Essay on Important Articles of the Constitution of India

The Articles in Constitution are in Twenty-two parts and several schedules.

The most important of them are enumerated in:

Part II containing Articles 5 to 11 relate to Citizenship;

Part III containing Articles 12 to 35A relate to Fundamental rights;

Parts IV contain Articles 36 to 51 which deal with the Directive Principles of State Policy;

Parts V contain Articles 52 to 152 which deal with The Union;

Part VI deals with The States; and

Part XVIII deals with Emergency Provisions.

Part V deals with the Union. It provides for the President and the Vice President of India, Council of Ministers, the Attorney General of India, the Parliament and its members, the Legislative Procedures etc. An Electoral College consisting of the elected members of the Parliament and the elected members of the States elect the President of India. Each member represents a particular number of votes.

The President holds the office for 5 years and the members of both houses of parliament elect the Vice President for a period of 5 years. He is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

The Constitution has established a permanent Supreme Court and High Courts. The Supreme Court has a Chief Justice and other Judges, all of whom retire at the age of 65 years. The President appoints the Judges, but judicial pronouncements have laid down the norms that bind the President in the matter of appointing the Judges.

The Executive cannot override the recommendation made by the Chief Justice of India, who in turn should consult other 5 senior Judges. Normally the judges of the High Court are elevated to the Supreme Court. There is also a provision to appoint any distinguished jurist as a judge of the Supreme Court. Sometimes members of the Bar are also appointed directly to the Supreme Court.

No judge can be removed except by an order of the President, who in turn has to act on the basis of the result of an impeachment by the Parliament.

The Supreme Court has vast powers. Apart from enforcing the fundamental rights, it may entertain appeals from the High Courts and other Tribunals. The law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all courts within India.

The President may refer any question of law or facts for the opinion of the Supreme Court and thus the Supreme Court has advisory jurisdiction.

Part VI deals with the States. The Governor is the head of the State, appointed by the President. He holds office during the pleasure of the President. Any person, who is a citizen of India and has completed the age of 35 years, is eligible for appointment as a Governor.

The powers of the Governor are similar to that of the President in as much that he acts on the basis of the advice given by Chief Minister and the council of Ministers. The Governor also has power of making ordinances, if an immediate action is called for, when the legislature of the State is not in session.

The Chief Minister and the council of Ministers are responsible to the Legislative Assembly and they are to be the members of the Legislative Assembly or the Upper House (in case there is an Upper House.) The voters elect the members of the State Assembly directly.

The tenure of the assembly is five years unless dissolved earlier. There are many provisions governing the law making process.

Each State has a High Court with a Chief Justice and other Judges who retire at the age of sixty- two. The President of India appoints them. Normally the President is bound by the opinion or recommendation of the Chief Justice of India, who in turn should consult other Senior Judges etc., as per the judicial pronouncements of the Supreme Court.

The Governor of the State also is consulted, but his opinion will not prevail over the opinion of the Chief Justice of India. Here, the term 'Governor' means, in practice, the Chief Minister headed by the Council of Ministers.

The High Court has writ jurisdiction, which is quite wide. It has also appellate and provisional powers. The High Court controls the administration of the subordinate courts including the appointment of District Judges.

The Judges of the High Court can be removed only in the manner the Judges of the Supreme Court are removed (by impeachment). The legislative powers of the Union of the States are clearly demarcated and the subjects falling within the purview of each are found in Schedule VII to the Constitution. Certain subjects are in the concurrent field and the State as well as the Union could legislate in respect of them.

The Constitution also provides as to which would prevail, in case, there is a conflict between the law made by the State legislature and the Parliament. The Constitution also establishes an Election Commission, which has the power of superintendence, direction and control of elections including the election of the President and the Vice President.

There are special provisions relating to certain classes such as the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe and other Backward Classes. Under Article 15 and 16 reservations in matters of admissions to Educational Institutions and appointments can be made in favour of the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe and other Backward Classes. Recently, Article 16(4)(A) was introduced to provide for reservation in promotions in favour of the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes.

The official language of the Union is declared as Hindi. However, English as per the Constitution shall continue for the same purpose for a particular period (vide Article 343). There are also provisions regarding regional languages.

Part XVIII provides for declaration of "emergency" under certain circumstances and consequences of such a declaration.

Article 356 empowers the President to assume himself all or any of the functions of the State Government. Here the dismissal of the Council of Ministers of any State by the President is provided for. The said Article also regulates and controls the circumstances under which the power could be exercised under Article 356. In recent times exercise of power under 356 dismissing the duly elected State Government has become controversial.

The Constitution provides for a Comptroller and Auditor General of India to keep watch over the funds of the States. The Constitution has by an amendment included provisions governing the local authorities, such as Municipalities and Village level Panchayats.

The Constitution also establishes an Election Commission, which has the power of superintendence, direction and control of elections including the election of the President and the Vice President.

Indian Constitution is said to be a combination of rigidity and flexibility. Simple majority in both the Houses of Parliament can amend certain provisions of the Constitution like Articles 2, 3, and 4 ana 169 like ordinary legislation. Other provisions can be amended under Article 368 by the Houses of Parliament by a special majority of 2/3rds of the members present and voting and a majority of the total membership in each House.

In special cases in addition to a special majority in the two Houses of Parliament, an amendment would require the ratification of not less than one-half of the States. The fact that during the last 50 years, there were as many as 95 Amendments to the Constitution disproves the charge that the Constitution is rigid in character.