Constitution of India | Features of Constitution | Borrowed
Constitution is the fundamental law of a country which ordains the fundamental principles on which the government (or the governance) of that country is based. It lays down the framework and principal functions of various organs of the government as well as the modalities of interaction between the government and its citizens. With the exception of the United Kingdom (U.K.), almost all democratic country possess a written constitution. India also possess an elaborate written constitution which was enacted by a constituent assembly specifically set up for the purpose.
Our present constitution – the first Constitution of India framed and given to themselves by the people of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949. It came into full operation with effect from 26 January 1950. The Constitution as originally adopted had 22 parts, 395 articles and 8 schedules.
Features of Indian Constitution
1. Written and Detailed Constitution
- The Constitution is a wholly written document which incorporates the constitutional law of India. It was fully debated and duly enacted by the Constituent Assembly of India. It took the Assembly 2 years, 11 month and 18 days to write and enact the Constitution.
- Indian Constitution is a very detailed constitution. It had 395 Articles divided into 22 parts with 8 schedules at the time of commencement. It is a constitution of both Centre and states of Indian Union. It is indeed much bigger than the US Constitution which has only 7 Articles and the French Constitution with its 89 Articles.
2. Preamble of the Constitution
- The Preamble to the Constitution of India is a well drafted document which states the philosophy of the constitution. It declares India to be a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and a welfare state committed to secure justice, liberty and equality for the people and for promoting fraternity, dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation. It states in nutshell the nature of Indian state and The Preamble is the key to the constitution. The objectives of it is committed to secure for the people.
- The Preamble was amended once by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976. In here, words socialistic and secular were added along with Integrity.
3. Mixture of Federalism and Unitarianism
- While describing as a Union of States, the Constitution provides for a federal structure with a unitary spirit. It is commonly called as Quasi Federation or ‘a federation with a unitary bias, or even as ‘a Unitarian Federation.’ Like a federation, the Constitution of India provides for :
(i) A division of powers between the centre and states,
(ii) A written, rigid and supreme constitution.
(iii) Independent judiciary with the power to decide centre-state disputes and
(iv) Dual administration i.e. central and state administrations. However by providing a very strong centre, a common constitution, single citizenship, emergency provisions, common constitution, single citizenship, emergency provisions, common election commission, common all India services etc. the Constitution clearly reflects its unitary spirit.
- India is a federation with some Unitarian features. The mixture of federalism-Unitarianism has been done keeping in view both the pluralistic nature of society and the presence of regional diversities, as well as due to the need for securing unity and integrity of the nation.
4. Mixture of Rigidity and Flexibility
- The Constitution of India is rigid in parts. Some of its provisions can be amended in a difficult way while others can be amended very easily. In some cases, the Union Parliament can amend some parts of the constitution by passing a simple law.
- Article 368, of the Constitution provides for two special methods of amendment:
- (i) Most of provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Union Parliament by passing an Amendment Bill by a majority of total membership and 2/3rd majority of members present and voting in each of two Houses.
- (ii) For the amendment of some specified parts, a very rigid method has been provided. Under it, first the Union Parliament passes the Amendment Bill by a majority of total membership and 2/3rd majority of members present and voting in each house and then it goes to the State Legislatures for ratification. The amendment gets passed only when it is approved by not less than half of several states of the Union.
- Basic structure
5. Fundamental Rights
- Under its Part III Articles 12-35, the Constitution of India grants and guarantees Fundamental Rights to its citizens. Right to Property was, once, a fundamental rights but, not, is only a constitutional right.
(i) Right to Equality : article 14-18
It provides for Equality before Law, End of Discrimination, Equality of Opportunity, Abolition of untouchability and Abolition of Titles.
(ii) Right to Freedom : article 19-22
It incorporates six fundamental freedoms – freedoms of speech and expression, freedom to form associations, freedom to assemble peaceably, without arms, freedom to move freely in India, freedom of residence in any part, and freedom of adopting any professional or trade or occupation. It ensures personal freedom and protection in respect of conviction for certain offences.
Art 21A Right to Education for the children between the ages of 6-14 years has been granted. Art. 22 guarantees protection against arbitrary arrest and detention.
(iii) Right against Exploitation : article 23-24
This fundamental Right prohibits sale and purchase of human beings, forced labour (beggar) and employment of children in hazardous jobs and factories.
(iv) Right to Freedom of Religion : article 25-28
The grant of this right involves the freedom of conscience, religion and worship. Any person can follow any religion. It gives to all religions freedom to establish and maintain their religious institutions. No person can be compelled to pay any tax for the propagation of any religion. The state cannot levy a tax for any religion and constitution prohibits the imparting of religious instructions in school and colleges.
(v) Cultural and Educational Rights : article 29-30
Under this category the Constitution guarantees the rights of the minorities to maintain and develop their languages and cultures. It also confers upon them the right to establish, maintain and administer their educational institutions.
(vi) Right to Constitutional Remedies : article 32
This fundamental right is the soul of the entire Bill of Rights. It provides for the enforcement and protection of Fundamental Rights by the courts. It empowers the Supreme Court and High Courts to issue writs for the enforcement of these rights.
6. Fundamental Duties of the Citizens
- In its part IVA (Article 51A) the Constitution describes the following Fundamental Duties of a citizen:
- Respect for the Constitution, the national flag and the national anthem;
- Cherish the noble ideals of the freedom struggle;
- Uphold and protect the sovereign, unity and integrity of India;
- Defend the country and render national services when called;
- Promote the common brotherhood of all the people of India and renounce any practice derogatory to the dignity of women;
- Preserve the rich heritage of the nation’s composite culture;
- Project the natural environment and have compassion for living creatures;
- Develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform;
- Safeguard public property and abjure violence; and
- Strive for excellence in all individual and collective activity.
- Duty of the parents to send their children to schools for getting education.
The Fundamental Duties are, however, not enforceable by the courts. Originally there were 10, they were increased to 11 by 86th Amendment in 2002.
7. Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)
- Part IV of the Constitution dealing with the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’ provides one of the most striking features of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles are instructions to the state for securing socio-economic developmental objectives through its policies. These are to be implemented by both the Union for the States.
8. Bi-Cameral Legislature
- The Constitution provides for a Bicameral Legislative at the Union level and names it as the Union Parliament. Its two Houses are : The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha is the lower, popular, directly elected house of the parliament. It represent the people of India. The Rajya Sabha is the upper and, indirectly elected second House of Parliament. Of the two houses, of Parliament, the Lok Sabha is a more powerful House. It alone has financial powers.
9. Parliamentary System
- The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary system of government at the Centre as well as in every state of the Union. The President of India is the constitutional head of state with nominal powers. The Union Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Ministers is the real executive. Ministers are essentially the members of the Union Parliament.
- For all its policies and decisions the Council of Ministries is collectively responsible before the Lok Sabha. The Lok Sabha can remove the Ministry by passing a vote of no-confidence. The Cabinet, in fact the Prime Minister has the power to get the Lok Sabha dissolved by the President. On similar lines a parliamentary government is also in each state.
- Another feature of the Constitutional is that it provides for universal adult suffrage. All men and women enjoy an equal right to vote. Each adult man and woman above the age of 18 years has the right to vote. All registered voters get the opportunity to vote in election.
11. Single integrated State with Single Citizenship
- India is the single independent and Sovereign integrated state. Presently it has 29 states and 7 Union Territories. All citizens enjoy a common uniform citizenship. They are entitled to equal rights and freedoms and freedoms and equal protection of the state.
12. Independence of Judiciary
The Indian Constitution makes judiciary truly independent. It is clear from the following facts :
(a) Judges are appointed by the President,
(b) Only persons with high legal qualifications and experience are appointed as judges,
(c) Judges of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except through an extremely difficult process of implement.
(d) The salaries of the judges are very high.
(e) The Supreme Court has its own staff. Indian judiciary has an autonomous organisation and status. It works as an independent and powerful judiciary.
13. Judicial Review
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Supreme Court acts as the guardian protector and interpreter of the Constitution. It is also the guardian of the Fundamental Rights of the people. For this purpose it exercises the power of judicial review. By it, the Supreme Court determines the constitutional validity of all laws made by the legislatures. It can reject any law which is found to be unconstitutional.
14. Judicial Activism
Currently, Indian judiciary has been becoming more and more active towards the performance of its social obligations. through public Interest Litigation system (PIL) as well as through a more active exercise of its powers, the Indian judiciary has been now very actively trying to secure all public demands and needs due to them under the laws and policies of the states.
15. Emergency Provisions
- The Constitution of India contains special provisions for dealing with emergencies.
- It recognises three types of possible emergencies :
(1) National Emergency (Article 352) an emergency resulting from war or external aggression or threat of external aggression against India or from armed rebellion within India or in any of its part;
(2) Constitutional Emergencies in a State (Article 356) an emergency resulting from the failure of constitutional machinery in any state; or some states and
(3) Financial Emergency (Article 360) an emergency resulting from a threat to financial stability of India.
Indian Constitution Borrowed From
- Written Constitutional
- Executive head of state known as President and his being Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
- Vice-President as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha
- Fundamental Rights
- Supreme Court
- Independence of Judiciary and judicial review
- Cabinet System of Ministers
- Post of PM
- Parliamentary Type of Govt.
- Bicameral Parliament
- Lower House more powerful
- Council of Ministers responsible to Lower House
- Speaker in Lok Sabha
- Fundamental Duties
- Five year Plan
- Concurrent list
- Language of the preamble
- Provision regarding trade, commerce and intercourse
- Law on which the Supreme Court function
- Scheme of federation with a strong centre
- Distribution of powers between centre and the states and placing. Residuary Powers with the centre
- Concept of Directive Principles of States Policy (Ireland borrowed it from SPAIN)
- Method of election of President
- Nomination of members in the Rajya Sabha by the President
Constitution of India PDF
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