Transformative constitutionalism and temporality in India's federal structure

A neglected aspect of the literature on Transformative Constitutionalism is its intersection with the question of vertical separation of powers. In this paper, Indian constitution’s centralized federalism is viewed in light of its avowed aspiration towards socio-economic transformation.

This paper attempts to understand the normative reasons behind the preference for a strong centre. It will focus on Nehru and Ambedkar’s positions and argue that the focus on a ‘social revolution’ in its constitutional design, or ‘transformative constitutionalism’ as it’s called now, is directly responsible for its choice of a strong centre in India’s constitution. The ideals of planning and state-led socio-economic transformation were therefore seen as inimical to any significant sharing of sovereignty that would dilute this project, even at the cost of partition.