Indian Constitution

Introduction:

  • The Indian Constitution is the supreme law of India.
  • It was adopted on 26th November 1949 and came into effect on 26th January 1950.
  • The Constitution provides the framework for the governance of the country.

Salient Features:

  1. Lengthiest Constitution: The Indian Constitution is one of the longest in the world, with a preamble and 470 articles (as of my knowledge cutoff date).

  2. Federal Structure: India has a federal system with a division of powers between the central government and state governments.

  3. Preamble: The preamble sets out the aims and objectives of the Constitution, including justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

  4. Fundamental Rights: Part III of the Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to the citizens. These rights include the right to equality, freedom of speech, and the right to life and personal liberty.

  5. Directive Principles of State Policy: Part IV contains these principles that guide the state in making laws and policies. They are non-justiciable but provide a framework for a just society.

  6. Parliamentary System: India follows a parliamentary system of government with the President as the ceremonial head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government.

  7. Independent Judiciary: The judiciary is independent and has the power of judicial review.

  8. Single Citizenship: Unlike some federal countries, India has a single citizenship. All citizens are citizens of India and not of the individual states.

  9. Secular State: India is a secular state, meaning that it does not have an official state religion, and citizens have the freedom to practice and propagate any religion.

Important Articles:

  • Article 1: Name and territory of India
  • Article 12: Definition of State
  • Article 14: Right to Equality
  • Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth
  • Article 21: Right to Life and Personal Liberty
  • Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights
  • Article 44: Uniform Civil Code
  • Article 50: Separation of judiciary from the executive

Amendment Procedure:

  • The Constitution can be amended under Article 368. Some amendments require a simple majority in Parliament, while others require a special majority.

Landmark Amendments:

  • 42nd Amendment Act, 1976: Known as the "Mini Constitution," it made several changes.
  • 44th Amendment Act, 1978: It undid many changes made by the 42nd Amendment.

Landmark Judgments:

  • Kesavananda Bharati Case (1973): Defined the basic structure doctrine.
  • Minerva Mills Case (1980): Reaffirmed the basic structure doctrine.

Challenges to the Constitution:

  • Balancing diverse interests, especially linguistic and regional diversity.
  • Addressing social and economic inequalities.
  • Ensuring justice, liberty, and fraternity for all.