Indian Constitution Synopsis for Competitive Exams

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indian constitution synopsis

# Constitution of India:-

The Constitution of India or the Constitution of the Republic of India came in effect on January 26, 1950 and is the longest written constitution of any independent nation in the world. It contains 22 Parts 395 articles and 12 schedules. It has a total of 117,369 words in its English language version.

# History of the Constitution of India:-

At the end of World War II in Europe on May 9, 1945, a new government came to power in the United Kingdom. This government announced to convene a constituent drafting body in India. A team of ministers, called the Cabinet Mission, were sent to India to find solution to the question of India’s independence.

The Cabinet Mission discussed the framework and the procedure to be followed the drafting body. With India’s independence, the Constituent Assembly became a fully sovereign body and they began the working from 9 December 1947.

The Assembly had members belonging to different communities, regions and even from different political persuasions of India. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the elected president and B.R. Ambedkar, the chairman of the Drafting Committee.

Over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days, before submitting the final copy of the Constitution, the Constituent Assembly met for 166 days and the sessions were always open to the press and the public.

# Features of the Constitution of India:-

It has been extensively drawn from Western legal traditions in enunciation of the principles of liberal democracy. The principles of the Constitution reflect aspirants to end the inequities of traditional social relations and to enhance the social welfare of the population. Since the enactment, the constitution has always fostered for a steady concentrate of power to the central government, especially to Prime Minister Office (PMO).

# Borrowed Features of Indian Constitution from other Constitutions:-

British Constitution

  • Parliamentary form of government
  • The idea of single citizenship
  • The idea of the Rule of law
  • Institution of Speaker and his role
  • Lawmaking procedure

United States Constitution

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is similar to the United States Bill of Rights
  • Federal structure of government
  • Power of Judicial Review and independence of the judiciary

Irish Constitution

    • Constitutional enunciation of the directive principles of state policy

French Constitution

  • Ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

Canadian Constitution

  • A quasi-federal form of government (a federal system with a strong central government)
  • the idea of Residual Powers

Australian Constitution

  • the idea of the Concurrent list
  • Freedom of trade and commerce within the country and between the states

Soviet Constitution

  • The Planning Commission and Five-Year Plans
  • Fundamental Duties

# Preamble:-

The Preamble highlights few fundamental values and guiding principles on which the Constitution of India is based. It serves as the guiding light for both, the Constitution as well as the judges who interpret the Constitution in its light. The opening few words of the Preamble – “We, the people” – signifies that the power is vested in the hands of the people of India. The Preamble is as follows:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, 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 of opportunity; and to promote among them all
  • FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Initially the preamble was not the part of the Constitution of India but the Supreme Court, in the case of ‘Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala’ found it to be part of the Constitution and can be used in interpret ambiguous areas of the Constitution. The words “SOCIALIST” and “SECULAR” were introduced in 42nd amendment act 1976.

# Terms of Preamble, Explained:-

Sovereign – It means supreme or independent. The country is both, internally as well as externally sovereign. Externally it is free from any foreign power and internally it exercises a free government directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people.

Socialist – The word was added by the 42nd amendment act f 1976. It implies to social and economic equality. Social equality means there is no discrimination on the gr unds f caste, color, creed, sex, religion, language, etc. Each one enjoys equal status and opportunities. By e onomic equality it means that the government will endeavour for equal distribution of wealth and to provide a decent standard of living for all, hence a committment in forming a welfare state. Abolition of Untouchability and Zamindari, the Equal Wages Act and the Child Labour Prohibition Act were few steps t ken by the government in this context.

Secular – The word was inserted by the 42nd amendment act of 1976. Secular implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. No state in India have an fficial state religion. Anybody can preach, practice and propagate any religion of his or her choice. In the eyes of law all citizens are equal irrespective of their religious beliefs. No religious instruction is imparted in government schools or government-aided schools.

Democratic – This mean that the govern ent of all levels are elected by the people through a system of universal adult franchise. Every citizen irrespective of caste, creed, color, sex, religion or education who is 18 years of age and above is entitled to vote, if not debarred by law.

Republic – The term means that the head of the state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by Electoral College for a fixed period of five years.