Some of the salient features of Indian constitution are
- States for Administrative Convenience: Under Indian constitution states are created for administrative convenience. The states are not provided with a constitution of their own. The states administrative structure is governed by the constitution of India. The state cannot confer special rights on citizens who are ordinarily resident of the state. This feature of Indian constitution differs from American constitution where the union is the result of agreement among states.
- National Emergency: Under Article 352 when a national emergency is in force the distribution of power between centre and state stand automatically cancelled. The constitution functions as if it were a unitary constitution during emergency. Thus another feature of Indian constitution is that it changes its shape and character during a national emergency.
- No Territorial Inviolability: Under article 3 the name, area or boundary of a state can be changed by parliament even without the consent of state concerned. Thus the states in India doesn’t enjoy right to territorial inviolability
- Distribution of Powers: The schedule 7 of the constitution distributes power between centre and state in the form of union list state list and concurrent list. Under some extraordinary circumstances parliament can legislate over state subjects. Whereas the state legislature cannot legislate on any items included under union list.(Art 249,250,252,253)
- Residuary Powers: Under Article 248 residuary powers are given to parliament.
- Administrative Directions and State emergency: Under Article 256 & 257 centre is empowered to issue administrative directions to state indicating the manner in which railway properties and means of communication to be maintained. If the state fails to follow these directions, it may lead to break down of constitutional machinery and centre will be justified in imposing president’s rule in state.
- All India Service: Under Art 312 All India service can be created by the parliament. Though the members of All India service works largely under state government, the centre exercises control over them. The states can only suspend an all India service officer.
- Governor: Governor of a state is the constitutional head of the state. He can even dismiss the council of ministers. But he is appointed by the president and holds office during pleasure of the president.
- Financial Emergency: Under Art 360 if the president is of the opinion that financial stability of the country is threatened , president can impose financial emergency. Then president can suspend the distribution of financial resources to state. He can direct that the financial and money bill passed by state legislature may be reserved to consideration of president.
- Judiciary: The constitution provided for a single and unified judiciary with Supreme Court at the top. The Supreme Court exercises control over high courts and through them on lower courts.
- Election Commission: The constitution of India provides for a single election commission to hold elections to parliament and state legislature.
- Representation in Rajyasabha: Unequal representation in Rajyasabha. The states are represented in Rajyasabha on the basis of population. Thus one of the basic principles of federation as equality of states in representation in council of states is not followed under Indian constitution. This is a salient feature of Indian constitution.
Thus analysis of features of Indian federation reveals that Indian federation is quasi federal in some respects. It is a federation with centralising tendencies in some other respects. It denotes cooperative federalism in some other aspects. It is federation of its own.