Discuss the various models of Inter governmental relations.

In the context of Inter governmental relations (IGRs), Deil S. Wright’s (1982) three models are worth our quotation:

Inclusive Authority Model: This model is based on the principle of hierarchy, where one level dominates over the other. In this model, the state and local
governments depend exclusively on decisions that are broader in scope and arrived at by the union government.

Coordinate Authority Model: The model aims at the element of coordination of the activities of all the units in the overall interest of the polity and the society. According to this model, all the units are to work in accordance with the basic spirit of the Constitution and established conventions of the land.

Overlapping Authority Model: This model describes IGRs as patterned, interdependent, and bargained behaviour among all the three units the union, state and local. In this model, each unit has limited dispersed powers and they are interdependent.

Highlight the various aspects of inter-governmental relations pertaining to the federal set up. As regards the federal structure of the Indian state, our Constitution does not explicitly use the term federation, instead Article 1, declares that India that is Bharat shall be a, Union of States. However, this does not make India a unitary state. The original decision of the Indian federal system had all the basic features of a federal set up.

Federal Features.

Dual Polity: Unlike a unitary state where there is a single government, in India there is a dual polity which consists of a union government at the center and state governments at the periphery.

Distribution of Powers: The Constitution makes a division of powers between union and state governments in terms of Union List, State List and Concurrent List.

Supremacy of the Constitution: Like a typical federation, in India, the Constitution is supreme. Every power Executive, Legislative or Judicial whether it belongs to the union or to the component states must conform to it.

Written Constitution: Indian Constitution is a written constitution which clearly defines the powers, functions and limitations of both union and states.

Rigid Nature of the Constitution: The constitution of India is rigid when it comes to provisions concerned with Center-State relations. These provisions can be amended by the center only with the consent of the majority of states.

Independent Judiciary: The Indian Constitution provides for an independent judiciary. In this regard the Supreme Court performs two important functions. Firstly it settles disputes between the center and the states or between the states and secondly, it protects the supremacy of the Constitution through its power of judicial review.

Bicameralism: The bicameral legislature in India is a typical feature of federalism. Our Parliament has two houses: Lok Sabha (lower house) and Rajya Sabha (upper house). While the former represents the people of India as whole, the latter represents the states of the Indian federation.

Unitary Features.

Despite these essential features of a federal set up India is not a classical federation. Nor did the Constitution makers have any intention of providing for a tight mould of federation. This is evident from the dominant position which the founding fathers assigned to the center in the original design of the Indian Federal System. The paramount position of the center is underscored by the constitutional division of powers.

After distributing the legislative powers in three lists the residual subject that is those not covered by three lists are left with the union. By far more significant even in matters included in the concurrent list the Union Govt. has the final say. The same is true about the State List Article 249 empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to any matter in the state list, if the Rajya Sabha declares by a resolution that it is a necessary or expedient in the national interest.

Article 3 of the Constitution authorizes the Indian Parliament to create new states to alter the boundaries of the existing states and even to abolish a state by ordinary legislature procedure without recourse to constitutional amendment. It is completely destructive of the essence of a federal state which is supposed to be composed of units with coordinate but limited powers. A plea has been made by the Karnataka Govt. to modify this article so as to make the consent of State Legislature a precondition for the introduction in Parliament of any Bill affecting that state.

The Constitution envisages a sufficiently favorable position to the center in matter of finance also. For good reason the more productive sources of revenue such as the income and the operation taxes and the duties of customs and excise are assigned to the Union Govt. Besides residuary powers of taxation are also vested in the Union Govt. A good many taxes are collected by the center and distributed on the recommendation of the Finance, Commission among the states.

Emergency Provision: Under the emergency provision of the Constitution the center can arrogate to itself all or any legislative and executive function of the states. The President Rule thus tends to shift the balance in favor of the center and converts the federal system into a unitary one.

Representation: Apart from the unequal representation of the states in the Rajya Sabha a number of other provisions also reveal the constitutional imbalance between the Union and the States. The amending process of the Indian Constitution, the single judicial system, the All India services, the single constitutional frame the single and uniform citizenship, the single Election Commission and provision for reservation of center in State Bills for President’s Assent.

Article 356 places a state government under obligation to exercise its powers as to ensure compliance with laws made Parliament and to that end the center is empowered to issues necessary directives. In case of non-compliance by any state government of central directive the center can resort to the extreme step of taking over the administration of such a state under Article 356.

With the coming of profound changes in the economic and technical fields as also in the ideas of men about Government and institution the environment of federalism has also radically changed. Both the center and the units all over the world have been compelled by circumstances to move out of their areas and the states have come to acquiesce in the pre dominance of the center.

In view of this also to cling to the traditionalists approach emphasizes the need to redefine federalism in the light of the universal trends and tendencies which are clearly discernible in the existing federation.

He also pleads that if under a system of government both the central and state authority declare their states and powers from the Constitution and not from the central law and can ordinarily enjoy substantial autonomy within their respective jurisdiction set by the Constitution then there’s no valid ground to deny federal character to that system of Government. Examined in the light of these criteria which are quite close to the living realities, Indian Constitution can be safely described as federation.

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