The Ministry of Law & Justice has launched ‘Online Course on Indian Constitution’ on the eve of ‘Constitution Day’ as a part of celebrations of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ for 75 years of India’s Independence.
“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.”
The Constitution of India declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizen’s justice, equality, and liberty and endeavours to promote fraternity. The preamble was amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976, in which three new words Socialist, Secular, and Integrity were added.
Let us tell you that, the Indian Constitution describes the fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of the government institutions. It also explains fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. India’s constitution is the longest written constitution in the world. It took around 2 years, 11 months, and 17 days to complete the Constitution.
Therefore, Constitution Day of India is celebrated on November 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.
To pay tribute to Dr. B.R Ambedkar, November 26 was started to be observed as the Constitution Day. He was an important member of the drafting committee of the Constitution.
The Constitution of India is framed by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly of India appointed a total of 13 committees to deal with different tasks related to the framing of the constitution. There were 8 major committees and the rest were minor ones.
How did the Constitution of India come into being?
As we know that on 15 August 1947, India became independent, and on 26 January 1950, we celebrate Republic Day because on this day the Constitution of India came into effect.
In 1934, the demand of the Constituent Assembly was made. Let us tell you that M.N. Roy, a communist party leader, was the first who mooted the idea. It was taken up by the Congress party and finally, in 1940, the demand was accepted by the British government. Indians are allowed to draft the Indian Constitution in the August offer.
On 9 December 1946, the Constituent Assembly for the first time met before independence. The first president of the Constituent Assembly was Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha. On 29 August 1947, a Drafting Committee was constituted to prepare a Draft Constitution with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as a Chairman. On 26 November, 1949, the Committee had finished their work. On 24 January 1950, the process was completed when the members signed two handwritten copies of the document one each in Hindi and English.
The first meeting of the Assembly was in New Delhi on 9 December 1946 and last till 24 January, 1950. During this time total of 11 sessions were held and met for around 166 days. This is the period between the adoption and enforcement when thorough reading and translation from English to Hindi was done.
On 26 January, 1950, the Constitution of India came into force and became the law of the land.
Framing of Constitution:
- In 1934, M N Roy first proposed the idea of a constituent assembly.
- Under the Cabinet Mission plan of 1946, elections were held for the formation of the constituent assembly.
- The Constitution of India is framed by the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly of India appointed a total of 13 committees to deal with different tasks related to the framing of the constitution.
- There were 8 major committees and the rest were minor ones. The list of major committees and their heads are mentioned below:
- Drafting Committee – B. R. Ambedkar
- Union Power Committee – Jawaharlal Nehru
- Union Constitution Committee – Jawaharlal Nehru
- Provincial Constitution Committee – Vallabhbhai Patel
- Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas – Vallabhbhai Patel.
- Rules of Procedure Committee – Rajendra Prasad
- States Committee (Committee for Negotiating with States) – Jawaharlal Nehru
- Steering Committee – Rajendra Prasad
Some of the shaping factors of the Constitution:
- British colonial rule and the Freedom struggle: The oppression leading to the enhanced importance of the rights of citizens like civil liberties (freedom of speech), etc., and through the freedom struggle has shaped the vision of the constitution.
- INC session of Karachi’s resolution on Fundamental rights and National economic programme and other similar events.
- British governance Acts for India: Starting from the Regulating Act of 1773 till the Indian Independence Act of 1947, especially Government of India Act of 1935
- International events: French revolution (Republic, ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity), Russian revolution (ideals of justice), etc., has led to the increased importance and expansion of rights.
- Indian philosophy and thinkers: Like Gandhi’s philosophy leading to the self-government institutions i.e, PRI (article 40 under DPSP), etc. Nehru report of 1928, the first attempt in drafting the Constitutional scheme indigenously had most of the present document’s ideals like fundamental rights, responsible government at the centre and in states, etc.
Thus, the Constitution is a gradually evolved document over a period of time and was carefully articulated by the constituent assembly.
Sources of the Indian Constitution:
Indian Constitution has absorbed those features from other nations’ constitutions that suited Indian problems and aspirations. Constituent Assembly took the best of features from everywhere and made them its own.
Our constitution has features taken from the Government of India Act, 1935. Those features are:
- Federal Scheme
- Office of governor
- Public Service Commissions
- Emergency provisions
- Administrative details
The other borrowed provisions from different countries and details of those are given in the table below:
|Borrowed Features of Indian Constitution
|Concurrent list Freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse Joint-sitting of the two Houses of Parliament
|Federation with a strong Centre Vesting of residuary powers in the Centre Appointment of state governors by the Centre Advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
|Directive Principles of State Policy Nomination of members to Rajya Sabha Method of election of the president
|Procedure Established by law
|Soviet Union (USSR) (now, Russia)
|Fundamental duties Ideals of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble
|Parliamentary government Rule of Law Legislative procedure Single Citizenship Cabinet system Prerogative writs Parliamentary privileges Bicameralism
|Fundamental rights Independence of judiciary Judicial review Impeachment of the president Removal of Supreme Court and High Court judges Post of vice-president
|Suspension of Fundamental Rights during emergency
|Procedure for amendment in the Indian Constitution Election of members of Rajya Sabha
|Republic Ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Preamble
The topic is important for UPSC 2021 and IAS aspirants preparing this exam must read it carefully and prepare notes accordingly.
Is Indian Constitution a Borrowed Bag?
Indian Constitution is a unique document drafted after a hard work of three years of the constituent assembly. Though some features of the Indian constitution are borrowed from other nations, it is still wrong to say that it is a bag of borrowing.
Reasons to not call the Indian Constitution a bag of borrowing are given below:
- There are various provisions borrowed from other nations but they are absorbed in the Indian Constitution to suit its polity and governance. They are not exactly copied.
- Indian Constitution is the most detailed constitution of the world. Where the American Constitution has only seven articles, Australian Constitution 128 articles, Indian Constitution originally consisted of 395 articles which have now increased to 448 articles.
- Indian Constitution is unique in its content and spirit.
- It is drafted considering the historical perspective of Indian Nationalist struggles, the geographical diversity of India, and its traditional and characteristics which are totally different from any other nation.
Facts about the Constitution of India:
- World’s Lengthiest Written Constitution.
- Federal System with Unitary Features.
- Parliamentary Form of Government.
- The framing of the Constitution took over 2 years, 11 months and 18 days.
- The original copies of the Indian Constitution weren’t typed or printed. They have been handwritten and are now kept in a helium-filled case within the library of the Parliament.
- Prem Bihari Narain Raizada had written the unique copies of the Structure of India.
- Originally, the Constitution of India was written in English and Hindi.
- The basic structure of the Indian Constitution stands on the Government of India Act, 1935.
- The Constitution of India has also borrowed some of its features from a number of countries.