Notes on the Basic Principles of the Constitution of India

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If the division of power is the basis of civilised government, a constitution is the best device by which such division could be facilitated. Constitutionalism is an achievement of the modern world. But it is a comparatively recent achievement. As such, it has not become fully stabilised.

Meanwhile, every constitution aims to build up a governmental structure based upon certain basic principles. And these principles are more or less well-established. Although some of these principles are common to most constitutions, there are others which vary from constitution to constitution.

Such variations are the product of the varying conditions and circumstances that determine the principles of the constitution. The constitution of India is not an exception to this rule and it has its own basic principles.

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We shall, therefore, begin by a study of the basic principles of the Constitution, which form the foundations of democratic government in India.

A careful study of the Constitution will show that there are at least eight basic principles which are embodied in it and which form the foundation of the political system in India. These are: (1) Popular sovereignty, (2) Socialism, (3) Secularism, (4) Fundamental rights, (5) Directive Principles of State Policy, (6) Judicial independence, (7) Federalism and (8) Cabinet government. We may examine briefly the scope of each of these principles.

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