Short Essay on the Constitution of India



In accordance with the recommendations of the Cabinet Mission, which consisted of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A. V. Alexander and visited India in March 1946, the Constituent Assembly of India was elected by the Provincial Assemblies in July 1946. It had 389 members in all, including 93 representatives of Indian Princely States.

The important committees of the Constituent Assembly were: (a) Union Powers Committee: It had 9 members. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru was its Chairman; (b) Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities: It had 54 members. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was its Chairman; (c) Steering Committee: It had 3 members. Dr. K. M. Munshi (Chairman), Shri Gopalswamy Ayyangar and Shri Bishwanath Das; (d) Provincial Constitution Committee: 25 members. Sardar Patel as Chairman; (e) Committee on Union Constitution: 15 members. Pandit Nehru as Chairman. (M. K. Gandhi and M. A. Jinnah were not members of the Constituent Assembly).

The Muslim League members refused to take part in the deliberations of the Assembly, although they had joined the Interim Government. The first session of the Assembly was held in New Delhi on December 9, 1946. It was attended by 207 members including four Muslims elected on Congress ticket.

Sachchidanand Sinha, as the oldest member of the Constituent Assembly, was elected provisional chairman of the session. However, on December 11, 1946, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the Permanent Chairman of the Constituent Assembly.

The objectives of the Constituent Assembly were stated in Nehru's resolution proposed on December 13, 1946, and passed on January 22, 1948. These were:

India was to be an independent sovereign republic in which both British India and the princely States were to be included. Each unit was to be given a certain amount of autonomy as well as residuary powers. All authority and power of the State was to be derived from the people who were to be guaranteed freedom of economic and political justice, equality status and opportunity before law. They were to be guaranteed freedom thought, vocation, association, expression, belief, faith, worship and action subject to law and morality. The minorities and backward and tribal People were to be provided adequate safeguards. between December 9, 1946 and August 14, 1947, five sessions of the stituent Assembly were held. In accordance with Indian Independence

Act of 1947, the Constituent Assembly became a sovereign body. It was no longer to confine itself to the limitations laid down by the Cabinet Mission.

It appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten as the first Governor-General and Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of India.

The Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949 and it came into effect on January 26, 1950.

Preamble of Indian Constitution: Every constitution has a philosophy behind it. The framers of the constitution always cherish certain specific values and objectives sought to be achieved. These values and objectives are enshrined in preamble. Thus a preamble is a declaration of objectives, a sort of a preface, with which a constitution begins. The preamble of Indian constitution reads:

Amended Preamble

We, the People of India, are having solemnly resolved to Constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic and to secure to all its Citizens.

Justice, Social, economic and political.

Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.

Equality of status and opportunity; and to promote among them all.

Fraternity, assuring the dignity of individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

(Words in Italics added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment) Salient Features of the Constitution

1. The Constitution of India is a written and a comprehensive document with 395 Articles and 12 Schedules.

2. India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.

3. It guarantees Fundamental Rights to all citizens of India.

4. It incorporates Fundamental Duties of citizens.

5. It lays down the 'Directive Principles of State Policy' for the guidance of the legislatures and the executive of the country.

6. It establishes a parliamentary system of government.

7. It establishes a federation with strong unitary features.

8. It is both rigid and flexible.

9. It provides for an independent Judiciary, with the Supreme Court as the highest court of appeal.

10. It introduces adult franchise or universal adult suffrage.

11. It recognizes only one citizenship i.e. Indian citizenship.

12. It abolishes untouchability in every form.