Constitution

  • All such certain basic rules that the citizens and the government have to follow together are called constitution.
  • As the supreme law of the country, the constitution determines the rights of citizens, the powers of the government and how the government should function.

WHY DO WE NEED A CONSTITUTION?

Constitution is the supreme law that determines the relationship among people living in a territory (called citizens) and also the relationship between the people and government.

  • it generates a degree of trust and coordination that is necessary for different kind of people to live together
  •  it specifies how the government will be constituted, who will have power to take which
    decisions
  •  It lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us what the rights of the citizens are
  •  It expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.

MAKING OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Challenges in making the Indian constitution

  • The size and diversity of India was a huge challenge
  • The issue of partition and religious difference
  • Indian were so called subjects in British time and were to become citizens of India
  • The merger of the princely states as Britishers had left it to the rulers of the princely states to decide whether they wanted to merge with India or with Pakistan or remain independent
  • There were anxieties about the present and the future of the country

Despite all such issues it was not a challenge to decide how the Independent India should look like as

  • Much of this consensus had evolved during the freedom struggle.
  • Our national movement was not merely a struggle against a foreign rule.
  • It was also a struggle to rejuvenate our country and to transform our society and politics

in 1928, Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders and In 1931, the resolution at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress dwelt on how independent India’s constitution should look like.

Both these documents were committed to the inclusion of universal adult franchise, right to freedom and equality and to protecting the rights of minorities in the constitution of independent India

The limited franchise based election of the year 1922 and 1937 had provided experience
to Indians in the working of the legislative institutions
This experince proved to be very useful for the country in setting up its own institutions

Features borrowed in Indian Constitution from other countries 

  • We borrowed many features from other democratic countries of that time
  •  Yet they were not simply imitating what others had done.
  • At each step they were questioning whether these things suited our country.

All these factors contributed to the making of our Constitution.

Who framed the Constitution of India

  • The Constitution of India framed by Constitution Constituent Assembly which was established in 1946.
  • Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946.
  • Its first meeting was held in December 1946.
  • Constituent Assembly was to be a partly elected and partly nominated body.
  • Moreover, the members were to be indirectly elected by the members of the provincial assemblies, who themselves were elected on a limited franchise
  • Soon after, the country divided into India and Pakistan.
  • The Constituent Assembly was also divided into the Constituent Assembly of India and that of Pakistan.
  • The Constituent Assembly that wrote the Indian constitution had 299 members.
  • The Assembly adopted the Constitution on 26 November 1949 but it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
  • To mark this day we celebrate January 26 as Republic Day every year.

Criticism of Constituent Assembly

1. Not a Representative Body: The critics have argued that the Constituent Assembly was not a representative body as its members were not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of universal adult franchise.
2.
Not a Sovereign Body: The critics maintained that the Constituent Assembly was not a
sovereign body as it was created by the proposals of the British Government. Further, they
said that the Assembly held its sessions with the permission of the British Government.
3.
Time Consuming: According to the critics, the Constituent Assembly took unduly long time to make the Constitution. They stated that the framers of the American Constitution took only four months to complete their work.
4.
Dominated by Congress: The critics charged that the Constituent Assembly was dominated by the Congress party. 
5.
Lawyer–Politician Domination: It is also maintained by the critics that the Constituent Assembly was dominated by lawyers and politicians. They pointed out that other sections of the society were not sufficiently represented. This, to them, is the main reason for the bulkiness and complicated language of the Constitution.
6.
Dominated by Hindus: According to some critics, the Constituent Assembly was a Hindu dominated body. 

 Values  embedded in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

  • They guide all the articles of the Indian Constitution.
  • The Constitution begins with a short statement of its basic values.
  • This is called the Preamble to the constitution.
  • Taking inspiration from American model, most countries in the contemporary
    world have chosen to begin their constitutions with a preamble
  • Source of authority of the Constitution: The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India
  • Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and republican polity.
  • Objectives of the Constitution: It specifies justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as the objectives.

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Read more about the Preamble here 

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