|History & Civics|
Constituent Assembly and Making of the Constitution.
In march 1946, Lord Attlee Sent a Cabinet Mission to India consisting of three cabinet ministers namely Lord Pethick Lawrence Stafford Cripps and Alexander.
The object of the Mission was to help India acheire its independence as early as possible and set up a constitution.
On December 11,1946 Dr. Rajendra Prasad elected as a permanent chairman of Constituent Assembly. The total members of the constituent Assembly was 385.
On August 29,1947 a seven members Drafting Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was constituted.
It took two years eleven months and eighteen days for Constituent Assembly to finalise the Constitution. The final reading of the draft was completed on November 26, 1949. On this date the signature of the president of the Assembly was appended to it and the consitution was declared passed. The constitution came into force on 26th January 1950.
Different Sources of Indian Constitution.
Skeleton of the constitution was derived from the Government of India Act 1935. Many provisions are imported from other constitutions of the world. Some are listed below.
Constitution of Britain:- Law making procedure, Rule of law, Single Citizenship, Bi-cameral parliamentary system office of CAG.
Consitution of USA:- Interdependence of judiciary, judicial review system.
Constitution of Canada:-Federation with strong centre, suprem court's Advisory jurisdiction.
Constitution of Ireland:- Directive principles of state policy,method of presidential electtion, nomination of members to Rajyasabha by president.
Constitution of Germany:- Provision concerning the suspension of fundamental right during emergency.
Constitution of France:- Republican system,Principles of Liberty.
Constitution of South Africa:- Amendment with 2/3 majority in parliament and election of members of Rajyasabha.
Government of India Act 1935:- Federal scheme, Office of governor, Public Service Commissions, etc
Salient Features of Indian constitution
1) Lengthiest Written Constitution
Constitutions are classified into written like American constitution or unwritten like British constitution. Constitution of India is the lenghiest of all written constitutions of the world. It is very comprehensive, Elaborate and detailed document.
2) Drawn from various sources
The constitutions of India has borrowed most of its provisions from the constitutions of various countries as well as from Government of India act1935. Dr. BR Ambedkar procidly acclaimed that constitution of India has been fromed after ransackening all the known constitutions of the world. Structural part of the constitution to large extent derived from government of India act 1935.
3.Blend of Rigiclity and flexibility
Constitutions are also classified into rigid and flexible. A rigid constitutions is one that requires a special procedure for its amendment as far as example American constitution.
A flexible constitution on other land is one that amend in the same manner as the ordinary law are made for example British constitution.
Constitution of India neither rigid nor flexible Article 368 provides for two types of amendment.
Part III of the Indian constitution guarantees six fundamental height to all citizens.
The fundamental right are meant for promoting the idea of political democracy.
5.Directive principles of state policy
According to BR Ambedkar Directive principles of state policy is a novel feature of Indian constitution. They are enumerated in part IV of the constitution. The directive principles are meant for promoting ideal of social and economic democracy. They seek to establish a welfare state in India.
Though the Indian constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity. It provide for only single citizenship that is Indian citizenship.
The Indian constitution contains elaborate emergency provision enable the president to meet any extraordinary situation effectively.
The constitution envisages three types of emergency.
National emergency on ground of war or external aggression or armed rebelion.
State Emergency: On the ground of failure of constitution machinery in the states or failure to comply with direction.
Financial Emergency: On the ground of threat to the financial stability or credit of India.
On the emergency the central Government becomes all powerful and state go federal into the total control of the centre.
1. When did the Constituent Assembly draft the Constitution for Independent India ?
2. What were the characteristics of the Constituent Assembly ?
3. Why is Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar known as the father of the Indian Constitution ?
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is known as the father of the Indian Constitution due to the following :
4. What did the Constituent Assembly fear ?
5. What were the challenges before Constitution Assembly ?
6. Describe the Fundamental rights in the Indian Consitution.
The fundamental rights in the Indian Constitution include:
7. What is a democracy?
Democracy is a form of government in which the people can vote for representatives to govern the state on their behalf.
8. Define the term constitution.
In large societies in which different communities of people live together, the rules are formulated through consensus, and in modern countries this consensus is usually available in written form. A written set of principles according to which a state or organization is governed is called a constitution.
9. Why do we need a constitution ?
The constitution serves several purposes:-
1. First, it lays out certain ideals that form the basis of the kind of country that we as citizens aspire to live in.
2. A constitution tells us what the fundamental nature of our society is. A country is usually made up of different communities of people who share certain beliefs but may not necessarily agree on all issues.
3. A constitution helps serve as a set of rules and principles that all persons in a country can agree upon as the basis of the way in which they want the country to be governed.
4. This includes not only the type of government but also an agreement on certain ideals that they all believe the country should uphold.
5. The other important purpose of a constitution is to define the nature of a country’s political system.
6. The constitution often lays down rules that guard against this misuse of power by our political leaders.
7. Another important function that a constitution plays in a democracy is to ensure that a dominant group does not use its power against. Other, less powerful people or groups.
8. Another reason why we need to have a constitution is precisely to prevent tyranny or domination by the majority of a minority.
9. The last significant reason why we need a constitution is to save us from ourselves.
10. Differentiate between a monarchy and a democracy ?
A country which is governed by a king or a queen is called a monarchy. Democracy is forms of government where people can vote to select their respective representative well govern the state on their behalf.
11. Explain the functions of organs of government.
According to the constitution, there are three organs of the state. These are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
1. The legislature refers to our elected representatives.
2. The executive is a smaller group of people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government.
3. The judiciary, refer to the system of courts in this country.
12. What do you mean by tyranny of majority ?
Every society is prone to tyranny of the majority. The constitution usually contains rules that ensure that minorities are not excluded from anything that is routinely available to the majority.
The constitution is precisely to prevent this tyranny or domination by the majority of a minority.
13. What are the key features of the Indian Constitution ?
The key features of the Indian Constitution are listed bellow:
1. Federalism: This refers to the existence of more than one level of government in the country.
2. Parliamentary Form of Government: This means that the people of India have a direct role in electing their representatives. These representatives are accountable to the people.
3. Separation of Powers: According to the Constitution, there are three organs of the State. These are the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
4. Fundamental Rights: Fundamental Rights, therefore, protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the State. The Constitution, thus, guarantees the rights of individuals against the State as well as against other individuals.
5. Secularism: A secular state is one in which the state does not officially promote any one religion as the state religion.
14. How can we say that federalism is one of the most important feature of Indian Constitution ?
Federalism refers to the existence of more than one level of government in the country. In India, we have governments at the state level and at the centre. Panchayati Raj is the third tier of government.
The vast number of communities in India meant that a system of government needed to be devised that did not involve only persons sitting in the capital city of New Delhi and making decisions for everyone. Instead, it was important to have another level of government in the states so that decision could be made for that particular area. While each state in India enjoys autonomy in exercising powers on certain issues, subjects of national concern require that all of these states follow the laws of the central government.
The constitution contains lists that detail the issues that each tier of government can make laws on. In addition, the constitution also specifies where each tier of government can get the money from for work that it does. Under federalism, the states are not merely agents of the federal government but draw their authority from the constitution as well. All persons in India are governed by laws and policies made by each of these levels of government.
15. Explain the Parliamentary Form of Government in India.
The different tiers of government consist of representative who are elected by the people. The constitution of Indian guarantees universal adult suffrage for all citizens. When they were making the constitution, the members of the constituent assembly felt that the freedom struggle had prepared the masses for universal adult suffrage and that this would help encourage a democratic mindest and break the clutches of traditional caste, class and gender hierarchies. This means that the people of India have a direct role in electing their representatives. Also, every citizen of the country, irrespective of his/ her social background, can also contest in elections. These representatives are accountable to the people.
16. How the Constitution ensures the balance of power between all three organs ?
According to the Constitution, there are three organs of the state. These are legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature refers to our elected representatives. The executive is a smaller group of people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government. The judiciary refers to the system of courts in this country. In order to prevent the misuse of power by any one branch of the state, the constitution says that each of these organs should exercise different powers. Through this, each organ acts as a check on the other organs of the state and this ensures the balance of power between all three.
17. What is the importance of the Fundamental Rights in Indian constitution ?
The section on Fundamental Right has often been referred to as the ‘conscience’ of the Indian Constitution. Colonial rule had created a certain suspicion of the state in the minds of the nationalists and they wanted to ensure that a set of written rights would guard against the misuse of state powers in independent India. Fundamental Right, therefore protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the state. The constitution, thus, guarantees the rights of individuals against the state as well as against other individuals.
In addition to fundamental right, the constitution also has a section called directive principles of state policy. This section was designed by the members of the constituent assembly to ensure greater social and economic reform and to serve as a guide to the independent Indian. State to institute laws and policies that help to reduce the poverty of the masses.
18. What is a constitutional monarchy? Give example:
In constitutional monarchy a country is ruled by a king or a queen but the country has a constitution which the king follows.
Example: - Until quite recently, Nepal was monarchy. The previous constitution of Nepal, which had been adopted in 1990, reflected the fact that the final authority rested with the king. A people’s movement in Nepal fought for several decades to establish democracy and in 2006 they finally succeeded in putting an end to the powers of the king. Now the people have to write a new constitution to establish Nepal as a democracy. The reason that they do not want to continue with
the previous constitution is because it does not reflect the ideals of the country that they want Nepal to be, and that they have fought for.
19. What will happen if there is no restriction to powers of elected representatives ?
If there would have been no restrictions to powers of elected representatives, they may have misuse their powers. They could have used their powers in doing wrong deeds. They could even have supported a single religion.
20. Explain how the constitution of India gets made ?
1. The long experience of authoritarian rule under the colonial state convinced Indians that free India should be a democracy in which everyone should be treated equally and be allowed to participate in government.
2. This was not done by one person but by a group of around 300 people who become members of the constituent assembly had a huge task before them.
3. The country was made up of several different communities who spoke different languages, belonged to different religions, and had district culture. Also, when the constitution was being written, India was going through considerable turmoil.
21. What is the importance of constitution ?
The constitution plays an important role in laying out certain guidelines that govern decision making within the society.
1. It lays down rules that guard against the misuse of power by our political leaders.
2. It also contains rules to prevent tyranny.
3. It also helps to protect us against certain adverse effect on the larger principal that the country believes in.