Comparison of Federalism Between India and the United States

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At present, approximately all the 25 federal countries in the world, together represent 40% of the total world's population. America and India are two of the most significant countries in the world which were the world’s oldest democracy formerly and now counted as the world’s largest democracy. Both states are called ‘federal republic’ in the light of their political structure. Yet, there are certain differences that exist between the federalism of US and India. In 1798, after proclaiming its constitution, America became a federal republic. On the contrary side, in 1950, India became a socialist, sovereign, secular and democratic republic by adopting a constitution. They both have a number of smaller states that are affiliated in forming a union with a strong central government. Thus, both countries had acquired dominion status. This paper will strive to elucidate the contrast between the federal structures of both countries.

A Comparative Analysis

Despite having federal character, both countries differ each other in various features. Perhaps, they have some resemblance as well. To clarify this, we can draw a comparison of both nations with principles of federalism.

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Features India America

  • Nature of Federalism: There is a quasi-federalism in India; a federal structure with a strong unitary bias. America has pure federal character.
  • Constitution: There is only one constitution for the whole country in India. America has a federal system with each state having its own constitution.
  • Power: India is a union of states meaning states have no authority to recede from India. In America, power is shared between the federal government and state governments.

Central Government

General guideline of major international strategy issues and the activity of pacific or forceful worldwide relations in a league are incomparable. In the US Constitution, for instance, a definitive force of defense and diplomacy is authorized by the focal government under Article 1, Section 10 Clause 3 of the US Constitution. While the Indian Constitution in its Seventh Schedule contains passages in the rundown of powers presented on the Federal Government concerning discretion and security, war and harmony and the Treaty, journeys from outside the world, robberies, and crimes executed via air or by high ocean and infringement of global law. The idea of these forces under the Indian Constitution is more nuanced than under the American Constitution.


This is the firmest and most precise basis for characterizing the government design of the state by analyzing the content of each constitution. In the United States Article 5 of the United States Constitution, it very well may be accomplished by Congress by asking 23 of the both houses to present alterations. The execution of the governing body of 23 of numerous states can likewise suggest it. At any rate 34 of specific states should be acknowledged to be approved.

The Indian Constitution accommodates the power and procedure for the amendment of Article 4, Schedule VI and, specifically, Article 368 of the Constitution. In all examples, the option to order alterations is offered on the Union. For all alterations, there is no requirement for sanction by the States. It is likewise evident that endorsement by at the very least 50% of the States is required if changes certainly affect the federal government structure.

Centre and State Working

Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution accommodates 18 subjects to be administered and restricted by the center. Most of the authority is with the Nations. Furthermore, the remaining power is with the states.

In India, comprehensive records are drawn up which cover the various territories of the Center and the states. No inquiry of remaining powers at any point emerged. In any case, at that point, if there is no access in any of the three records, the Center will have the position to do as such. Accordingly, the remaining power is with the Center.

Union and Secession

According to Article 4 of Section 3 of the US Constitution, unmistakably, without arrangement between the governing bodies of the States concerned and the Congress, no new state will be made or set up past the capability of some other state. Hence, it very well may be derived that no state will pull out from the U.S. Constitution from the association.

Article 1 of the Constitution of India expresses that India is a Union of States. Article 2 engages Parliament to concede or frame new States inside the Union on such term and conditions as it thinks about important. As per Article 2, the terms and conditions for the confirmation of any area into the Union or for the making of another state should be characterized by the Parliament. In this manner, it isn't to look for contention between the state of which the proposition is probably going to influence its domain, boundary, or name.


The Connecticut bargain, where the American originators consented to proportionate portrayal in the lower house of inconsistent states and equivalent portrayal of inconsistent states (2 senators per state) in the upper house was additionally viewed by Americans as an indispensable proportion of federalism. The United States is bicameral, as the two houses are comparable in law matters: no law-making procedure can be passed without the understanding of the two houses on a similar content.

In India, common investment in government rulemaking is guaranteed by an impartial portrayal of evenhanded units in the bicameral construction. Under Schedule IV of the Constitution, seats are to be appointed to the States in the Council of States in the Parliament. Other than that, the President of the Council of States has named twelve individuals. This presents to Rajya Sabha's all out solidarity to 250.


The Supreme Court of the United States has authority over the country all in all yet just through federal government law. The States have their constitutions and their own principles and their own Supreme Court.

In India, there is just a single arrangement of courts with the Supreme Court at the top and the High courts of the various states at the lower level. Both reserve the option to settle government just as state enactment.

Judicial Authority

In the U.S., there is this standard of legal audit where the Supreme Court has the power to determine a focal state debate. McCulloch v. Maryland is the exemplary illustration of the center contention where legal audit has been utilized.

As indicated by Article 131, the Supreme Court of India has the underlying power to address a focal state question. Besides, legal audit is a basic capacity of the Indian Constitution, as set down in Article 13(2), read at 14, 32, 226.


The federalism in America and India shares following similar points.

Written Constitution

The American constitution is written in nature, which ensures government federal political design. Same with respect to the instance of India, it has composed constitution, portrayed as the longest composed constitution which guarantees federalism. Accordingly, the constitution of the both countries finishes one of the fundamental conditions for federalism.

Separation of Power

Noticing the Montesquieu's hypothesis of separation of powers, both American and Indian constitutions have three fundamental divisions in regards to powers for organs of government; executive, legislature and legal executive. Every division is engaged with a different force, for example, leader implements and executes laws, assembly makes laws and legal executive gives judges. Additionally, the both countries have a bicameral council.

Check and Balance

In the US, the President having chief executive power to selects the individuals from his ‘kitchen cabinet’ and he is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Army, Navy and the Air Force. He goes into deals with different nations. Notwithstanding, his settlements should be affirmed by the House of Senate. Something else, the settlement won't come into power.

Additionally in India, it is the Prime Minister and his bureau that practice genuine force. They can be eliminated from power by a fruitful no-confidence movement passed by the two houses of parliament. The arrangement choices become laws solely after acquiring the essential larger part of the parliament. Be that as it may, the laws ordered by the parliament are dependent upon the legal audit of the Supreme Court of India.

Along these lines, the forces of governing rules have been the effective technique both in the US and in India in securing the vote-based system or democracy in the two nations.

Supremacy of the Federal Government

In both the nations, the central government works at the middle in which different states have consented to. In the US, there are 50 states that have related them to the national government and in the Indian Union, upwards of 29 states and 8 union domains have acknowledged this type of government. Both in US and India, states which have acknowledged the federal set up have no individual ability to isolate from the central government or the union government. While both the central just as state government is enabled to makes laws on subjects given in the simultaneous rundown, the law authorized by the federal or union government will beat the law sanctioned by the states on a similar subject if there should arise an occurrence of debate. In this manner, federal or union government is incomparable in the current bureaucratic design.

Fundamental Rights

The US Constitution has given its residents basic or fundamental rights like the privilege to equity, opportunity, directly against exploitation, opportunity of religion, social and instructive rights, right to property, and the privilege to Constitutional cures and so on through ‘The Bill of Right’', Part III of the Indian Constitution ensures the key privileges of individuals as given in Articles 14 to 34.


The US Constitution is more federal than unitary in character. Whereas, India is more unitary than federal and we can even say that it is a quasi-federal state.

Form of Government

In the US, the President is the leader or head of the state thus his administration is perpetually referenced as the Presidential type of government or democracy. In India, the President is just an ostensible head or nominal sovereign, while the Prime Minister and his bureau is the de facto or well-known sovereign in whom the genuine power exists.

Judicial System

US being a developed country have a high-level legal framework. The legal or judicial system of India is anyway quickly creating. A judge in the US holds office as long as he is fit for playing out his obligations. Indian Constitution then again expresses that a District Judge holds his post till the age of 58, a High Court Judge holds till the age of 62 and a Supreme Court Judge retires at the age of 65 years.


The Constitution of India perceives single citizenship. Then again, the US Constitution accommodates a double citizenship that is a citizen of US can have citizenship of two countries, USA and some other country.

Procedure of Amendments

In America, under Article 5 of the Constitution, to propose amendments:

  • By Congress: 23rd of both the houses;
  • By application of legislature: 23rd of many states;
  • For ratification: 34th of several states.

Under the Indian Constitution the power and method for amendments have been given under Article 4, Schedule VI and primarily under Article 368 of the Constitution. The ability to start the amendments is vested with the association in every one of the cases. There is no requirement for the sanction by the states for all alterations. Notwithstanding, Article 368(2) recognizes particular kinds of Amendments, which basically need the confirmation by at any rate half of the states. Amendments, which need such sanction by in any event half of the states, are given under Article 368 (2) (a) to (e).

Rigidity or Flexibility in Constitution

The US Constitution is unbending and the arrangements implied for revising or amending the constitution are likewise extremely inflexible and more formal. The last revision completed in the US Constitution was in the year 1992.Between the period 1989 and 1992, the US Constitution has been changed just multiple times, in which the 21st Amendment was to invert the 18th Amendment.

While, the Indian Constitution which came into power in the year 1950, has so far been altered 94 times. Therefore, it is not difficult to revise the Indian Constitution, since it includes four unique kinds of methods which are relatively simple than the correcting system of the US Constitution. For instance, as of late, the pays or salaries and remittances of the Indian MPs have been climbed through a voice vote of the individuals from the Indian Parliament, though in the US, the 27th Amendment initially proposed on 25th September, 1789, was endorsed on 7th May 1992, managing the arrangement for shifting the remuneration of the individuals from the House of Senate and Representatives.


In India, the lower house or the Lok Sabha is all the more remarkable and powerful and its individuals are straightforwardly chosen by individuals and the individuals from the Upper house or Rajya Sabha are in a roundabout way chosen after every 2 years. The Lok Sabha individuals address their bodies electorate based on their populace strength. In the US, the House of Representatives are chosen based on the populace strength of a state, yet independent of the size of the state or its populace, each state in the US has just two senate individuals, totaling 100 individuals in all in the US. While the Lok Sabha or the lower house is all the more impressive in India, the House of Senate or the upper house is all the more remarkable in the US. While a Senate part in the US is straightforwardly chosen, a Rajya Sabha part in India is not elected directly by an arrangement of relative and transferable democratic framework.


The federalism construction of the United States and India is fairly different from each other, yet both have performed successfully and saved public autonomy with an alternate history and difficulties. Federalism resembles a rainbow, each tone is distinct, and however they make a strong example together. A harmony and balance between the middle and the States should be protected constantly by federalism. Eventually, a local area and an assortment of standards and ethics like genuineness, sympathy, and the soul of participation should be set up by the residents and political cycle. It can likewise be gathered that specific federalist attributes are basic to the two India and the United States. Then again, the government character of India and the USA contrast in numerous areas. Yet, both the United States and the Indian federalism are well known regardless of their limits.

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