The next to adopt this system was Canada in 1867, although the Canadian federation was produced by a different combination of factors. The direct cause of the federal movement was the racial conflict between the British and French “national groups, two nations warring within the bosom of a single State” as the Durham Report had lamented, which rendered the unitary government unworkable. Economic problems also plagued a divided Canada.
Nor was defence unimportant. In 1864, a coalition government took office, pledging unification. The final outcome was the North America Act, 1867, and the Dominion of Canada was established.
The scheme of distribution of powers between the Centre and the Provinces was just the reverse of the American model and it was essentially due to the lessons of America’s civil war of 1860. The Provinces were given exclusive legislative control over a list of enumerated subjects, reserving the rest for the Dominion. The Dominion government was also given the power to disallow any Act passed by a provincial legislature, to appoint the Lieutenant-Governor of a Province, and to instruct him to withhold his assent from provincial bills and to reserve them for consideration of the Governor-General, who might refuse assent to such reserved bills. Finally, appointments to all the important judicial posts were placed in the hands of the Dominion executive. In the formation of the Australian federation the need for common defence was probably the strongest, though economic issues were also involved.
The Commonwealth came into existence on January 1, 1901. The Constitution enumerated substantial powers for the federal government, the residue remaining in the hands of the States. The main taxation powers were given to the federal government with three-quarters of the revenues to be returned to the States during the first ten years.
The Soviet Union adopted the federal form of government as a concession to the various nationalities and tribes inhabiting Russia, with a view to building a strong and powerful State. Lenin characterised federalism as a step towards “the most solid unification of the different nationalities into a single, democratic, centralised Soviet State.” The Constitution of 1936 gave certain specified powers to the Union government and left the residuary powers with the constituent Republics; and each Republic exercised its authority independently of the central government. The Constitution also gave to the constituent Republics the right to secede. The 1977 Constitution closely followed the federal pattern set by its predecessor Constitution. When India became independent, the Government of India Act, 1935 provided a e working machine in the Provinces, and, as Jenning correctly points out, “it was not possible to start afresh when Provinces became States.
” The scheme of federation under the Constitution of 1950 is fundamentally the same as that under the Act of 1935. There are three lists of subjects, the Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List, d exhaustively enumerated in the Constitution, and the residuary powers rest in Parliament. The Constitution empowers the Union Governments to give directions to the States and failure to comply with such directions entitles the President of India to supersede a State government for the time’ being and thereby bring it under the unitary rule of the Union. State Governors are appointed by the President and a State government can be superseded on a report from the Governor.
The Governor may reserve a bill passed by the State legislature for the consideration of the President. The Upper House of the Union Parliament may, by resolution passed by two-thirds majority, declare a particular subject or subjects in the State List to be of national importance and interest, empowering Parliament to make laws thereupon. Then, there are the Emergency Powers of the President. When the Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, Parliament is empowered to make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India with respect to any matter contained in the State List. Finally, the Union Parliament is also empowered to pass legislation implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with another country.