Hey, friends today I would like to put your attention on the topic which is some basic facts about the Constitution of India. The constitution is the supreme document it is the supreme law of the land. All laws need to be in consonance with the constitution. Any law which is in derogation of the Constitution would be declared unconstitutional or invalid. Our constitution is the lengthiest. It consists of
- 448 articles
- 22 parts and
- 12 schedules.
Some interesting facts about the constitution.
The Preamble of the Indian constitution was inspired by the Preamble of The United States of America. B.R. Ambedkar was the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution. Mr Prem Behari Narain Raizada had written the original copy of the Constitution. There is again a difference between the chairman of the drafting committee and those who had written the original copy of the Constitution. You may get a request in value asked who was the one who drafted the first copy of the Constitution. On the other hand, if you are out who is the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution the answer would be B. R. Ambedkar. The fundamental rights we have in our constitution are adopted from the American constitution. So our constitution is the amalgamation of borrowings from different constitutions of the world. It is also important about the various concepts which we have borrowed from different constitutions of various countries. The original constitution was written in Hindi English. 283 members had originally signed the Indian Constitution.
Five-year plans have been borrowed constitution of the USSR/Soviet Union. Now here again the scope for confusion, if you are asked from which country has been borrowed by their plans and Russia, is one of your options that’s not the right answer it is the Soviet Union or USSR which is undivided Russia. The Constitution was originally written in two languages Hindi and English. Artist from Shantiniketan decorated the pages of the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly was made for the first time in December 1946. It to the three years complete the drafting of the constitution. The final draft of the constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949, this is also known as the lawyers say. The constitution came into force on January 26, 1950N which we celebrate as Republic day.
Now we have to understand the difference between adopting the constitution and the constitution came into force. So the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, but it was adopted on November 26, 1949. So when UPSC questions on the kind of information they may ask you are the date when the constitution was adopted? now a lot of was made the mistake and write it as of January 26 1950. But the adoption of the constitution happened on November 26 1949 and it was in force it came into force on January 26 1950.
The preamble to the constitution
it is the introduction or to face to the constitution. Mr Nani Palkhivala had referred to the constitution as the identity of the Indian Constitution. It contains the essence of the constitution and served as the guiding document. The Preamble starts with the phrase we the people of India so in the people of India and according to the Preamble it is asking the people of India who have given the constitution to us. To find the kind of state the constitution envisages. India is a sovereign,n socialist, secular, democratic State. It enumerates the principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Preamble act as a guiding document to the Constitution. And it is the essence on which the Constitution is based. Our constitution is not rigid and it can be amended. The procedure for amending the constitution has been provided in the constitution itself and this procedure is difficult yet the constitution can still be amended. It is a flexible constitution, not a rigid Constitution. Two historically important amendments are the 42nd and 44th Amendments.
42nd amendment is also known as the Mini constitution. It was brought about in 1976 and it made the following key changes. Firstly that is the word secular to the Preamble. When Constitution was drafted initially in 1949 word secular is not a part of the original constitution, it was added in 1976 and India became a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic State. It also added Article 51A which contains the fundamental duties. Swaran Singh Committee Report stresses the inclusion of fundamental duties in the constitution because around that time the emergency had happened in the wanted more protection in the constitution therefore fundamental duties were also included. Four new Directive Principles of State Policy were also added.
The 44th amendment was brought in1978. It made the right to property a legal right from a fundamental right. Before 1978 right to property was a fundamental right but after 1978 right to property became a legal Right. The Fundamental right is constitutionally guaranteed but legal right is not does not find a place in the constitution it is guaranteed to you by the virtue of some law or statute. Tt also added the ground of internal disturbance and armed rebellion as a ground of imposition of emergency. This is available for not declared emergency this account was added after 1978. One more directive principle which article 38 was also added by 44th Amendment. This directive principle required the state to minimise inequalities in income status facilities and opportunities. 44th Amendment also reached in the power of the Parliament to extend the proclamation of president rule beyond one year. It had to be extended after one year it could only be done for six months and had to be ratified every time it has to be extended for another period of Six Months. But the Parliament could extend the president rule beyond one year if it had to and need to take approval.
Right to freedom,
Right against exploitation,
Right to freedom of religion,
Cultural and educational rights, and
Right to constitutional remedies.
Fundamental rights are an essential part of the Indian constitution. They are justiciable in a court of law. It means if you are fundamental rights are violated you can enforce the same in the court of law. There are six categories of fundamental rights. These are there is Right to Equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights, and right to constitutional remedies. Rights to constitutional remedies are also called the soul of the Constitution because the right to constitutional remedies makes the fundamental rights enforceable and justifiable in the court of law.
Meaning if the other five categories of fundamental rights are violated then you have the fundamental right to approach the court of law to get your fundamental rights to enforce because of the right to constitutional remedies. Fundamental rights are not absolute but they are subject to reasonable restrictions. Some fundamental rights are also available to non-citizens that is right to life under article 21. They only if the amendment does not alter the basic structure of the Constitution. So the basic structure theory was given in the case of Kesavananda Bharti. (For detail please refer-Kesavananda Bharati vs the State of Kerala)
Wherein it was held that the fundamental rights only be amended if the amendment does not alter the basic structure of the constitution. Certain parts of the constitution were held as the basic structure of the constitution and it could not be amended. The fundamental rights can be suspended during National Emergency except for the right enshrined under articles 20 and 21. Now Article 21 talks about the right to life and Article 20 talks about how you can not be tried for the same offence was under the same law. So these rights cannot be suspended during a national emergency.
So, the fundamental duties have been added by the 42nd Amendment brought about in 1976. It was contained in chapter IV- A of the Constitution and enshrined in Article 51-A of the Constitution. Initially, there were only 10 fundamental duties. Now, 86th Amendment added the 11th Fundamental Duty. Parents must send children between the ages of 6-14 to school. Fundamental Duties are not justiciable like Fundamental rights. Like they cannot be enforced in the Court of Law. Fundamental duties apply only to citizens, they do not apply to non-citizens. Fundamental duties are imposed upon citizens, and there is a list of 11 duties that every citizen should perform. It is not something mandatorily or compulsorily fixed upon Indian citizens. It is something which we should do and if we do not do it no one can take us to the Court of law for the same.
Now, as I had told before, the Indian Constitution has borrowed a lot of features from different countries. From the British, Constitution they have borrowed the parliamentary system. So, India has a parliament we send elected representatives there and we do not have a president like the USA but a president only a titler head and it is the Prime Minister and elected representative to present the state. The constitutional head of the state for example in Britain, the queen is the monarch and she is the Constitutional Head of the State. In India, we have the President who is the Constitutional Head of the State. The Lower House of Parliament is more powerful than the Upper House. The responsibility of the Council of Ministers towards the Parliament. So the Council of Ministers is answerable towards the Parliament. Prevalence of the rule of law is also something that we have borrowed from the Indian Constitution.
From the USA we borrowed the Preamble. The fundamental rights, the functions of the voice President, the procedure of amending the Constitution, the nature and functions of the Supreme Court, and the fact that the judiciary should remain independent of the other two organs that are the legislature and the executive. From South Africa, we have borrowed proportional representation.
From Australia, we borrowed the concrete list and from Ireland, the Directive Principle of the State Policy. The Indian Constitution was borrowed many concepts from the constitution of different countries.
The features of the Indian Constitution
The Indian Constitution is Quasi-Federal Constitution. Quasi-Federal means India has features of both a Federal as well as a Unitary government. Federal Government would have a government at the centre, as well as a government in the state. Or a unitary government, on the other hand, would have only a central government. India has a government, both at the centre and the State level. But the centre has an overriding far above the State government.
So the central government has the last set. We also have the residuary list on which only the Central Government can legislate.
So, the centre is overpowering the State Government.
And therefore, it has both the federal and the Unitary governments. The Unitary government is only a single government in the Unitary States. And that’s the central government, there are no State governments there. An Example of a Unity Government in England and an Example of a Federal Government in the United States. India has a parliamentary form of government.
Separation of Powers
Separation of powers. So we have three organs i.e., Executive, Legislature, Judiciary.
So, the powers that are separated to these organs and as they do not overlap with each other. And that’s called the Separation of Powers.
So, the legislature won’t interfere with executives domain, executives won’t interfere into judiciaries domain and likewise.
Independence of the judiciary
The judiciary needs to be independent, under the Indian constitution and the legislature and the executive should not influence it in any way. And therefore, the salary of the Judges, etc, is always paid from or consolidated funds and neither the legislature nor the executive have any control over salaries, benefits and monuments paid to the Judges. Secularism India does not have an official religion. And the basic principle of secularism is the State should not have an official religion. India does not have an official religion, and hence India follows the principle of secularism.