General Studies IIConstitutionHistorical Background

Making of the Constitution

The creation of a constitution is a pivotal moment in the history of a nation. In the case of India, the making of the constitution was a remarkable and transformative process that laid the foundation for the world’s largest democracy. Born out of a desire for freedom and equality, the Indian Constitution stands as a testament to the vision, resilience, and determination of its framers. This article delves into the fascinating journey of the making of the Indian Constitution and the ideals that shaped it.

Making of the Constitution- Earlier events

During the colonial rule itself our great leader found requirement of new constitution for new nation. The newly independent nation faced immense challenges, such as religious and linguistic diversities, social inequalities, and economic disparities. To address these issues and pave the way for a democratic and inclusive society, the need for a comprehensive constitution became evident.

  1. 1934- M N Roy (Communist leader): Idea of constituent assembly
  2. 1935- INC officially demanded constituent assembly
  3. 1938- P. Nehru declared that “the Constitution of free India must be framed, without outside interference, by a constituent assembly elected on the basis of the adult franchise”
  4. 1940- August offer: Demand was accepted by British Government.

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Making of the Constitution- Earlier events

Note: Aspirant must copy this table in your notes and revise it.


The Constituent Assembly comprised a total of 389 members, with representatives from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds. The members were chosen based on various criteria, including communal and regional representation, expertise, and political affiliations. Of the 389 members, 292 were elected by the provincial assemblies, while the remaining 93 were nominated by the princely states. The assembly included prominent leaders, legal experts, social reformers, and intellectuals who brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the drafting process.

  1. Constituent Assembly Formation- November 1946
  2. Scheme formulated by Cabinet Mission
  3. Total strength (389 Members) = British India (296 Members) + Princely State (93 Members)
  4. British India (296 members) = From Eleven governors’ provinces (292Members) + From four Chief Commissioners’ provinces (4 Members)
  5. Allotted seats in proportion to their respective population (approx one seat for one million people.)
  6. Seats allocated among the three principal communities—Muslims, Sikhs and general (all except Muslims and Sikhs), in proportion to their population.
  7. The representatives of each community were to be elected by members of that community in the provincial legislative assembly and voting was to be by the method of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.
  8. The representatives of princely states were to be nominated by the heads of the princely states.
  9. Hence, the Constituent Assembly was to be a partly elected and partly nominated body.

The elections to the Constituent Assembly (for 296 seats allotted to the British Indian Provinces) were held in July–August 1946. The Indian National Congress won 208 seats, the Muslim League 73 seats, and the small groups and independents got the remaining 15 seats. However, the 93 seats allotted to the princely states were not filled as they decided to stay away from the Constituent Assembly.Although the Constituent Assembly was not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of adult franchise, the Assembly comprised representatives of all sections of Indian Society—Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Anglo–Indians, Indian Christians, SCs, STs including women of all these sections. The Assembly included all important personalities of India at that time, with the exception of Mahatma Gandhi and M A Jinnah.


Election held :    July–August 1946

Indian National Congress208
Muslim League73
Princely stateNot filled as they decided to stay away from the Constituent Assembly


The working of the Indian Constituent Assembly was a remarkable display of democratic deliberation, intellectual prowess, and meticulous attention to detail. Comprising representatives from diverse backgrounds and ideologies, the assembly embarked on the historic task of drafting the Indian Constitution.



  1. Muslim league boycotted (demand of Pakistan) hence only 211 members attended
  2. First meeting – 9 Dec 1946; Sachchidanand Sinha (Oldest member) elected as the temporary president (French practice)
  3. On December 11, 1946, Dr Rajendra Prasad and H C Mukherjee were elected as the President and Vice-President of the Assembly respectively.
  4. Sir B N Rau was appointed as the Constitutional advisor to the Assembly
  5. 13 Dec 1946; Objective resolution moved.

Objectives Resolution

The Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947, marked a significant milestone in the making of the Indian Constitution. Crafted by Jawaharlal Nehru, it outlined the guiding principles and objectives that would shape the foundation of the newly independent nation. This article explores the features of the Objectives Resolution and its profound impact on the making of the Indian Constitution.

Features of Objective Resolution

  • Proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign Republic
  • Territories that now comprise British India; Union of them all
  • possess and retain the status of autonomous units together with residuary powers and exercise all powers and functions of Government and administration
  • power and authority are derived from the people
  • guaranteed and secured to all the people of India justice, social, economic and political;
  • equality of status of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public morality
  • adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes;
  • the promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind

Read more about Objective Resolution

Read here the great debate and resolution

Changes by the Independence Act of 1947

  1. On April 28, 1947, representatives of the six states were part of the Assembly.
  2. After the acceptance of the Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 for a partition of the country, the representatives of most of the other princely states took their seats in the Assembly.
  3. The members of the Muslim League from the Indian Dominion also entered the Assembly.
  4. Assembly became full sovereign body which can frame, adopt and enact new constitution (chairman Dr. Rajendra Prasad)
  5. Assembly became legislative body which can frame, enact ordinary law; hence it became our first Parliament. (Chairman G V Mavlankar)

Two separate functions performed by constituent assembly

a) making of a constitution for free India (as Constituent Assembly; chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad)

b) enacting of ordinary laws for the country (as the legislative body, chaired by G V Mavlankar)

c)The Assembly became the first Parliament of free India (Dominion Legislature)

Total members strength

Number of members formulated by Cabinet Mission

Number of members after the Independence Act and partition




British India



Princely State



The Muslim League members (hailing from the areas included in the Pakistan) withdrew from the Constituent Assembly for India. Consequently, the total strength of the Assembly came down to 299 as against 389 originally fixed in 1946 under the Cabinet Mission Plan. The strength of the Indian provinces (formerly British Provinces) was reduced from 296 to 229 and those of the princely states from 93 to 70. The state-wise membership of the Assembly as on December 31, 1947.

Other Functions Performed by Constituent Assembly

July 22, 1947National  Flag  adopted
May 1949Membership of the Commonwealth in May 1949
January 24, 1950adopted the national anthem
January 24, 1950adopted the national song


Eight major committees:

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Minor Committees

  • 1. Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly – G.V. Mavalankar
  • 2. Order of Business Committee – Dr. K.M. Munshi
  • 3. House Committee – B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
  • 4. Ad-hoc Committee on the National Flag – Dr. Rajendra Prasad
  • 5. Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution – Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
  • 6. Credentials Committee – Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
  • 7. Finance and Staff Committee – Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
  • 8. Hindi Translation Committee9. Urdu Translation Committee
  • 10. Press Gallery Committee
  • 11. Committee to Examine the Effect of Indian Independence Act of 1947
  • 12. Committee on Chief Commissioners’ Provinces – B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya.
  • 13. Commission on Linguistic Provinces
  • 14. Expert Committee on Financial Provisions
  • 15. Ad-hoc Committee on the Supreme Court – S. Varadachariar.

Drafting Committee    (From August 29, 1947)

1. Dr B R Ambedkar (Chairman)

2. N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar

3. Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar

4. Dr K M Munshi

5. Syed Mohammad Saadullah

6. N Madhava Rau (He replaced B L Mitter who resigned due to ill-health)

7. T T Krishnamachari (He replaced D P Khaitan who died in 1948)


The first draft of the constitution of India was prepared in October, 1947 by the Advisory Branch of the Office of the Constituent Assembly under Sir B. N. Rau. Before the preparation of this draft, voluminous background material had been collected and supplied to the members of the assembly in the shape of thee series of “Constitutional Precedents” which gave salient texts from the constitutions about 60 countries.

The Constituent Assembly on 29 August 1947 appointed the drafting committee with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as the Chairman to scrutinize the draft of the text of the constitution of India prepared by the Constitutional Adviser (B. N. Rau) giving effect to the decisions taken in the assembly.

The Draft Constitution of India prepared by the drafting Committee was submitted to the President of the assembly on 21 February 1948.

The people of India were given eight months to discuss the draft and propose amendments. In the light of the public comments, criticisms and suggestions, the Drafting Committee prepared a second draft, which was published in October 1948

Dr B R Ambedkar introduced the final draft of the Constitution in the Assembly on November 4, 1948 (first reading). The Assembly had a general discussion on it for five days (till November 9, 1948).

The second reading (clause by clause consideration) started on November 15, 1948 and end-end on October 17, 1949.

During this stage, as many as 7653 amendments were proposed and 2473 were actually discussed in the Assembly.

The third reading of the draft started on November 14, 1949

Dr B R Ambedkar moved a motion —‘the Constitution as settled by the Assembly be passed’.

The motion on Draft Constitution was declared as passed on November 26, 1949, the date on which the people of India in the Constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave to themselves this Constitution.

First Session9–23 December, 1946
Second Session20–25 January, 1947
Third Session28 April–2 May, 1947
Fourth Session14–31 July, 1947
Fifth Session14–30 August, 1947
Sixth Session27 January, 1948
Seventh Session4 November, 1948  –8 January, 1949
Eighth Session16 May–16 June, 1949
Ninth Session30 July–18 September, 1949
Tenth Session6–17 October, 1949
Eleventh Session14–26 November, 1949


Some provisions of the Constitution came into force on November 26, 1949 itself :

Chapters of the ConstitutionArticles related
Citizenship5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Oath or affirmation by the president60
Definitions and interpretation366, 367
Temporary, transitional and special provisions (Repealed by 7th CAA)379, 380, 388, 391
Power of the president to remove difficulties392
Short title393

The remaining provisions (the major part) of the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950. This day is referred to in the Constitution as the ‘date of its commencement’, and celebrated as the Republic Day.

With the commencement of the Constitution, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 and the Government of India Act of 1935, with all enactments amending or supplementing the latter Act, were repealed. The Abolition of Privy Council Jurisdiction Act (1949) was however continued.


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