Federalism asymmetrical or asymmetrical federalism occurs where a federal system of government does not accord the same legal powers and areas of jurisdiction to all its constituent states or provinces. Unlike American federalism, Indian federalism is Federalism asymmetrical. The term 'federalism' could be called also the federal principle or the federal idea. It explains more than just the legalistic and institutional aspects of this political method. Centripetal federalism federal system where there is a strong federal government and weaker provincial governments. Its opposite is centrifugal federalism, where power would be dispersed from the centre to the provincial governments.
Asymmetrical federalism is a system providing for a division of powers that establishes distinctions between governments of the same level based on historical and cultural criteria. Mogi, the Indian scholar of federalism gives the following interesting definition: The federal idea is the formation of harmony between plurality and unity on the basis of pragmatic utilitarianism on the ethical basis'. Mogi thinks that the federal idea is not confined to the political sphere of the state, but is the general basis of human organization.
Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation in which different constituent states possess different powers. One or more of the states may have more independence and power than the other, although they have the same constitutional status.