Accommodating Diversity, Consolidating Nationhood. A Country Study of Constitutional Asymmetry in India
India is one of the prominent multinational federations with substantive constitutional asymmetries. These asymmetries span over different parts of the Indian constitution with subtle implications for the nature and working of the Indian federal system. While a number of such asymmetries are made part of the original constitution, many of them have been inserted in the constitution at different points of time. Indeed, these constitutional asymmetries are reflective of the vast political asymmetries existing in the country. Interestingly, not all political asymmetries are elevated to the status of constitutional asymmetries for obvious reasons. The basic objective behind the constitutional asymmetries has arguably been the accommodation of massive diversities prevailing in the country. In a way, Indian constitution makers sought to consolidate the Indian nationhood by affording differential autonomous space to certain units of the federation. However, after more than seventy years of the working of the Indian constitution, constitutional asymmetries do not seem to have substantially achieved the purpose for which they have been envisaged. The basic reason behind that is presumably the fact that constitutional asymmetries work within a political context, and the political context of the working of the Indian federalism has acted quite often, if not always, against the spirit of constitutional asymmetries.