Federalism and The Constitution

For the third panel on ‘Federalism and The Constitution’ at The Courts & The Constitution Conference revolved around federalism in its various dimensions and the issues in 2019 connected with it. Dr. Arun Kumar Thiruvengadam, who moderated the panel, gave a brief introduction of all the distinguished panelists of the Federalism and the Constitution panel.

Prof. Anthony Blackshield started the discussion by giving a comparative constitutional perspective on federalism. He analysed the landmark judgments on federalism in the US, Canada and Australia and their impact on these jurisdictions. Head over to the YouTube Video at 22:20 to listen to Prof. Blackshield’s rendition of the Melbourne Corporation Principle.

Alok Prasanna Kumar, building upon Prof. Blackshield’s point on the horizontal scale of federalism, discussed federalism as an evolving concept in India wherein political, bureaucratic and administrative developments have been much more influential than courts. He particularly focused upon fiscal federalism and the new challenges posed by the GST Council.

Malavika Prasad, in her speech, spoke about the scheme of Article 370 and the events which led to its de-operationalization. Next, she discussed the inactions of the Supreme Court in the petition challenging the constitutionality of the presidential orders that did away with Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and the primary arguments submitted by the petitioners.

Suchindran Baskar Narayan gave his presentation on the office of the governor. He also touched upon the impact of All India Civil Services Rules, revenue distribution and 73rd and 74th Amendment on federalism.

Dr. Rohit De, the discussant for the panel, went over the history of federalism from the early 1940s to 2000s to show the reasons why it was difficult to make a political case for federalism in India. He addressed specific questions to each of the panelists. Since this panel covered vast array of issues, we have arranged these Questions & Answers immediately below each of the speaker presentations.

Please find the portion of the Conference Publication covering this Panel attached below. You can also find the video recording here. We invite response pieces, critically analysing and engaging with the arguments raised by the speakers. (Kindly see Write for Us! for further guidelines).