Monday, July 18, 2011

Constitution of India: Study Material for IPO Exam

The Constitution of India is the world's lengthiest written constitution with 395 articles and 8 schedules. It contains the good points taken from the constitution's of many countries in the world. It was passed on 26 Nov 1949 by the 'The Constituent Assembly' and is fully applicable since 26 Jan 1950. The Constituent Assembly had been elected for undivided India and held its first sitting on 9th Dec.1946, re-assembled on the 14th August 1947, as The Sovereign Constituent Assembly for the dominion of India. In regard to its composition the members were elected by indirect election by the members of The Provisional Legislative Assemblies (lower house only). At the time of signing 284 out of 299 members of the Assembly were present.
The constitution of India draws extensively from Western legal traditions in its outline of the principles of liberal democracy. It follows a British parliamentary pattern with a lower and upper house. It embodies some Fundamental Rights which are similar to the Bill of Rights declared by the United States constitution. It also borrows the concept of a Supreme Court from the US.
India is a federal system in which residual powers of legislation remain with the central government, similar to that in Canada. The constitution provides detailed lists dividing up powers between central and state governments as in Australia, and it elaborates a set of Directive Principles of State Policy as does the Irish constitution.
The constitution has provision for Schedules to be added to the constitution by amendment. The ten schedules in force cover the designations of the states and union territories; the emoluments for high-level officials; forms of oaths; allocation of the number of seats in the Rajya Sabha. A review of the constitution needs at least two-thirds of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to pass it.
The Indian constitution is one of the most frequently amended constitutions in the world. Infact the first amendment to it was passed after only a year of the adoption of the constitution and instituted numerous minor changes. Many more amendments followed, a rate of almost two amendments per year since 1950. Most of the constitution can be amended after a quorum of more than half of the members of each house in Parliament passes an amendment with a two-thirds majority vote. Articles pertaining to the distribution of legislative authority between the central and state governments must also be approved by 50 percent of the state legislatures.

· The Constituent Assembly consisted of 385 members, of which 292 were elected by he elected members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies while 93 members were nominated by the Princely States. To these were to be added a representative each from the four Chief Commissioners Provinces of Delhi, Ajmer-Marwar, Coorg and British Baluchistan.

· Each Province and each Indian State or group of States were allotted the total number of seas proportional to their respective population roughly in the ration of one to a million.

· B N Rao was appointed the Constitutional Advisor of the Assembly.

· The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly took place of Dec 9, 1946 with Dr. Sachidanand Sinha as its interim President. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as its President n Dec 11, 1947.

· The Assembly framing the Constitution.had 13 Committees.

· The all-important Drafting Committee, which bore the responsibility of drafting the Constitutional document during the recess of the Constitutent Assembly, from July 1947 to September 1948, was formed on August 29, 1947. Its members were:

1. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Ayyangar

2. N. Gopalaswami Ayyar

3. K.M. Munshi

4. Syyed Mohd. Saadulla

5. N.Madhav Rao

6. D.P.Khaitan (T Krishnamachari, after Kahitan’s Death in 1948)

· It was finally passed and accepted on Nov 26, 1949. The session of the Assembly was held on Jan 24, 1950, which unanimously elected Dr, Rajendra Prasad as the President of India. In all the 284 members of the Assembly signed the official copies of the Indian Constitution which came into effect on Jan 26, 1950, known and celebrated as the Republic Day of India.


The Indian Constitution starts with the preamble which outlines the main objectives of the Constitution. It reads:
" WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC, REPUBLIC and to secure 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 unity and integrity of the nation.

Idea of preamble borrowed from Constitution of US.
The words ‘SOCIALIST’, ‘SECULAR’ and ‘UNITY’ & ‘INTEGRITY’ were added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.
Preamble is not justifiable.


From U.K.

· Nominal Head – President (like Queen)

· Cabinet System of Ministers

· Post of PM

· Parliamentary Type of Govt.

· Bicameral Parliament

· Lower House more powerful

· Council of Ministers responsible to Lowe House

· Speaker in Lok Sabha

From U.S.

· Written Constitution

· Executive head of state known as President and his being the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces

· Vice- President as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha

· Fundamental Rights

· Supreme Court

· Provision of States

· Independence of Judiciary and judicial review

· Preamble

· Removal of Supreme court and High court Judges


· Fundamental Duties

· Five year Plan


· Concurrent list

· Language of the preamble

· Provision regarding trade, commerce and intercourse


· Law on which the Supreme Court function


· Suspension of Fundamental Rights during the emergency


· Scheme of federation with a strong centre

· Distribution of powers between centre and the states and placing. Residuary Powers with the centre


· Concept of Directive Principles of States Policy(Ireland borrowed it from SPAIN) Method of election of PresidentNomination of members in the Rajya Sabha by the President

The Constitution of India – HIGHLIGHTS:

The Constitution of India was enacted on 26th of January, 1950. The Constituent Assembly of India drafted the nation's Constitution. Being drafted on 26th of November, 1949, the Indian Constitution laid the foundations for establishment of the Democratic Republic of India.

Drafting of the Constitution

The Constitution of India was drafted over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. The members of Constituent Assembly of India met for the first time in the year 1946 on December 9. The next meeting of the Assembly took place on August 14th, 1947 for the dominion of India in which the proposal of forming various committees was presented. Such committees include Committee on Fundamental Rights, the Union Powers Committee and Union Constitution Committee. One of the unique factors of this meeting was that the Assembly gathered as the Sovereign Constituent Assembly of India.

On 29th August, 1947 a Drafting Committee, with Dr. Ambedkar as the Chairman, was formed on the basis of the various reports submitted by the previous committees. It was in the year 1948 that a Draft Constitution including a range of proposals was formed by the concerned committee. The Constituent Assembly of India held two meetings in February 1948 and October 1949 to go through the clauses of the Draft. Finally, from 14th to 26th of November, 1949 the Constituent Assembly analyzed each and every provision of the Draft. The then President of the Constituent Assembly of India signed the Draft on November 26th, 1949.

Today, there are 12 Schedules and 395 Articles in the Constitution of India. Amendments have been made to the Constitution time and again as per the need of the hour. Till 2006, there have been 94 Amendments made to the constitution.

Constituent Assembly

The Constituent Assembly of India was formed by the elected members of the provincial assemblies of the country. Presided over by Dr. Sachidanand Sinha for the first time, the Indian Constituent Assembly played the most important role in creating the Constitution of India. After Dr. Sinha, Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the President of the Assembly. Comprising over 30 schedule class members, the Constituent Assembly also included sections of Christians, Anglo-Indians and Minority Community. Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, being the Minority Community Chairman, also successfully worked for the Christians. While H P Modi was the representative of the Parsi community, Frank Anthony headed the Anglo-Indian section of the country in the Constituent Assembly.

Some of the prominent female personalities of the Constituent Assembly were Vijaylakshmi Pandit and Sarojini Naidu. From Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, B N Rau and Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad to K M Munshi, Sardar Patel and Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyer, each one had a major contribution towards the present form of the Constituent Assembly.


The Preamble is one of the most significant parts of the Constitution of India. Focusing on the core objective of the Indian Constitution, the Preamble includes the following:

· Equality - which connotes equal opportunity for one and all

· Justice - which means fair judgment in the fields of politics, society and economy

· Fraternity - which works towards keeping the integrity and strength of the country intact along with special stress on individual dignity

· Liberty - which assures every citizen of India the freedom of speech and expression, religious independence and choice of going by one's own belief

The Preamble, as it is presented in the Constitution of India, is mentioned below: "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;


Parts of the Constitution

The Constitution of India covers a total of 395 Articles in 22 parts. The parts of the Indian Constitution are mentioned below:

· Part I - The Union and its Territory

· Part II - Citizenship

· Part III - Fundamental Rights

· Part IV - Directive Principles of State Policy

· Part IVA - Fundamental Duties

· Part V - The Union

· Part VI - The States

· Part VII - The States in Part B of the First Schedule

· Part VIII - The Union Territories

· Part IX - Panchayats

· Part IXA - Municipalities

· Part X - The Scheduled and Tribal Areas

· Part XI - Relations Between The Union and The States

· Part XII - Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits

· Part XIII - Trade, Commerce and Intercourse within The Territory of India

· Part XIV - Services Under The Union and The States

· Part XIVA - Tribunals

· Part XV- Elections

· Part XVI - Special Provisions Relating to Certain Classes

· Part XVII - Official Language

· Part XVIII - Emergency Provisions

· Part XIX - Miscellaneous

· Part XX - Amendment of the Constitution

· Part XXI - Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions

· Part XXII - Short Title, Commencement, Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals

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