called States, which cannot be withdrawn or curtailed at the will of the Central Government.</p.

Features of Federal Government

  1. Written Constitution

A federal form of government needs a written Constitution for deriving its powers and rules and regulations for its functioning. A written Constitution will also tell the limitations of a federal State.

  1. Dual Government

A federal government will have two governments working. One will be the Central Government which will have the authority over the whole territory of the country and the other will be the State Government which will only have authority upon a particular State.

  1. Distribution of Powers

There is no delegation of authority in a Federal Government. Therefore, the State directly gets its powers from the Constitution. Neither the center nor the State has the power to amend the provision of the Constitution relating to the separation of powers. There is no overlapping of powers between the Unitary and the State Governments nor does the Centre or State has the power to nullify the Constitution.

  1. Interpretation by the Judiciary

The Judiciary should guard the distribution of powers which is provided in the Constitution. In addition, the Judiciary has the responsibility of executing the rules made by the Government in a proper manner.

A Government of India Act, 1935

The federal scheme in the Constitution of India is adopted from the Government of India Act, 1935. The three legislative lists powers vested in the Federal Legislatures, the Provincial Legislature and in both concurrently. If however, a matter was not covered by any of the three lists that would be treated as a residuary power of the Federal Parliament. There is a predominance of federal law in case of inconsistency with a Provincial law, in the concurrent sphere.

A threefold division of Power

The Constitution of India makes a threefold division of powers, namely:

  1. Union List or List I
  2. State List or List II
  3. Concurrent List or List III

There are certain circumstances in which the Union has the upper hand in implementing certain circumstances.

  1. National Interest
  2. Proclamation of Emergency
  3. By agreement between States
  4. To implement treaties
  5. Proclamation of failure of Constitutional Machinery


The concept of Federalism is beneficial to India because it would be very difficult on the organizational level to control and monitor the whole country. Moreover, there is no point in making States and giving no authority to them. However, the principle of strictly separating the power between the two governments is not an easy task and disputes and disputes and differences are always there.




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