Indian Constitution

Introduction

  • The Indian Constitution is the supreme law of India, providing the framework for governance and the rights and duties of citizens.
  • It was adopted on January 26, 1950, and is the longest written constitution in the world.

Historical Background

1. Pre-Independence Era

  • Various Acts and Regulations:

    • Acts like the Government of India Act, 1858, and the Government of India Act, 1935, laid the foundation for constitutional development.
  • Nehru Report (1928):

    • Drafted by Motilal Nehru, it proposed dominion status and a federal structure for India.

2. Post-Independence Era

  • Constituent Assembly:

    • Formed in 1946, with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairman of the drafting committee.
  • Objective Resolution (1946):

    • Outlined the fundamental principles and the philosophy of the Constitution.

Salient Features of the Indian Constitution

1. Preamble

  • Introduction:

    • Reflects the objectives and principles of the Constitution.
    • Source of the Constitution's authority and its goals.
  • Key Components:

    • Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

2. Fundamental Rights

  • Enshrined in Part III:

    • Basic rights that are enforceable by law, providing protection to citizens.
  • Examples:

    • Right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to education, right to constitutional remedies.

3. Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)

  • Enshrined in Part IV:
    • Non-enforceable in courts, but fundamental to governance.
    • Direct the state to create social and economic conditions for the welfare of the people.

4. Fundamental Duties

  • Enshrined in Part IV-A:
    • Added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.
    • Duties of citizens towards the nation for fostering a spirit of patriotism and upholding the integrity of the country.

5. Union and its Territories

  • Article 1-4:
    • Define India as a Union of States, specifying the territories of the states and union territories.

6. Parliamentary System

  • Bicameral Legislature:

    • Consists of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People).
  • Council of Ministers:

    • Responsible to the Lok Sabha, led by the Prime Minister.

7. Independent Judiciary

  • Supreme Court (Part V) and High Courts (Part VI):
    • Independent and impartial judiciary to interpret the Constitution and ensure justice.

8. Federal System

  • Division of Powers:
    • Powers are distributed between the central government and state governments.

9. Secularism

  • Article 25-28:
    • Freedom of religion and a secular state that does not endorse any religion.

10. Equality

  • Article 14-18:
    • Ensures equality before the law and prohibits discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

11. Amendment Process

  • Article 368:

    • Describes the procedure for amending the Constitution.
  • Types of Amendments:

    • Some amendments require a simple majority, while others need special majorities of both houses of Parliament.