What is Constitution?
- A body of fundamental rules and regulations according to which a country is organized and governed, is called a constitution.
- In constitution the structure and organization of government, its powers and functions are given. Besides this, the rights and duties of the people are also mentioned.
- The first constitution of the world is a document called Magna Carta (means Great Charter) was signed by King John of England on 15 June 1215. This was the first written documents regarding structure and organization of government, its powers, and functions. Many democracies all over the world have based their constitutions on the guidelines of Magna Carta.
The Framing of Indian constitution:
- India got freedom from British on 15 August 1947. British transferred the political power to India, To decide source, objectives, and nature of the state was a major task.
- The framing of Indian constitution was done by a constituent assembly, made up of people representing different opinions, all the communities and all the classes of India. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was chairman of the constituent assembly.
- The Constituent Assembly met for the first time in New Delhi on 9 December 1946 in the Constitution Hall which is now known as the Central Hall of Parliament House. Those who present in a front row were Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Smt. Sarojini Naidu, Shri Hare-Krushna Mahatab, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Shri Sarat Chandra Bose, Shri C. Rajagopalachari and Shri M. Asaf Ali. Two hundred and seven representatives, including nine women, were present.
- The Constituent Assembly took almost three years (two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise) to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India.
- During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution.
Sessions of the Constituent Assembly:
- First Session: 9-23 December 1946
- Second Session: 20-25 January 1947
- Third Session: 28 April – 2 May 1947
- Fourth Session: 14-31 July 1947
- Fifth Session: 14-30 August 1947
- Sixth Session: 27 January 1948
- Seventh Session: 4 November 1948 – 8 January 1949
- Eighth Session: 16 May – 16 June 1949
- Ninth Session: 30 July – 18 September 1949
- Tenth Session: 6-17 October 1949
- Eleventh Session: 14-26 November 1949, on 26 th November 1949, the constitution of India was passed.
- The Assembly met once again on 24 January 1950, when the members appended their signatures to the Constitution of India
Important Committees of Constituent Assembly and Their Chairmen:
- Committee on the Rules of Procedure: Rajendra Prasad
- Steering Committee: Rajendra Prasad
- Finance and Staff Committee: Rajendra Prasad
- Credential Committee: Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
- House Committee: B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
- Order of Business Committee: K.M. Munsi
- Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag: Rajendra Prasad
- Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly: G.V. Mavalankar
- States Committee: Jawaharlal Nehru
- Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas: Vallabhbhai Patel
- Minorities Sub-Committee: H.C. Mookherjee
- Fundamental Rights Sub Committee: J.B. Kripalani
- North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee: Gopinath Bardoloi
- Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than those in Assam) Sub-Committee: A.V. Thakkar
- Union Powers Committee: Jawaharlal Nehru
- Union Constitution Committee: Jawaharlal Nehru
- Drafting Committee: B.R. Ambedkar
- The constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950.
- India was declared the Sovereign Democratic Republic. Sovereign means an independent country which is not subject to any outside authority and not influenced by any outer power during formulation of its foreign policies and internal affairs. Democratic means governed by people, for the people, and by the people. Republic means a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
- This day is celebrated as Republic Day in India.
- The event is celebrated by a grand military parade and floats, music and dances from different states of India in New Delhi on Rajpath.
Key Features of Indian Constitution:
- Federalism refers to the existence of more than one level of government in the country. In India, we have three level system.
governments at the centre level, governments at the state level and Panchayati Raj is the third level of government.
- India is a country of vast cultures and aspirations. Hence needs, culture, and aspirations of each region are different. The person sitting in capital cannot take a decision on behalf of everyone in the country. Hence another level of government in the states is established so that decisions could be made for that particular region.
- Each state in India enjoys autonomy in exercising powers on certain issues. In case of national concern, all of these states follow the laws of the central government.
- The Constitution of India contains lists that detail the issues that each level of government can make laws on.
- The Constitution specifies the source of income of each level of government.
- All persons in India are governed by laws and policies made by each of these levels of government.
Parliamentary Form of Government:
- The different levels of government consist of representatives who are elected by the people.
- Members of the Constituent Assembly felt that the parliamentary form of government would help encourage a democratic mindset and break the clutches of traditional caste, class and gender hierarchies.
- People of India have a direct role in electing their representatives.
- Every citizen of the country, irrespective of his/her social background, can contest in elections.
- These representatives are accountable to the people.
Separation of Powers:
- There are three parts of the State. These are the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. The legislature refers to our elected representatives of parliament or legislative assemblies. The executive is a smaller group of
people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government (Ministerial Council). The judiciary refers to the system of courts in this country.
- In order to prevent the misuse of power by any one branch of the State, the Constitution
says that each of these parts should exercise different powers. Each part acts as a check on the other part of the State. Thus the balance of power between all three parts of the state is ensured.
- The section on Fundamental Rights in constitution of India has often been referred to as the ‘conscience’ of the
- Fundamental Rights, protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the State. The
Constitution, thus, guarantees the rights of individuals against the State as well as against other individuals.
- Rights of minority communities are protected. The Constitution guarantees the rights of minorities against
- In addition to Fundamental Rights, the Constitution also has a section called Directive Principles of State Policy. This is a guide to the independent Indian State to make laws and policies that help reduce the poverty of
- A secular state is one in which the state does not officially promote any one religion as the state religion.