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3) Indian federalism is a case sui generis”. Examine with necessary justifications. (250 words)

Topic:  Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) Indian federalism is a case sui generis”. Examine with necessary justifications. (250 words)

Indian polity by Lakhsmikant

Why this question:

The question is based on the statement given by Alexandrowicz in his work “Constitutional Development in India, 1957”. It was quoted because of the nature of Indian polity which could be easily called as “quasi federal or federal with unitary bias”. 

Key demand of the question:

The question is straight forward and there isn’t much to deliberate, explain the concept of Indian federalism in detail.


ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:


In brief explain what Federalism is in general. 


Explain the following factors:

Discuss  the federal features in the Indian constitution like

  • Dual Polity
  • Written constitution
  • Division of Powers
  • Supremacy of the constitution
  • Independent judiciary
  • Bicameralism etc

Then move onto discuss the tilt of the constitution towards Unitary features. For Example mention situations where centre is strong like in the cases of residuary powers, money bill, schedule 7 etc.

  • India is indestructible union of destructible states. ( Art 2,3)
  • Single constitution 
  • Constitutional amendment could be done unilaterally by parliament
  • Emergency provisions
  • All India services etc.


Conclude that The Supreme Court in ‘ S R Bommai Case 1994’ said that federalism is the basic structure of the constitution and greater power to centre in some instances is just an exception and are not rule. Thus, in the words of Granville Austin Indian polity is a just case of “ cooperative federalism”