The Constitution of India was made by a Constituent Assembly. It was an indirectly elected body. The Constituent Assembly demanded the inclusion of certain ideals in the Constitution. These ideals include faith in democracy, determination to provide justice, equality, and freedom to all the people of India. It also declared that India would be a sovereign democratic republic.
The Constitution of India begins with a Preamble. This preamble sets out the ideals, objectives, and principles of the Constitution. The salient features of the Constitution are directly or indirectly reflected in the objectives stated in the Preamble. In this article, you will learn about the structure of the Constitution, the political philosophy reflected in the Preamble and the salient features of the Constitution.
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The Constitution of India
Modern countries are supposed to be welfare countries for the people. This requires a government with certain powers and functions.
A document that sets down the laws, describes the structure of the government and describes the relationship between the government and the citizens is called a constitution.
Thus, the Constitution deals with two main subjects, namely the relationship between the different forms of government and the relationship between the government and the citizens.
The constitution is the basic law of the country. It describes the goals and objectives to be achieved by the country. It also provides guidance on the constitutional structure of the various parts of the government. Furthermore, it describes the rights and duties of the citizens. That is why it is considered as the basic foundation of the goals, objectives, and their structure and functions essential for the governance of the country.
The Constitution of India was made by a Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946.
All the members of the Constituent Assembly were indirectly elected by the members of the Provincial Assembly of that time. In addition, there were nominated members from the princely states. After India’s independence, the Constituent Assembly became a sovereign body.
After the partition of the country in 1947, on 31 December 1957, the Constituent Assembly consisted of 299 members directly elected from the provincial assemblies and the rest indirectly nominated by the rulers of the princely states. Most of the members of the Constituent Assembly belonged to the Congress Party. All the prominent leaders of the freedom movement were its members.
Working of the Constituent Assembly
Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the President of the Constituent Assembly. Cooperation of many other committees and sub-committees was also received in the Constituent Assembly. These committees were of two types: a) Executive Committees, and b) Committees on Important Matters. There was also an Advisory Committee to provide outside advice. The most important committee was the Drafting Committee. Dr. BR Ambedkar was the chairman of the drafting committee. The main task of this committee was to draft the constitution. The Constituent Assembly sat for 166 days in a total of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. The Constituent Assembly functioned in the same way as the Legislative Assembly.
The leaders of the Constituent Assembly focused on establishing a consensus on various issues and policies. Consequently, various means were also used to build a consensus. When reaching a particular decision, the members of the assembly often looked at the wishes of the people.
Main Objectives of the Constitution of India
The Constitution of independent India was drafted in the context of 200 years of colonial rule, popular independence movements, national movements, partition and consequent communal violence. This is the reason that the makers of the Constitution were conscious of the hopes and aspirations of the people, the unity of the country and the establishment of a democratic society.
Different members also adopted different ideologies. Some of them expressed interest in socialist ideals while others supported the establishment of Gandhian ideals. However, due to the benevolent attitude of all the members of the assembly, it was able to continue its work without any dissent. Their main goal was to provide India with a ‘Constitution’ that would reflect the aspirations and ideals of the people.
The constitution came into force on 26 January 1950. On that day, India became a republic. The first Independence Day was celebrated exactly 20 years ago on 26 January 1930, as decided by the Lahore session of the Congress on 31 December 1929. Therefore, the Constitution of India was decided to come into force on 26 January.
A preamble is like the introduction to a book. As an introduction, it is not part of the main index; But it describes the purpose and goal of the article. The Preamble of the Constitution of India is similar. The Preamble thus provides the principle guidance of the Constitution of India.
The Preamble, in short, explains the objectives of the Constitution in two ways: firstly, it sets out the structure of government and secondly, it sets out the ideals to be introduced in independent India. This is why the Preamble is called the Key to the Constitution of India. The objectives mentioned in the Preamble are—
- India is described as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic.
- Guaranteed to all citizens of India – a) Social, economic, and political justice; b) Freedom of thought, expression, belief, religion, and worship; c) Equal dignity and equal opportunities; d) Creation of brotherhood that enhances individual dignity, national unity, and solidarity.
Salient Features of the Constitution
There are some salient features of the Constitution of India. Some of these are as follows:
A written constitution
The Constitution of India is basically a written constitution. A written constitution is drafted at a certain time and comes into force as law from a certain date. You have already read that our Constitution was enacted within a period of 2 years 11 months 18 days, it was adopted on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26 January The Constitution of Britain is an example of an unwritten constitution. The Constitution of India is the longest Constitution in the world. The original Constitution consists of 395 Articles and 8 Schedules. However, the Constitution of the United States has only 7 Articles.
A combination of Rigidity and Flexibility
The Constitution of India is a remarkable example of Rigidity and Flexibility. Based on the method of amending a Constitution, it can be identified as Rigidity and Flexibility. The amendment process of a Rigidity Constitution is not easy. The constitutions of the United States, Switzerland and Australia are rigid constitutions. On the other hand, the UK Constitution is flexible because its amendment process is simple and straightforward.
There are three types of amendment processes in the Constitution of India.
- According to the first method, the bill is passed by a majority of the members present and voting in both houses of Parliament and sent to the President for his approval.
- The second method requires a special type of majority. This procedure involves passing the bill in either house of parliament and sending it to the president for assent by a majority of 2/3 of the members of the house present and voting, which he cannot refuse.
- According to the third method, it should be sent for the approval of at least 50% of the State Legislatures in addition to the special majority mentioned in the second method.
You have seen that there are various amendments to the Constitution of India from the simplest to the most difficult.
The federal system has been introduced in India. There are two types of government in the federal system. There is a government in the form of a central government for the entire country and there is also a government for each state. The United States is a federal country, while Britain is a unitary government. In a unitary system of government, there is only one government for the entire country and all powers are centralized.
The word ‘federal’ is not used in the Constitution of India. It refers to India as a “Union of States”. There is a division of powers between the central and state governments. Since India is a federal country, such a division is necessary. The division of powers is notified through three kinds of the list mentioned in the seventh schedule: the Union List, the State List, and the Concurrent List. On the basis of this division, India can be considered as a federal country.
In India, the Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution. However, in federal India, the Central Government has been given more powers in the fields of administrative, professional and judicial legislation. However, the Indian federal system has some important centralized characteristics. While the Constitution makers introduced two types of government at the Center and in the States, they introduced some centralized systems in our federal system through the appointment of the Head of Government, unified judiciary, single citizenship etc. This is why India is called a semi-federal country.
India is a parliamentary democracy. This system has been introduced from the UK. In a parliamentary democracy, there is a close relationship between the legislature and the executive. The cabinet is elected from among the members of the legislature. The Cabinet is responsible to the Legislature. In this type of democracy, the head of state is nominal. In India, the President is the head of the country. Constitutionally, the President has unlimited powers, but in reality these powers are exercised by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The President acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.
Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties
Everyone is given certain rights to live. In a democracy, all citizens enjoy equal rights. The Constitution of India provides such rights as fundamental rights.
Fundamental Rights are one of the main features of the Constitution of India. The Constitution provides for 6 fundamental rights. Fundamental rights are triable and protected by the courts. If any of these rights are violated, the courts of law can be approached for their protection.
According to the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India, the Fundamental Duties are included in our Constitution. It sets out 10 basic duties for all Indian citizens. Just as rights are given to all citizens, duties are also given as responsibilities, which everyone must fulfill.
Directive Principles of State Policy
The directive principles of governance incorporated in the Irish Constitution are one of the most important features of the Constitution of India. The Constitution includes directive principles to provide social and economic justice to the people. The Directive Principle seeks to introduce a welfare state in India where resources are not limited to a few.
Single Integrated Judicial System
The judicial system of India is the Single Integrated Judicial System. The High Courts are at the apex of the Judicial System. The higher courts control and supervise the lower courts. The judiciary in India is thus like a pyramid with the lower courts as the base, the high courts in the middle and the Supreme Court at the top.
Independence of the Judiciary
The judiciary of India is independent and impartial. The judiciary of India is free from the influence of the executive and legislature. Judges are appointed on the basis of merit and cannot be easily removed from their posts.
In a federal system such as that in the United States, citizens usually acquire dual citizenship. India, on the other hand, grants only single citizenship. This means that every Indian citizen is the only Indian citizen irrespective of his place of residence or birth. He is an Indian citizen even if he is a resident of Jharkhand, Northern Region or Chandigarh. All Indian citizens can get employment anywhere in the country and enjoy all rights equally in all parts of India.
Universal Adult Franchise
Indian democracy is based on the principle of ‘One Person, One Vote’ Every Indian citizen, irrespective of caste, religion, race, etc., can vote in elections if he is 18 years of age or above. The Constitution of India seeks to establish political equality through Universal Adult Franchise.
The drafters of the Constitution of India realized that the government could never be run as usual. Emergency Provisions are in place to deal with such situations. There are three types of emergencies—
a) Emergencies arising from war, attack by external forces, or armed revolution;
b) a state of emergency arising from the constitutional deadlock in a State;
c) Economic emergency.
Who wrote the Constitution of India?
The Constitution of India was made by a Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946.
When was the constitution of India adopted?
the Constitution of India which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950.
Which body framed the constitution of India?
The Constituent Assembly framed the constitution of India.