The Constitution

Evolution of the Constitution

Acts of British Parliament before 1935

  • After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British Parliament took over the reign of India from the British East India Company and British India came under the direct rule of the Crown. 
  • The British Parliament passed the Government of India Act of 1858 to this effect, setting up the structure of government in India. 
  • It also established the office of the Governor-General of India along with an Executive Council in India, consisting of high officials of the British Government. 
  • The Indian Councils Act of 1861 provided for a Legislative Council consisting of the members of the Executive council and non-official members. 
  • The Indian Councils Act of 1892 established provincial legislatures and increased the powers of the Legislative Council. 
  • The Government of India Acts of 1909 and 1919 further expanded participation of Indians in the government.

Government of India Act 1935

  • The provisions of the Government of India Act of 1935, though never implemented fully, had a great impact on the constitution of India. 
  • Many key features of the constitution from this Act like the federal structure of government, provincial autonomy, bicameral legislature consisting of a federal assembly and a Council of States, separation of legislative powers between the center and provinces are some of the provisions of the Act, which are present in the Indian constitution.

The Cabinet Mission Plan

  • In 1946, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee formulated a cabinet mission to India to discuss and finalize plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership as well as provide India with independence under Dominion status in the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • The Mission discussed the framework of the constitution and laid down in some details that the procedure to be followed by the constitution drafting body. 
  • The Constituent Assembly first met and began work on 9 December 1946.

Indian Independence Act 1947

  • The Indian Independence Act, which came into force on 18 July 1947, divided British Indian territory into two new states: India and Pakistan.
  • The Act relieved the British Parliament of any further rights or obligations towards India or Pakistan and granted sovereignty over the lands to the respective Constituent Assemblies. 
  • When the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950, it repealed the Indian Independence Act. India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign democratic republic. 
  • 26 November 1949 is also known as National Law Day.

 

 Making of the Constitution

 

  • Formation of the Constituent Assembly on the recommendation of the Cabinet Mission on 26 November, 1946.

 

  • The Constituent Assembly was elected by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies (Lower House only)

 

  • The Constituent Assembly consisted of 389 members including 93 representatives of the princely states. The Indian National Congress had 211 members and the Muslim League had 73 members.

 

  • Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,Dr Ambedkar, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Nalini Ranjan Ghosh were some important figures in the Assembly.

 

  • First sitting of the Constituent Assembly held on 9 December 1946.

 

  • Dr. Sachidanand Sinha acted as the provisional President of the Constituent Assembly until 11, December 1946.

 

  • Election of the Rajendra Prassad as the President of the Constituent Assembly on 11, December 1946.

 

  • The design of the National Flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 22, July, 1947.

 

  • Appointment of the Drafting Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar along with six other members on 29, August, 1947.

 

  • The other members of the Drafting Committee were N. Gopalaswamy Ayyanger, Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, K.M. Munshi, Mohammad Saadullah, B.L. Mitter (letter replaced by

N. Madhav Rao and Dr. D. P. Khaitan) (later replaced by T. T. Krishnamachari)

 

  • The ‘Draft Constitution of India’ was published in February, 1948.

 

  • The ‘Constitution’ received the Signature of the President of the Constituent Assembly and was declared to be passed on 26 November, 1949.

 

  • The provisions related to Citizenship, elections, provisional parliament etc. were given effort on 26, November 1949.

 

  • The Assembly met in sessions open to the public, for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. 

 

  • After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. 

 

  • The National Anthem was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1950.

 

  • The rest of the constitution came into force on 26, January, 1950.

 

The Borrowed Features

 

  • Rule of Law                                                                     UK

 

  • Law-making procedure                                                     UK

 

  • Single Citizenship                                                             UK

 

  • Parliamentary system of Government                                 UK

 

  • Legislative process                                                           UK

 

  • Bi-cameralism                                                                 UK                           

 

  • Preamble                                                                       USA

 

  • Fundamental Rights                                                          USA

 

  • Amendment Procedure                                                     USA

 

  • Independence of Judiciary                                                 USA

 

  • Judicial Review                                                                 USA

 

  • Function of the Vice President                                            USA

 

  • Supreme Court and its power                                            USA

 

  • The institution of the Vice-President                                    USA

 

  • Idea of concurrent subject                                                Australia

 

  • Directive principles of State policy                                      Ireland

 

  • Method of nominating members to the upper House                       Ireland

 

  • Election of President                                                         Ireland

 

  • Emergency provisions                                                       Germany

 

  • Idea of proportional representation in Rajya Sabha               South Africa

 

  • Amendment of the Constitution                                         South Africa

 

  • The name ‘union’                                                             Canada

 

  • Appointment of the State Governors by the Canter               Canada 

 

  • Division of Powers                                                           Canada

 

  • Residuary powers                                                                      Canada

 

  • Federation with a strong centre                                         Canada

 

  • Fundamental Duties                                                          USSR

 

  • Concept of Republic                                                          France

 

  • Ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity                             France

 

 Schedules

Schedules are lists in the Constitution that categorize and tabulate bureaucratic activity and policy of the Government.

  • First Schedule (Articles 1 and 4) — States and Union Territories  – This lists the states and territories on of India, lists any changes to their borders and the laws used to make that change.
  • Second Schedule (Articles 59, 65, 75, 97, 125, 148, 158, 164, 186 and 221) — Emoluments for High-Level Officials – This lists the salaries of officials holding public office, judges and Controller and Auditor-General of India.
  • Third Schedule (Articles 75, 99, 124, 148, 164, 188 and 219) — Forms of Oaths – This lists the oaths of offices for elected officials and judges.
  • Fourth Schedule (Articles 4 and 80) – This details the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament) per State or Union Territory.
  • Fifth Schedule (Article 244) – This provides for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (areas and tribes needing special protection due to disadvantageous conditions).
  • Sixth Schedule (Articles 244 and 275) - Provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram.
  • Seventh Schedule (Article 246) - The union (central government), state, and concurrent lists of responsibilities.
  • Eighth Schedule (Articles 344 and 351) - The official languages.
  • Ninth Schedule (Article 31-B) - Articles mentioned here are immune from judicial review.
  • Tenth Schedule (Articles 102 and 191) — "Anti-defection" provisions for Members of Parliament and Members of the State Legislatures.
  • Eleventh Schedule (Article 243-G) — Panchayat Raj (rural local government).
  • Twelfth Schedule (Article 243-W) — Municipalities (urban local government).

 

Parts of the Constitution

 

Parts are the individual chapters in the Constitution, focusing on specific issues of law.

 

                              Part 1        -         The Union and its Territory

 

                              Part 2        -         Citizenship

 

                              Part 3        -         Fundamental Rights

 

                              Part 4        -         Directive Principles of State policy

 

                              Part 4A      -         Fundamental Duties

 

                              Part 5        -         Union Government (Legislature, Executive and Judiciary)

 

                              Part 6        -         The State Government (Legislature, Executive and Judiciary)

 

                              Part 7        -         Repealed

 

                              Part 8        -         Union Territories

 

                              Part 9        -         Panchayats

 

                              Part 9A      -         Municipalities

 

                              Part 10      -         Scheduled and Tribal Areas

 

                              Part 11      -         Centre State Relations

 

                              Part 12      -         Financial Relationship between the Union and the State

 

                              Part 13      -         Trade and Commerce within the Territory of India

 

                              Part 14      -         Services under the Union and the States

 

                              Part 14A    -         Tribunals

 

                              Part 15      -         Election

 

                              Part 16      -         Special provisions for certain classes

 

                              Part 17      -         Official Language

 

                              Part 18      -         Emergency Provisions

 

                              Part 19      -         Miscellaneous

 

                              Part 20      -         Amendment of the Constitution

 

                              Part 21      -         Temporary, Transitional & Special Provisions

 

                              Part 22      -         Short title, Commencement, Authoritative text in Hindi, Repeals

 

 Important Articles

 

  1. India is union of States

 

  1. Establishment & Admission of States to Union

 

  1. Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names o existing States

 

  1. Indian citizenship will cease if a person acquires the citizenship of  any other country

 

  1. Indian citizenship by birth

 

  1. Equality before law/Rule of Law

 

  1. No discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex place of birth

 

  1. Equality of opportunities in matter of public employment

 

  1. Abolition of untouchability

 

  1. Abolition of titles

 

    1. Six freedoms
      1. Speech & Expression

 

      1. Assembly

 

      1. Association

 

      1. Movement

 

      1. Residence

 

    1. Occupation

 

  1. Protection of life & personal liberty

 

  1. Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases

 

  1. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour

 

  1. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc

 

  1. Freedom of religion

 

  1. Protection of interests of minorities

 

  1. Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions

 

32. Remedies for enforcement of Fundamental rights

 

34. Restriction on Fundamental rights while marital law is in force in any area

 

39A. Equal justice and free legal aid

 

40. Organisation of village panachayats

 

42.  Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.

 

43A. Participation of workers in management of industries

 

  1. Uniform civil code for the citizens

 

  1. Provision for free and compulsory education for children
  2. Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections.

 

  1. Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to   improve public health

 

48A. Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.

 

  1. Protection of monuments, places and objects of national importance

 

  1. Separation of judiciary from executive

 

  1. Promotion of international peace and security

 

51A. Fundamental Duties

61.  Impeachment of the President

 

72.  Power of President to grant pardons, etc and to suspend, remit of commute sentences    in certain cases

 

74.  Council of Ministers to aid and advise the President

 

76.  Attorney-General for India

 

78.  Duties of Prime Minister as respect the furnishing of information to the President, etc

 

86.  Right of President to address and send messages to Houses

 

    1. Joint sitting of both Houses in certain cases

 

      1. Definition of ‘Money Bills’

 

      1. Assent of Bills by the President

 

      1. Annual Financial Statement

 

  1. Appropriation Bills

 

123. Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament

 

129. Supreme Court to be court of record

 

136. Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court

 

139. Writs issued by Supreme Court of any other purpose than those mentioned in article 32

 

139A. Transfer of certain cases by the Supreme Court to itself.

 

143.  Power of the President to consult the Supreme Court

 

148. Comptroller and Auditor-General of India

 

169. Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States

 

199. Definition of “Money Bills”(State Legislature)

 

  1. Bills reserved for consideration for the President

 

  1. Annual financial statement (States)

 

213. Power of the Governor to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Legislature

 

215. High Courts to be courts of record

 

222. Transfer of a Judge from one High Court to another

 

226. Power of High Courts to issue certain writs

 

243B. Constitution of Panchayats

 

243Q. Constitution of Nagarpalika

 

244.  Administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas

 

  1. Residuary powers of legislation

 

  1. Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to matter in the State List in the national interest

 

251. Inconsistency between laws made by parliament under articles 249 and250 and laws made by the Legislatures of States

 

253. Legislation for giving effect to international agreements

 

263. Provisions with respect to an Inter-State Council

 

  1. Taxes not to be imposed save by authority of law

 

  1. Consolidated Funds and Public Accounts of India and of the States

 

  1. Contingency Fund

 

  1. Duties levied by the Union but collected and appropriated by the States

 

  1. Taxes levied and collected by the union and distributed between the Union and the States.

 

272. Taxes, which are levied and collected by the Union and may be distributed between the Union and the States.

 

275. Grants-in-aid to States

 

  1. Finance Commission

 

  1. Borrowing by the Government of India

 

  1. Borrowing by States

 

300. Right to property (no person shall be deprived of his property except by authority of law)

 

312. All India Services

 

315. Public Service Commissions for the Union and for the States

 

323A. Administrative tribunals

 

323B. Tribunals for other matters

 

324. Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission

 

326. Election of the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage

 

  1. Reservations of seats for SC & ST in the Lok Sabha

 

  1. Nomination of two members in the Lok Sabha from the Anglo-Indian community

 

  1. Reservation of seats for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assemblies of the States

 

  1. Representation of the Anglo-Indian Community in the Legislative Assemblies of the States

 

338. Special Officer for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, etc

 

343. Hindi in Devnagari script as the official language of the union

 

350B. Special Officer of linguistic minorities

 

352.  National emergency (on grounds of external aggression or armed rebellion)

 

356.  Failure of the constitutional machinery in the state (President’s Rule)

 

360.  Financial emergency

 

363A. Recognition granted to Rulers of Indian States to cease and privy purses to be abolished

 

368. Power of the parliament to amend the constitution

 

370. Provision related to the state of Jammu &Kashmir

 

394A. Translation of constitution in Hindi Language

 

 

 Salient Features of the Constitution

 

A written Constitution:-

The Constitution of India is a written document. It is one of the lengthier and the most detailed constitutional document in the world. Originally, it consisted of 395 Articles and 8 Schedules now it consists of over 444 Articles and 12 schedules.

 

Drawn from different sources:-

The Indian Constitution is said to be a borrowed Constitution as far as its framers gathered the best features of the existing constitutions. However, the adopted features have been modified to the existing conditions and needs of the country.

 

Parliamentary system of government:-

The Constitution provides a parliamentary system of the government at the Centre as well as in the States in which the executive is responsible to legislature.

 

Federation with a strong Centre:-

The Constitution describes India as Union of States. It is a federation, which is not the result of any agreement among the units, & the units therefore cannot secede from it, like a federation there is division of powers between the Centre & the State.

 

Secular State:-

The Constitution makes India a secular state. There is no official or state religion for India. All citizens irrespective of their religion are to be considered and treated as equal.

 

Single Citizenship:-

The Constitution provides for a single citizenship for the whole country namely the citizenship of India. There is no separate citizenship for the states.

 

More flexible than rigid:-

The Indian constitution is more flexible as it can be amended according to changing times and need of the hour by simple process. There are very few amendments, which require ratification by the State legislature.

 

Universal Adult Franchise:-

The Indian Constitution provides for Universal adult franchise without any qualification of sex, property taxation or the like.

 

Independence of Judiciary:-

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary ensuring that the Centre and the States remain within their respective jurisdiction and that fundamental rights are protected.

 

Bicameral Legislature:-

The Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature consisting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

 

Fundamental Rights:-

The Constitution guarantees certain individual rights, which are justiciable. They are however, subject to restrictions in the interest of security of the state.

 

Fundamental Duties:-

By the 42nd Amendment Act 1976, list fundamental duties of the Citizen were included. They are not, however justiciable.

Directive Principles:-

The Directive principle though no justiciable are fundamental to the governance of the country. No government can ignore them. They provide the social and economic basis for democracy.

 

The Preamble

 

We the People of India:-

It signifies that the people of India through their representatives assembled in a sovereign Constituent Assembly ordain the Constitution of India. Thus, it declares that the ultimate sovereignty lies with the people of India and that the Constitution rests on their authority.

 

Socialist:-

The Forty-second Amendment added the word ‘socialist’ to the Preamble. It implies social and economic equality. 

  • Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language. Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities.
  • Economic equality in this context means that the government will endeavor to make the distribution of wealth equal and provide a decent standard of living for all. This is in effect emphasized a commitment towards the formation of a welfare state. India has adopted a socialistic and mixed economy and the government has framed many laws to achieve the aim.

Secular:-

  • The Forty-second Amendment (1976) inserted the word secular into the preamble. It implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. India, therefore does not have an official state religion. 

 

  • Every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. 

 

  • The government must not favour or discriminate against any religion. It must treat all religions with equal respect. All citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs are equal in the eyes of law. 

 

  • No religious instruction is imparted in government or government-aided schools. 

 

  • The Supreme Court in S.R Bommai v. Union of India held that secularism was an integral part of the basic structure of the constitution.

 

Democratic:-

  • The first part of the preamble “We, the people of India” and, its last part “give to ourselves this Constitution” clearly indicate the democratic spirit involved even in the Constitution. India is a democracy. 

 

  • The people of India elect their governments at all levels (Union, State and local) by a system of universal adult suffrage; popularly known as "one man one vote". 

 

  • Every citizen of India, who is 18 years of age or above, and not otherwise debarred by law, is entitled to vote. Every citizen enjoys this right without any discrimination on the basis on caste, creed, colour, sex, religion or education. 

 

Republic:-

As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime or until, he abdicates from the throne. 

 

A democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. An electoral college elects the President of India for a term of five years. The post of the President of India is not hereditary. Every citizen of India is eligible to become the President of the country.

 

Sovereign:-

It means that the country is free or independent in its external or internal matters. There is no external subordination. The Country is free to conduct its external and internal affairs.

 

Justice:-

Our Constitution professes to secure to all its citizens, social, economic and political justice.

 

Social Justice:-

It prohibits artificial social barriers. “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of “Untouchability” shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

 

Economic Justice:-

There will be no discrimination between men and women because of economic values. In positive term, it implies adequate payment for equal work for all.

 

Political Justice:-

It ensures free and fair participation of the people in their political life.

 

Liberty:-

It means freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.

 

Fraternity:-

It means ensuring the dignity of the individual and Unity and integrity of the nation.