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Federalist questions


ers erik espina special report erk

Part 11

INDIA is a quasi-federal system combined with the feature of unitary governance. However, the Indian constitution establishes a Federal structure declaring a “union of states”. There are 29 states and 6 territories with a bi-cameral (Council of States & House of the people –Lower House) parliamentary democracy.

Power is distributed in national, state, local governments similar to the Canadian Model, previously tackled here. India however is unique, since devolved powers of constituent states are not all the same. Example, State of Jammu and Kashmir, Northern region of Indian subcontinent. The larger region of Kashmir (disputed by India, Pakistan and China) is accorded a higher degree of autonomy than other states. While Delhi and Puducherry are granted legislatures. Fundamental rights of citizens vary by state.

Endemic in Indian history of Federalism are many separatist or regional autonomy movements based on ethnicities, language, socialist/religious bent. Insurgency in Indian States: 1) Tripura 2) Meghalaya 3) Mizoram 4) Manipur 5) Assam 6) Nagaland 7) Jammu & Kashmir 8) Arunachal Pradesh 9) Punjab. Belligerent forces in the thousands, have become insignificant due to lack of public support and the act of Parliament granting special powers in 1958, the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) to maintain public order in “disturbed areas” such as unrest, militancy, and insurgency. Some of the powers granted: 1) After due warning, fire upon or use force even if it causes death against a person acting against the law 2) Arrest without warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or reasonably suspected of having done so to enforce arrests 3) To enter & search premises in order to make such arrests or to recover a person wrongfully restrained 4) Stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.

In the next columns, US history of federalism and current Philippine flirtation with said system are closing topics.