The Constitution of India

The Constitution of India

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The Constitution of India | Indian Polity

The Constitution is a set of fundamental principles according to which a state is governed. It is a framework for the governance of a country that delegates power and authority to the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. The objective of the Constitution is to develop and evolve a political culture based on certain rules and a healthy environment. It includes conferring powers, duties, rights, principles, obligations, and restrictions for the individuals as well as the state. It maintains harmonious relations between citizens and the state, and within different organs of the state. It also ensures to maintain the dignity of the nation, establishes unity, ensures citizen rights setting development agenda and orderly social change.

Making of the Constitution of India

Constituent Assembly (CA)

The Constituent Assembly was formed in November 1946 under the Cabinet Action Plan. In 1934, M N Roy first proposed the idea of a constituent assembly, and the demand was taken up by the Congress Party in 1935 as an official demand. Members for the constituent assembly were selected through elections indirectly i.e, by the members of the provincial assemblies by the method of a single transferrable vote of proportional representation.

The total members of this assembly were 389, out of which 296 were indirectly from British India and 93 were nominated by princely states. The first meeting of the constituent assembly was held on 9 December 1946. The Muslim League boycotted the idea of the Constituent Assembly formation citing their demand for partition. It took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days for the constitution to get finalized.

The formation of the constitution was based on Objective Resolution, under which, the people of India were guaranteed social, economic, and political justice, equality, and fundamental freedoms.

The resolution was adopted on 22 January 1947 unanimously, also enshrined the aspirations and values of the makers. The national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was adopted on 24 January 1950 and the National flag of the Union on 22 July 1947. The assembly had met for 11 sessions which made a final document of 22 parts, 395 articles, and 8 schedules. The citizens of the country were given a time of 8 months to give their feedback on the draft published in January 1948. The last session was held during 14-26 November 1949.

The constitution was passed and adopted by the assembly on 26 November 1949. The constitution came into force on India’s Republic Day i.e, 26 January 1950.

Important Contributors

Temporary PresidentDr. Sachidanad
Permanent PresidentDr. Rajendra Prasad
Vice PresidentH. C. Mukherjee
Constitutional AdvisorSir B. N. Rau
Committees Chairman
Drafting CommitteeDr. B. R. Ambedkar
Union Constitution Committee,
Union Powers Committee,
State
Committee
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Provincial Committee,
Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Fundamental Rights Sub-CommitteeAcharya Kripalani
Minorities Sub-CommitteeH. C. Mookerjee
North-East Frontier Tribal AreasGopinath Bardoloi
Excluded and partially excluded areasA. V. Thakkar
Rules of Procedure committeeDr. Rajendra Prasad
Contributors

Drafting Committee

The Drafting Committee was established on 29 August 1947 by the Constituent Assembly. It consisted of 7 members, namely:

  1. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as the chairman
  2. N. Gopalaswami Ayyanagar
  3. Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer
  4. Dr. K. M. Munshi
  5. Syed Muhammad Saadullah,
  6. N. Madhava Rao
  7. T.T. Krishnamachari

It took 141 days in all for the draft completion.

Enactment of the Constitution

The enactment was the process through which the Constitution was agreed upon and made official. The constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 containing a Preamble, 395 articles, 22 parts, and 8 schedules. Now, it has 25 parts, 448 articles, and 12 schedules after going through 103 Amendments in the 70 years.

Enforcement of the Constitution

On 26 November 1949, the draft Constitution was passed and signed by the members and finally on 26 January 1950 it came into force and India became a republic. It was specifically chosen as the date of announcement of the constitution because on this day in 1930, the Poorna Swaraj day was celebrated as the resolution was passed in Lahore Session (1929) of INC.

Flexibility of the Constitution

The Constitution is flexible in many aspects :

  • Supreme in all respects
  • Ammendable
  • Federal Nature
  • Judicial Supremacy
  • Emergency Provision
  • Power Seperation

Salient Features of the Constitution

  1. India, a republic- The Preamble declares India to be a Republic. India is a sovereign country with a parliamentary democracy, which is not ruled by any monarch or nominated head pf state but instead has an elected head (President of India). The people have the right to elect their own leaders and exercise it in every 5 years.
  2. Preamble- The preamble consists of the ideals, objectives and basic principles of the Constitution. It narrates justice, equality, individual dignity, fraternity, national unity and aspirations of the Indian people and asserts India to be a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.
  3. Fundamental Rights and Duties- The Constitution of India grants and guarantees the basic principle that every individual is permitted to enjoy certain basic rights and part III of the Constitution deals with those rights which are known as fundamental right. The six fundamental rights- Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right to Constitutional Remedies, Right to freedom of religion, Cultural and Educational Rights and Right to Constitutional remedies.
  4. Federal Structure of Government- India is a federal state in which the different states or provinces of the country have powers to make their own laws and decisions. The Indian Constitution has envisaged a federal structure for India considering the geographical vastness and the diversity of languages, religions, castes, region, etc.
  5. Secularism- The Indian Constitution exercises secularism- such that all religions in our country have the same right and support from the state. There shall be no ‘State Religion’. The Government guarantees freedom of faith and worship to all citizens. Everybody has the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propogate religion.
  6. Independent Judiciary- There is a single, independent and integrated judiciary in India. All citizens are equal before the law and justice should be ensured to all sections of the society. The Supreme Court serves as a guardian of the Constitution.
  7. Universal Adult Franchise- The Indian Constitution gives all citizens above 18 years the right to vote in the elections of their choice without any restriction and discrimination of caste, sex, religion, etc.

Pillars of the Constitution

There are three pillars or organs of the government:

  1. Legislature- The legislature comprises of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Their main function is to make and formulate laws for the country. The legislative powers have been given to the parliament and there is no limitation on its power but it is answerable to the judiciary and executive.
  2. Executive- The executive comprises of high degree members the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and the council of ministers. Their main function is to executive the laws and administer the laws to the country which are made by the legislature. The notices, rules and ordinances passed by the executive only become ordinary laws when passed by the legislature, therefore curbing the powers of the executive, hence the executive is answerable for its actions to the legislature and the judiciary.
  1. Judiciary- The judiciary comprises of the justice handlers of the country i.e., the Supreme Court, high court and the subordinate courts. Their main function is to safeguard the constitution, interpret the laws and protect the citizens’ rights. The primary role of the judiciary is the administration of justice. The Judiciary is dependent on the executive as it is the president that appoints the judges in the Supreme Court, and the Chief justices of the high court which in turn appoint the judges in the lower courts.
National Level-The Constitution of India
The National Level Organs
State Level-The Constitution of India
The State Level Organs

All three organs are interdependent to ensure the proper and systematic functioning of the government. The Constitution of India is a public document that is considered the voice of the people. Indian Constitution is the lengthiest and most detailed giving its people the rights and freedom.

The Consitution

Parts

The following are the articles in the constitution:

Part I (Articles 1-4) States Union Territories- Deals with the territory of India, formation of new states, name-alterations of new and existing states
Part II
(Articles 5-11)
Citizenship- Deals with various provisions related to citizenship
Part III (Articles 12-35)Fundamental rights- Deals with Fundamental Rights of the citizens
Part IV (Articles 36-51)Directive Principles of State Policy
Part IV A (Article 51A)Fundamental Duties- Added by 42nd Amendment in 1976. Contains the Fundamental Duties of the Citizens.
Part V
(Article 52-151)
The Union- Deals with Government at the Union Level
Part VI
(Article 152-237)
The States- Deals with Government at State Level
Part VII (Article 238) Deals with States in part B was repealed in 1956 by the 7th amendment
Part VIII (Article 239-241)Union Territories
Part IX
(Article 243-243O)
Panchayats- It was added by 73rd Amendment in 1992. Contains a new schedule ‘Schedule Eleven’. It contains 29 subjects related to Panchayati Raj.
Part IX A (Article 243P-243 ZG)Municipalities- It was added by 74th Amendment in 1992. Contains a new schedule ‘Schedule Twelve’. It contains 18 subjects related to municipalities.
Part IX B (Article 243-ZH to 243-ZT)Co-operatives societies
Part X
(Article 244, 244A)
Scheduled and tribal areas
Part XI
(Article 245-263)
Relations between the Union and the States
Part XII (Article 264-300A)Finance, property, contracts, and suits- Deals with the distribution of Revenue between Union and states, Appointment of Finance Commission, Contract Liabilities, etc.
Part XIII (Article 301-307)Trade and Commerce within the Territory of India
Part XIV (Article 308-323)Services under the Union and States- Deals with Civil Services and Public Service Commission
Part XIV A (Article 323A, 323B)Tribunals
Part XV (Article 324-329A)Elections-Deals with the Election Commission and elections
Part XVI (Article 330-342)Special provisions relating to certain classes
Part XVII (Article 343-351)Languages- Relates to Official Languages
Part XVIII (Article 352-360)Emergency provisions
Part XIX (Article 361-367)Miscellaneous Provisions
Part XX (Article 368)Amendment of Constitution
Part XXI (Article 369-392)Temporary, Transitional, and Special Provisions
Part XXII (Article 393-395)Short title, date of commencement, authoritative text in Hindi, and repeals of the Constitution
Parts of the Constitution

Schedules

Schedules are the categories that facilitate governance and policies. At the time of adoption, the Constitution of India consisted of only 8 schedules, over the years 4 more are added.

First Schedule
(Articles 1,4)
Includes States and UTs, changes in their borders, and the laws used to make the changes
Second Schedule
(Articles 59(3), 65(3), 75(6), 97, 125, 148(3), 158(3), 164(5), 186 and 221)
Includes the Salaries and Emoluments of Officials
Third Schedule
(Articles 75(4), 99, 124(6), 148(2), 164(3), 188 and 219)
Forms of oaths and affirmations include the oaths of offices for elected officials and judges
Fourth Schedule
(Articles 4(1) and 80(2))
Allocation of Seats in the Rajya Sabha
Fifth Schedule
(Article 244(1))
Includes administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes
Sixth Schedule
(Articles 244(2) and 275(1))
Administration of Tribal Areas in the state of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram
Seventh Schedule
(Article 246)
Includes Central Government, State, and concurrent list of responsibilities
Eighth Schedule
(Articles 344(1) and 351)
Includes Official Languages
Ninth Schedule
(Article 31 B)
Validation of certain Acts and Regulations
Tenth Schedule
(Articles 102(2), 191(2))
Anti-defection Law
Eleventh Schedule
(Article 243 G)
Panchayat Raj (rural local government)
Twelfth Schedule
(Article 243 W)
Municipalities (urban local government)
Schedules

Evolution of States and Union Territories

There are a total of 28 states and 8 union territories in India. Here are their reorganizations:

States

StateFormation DateCapital
Andhra Pradesh1 November 1956Amravati
Arunachal Pradesh20 February 1987Itanagar
Assam26 January 1950Dispur
Bihar26 January 1950Patna
Chhattisgarh1 November 2000Raipur
Goa30 May 1987Panaji
Gujarat1 May 1960Gandhinagar
Haryana1 November 1966Chandigarh
Himachal Pradesh25 January 1971Shimla
Jharkhand15 November 2000Ranchi
Karnataka1 November 1956Bangalore
Kerala1 November 1956Thiruvananthapuram
Madhya Pradesh26 January 1950Bhopal
Maharashtra1 May 1960Mumbai
Manipur21 January 1972Imphal
Meghalaya21 January 1972Shillong
Mizoram20 February 1987Aizawl
Nagaland1 December 1963Kohima
Odisha26 January 1950Bhubaneshwar
Punjab1 November 1966Chandigarh
Rajasthan26 January 1950Jaipur
Sikkim16 May 1975Gangtok
Tamil Nadu1 November 1956Chennai
Telangana2 June 2014Hyderabad
Tripura21 January 1972Agartala
Uttar Pradesh26 January 1950Lucknow
Uttarakhand9 November 2000Dehradun
West Bengal 26 January 1950Kolkata
State Formation

Union Territories

  • Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli have a common administrator. Both the UTs merged into single UT named ‘Dadar and Nagar Haveli’ and ‘Daman and Diu’ from 26th January.
  • Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Ladakh, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar have legislative assemblies and are headed by the Lieutenant Governor.
  • By the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act 1991, Delhi was given the status of National Capital territory of India, which could legislate in certain matters except land, police and law and order.

Do check out articles: The National Insignia | Largest, Highest, Longest of India | Superlatives of India

Which princely states refused to join India?

Kashmir, Hyderabad, and Junagarh refused to join India.

How many states and union territories are there in India?

There are a total of 28 states and 8 union territories in India.

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Arpita Choudhary
Arpita Choudhary
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