Written by: Shagun Sharma
INDIAN CONSTITUTION: INTRODUCTION
The Constitution of India is the backbone of the democracy of our country.
The constituent assembly adopted the constitution on 26th November, 1949 and it came into effect on 26th January, 1950. Since the constitution of India was adopted on November 26, 1949, therefore this day is observed as Sanvidhan Diwas or Constitution Day in India.
The Constitution of India is the lengthiest written constitution in the world. It took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to complete the process. It originally consisted of 395 articles which now has increased to 470 articles 12 schedules and 25 parts. There have been 104 amendments so far.
The sources of the Indian Constitution are varied and diverse, reflecting India’s long history and cultural traditions. The Constitution draws upon a number of sources, including:
- British constitutional law: India was a British colony for over 200 years, and the Constitution of India draws heavily from British constitutional law, including the Westminster system of government, the rule of law, and the principles of democracy and parliamentary sovereignty.
- Indian Independence Act, 1947: This act provided for the establishment of two independent Dominions of India and Pakistan, and served as the basis for the adoption of the Constitution of India.
- Government of India Act, 1935: This was the last constitutional document enacted by the British Parliament for India before independence. The Indian Constitution borrows some of its provisions from this act, including the division of powers between the central and state governments.
- Constitutions of other countries: The Indian Constitution also draws inspiration from the constitutions of other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Ireland, which helped shape the Indian Constitution’s fundamental principles and institutions.
- Indian national movement: The Indian national movement, which fought for India’s independence from British colonial rule, also had a significant influence on the Constitution of India. Leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar played a key role in shaping the Constitution’s vision and values.
- Judicial decisions: The Constitution of India is also shaped by judicial decisions of the Indian Supreme Court and High Courts, which interpret and apply its provisions to specific cases and situations.
Overall, the Indian Constitution is a unique blend of various sources, reflecting the country’s diverse cultural and historical traditions, as well as its aspirations for a democratic, secular, and egalitarian society.
|1. GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT , 1935||A. Federal Scheme|
B. Office of Governor
D. Public Service Commission
E. Emergency Provisions
F. Administrative Details
|2. AUSTRALIA||A. Concurrent List|
B. Freedom of Trade, Commerce and Intercourse
C. Joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament.
|3. CANADA||A. Federation with a strong centre|
B. Vesting of residuary powers in the centre
C. Appointment of State Government by the centre
D. Advisory Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
|4. IRELAND||A. Directive Principles of State Policies (DPSP)|
B. Nomination of members to Rajya Sabha
C. Method of Election of the President.
|5. JAPAN||A. Procedure established by Law|
|6. RUSSIA(SOVIET UNION), (USSR)||A. Fundamental Duties|
B. Ideals of Justice in the Preamble (Social, Economic and Political)
|7. U.K.||A. Parliamentary Government|
B. Rule of Law
C. Legislative Procedure
D. Single Citizenship
E. Cabinet System
G. Parliamentary Privileges
|8. U.S.||A. Fundamental Rights|
B. Independence of Judiciary
C. Judicial Review
D. Impeachment of the President
E. Removal of Supreme Court and High Court Judges
F. Post of Vice-President
|9. GERMANY||A. Suspension of Fundamental rights during Emergency|
|10. SOUTH AFRICA||A. Procedure for Amendment in the Indian constitution.|
B. Election of members of Rajya Sabha
|11. FRANCE||A. Republic|
B. Ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the preamble.
- GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1935-
- FEDERAL SCHEME- system of government where the powers are divided between the centre and the states. India, follows quasi-federal system as it has features of both a federal and a unitary system.
- OFFICE OF GOVERNOR- under section 156 a governor shall hold office for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
- JUDICIARY- in India, we have an independent and integrated judiciary. The Supreme Court is the apex court and the last appellate court in India followed by the High Courts i.e. The top judicial bodies in the states. And last is district courts which is further divided into civil court and criminal courts.
- PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION- Articles 315-323 in part XIV of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of public service commission for the union of India and a Public Service Commission for each state.
- Emergency Provision- in the Constitution of India, emergency provisions are contained in Part 18. In case of war or external aggression or armed rebellion, the President of India, has the power to impose emergency rule in any or all the Indian states.
- CONCURRENT LIST- the concurrent list also known as list III contains 52 items and is given in the 7th schedule in the constitution of India. It consists of the common interest subjects of both the union and the state.
- FREEDOM OF TRADE, COMMERCE AND INTERCOURSE- Article 301 of Indian constitution provides that the trade, commerce and intercourse in the country should be free throughout the country.
- Trade involves exchange of goods and services and also transportation of these goods.
- Commerce is mainly related to the element of transmission of goods, men and animals.
- Intercourse express the intention that is free flow of goods throughout the country.
- JOINT SITTING OF THE TWO HOUSES OF THE PARLIAMENT- the joint sitting of two houses of the parliament is called by the president. Joint sitting is presided by the speaker. If he is not present, then the deputy speaker of Lok Sabha presides over it; and if both are absent the sitting is presided over by the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
- FEDERATION WITH A STRONG CENTRE- the Constitution of India has borrowed the federation with a strong centre from Canada. The reason behind adopting the federation with a strong centre was one- the large size of the country and its sociocultural diversity.
- VESTING OF RESIDUARY POWERS IN THE CENTRE- vesting of the residuary powers lies with the centre by the constitution of India. But the final authority to decide rests with the supreme court.
- ADVISORY JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT- in Indian constitution, Article 143 empowers the supreme court with advisory jurisdiction. However, it is not binding on the President.
- DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICIES (DPSP)- under Part IV, Articles 36-51 of Indian Constitution deals with Directive Principles of State Policies. They are the ideals which are meant to be kept in mind by the state when it formulates policies and enacts laws.
- NOMINATION OF MEMBERS TO RAJYA SABHA- the President nominates 12 members to the Rajya Sabha. They are the people who have special knowledge or practical experience in Art, Literature, Science and Social Service.
- METHOD OF ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT- President is indirectly elected by an electoral college comprising both houses of parliament and legislative assemblies of each state and territory, who are all directly elected by themselves.
- PROCEDURE ESTABLISHED BY LAW- it means that a law is duly enacted by the legislature or the body in question is valid if the procedure to established it has been correctly followed.
- FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES- Fundamental Duties are given in article 51a. They were added by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976. And there are total 11 fundamental duties and the 11th duty was added by 86th Amendment Act, 2002.
- IDEALS OF PREAMBLE- the ideals of preamble are justice, social, economic and political.
- UNITED KINGDOM
- PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT- India exercise the parliamentary form of government. In this, head of state is a person distinct from head of government.
- RULE OF LAW- rule of law is derived from the French phrase ‘le principe de legalite’. This means principle of legality. Dicey gave the concept of rule of law. And according to his theory it is divided in 3 parts i.e. :
- Supremacy of law (law is above all)
- Equality before law (everyone is equal in the eyes of law) and
- Predominance of legal spirit (independence of judiciary).
- LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE- legislative procedure means process of law making. All legislative proposals are in the form of bills bought before the parliament.
- SINGLE CITIZENSHIP- India enjoys single citizenship and all the people residing in the state or territory are the Citizen of India.
- CABINET SYSTEM- India follows the parliamentary cabinet system. Cabinet system is the body of high ranking state officials.
- WRITS- When a Fundamental Right of a citizen is violated, that person has the right to directly approach the Supreme Court or the High Court. Citizen of India can approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 and the High Court under Article 226. There are five writs in total i.e.
- Habeas Corpus
- Quo Warranto
- BICAMERALISM- bicameralism means, having two houses of Parliament. In India, we have 2 Houses i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha is the lower house and it is also known as Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly). Rajya Sabha is the upper house and it is also known as Vidhan Parishad (legislative council).
- UNITED STATES
- FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS- the basic human rights enshrined in the constitution of India is known as fundamental rights. They are guaranteed to all the citizens of India. They are provided under article 12-35 in the constitution of India. Fundamental rights are not absolute rights; they have reasonable restrictions. They are justiciable, that means they are enforceable by courts.
- INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIARY- by independence of judiciary, we mean that independence from the other branches of government. Courts should not be under influence from branches of government or private persons.
- JUDICIAL REVIEW- is the process under which executive, legislative and administrative actions are subject to review by the judiciary.
- IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT- Article 61 of the constitution of India provides for the impeachment of the president.
- POST OF VICE PRESIDENT- the office of Vice President is the 2nd highest constitutional office after the president. He is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha in the parliament of India.
- GERMANY (WEIMAR)
- SUSPENSION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS DURING EMERGENCY- national emergency are given under articles 352, 353, 354, 358 and 359 in the constitution of India.
- SOUTH AFRICA
- PROCEDURE FOR AMENDMENT IN THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION- Article 368 of the Indian constitution provides the procedure of amendment. Indian constitution, under Article 368, can be amended by a simple majority of not less than 2/3 members of each houses. As the Indian constitution is neither rigid nor flexible in nature.
- ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF RAJYA SABHA- Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the parliament. Rajya Sabha has a maximum membership of 245 members. From these 245, 233 are elected by legislatures of the States and Union Territories using single transferable votes through open ballots, rest 12 are appointed by the President.
- The principles of republic and the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the preamble of the constitution of India are borrowed from the French constitution and these ideals were born during the French Revolution of 1789.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the sources of the Indian Constitution
- What are the primary sources of the Indian Constitution? The primary sources of the Indian Constitution include the British constitutional law, the Indian Independence Act of 1947, and the Government of India Act of 1935.
- What other sources influenced the Indian Constitution? The Indian Constitution was also influenced by the constitutions of other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Ireland, as well as the Indian national movement and judicial decisions.
- How did British constitutional law influence the Indian Constitution? The Indian Constitution draws upon the principles of the Westminster system of government, the rule of law, and the principles of democracy and parliamentary sovereignty, which are key features of British constitutional law.
- How did the Indian Independence Act of 1947 shape the Indian Constitution? The Indian Independence Act of 1947 provided for the establishment of two independent Dominions of India and Pakistan, which served as the basis for the adoption of the Constitution of India.
- How did the Government of India Act of 1935 influence the Indian Constitution? The Government of India Act of 1935 provided for a federal system of government in India and division of powers between the central and state governments, which were incorporated into the Indian Constitution.
- How did other constitutions influence the Indian Constitution? The Indian Constitution drew inspiration from the constitutions of other countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Ireland, which helped shape the Indian Constitution’s fundamental principles and institutions.
- How did the Indian national movement influence the Indian Constitution? Leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar played a key role in shaping the Constitution’s vision and values, which reflected the aspirations of the Indian national movement for a democratic, secular, and egalitarian society.
- How do judicial decisions influence the interpretation of the Indian Constitution? The Indian Constitution is interpreted and applied by the Indian Supreme Court and High Courts, which have the power to declare laws unconstitutional and shape the evolution of constitutional principles and values.
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