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BASIC FEATURES OF INDIAN

CONSTITUTION
G N Srinivasan
Historical Background

The British came to India in 1600 AD as traders in the form of East India
Company.
East India Company was also known as East India Trading Company or
English East India Company.
The East India Company was founded in the year 1600 for persuading the
trade with East Indies (South Asia and South East Asia).
But the East India Company traded mainly in the Indian subcontinent and
China.
The East India Company has exclusive rights to trade in India.
In the year 1765 the East India Company obtained Diwani (Rights over
revenue and civil justice) of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
In the year 1858 after the Sepoy mutiny, British crown assumed direct
responsibility for the governance of India.
This rule continued up to August 15, 1947. (India got independence).
THE COMPANY RULE (1773-1858): AND THE REGULATING ACT OF 1773

This was the first step taken by British


Government to control and regulate the affairs
of East India Company in India.
The political and administrative functions of
the company were recognized for the first
time.
It laid the foundation of central administration
in India.
Learning Objectives
After studying this lesson you will be able to :
1. Recognize the significance of the Constitution as the
fundamental law of the land;
2. Describe the composition of the Constituent Assembly and
the role of the Drafting Committee and the objectives of the
Constituent Assembly;
3. Describe the Preamble to the Constitution and its relevance;
4. Identify the basic principles of Preamble and their reflection
in the constitutional provisions;
Learning Objecves

5. Identify the main features of the Constitution of India;


6. Distinguish between a written and an unwritten, as well as a
rigid and a flexible constitution;
7. Analyse the nature of the Indian Constitution
8. Establish the importance of Fundamental Rights,
Fundamental Duties and Directive
9. Principles of State policy; and recognize the special features
that distinguish the Indian Constitution from other
Constitutions of the world
INTRODUCTION

The Constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent


Assembly. The Constituent Assembly held its first sitting on
the 9th December, 1946. It reassembled on the 14th August,
1947, as the sovereign Constituent Assembly for the
Dominion of India.
Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down
the framework defining fundamental political principles,
establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of
the government and spells out the fundamental rights,
directive principles and duties of citizens. Passed by the
Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, it came into
effect on 26 January 1950. The date 26 January was chosen to
commemorate the declaration of independence of 1930.
The Constitution of every country has certain
special features because the historical
background ,social, economic and political
conditions influence the making of the
constitution. All these factors have
contributed in the making of the Constitution
of India.
WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
The written constitution is the one which you can get in the
form of a book and can be read. There are 395 Articles, 12
schedules and it has been divided into 22 parts and till date
more than 104 amendments have been made into it. The
Constitution, in its current form, consists of
1. Preamble,
2. 22 parts containing
1. 448 articles,
2. 12 schedules,
3. 5 appendices and
4. 108 amendments to date.
UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION
1. The conventions grow automatically and make their special
place in the constitutional system. The important
conventions of the Indian Constitution :
2. Prime Minister in Lok Sabha and Chief minister in State
Legislative Assembly is the leader of the majority party.
3. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of lok sabha are generally
elected (unopposed)
4. The Governor is generally taken from other state and the
Chief minister of the concerned state is consulted at the time
of his appointment.
DETAILED CONSTITUTION

The Indian Constitution is the longest and the most


detailed in the world. A detailed list of Fundamental
Rights from article 12-25 is included in chapter 3 of
the constitution. In chapter 4 from article 35-51 a
detailed list of directive principles of State Policy is
also included which are guidelines of the State in
policy making. From article 350-360 the Emergency
powers of the President have also been included in
it. A detailed description of center-states relations is
given in chapter 11 and 12 of it.
The Preamble

Constitution starts with preamble.


The preamble has been accepted as the part of the
constitution. It includes the objectives of the
constitution such as to provides Liberty, Equality and
Justice to the citizens, and to promote among them
all fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual
and unity and integrity of the nation. It also states
about the nature of the state which is Sovereign,
Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic.
Opening words of the preamble to the Indian Constitution
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved
to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST
SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all
its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote
among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the
unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day
of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND
GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
CONSTITUTION DRAWN FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
The objective of the Constituent Assembly was not to enact an
original constitution rather to enact a good and workable
constitution. The assembly evaluated the constitutions of other
countries and whatever good they found in these constitutions,
they included in their own constitution.
1. Parliamentary Government and Rule of Law are the influences
of the British Constitution.
2. The Fundamental Rights and the special position of the
judiciary is the influence of the constitution of U.S.A
3. The Directive Principles of State Policy have been borrowed
from the constitution of Ireland.
4. The Federal system of India is the influence of Canadian
Constitution
CONSTITUTION DRAWN FROM VARIOUS SOURCES

4. The Federal system of India is the influence of


Canadian Constitution.
5. The method of the amendment of the constitution
and the method of the election of the members of
Rajya Sabha have been borrowed from the constitution
of South Africa.
6. The Emergency powers of the President are the
influence of the Weimer Constitution of Germany.
Sovereign ,Socialist ,Secular,Democratic, Republic
India has been declared a sovereign, secular, Democratic, Republic
through the Preamble of the Constitution of India.
1. Sovereign State India is free to formulate its internal and
foreign policy and free to maintain relations with any foreign
state.
2. Socialist State- The aim of the state is to establish socialist
society which is free from exploitation of man by man and in
which social economic and political justice is provided to all.
3. Secular State- The state has no religion of its own, it does not
discriminate against any religion by imposing restrictions upon it
4. Democratic State -The preamble also declares India to be a
democratic state in which the supreme power rests in the hands
of the people.
5. Republic- The President of India is elected for a fixed term by the
indirect vote of the people.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
Fundamental rights have been included into the
chapter 3rd of the constitution from Article- 12 to 35
1. Right to Equality
2. Right to Freedom
3. Right Against Exploitation
4. Right to Religious Freedom
5. Cultural and Educational rights
6. Right to Constitution Remedies
RIGHT TO PROPERTY, AN ORDINARY RIGHT
Till 1979 Right to Property was included in the
list of Fundamental Rights. But through 42nd
amendment has been made an ordinary right
and for this purpose Articls-300 A has been
included into the constitution.
PARLIAMENTARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT
The Constituent Assembly decided to adopt
Parliamentary form of government both for the
center and the states.
Distinction is made between nominal and real
executive head.
The Council of Ministers is responsible before the Lok
Sabha, The lower house of union parliament.
There are close relations between executive and
legislature.
The tenure of the Council of Ministers is not fixed as
it stays in office till it enjoys the confidence
FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES

These Fundamental rights have been provided


at the cost of some fundamental duties. These
are considered as the duties that must be and
should be performed by every citizen of India.
These fundamental duties are defined as:
FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the
National Flag and the National Anthem;
2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for
freedom;
3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
4. To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
5. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the
people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional
diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
7. To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes,
rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;
8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and
reform;
9. To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
10.To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity
so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and
achievement.
FIXED SIZE OF COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

Under this amendment the size of council of


ministers of both Center and States has been
fixed and now it cannot be more than 15% of
the total strength of the lower house of
Parliament in Center and States legislatures in
the states.
In case the strength of the Legislative
Assembly in a State is 60 or less than that,
then the maximum number of the ministers
will be 12 which will include the Chief
Minister.
RIGID AS WELL AS FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION

Indian constitution is neither rigid as the constitution of U.S.A


nor flexible as the constitution of Great Britain.
Under Article-368 of the constitution,
1. Some of the articles of the constitution can be amended by
the union parliament by passing a resolution with 2/3rd
majority of the members present and voting and absolute
majority of the total members.
2. Some of the articles of the constitution can be amended by
the Union Parliament by passing resolution with 2/3rd
majority of the members present and voting and absolute
majority of the total members and approval of State
Legislatures.
FEDERAL IN FORM , UNITARY IN SPIRIT

The Constitution of India provides for <<CENTRALISED


FEDERALISM>>. There is no doubt that federal system
has been adopted in India, but keeping in mind certain
special situations, the centre is made more powerful or
strong. Federal features :

1. Written Constitution
2. Rigid constitution
3. Supremacy of the constitution
4. Division of subjects
5. Independent judiciary etc.
UNIVERSAL ADULT FRANCHISE

Article-326 provides for universal adult franchise and


every citizen including both male and female who is
18 years of age is given the right to vote without
making any discrimination on the basis of sex, caste,
colour religion etc.
SECULAR STATE

Every person has the right to practise, profess,


propagate his/her religion according to his/her
goodwill. The religious dominations have the
right to establish and maintain institutions for
religious and charitable purposes; to manage
its own affairs in matters of religion; to own
and acquire movable and immovable property
and to administer such property in accordance
with law. But no individual is allowed to
misuse his or her religious freedom.
BI-CAMERAL LEGISLATURE

According to Article 168 for every state there shall be


legislature which shall consist of Governor and
legislative Council and legislative assembly. Article-
169 provides for the abolition and creation of
Legislative Council which is known as the upper
house of State Legislature and at present there is bi-
cameral legislature in the states of Bihar,
Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar
Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir whereas there is
one house in all other states.
LIMITED POWERS OF THE PARLIAMENT

Indian Parliament is non-sovereign. There are


limitations on the powers of the Parliament-

1. It can pass laws on those subjects which have been


entrusted to it by the constitution.
2. The bills passed by the Parliament need the
approval of the President.
3. The supreme court can exercise the powers of
judicial review over the laws passed by the
parliament and can declare unconstitutional the
laws which it considers are against the constitution.
SINGLE-INTEGRATED JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The entire judicial system of India is organized into an


hierarchical order. Supreme Court is at the top of
judicial administration below that there are high courts
at the state level and there are district courts at the
district level. All the courts of India are bound to accept
the decisions of the supreme court.
The constitution of India makes provisions for the
independence of judiciary because only independent
judiciary can safeguard the rights and liberties of the
people, can protect the supremacy of the constitution
INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY
1. An impartial method has been adopted for the
appointment of the judges
2. High qualifications have been fixed for the judges
3. The judges of the Supreme Court stay in office till 65 years
of age and of High courts till 62 years of age
4. Difficult method has been adopted for the removal of the
judges as they can be removed only through impeachment
by the union parliament
5. There is prohibition of practice after the retirement of the
judges
6. Difficult method has been adopted for the removal of the
judges as they can be removed only through impeachment
by the union parliament
7. There is prohibition of practice after the retirement of the
judges
POWER OF THE JUDICIAL REVIEW

The judiciary in India is provided the power of


judicial review through the constitution which means
that all the laws passed by the parliament and State
Legislatures, constitutional amendments, ordinances
and executive orders issued by the executive are
reviewed by the judiciary and in case judiciary finds
that any one of these is against the constitution, the
judiciary has the power to declare it
unconstitutional.
RULE OF LAW

The Rule of Law means that the law is


supreme over person and everybody is equally
responsible before law howsoever he/she may
be. Also the man is punished on the violation
of law and no arbitrary punishment can be
given to him
SINGLE CITIZENSHIP

There is provision of single citizenship in India.


A person may be living in any state, but he is
the citizen of India alone. The principle of
double citizenship promotes regionalism and
provincialism whereas the principle of single
citizenship promotes national unity, therefore
the principle of single citizenship is adopted in
India.
JOINT ELECTORAL SYSTEM

The principle of Joint Electoral System was adopted


after independence.
Under Article- 325 of the constitution it is said that
for every constituency there will be one general
electoral roll which will be one general electoral roll
which will include the names of all the voters
belonging to different classes , religions, sex and
races etc., and they will elect a common
representative.
SPECIAL PROVISIONS

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR THEPROTECTION OF THE


INTERESTS OF SCHEDUELED CASTES, SCHEDULED
TRIBES, BACKWARD CLASSES AND MINORITIES
Everybody is given the Right to Equality
Untouchability has been prohibited
Under Article 29 and 30 special provisions are made
for the interests and protection of minorities.
NATIONAL COMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES

The 68th Constitutional amendment made in


1990, it was provided for the appointment of
the National Commission for the scheduled
castes for the protection of their interests. In
2002, the government constituted two
separate commissions for scheduled castes
and scheduled tribes.
CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION TO LOCAL
SELF-GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS

Under 73rd and 74th constitutional


amendments passed in April ,1993.
Constitutional recognition was granted to the
panchayati Raj Institutions in the villages and
the urban local bodies in the cities and for
this purpose part 9 and part 9A and 11th and
12th schedules were added to the
constitution.
PROVISIONS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY
The Constitution of India makes provisions for the establishment
of liberal democratic government in India.
1. Provision of universal adult features has been made and
everybody is given the right to vote without making any
discrimination.
2. Due respect is given to opposition and the leader of the
opposition is given recognition in both the houses of Union
Parliament and States Legislatures.
3. India is declared a Secular state.
4. There is provision of Individual judiciary.
5. There is Rule of law in India.
References
Avasthi, A.P, Indian Government and Politics, Narain Agarwal,
Agra, 2001.
Badyal, J.S, Indian Government and Politics, Raj Publishers,
Jalandhar, 2013.
Fadia, B.L, Indian Government and Politics, Sahitya Bhawan
Publication, Agra, 2002
Ghai, U.R, Indian Government and Politics, New Academic
Publishing, Jalandhar, 2002.
Gupta, D.C, Indian Government and Politics,Vikas Publishing
House, New Delhi, 1978
Johari, J.C, Indian Government and Politics, Vishal Publication,
1979.
DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE
POLICY IN INDIA
INTRODUCTION-1
The Directive Principles of State Policy, embodied
in Part IV of the constitution, are directions given
to the central and state governments to guide the
establishment of a just society in the country.
According to the constitution, the government
should keep them in mind while framing laws,
even though they are non-justiciable in nature.
Directive Principles are classified under the
following categories: Gandhian, social, economic,
political, administrative, legal, environmental,
protection of monuments, peace and security.
INTRODUCTION-2
Article 36 to 51 of the Constition of India embodies the
Directive Principles of State policy and for these we are
indebted to the Constitution of Ireland. The objective is
to establish a social and economic democracy in India
Article 37 reveals that :
1. The Directive Principles are not justiciable
2. They are Fundamental in the governance of the
country
3. It shall be the duty of the State to apply these
Directive Principles while formulating policies or
making laws for the governance of the State
CLASSIFICATION
Socialist Principles
Liberal Principles
Gandhian Principles
International principles
SOCIALIST PRINCIPLES
Article 38 of the Constitution of India shall endeavour to
formulate such social system which will secure social,
economic and political justice to all in all the spheres of life.
Article 39(a) the state shall try to formulate its policyin such a
manner so as to secure adequate means of livelihood for all
its citizens.
Article 39(b) the ownership of material resources would be
controlled in such a manner so as to subserve the common
good.
Article 39(c) the economy of the state will be administered in
such a manner so that wealth may not yet be concentrated in
a few hands and the means of production may not be used
against the public interest.
Article 41 of the Indian Constitution of the State will work
within the limits of its economic viability and progress,
provide to the citizens the right to work, the right to
education and general assistance in the event of
unemployment, old age, disease and other disabilities.
Article 42 of the Indian Constitution the state will make
provisions for the creation of just and humane conditions of
work. It will also ensure maternity relief.
Artcle 43 of the Indian Constitution the state will ensure
adequate wages, good life and rest to the labourers. The state
will also endeavour to make available to the labourers various
socio-cultural facilities.
LIBERAL PRINCIPLES
Artcle 44 of the Indian Constitution: The State shall endeavour to
formulate and implement a Uniform civile-code for all the people
livingthroughout the territory of India.
Artcle 45 of the Indian Constitution the State shall endeavour to
provide early childhood care and education for all the children untill
they complete the age of six years.
Artcle 47 of the Indian Constitution the State shall strive to raise the
level of nutrition and the standard of living. Thus, it will endeavour to
improve upon the health of the people.
Artcle 48 of the Indian Constitution, the State shall strive to organise
agriculture and husbandary on modern and scientific lines. It will also
try to maintain and improve upon the breed of the animals.
Article 50 of the Indian Constitution the state will try to separate the
judiciary from the executive in the case of public service.
GANDHIAN PRINCIPLES
Article 40, State will strive to organise Panchayats in
villages and will endow them with such powers which
enabel them to act as units of self government.
Article 43, the state shall strive to develop the cottage
industry in the rural areas both, on individual or co-
operative basis.
Article 47,the state will strive to ban the consumption
of wine, other intoxicating drinks and all such
commodities which are considered injurious to health.
Article 48 reveals that State will ban slaughtering of
cows, calves and other milch cattle.
INTERNATIONAL PRINCIPLES
Article 51(a)- The State will strive to promote
international peace and security.
Article 51(b)- The State will strive to maintain just
and- honourable relations among various states
in the world.
Article 51(c)- The State will endeavour to
promote respect for International treaties,
agreements, and law.
Article 51(f)- The State will strive to settle
international disputes by arbitration.
CRITISM OF DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF
STATE POLICY
1. These are Non-justiciable
2. Not more than moral principles
3. No proper classification is done
4. Some Directive Principles are not practicable
5. These are foreign in nature
6. Against the principle of State Sovereignity
7. It is illogical to include these princciples in the
constitution
8. These are responsible for Constitutional conflicts
9. No mention of methods to implement these
IMPORTANCE OF DIRECTIVE
PRINCIPLES
1. These Principles are directives for the States
2. Lay down the foundation of Economic Democracy
3. These are measuringf rods to judge the achievements
of the Government
4. They establish welfare state
5. These are Fundamental in the Governance of the
country.
6. These Principles supplement Fundamental rights
7. Guiding Principles for courts
8. They bring stability and continuity in State policies
9. Educative value of Directive Principles.
SANCTIONS BEHIND DIRECTIVE
PRINCIPLES
Constitution itself
Public opinion
Utility of Directive principles
Constitutional amendments
Laws made by the government
Executive orders
References
Avasthi, A.P, Indian Government and Politics, Narain Agarwal,
Agra, 2001.
Fadia, B.L, Indian Government and Politics, Sahitya Bhawan
Publication, Agra, 2002
Ghai, U.R, Indian Government and Politics, New Academic
Publishing, Jalandhar, 2002.
Gupta, D.C, Indian Government and Politics,Vikas Publishing
House, New Delhi, 1978
Johari, J.C, Indian Government and Politics, Vishal Publication,
1979.