THE UNDERMINED FEDERALISM AMIDST COVID-19- A LEGAL ANALYSIS

Author: Bhavana Jawa from WBNUJS, Kolkata.

A country having federalism as its characteristic is expected to perform better in processing unforeseen events and mishaps than the countries without it. The pandemic, Covid-19 has put the federal structure of the country to the test. The Centre-State interplay has been a dominant feature in the fight against the novel Coronavirus. While India was the first-ever constituent body in the world to adopt ‘cooperative federalism’, the management of this crisis seems to undermine the democratic governance and its characteristics. From early 2020, when the pandemic was in its initial phase, to date, when the second wave is at its peak; center-state relations and the conflicts in cooperation between both the entities have been constant. This leads to revisiting the concept of cooperative federalism and the legal framework to understand what lacks in having synchronized administration during the global crisis. This paper aims to do a legal analysis of Covid-19 management and various center-state disputes that occurred recently. Firstly, it explains the legal framework and its interpretations used to confer the powers assumed by central and state governments. Secondly, it highlights various center-state conflicts like the issues of GST Compensation, arbitrary nature of the vaccination policy introduced, inadequate supply of oxygen and other necessary resources, etc. Moreover, it points out the limitations of the strategies used and their implementation by the government. Lastly, it concludes by summing up the contents of the paper…