Constitution of India & Amendment of the Constitution (Indian Polity)

Constitution of India & Amendment of the Constitution (Indian Polity)

Constitution of India & Amendment of the Constitution (Indian Polity)

The Constitution of India is the Supreme Law of India that lays down the framework for structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, as well as for citizens of India it embarks fundamental rights and duties. It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950. The constitution replaced the Government of India Act, 1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India.

The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity.

Dr B R Ambedkar, the then Law minister, is known as the ‘Father of the Constitution of India’, as he was chief architect of the Constitution and chairman of the Drafting committee.

 

Making of the Constitution

First time the demand for the constituent assembly was put forward in 1934 by M.N. Roy. In ‘August Offer’ of 1940, the demand was finally accepted by the British Government.

Finally the Constituent Assembly was created in 1946, under Cabinet Mission Plan, that consist of 389 members having representatives from all the sections of the Indian society. Dr Rajendra Prasad was the President of the Constituent Assembly.

 

Salient Features of the Constitution

  1. Indian Constitution is the lengthiest and the most comprehensive of all written constitution of the world.
  2. It is drawn from various sources as it is borrowed from constitution of various other countries as well as Government of India Act (1935).
  3. It is a rigid constitution with a blend of flexibility as some of its provisions can be amended by special majority while some by simple majority.
  4. Indian Constitution exhibits a system of government which is federal in form but unitary in spirit.
  5. Indian Constitution exhibits a parliamentary form of government both at the centre and in the states.
  6. It provides the provisions of ‘Direct Principles of State Policy’ in order to ensure a truly welfare state.
  7. It provides for a single unified independent judiciary with Supreme Court at the apex, High court in the middle and Subordinate courts below it.
  8. It provides every Indian with single citizenship and six Fundamental Rights as well as Fundamental Duties.

 

For Indian Polity lecture on Constitution of India, Check out this video

Sources of the Constitution

  1. The skeleton of the Constitution with features such as Federal system, emergency provisions, was derived from the Government of India Act 1935.
  2. Bi-cameral Parliamentary System, Single citizenship, Law making procedures are some features that are derived from the Constitution of Britain.
  3. From Constitution of USA some features, i.e., Independent Judiciary, Fundamental Rights, and Preamble are taken.
  4. Directive Principle of State Policy is taken from the Constitution of Ireland.
  5. Federal system having strong Centre is taken from the Constitution of Canada.
  6. Amendment related provisions are taken from the Constitution of South Africa.
  7. Fundamental Duties are taken from the Constitution of USSR.
  8. Principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are taken from the Constitution of France.
  9. Provisions related to Concurrent List are taken from the Constitution of Australia.

 

Amendment of the Constitution

The Parliament can amend the Constitution by doing addition or variation in any of its provision but without amending its basic structure. Amendment can be initiated by introducing the bill in either House of the Parliament that must be passed by each House with special majority.  If amendment is related to federal provisions then it must be ratified by the legislatures of half of the states by simple majority, then it is presented to President for his assent.

Important Amendments:-

7th Amendment (in 1956) – Reorganization of states on linguistic basis and abolition of Class A, B, C and D states and introduction of Union Territories.

10th Amendment (in 1961) – Dadra, Nagar and Haveli included in Indian Union as a Union Territory on acquisition from Portugal.

12th Amendment (in 1961) – Goa, Daman and Diu included in Indian Union as a Union Territory on acquisition from Portugal.

13th Amendment (in 1962) – The state of Nagaland formed with special protection under Article 371A on 01 Dec 1963.

14th Amendment (in 1962) – Pondicherry incorporated into Indian Union after transfer by France.

36th Amendment (in 1975) – Sikkim included as an Indian state.

42nd Amendment (in 1976) – Fundamental Duties prescribed, India became Socialist Secular Republic.

44th Amendment (in 1978) – Right to Property deleted from the list of fundamental rights.

52nd Amendment (in 1985) – Defection to another party after election made illegal.

61st Amendment  (in 1989) – Voting age reduced from 21 to 18.

71st Amendment  (in 1992) – Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali added as languages in the Eighth Schedule.

73rd Amendment (in 1993) – Introduction of Panchayati Raj, addition of Part IX to the Constitution.

74th Amendment (in 1993) – Introduction of Municipalities.

86th Amendment (in 2002) – Free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years.

92nd Amendment (in 2003) – Bodo, Dogri, Santhali and Maithli added to the list of recognised languages.

101st Amendment (in 2016) – Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST)

102nd Amendment (in 2018) – Establishment of National Commission for Backward Classes

103rd Amendment (in 2019) – Reservation for economically weaker sections of the society

  • The 42nd amendment was the most comprehensive amendment which had 59 clauses and carried out so many changes that it has been described as a “Mini Constitution”.
  • The 52nd amendment was the only amendment to be unanimously adopted by the Parliament.

 

Schedules

Schedules are lists in the constitution which categorise and tabulate bureaucratic activity and government policy.

1st Schedule – Lists India’s states and territories, changes in their borders and the laws used to make that change.

2nd Schedule – Lists the salaries of public officials, judges, and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

3rd Schedule – Forms of oaths – Lists the oaths of office for elected officials and judges.

4th Schedule – Details the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) by state or union territory.

5th Schedule – Provides for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas[f] and Scheduled Tribes[g] (areas and tribes requiring special protection).

6th Schedule – Provisions made for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

7th Schedule – Central government, state, and concurrent lists of responsibilities

8th Schedule – Official languages

9th Schedule – Validation of certain acts and regulations

10th Schedule – Anti-defection provisions for members of Parliament and state legislatures.

11th Schedule – Panchayat Raj (rural local government)

12th Schedule – Municipalities (urban local government)

 

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February 9, 2020

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