U.S. – India Comparative Constitutional Law 2.0 : Workshop 4 at NLSIU, Bangalore (Session II)

January 20, 2022

The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) in collaboration with its partnered Indian and American universities organised a series of workshops on U.S.- India Comparative Constitutional law in October, November 2021 and January 2022. The partnered Indian and American law universities were paired for an interactive session.

CLPR conducted the final workshop of the U.S.-India Comparative Constitutional Law 2.0 series between January 18th and 21st, 2022 with the students of National Law School of India University, Bengaluru. An absorbing interactive session with the students of Tulane University School of Law, our U.S. based partner university, was part of the final day of the workshop. Over 30 students from both universities participated in the workshop. They were joined by faculty members from the two universities, U.S. Consulate staff, and members of the CLPR team.

The CLPR team built the workshop around three sessions that explored the federal distribution of power within a U.S.-India comparative constitutional framework. It gave the students an opportunity to think about critical Constitutional Law issues and engage in a vibrant discussion from the U.S. and Indian contexts. This video covers session II of the workshop.

The Agenda for session II is provided below:

11.45 am – 1:45 pm – Session II: Federal Distribution of Legislative Powers

Part I

The second session concerned the federal distribution of legislative powers in the U.S. and India. Students engaged with constitutional provisions on legislative powers in both the U.S. and India. A presentation further compared the federal balance of legislative powers in the two countries. The discussion that followed the presentation allowed the students to appreciate the reasons for the varying federal distribution of legislative powers in the two countries.

Session Readings:

Presentation Slides: Session II Part I

Part II

Part II started with a CLPR presentation on how the judiciary in both jurisdiction have decided cases involving conflict between Union and State legislative powers. The cases were NFIB v Sebelius, 2012 (U.S.) and Hoechst Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v State of Bihar and Ors., 1983 (India). Students were introduced to the judicial doctrines of ‘Necessary and Proper Clause’ used in America, and the ‘Pith and Substance’ and ‘Incidental and Ancillary Clause’ doctrines used in India.

The students participated in an activity in which they applied the above doctrines to a hypothetical case. This helped them better understand the similarities and differences between the doctrines used in India and the U.S.

Session Readings:

Presentation Slides: Session II Part II

Speaker Remarks

Professor Louise Tillin, Professor of Politics, King’s College London asked students to consider if the common view that India had a ‘quasi-federal’ structure was true. She suggested that the India’s federal system must be considered as a strand of federalism and not as ‘quasi’ federalism.