Subjects >>Indian Polity >>The Making of the Indian Constitution

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INTRODUCTION
04 Jul 2020

The Constitution of India is the basic law of the land. It is a set of rules and regulations for creation of political, legal and other related institutions and their powers and functions. In general the governance of the Country.

The constitution is central to country’s existence as a political unit. Because, the it holds faith and aspirations of people. It derives power and authority from the people. Therefore, it enjoys special legal sanctity.

The Constitution of India is mainly sourced from the Government of India Act 1935. Since, India was under the sovereignty of the Britain for over 100 years, the British influence while making the constitution is clearly visible.

Constituent Assembly before Independence

The Jawaharlal Nehru’s proposal to have a Constituent Assembly for India was for the 1st time accepted by Indian National Congress in 1935. The Congress repeated this demand in Haripura (1938) and Ramgarh (1940) sessions of INC. This demand was for the 1st time accepted by Britishers reluctantly and indirectly in August Offer of 1940.

According to Cabinet Mission Plan 1946, Constituent Assembly was constituted to draft the Constitution of India. This plan provided for –

a)  Each province and each Indian state or group of states was allotted seats in accordance with their respective population, in ratio of 1: million (10 Lac).

b)  In the provinces, Electoral college consisted of the members of Legislative assembly only (lower house).

c)  The method of election was proportional representation by means of single transferrable vote system.

d)  The principle of separate electorate was applicable to the election of members of Constituent Assembly in the provinces.   (Muslim (78), Sikhs (04), General (210)).

e)  In Indian States, members were to be selected on the basis of consultation.

f)  The provinces were to elect 292 members Indian states were allotted maximum of 93 states 4 seats were provisioned for Chief Commissioner Province.

The total data could be summarized as:

Total Provinces – 292

Total Indian States – 93

equals

In Total – 385

&

Chief Commissioner Provinces – 4

GRAND TOTAL = 389

Constituent Assembly after the Independence

The first meeting of Constituent assembly (for undivided India) was held on 9th December, 1946 at Delhi. The Muslim league boycotted this meeting and only 211 members attended it. Some important points related to the meetings of the constituent assembly are:

  • In this meeting B.N. Rao was appointed as Legal Advisor to Constituent Assembly.
  • Dr. Sachindranand Sinha was elected as temporary chairman of constituent assembly, who was later on replaced by Dr. Rajendra Prasad as permanent president of the Constituent Assembly.
  • On 26th July, 1947 a separate Constituent Assembly for Pakistan was created. The sovereign constituent assembly of the division of India (excluding Pakistan) met for the 1st time on 14th August, 1947. As a result of partition, the strength of Indian Constitutional Assembly was reduced to 299.
  • On 29th August, 1947, Constituent Assembly appointed a drafting committee under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The other members of this committee were –

a)    N. Gopalaswami ‘Ayyanagar’

b)    Alladi Krishnaswami ‘Ayyar’

c)    K.M. Munshi

d)    Mohammad Saadullah

e)    B.L. Miller (later replace by N.Madhav Rao)

f)     Dr. D.P. Khaitan (replaced on death by V.T. Krishamachari)

  • V.T. Kishnamachari and H.C. Mukherjee were the vice-president of the Constituent Assembly.
  • The constituent assembly had more than 15 committees and more than 80 members directly involved in the drafting of various provisions of the Constitutions. The constitution under went 3 readings before finalization.
  • The constitution of India was declared, passed on 26 November, 1949.
  • 284 members signed over it and then after it was signed by the President of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
  • Some of the provisions like citizenship, election, provisional parliament etc. were implemented with effect from the same date.
  • However, the constitution was implemented in totality on 26th January, 1950, which is called as the date of commencement of the constitution and celebrated as REPUBLIC DAY OF INDIA.
  • 26th January was selected to commence the constitution to commemorate 26th January, 1930, when the people of India observed (Poorna Swaraj) (Complete Independence) on the call of Pandit Nehru in his Presidential address at Lahore’s Sessions of Indian National Congress on 31st December, 1929.

Important Sources of the Indian Constitution

There was juxtaposition over the kind of Constitution that the makers of the constitution wanted for India. By the time India was making the constitution, several nations had adopted the constitutions for their countries. So, the makers of the Indian Constitution discussed about the various constitutions and choose the provisions that suited the Indian territory and its culture most. They modified these provisions as per the need of our country and the social conditions prevailing at the time.

SOURCES

PROVISIONS

Government of India Act, 1935

  1. Federal Structure
  2. Administrative Setup
  3.  Centre-State Relation

Constitution of USA

  1. Fundamental Rights
  2. Judicial Review
  3. Concept of Preamble

Constitution of Former USSR

Fundamental Duties

Constitution of Ireland

  1. Directive Principle of State Policy
  2. Elected President

Constitution of Britain

  1. Parliamentary Model
  2. Cabinet System
  3. Writ Jurisdiction

Constitution of Canada

  1. Residuary Powers
  2. Privileges of MP’s and MLA’s

Constitution of Australia

  1. Concurrent List
  2. Joint Sitting of the Parliament

Constitution of Germany

Emergency Provisions

Constitution of South Africa

Procedural of constitutional amendments.


Structure of Indian Constitution

The Constitution of India has been changed many a times through out the history of the Independent India. That is why it was called the living document by the makers of the constitution.

  • Original Constitution – 22 parts, 395 schedules, 8 – Schedules
  • Presently – 25 parts, 465 articles, 12 schedules

The structure of the Indian constitution is:

Parts

Article

Subjects

I

1-4

The Union and Its Territories

II

5-11

Citizenship

III

12-35

Fundamental Rights

IV

36-51

Directive Principles

IV-A

51A

Fundamental Duties

V

52-151

The Union

VI

152-237

The States

VII

(Deleted by 7th Amendment Act, 1956)

238

The states in Part B OF THE 1ST Schedule

VIII

239-242

The Union and Its Territories

IX

243(A-O)

Panchayats

IX-A

243(P-ZG)

The Municipalities

IX-B

(Modified by 73rd Amendment Act, 1992)

(IX-B – Added by 97th Amendment Act, 2011)

243(H-ZT)

The Cooperative Societies

X

244-244(A)

The Schedule and Tribal Areas

XI

245-263

Centre-State Relations

XII

264-300A

Finance, Property, Contract, Suits

XIII

301-307

Trade, Commerce and Travel within the Territory of India

XIV

308-323

Services under Union and the States

XIV-A

(Added by 42nd Amendment Act, 1976)

323A-

323B

Tribunals

XV

324-329A

Elections and Election Commission

XVI

330-342

Special provisions for SC/ST Anglo Indians

XVII

343-351

Official Language

XVIIII

352-360

Emergency Provisions

XIX

361-367

Miscellaneous

(Immunities given to President Governors etc.)

XX

368

Procedure for Constituent Assembly

XXI

369-392

Temporary Transitional and Special provisions

XXII

393-395

Commencement and repeal of the Constitution etc.


Subjects in the Constitution

SCHEDULES

SUBJECTS

FIRST

It is the states and Union Territories

SECOND

Salary and Allowances (President, Governor, Judges, Speaker of Lok Sabha, Chairman of Rajya Sabha, CAG etc.)

THIRD

Forms of Oath and Affirmation

FOURTH

Allocation of seats to states in Council of States (Rajya Sabha)

Fifth

Provisions related to Administration and Control of Schedule Areas and Scheduled Tribes

SIXTH

Administration of Tribal areas in states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram

SEVENTH

Union List, State List, Concurrent List

EIGHT

Languages (Presently it has 22 long, Dogiri, Bodo, Maithili and Santhali were added into it by 92nd Amendment Act, 2003)

NINTH

(Added by 1st Amendment Act, 1951)

Vacillation of Certain rules Acts and regulation

TENTH

(Added by 52nd Amendment Act, 1985)

Anti—Defection Laws

ELEVEN

(Added by 73rd Amendment Act, 1992)

Panchayati Raj

Twelve

(Added by 71st Amendment Act, 1992)

Municipality Act or Nagarpalika Act