Indian Constitution exhibits centralising tendencies to maintain unity and integrity


Indian Constitution exhibits centralizing tendencies to maintain unity and integrity of the nation. In this regard, the perspective on the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and recently passed Farm Acts are as follows: Sir Ivor Jennings believed India to be a “federation with strong centralizing tendencies”. These Acts pinpoint such tendencies. The Centre issued lockdown guidelines periodically under the Disaster Management Act of 2005, which the States regarded as power without responsibility concern and the rolling insoluble dilemma of migrant workers, as this Act bestowed extensive power on central government. The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 provides for better prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases where the state governments have the prerogative. This Act empowers the state governments to prescribe regulations regarding any person or group of people to contain the spread of COVID-19. On the contrary, the Centre applied and relied more on the Disaster Management Act 2005. However, social distancing is the universal solution to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The central government could not wait for states to act and let it become uncontrollable national health crisis, so it used the DM Act to make fast policy decisions and impose restrictions on people. The Centre passed Farm Acts under Entry 33 (Concurrent List) which mentions “trade and commerce in, and the production, supply and distribution of – (b) foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils”, despite the fact that agriculture falls under the State List. But these farm laws are important if they are the biggest agricultural reforms ensuring market choice, encourage entrepreneurship, access to technology and structural transformation of agriculture. In India’s quasi-federal system, centralizing tendencies are not absolute if they divert from maintaining unity and integrity, the apex court is always there.