What is a constitution?
A constitution is a set of rules and regulations that govern a country’s government. It is the backbone of the legal system of any country.
What is the Constitution of India?
The Indian Constitution is India’s supreme law. It sets the basis for the government’s political ideals, procedures, and powers. Laying down the fundamental political code, structure, and responsibilities of government institutions, it is also the world’s longest Constitution. The Constitution also provides a framework mentioning the rights, duties and responsibilities, and directive principles for its citizens.
The Constitution of India is unique in spirit and its content. Although many features of the Constitution are similar to other constitutions around the world, it is a unique masterpiece.
However, the Constitution has seen significant changes through various amendments over the years.
Why does a democratic country need a constitution?
Imagine your group of friends is planning an outing. Your friend Akshay wants to watch a movie. Your friend Trisha wishes to go to the mall. You want to go to the bowling alley. Your friend Akanksha also wishes to watch a movie. By the majority, you should all watch a movie. But imagine no one agreeing!
You choose to stay adamant with your choice, Trisha stays fixated on hers, and Akshay and Akanksha also don’t budge. Do you see what happened? Your outing would get cancelled eventually, and you’d all be missing out on some good fun!
So if everyone were to do as they please, there would be no order in the world!
Therefore, it is necessary to establish rules and regulations for a country to be in order. A democracy, however, lets its citizens decide who gets to look after the country. Hence, a democratic country allows the common public to elect its leaders on account of universal suffrage. Universal suffrage is the right of nearly all adults (persons above 18 years of age) to vote for their leader from the contesting candidates.
For more clarity, let’s see in detail below why a democratic country must have a constitution –
- The political system gets based on the Constitution’s guidelines.
- It provides laws to protect the interests of society – citizens and leaders alike.
- The Constitution includes norms for leaders’ decision-making.
- It prohibits leaders’ use of power.
- Leaders get a defined framework of law that simplifies their decision-making for the country.
- It ensures that there is no discrimination based on religion, caste or gender.
- The Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights of citizens for their social, economic and political welfare.
- It describes a set of rules by which people of different religions and communities can coexist peacefully.
- The expectation of citizens’ behaviour gets established.
- It provides for laws to protect the interests of minorities and to prevent majority domination over minorities.
What are the most important Amendments to the Constitution of India?
The Constitution of India has seen many amendments in the past and is adaptive to change. The parliament can amend it by following ascertained rules. Some ground-breaking modifications included –
- The 42nd Amendment, also known as the “Minor Constitution”, made many changes to the original Constitution in 1976. It is known to be the most controversial Amendment to date. Indira Gandhi’s led Indian National Congress made significant changes to the Constitution during the 1976 emergency. The then-parliament amended the preamble to include the words socialist, secular and integrity. It also gave more power to the government to make alterations to the Constitution based on Article 368.
- The 44th Amendment in 1978, on the other hand, undid a lot of the amendments made in the 42nd Amendment during Indira Gandhi’s tenure. This Amendment reversed the effect of Article 368 for governments to make amendments to the Constitution per their will. It also abolished the Right to Property from the list of fundamental rights.
Components of the Constitution of India
The Constitution begins with the Preamble. It sets out the aims and aspirations of the general public from the Indian government. It declares India to be a country of the 3 S’s – Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and the Democratic Republic. It also promises its citizens of liberty, fraternity, justice and equality.
The four elements of the preamble are:
- Source of Constitutional Power: It states that the Constitution derives its power from the people of India.
- Characteristic of the Indian State: It states that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republican country.
- Objectives of the Constitution: Provides the objectives of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity.
- Constitution Approved Date: The constitution of India was adopted on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26 January 1950 by the Constituent Assembly of India. This date marked the date of the Constitution coming into effect and has been celebrated as republic day of India since.
Further, the document includes 395 Articles in 22 Parts and 8 Schedules.
The Constitution of India is the pride of each citizen of the country. It is a book filled with key historical developments in our country’s past. And it’s more than just a book. This Constitution is made for you, for me, for each one of us. Therefore, it is our responsibility to respect it, treasure it and abide by it. Jai Hind!
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