Constitution of India

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Constitution of India
Constitution of India.jpg
Original titleभारतीय संविधान(IAST:Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna) [lower-alpha 1]
Jurisdiction India
Ratified 26 November 1949;69 years ago (1949-11-26)
Date effective 26 January 1950;69 years ago (1950-01-26)
System Constitutional parliamentary socialist secular republic
Branches Three (executive, legislature and judiciary)
Chambers Two (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha)
Executive Prime minister-led cabinet responsible to the lower house of the parliament
Judiciary Supreme court, high courts and district courts
Federalism Unitary (Quasi-federal)
Electoral college Yes, for presidential and vice-presidential elections
Entrenchments 2
Amendments 103
Last amended 12 January 2019 (103rd)
Location Parliament House, New Delhi, India
Author(s) B. R. Ambedkar and the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly of India
Signatories284 members of the Constituent Assembly
Supersedes Government of India Act 1935
Indian Independence Act 1947

The Constitution of India (IAST: Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna) is the supreme law of India. [1] [2] The document lays down the framework demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any country on earth. [lower-alpha 2] [3] [4] [5] B. R. Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, is widely considered to be its chief architect. [6]

The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is based on a scheme that emerged during the nineteenth century from suggestions by Charles Trevelyan, William Jones, Monier Monier-Williams and other scholars, and formalised by the Transliteration Committee of the Geneva Oriental Congress, in September 1894. IAST makes it possible for the reader to read the Indic text unambiguously, exactly as if it were in the original Indic script. It is this faithfulness to the original scripts that accounts for its continuing popularity amongst scholars.

India Country in South Asia

India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

The Directive Principles of State Policy of India (DPSP) are the guidelines or principles given to the federal institutes governing the state of India, to be kept in citation while framing laws and policies. These provisions, contained in Part IV of the Constitution of India, are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down there in are not considered in the governance of the country, making it the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws to establish a just society in the country. The principles have been inspired by the Directive Principles given in the Constitution of Ireland which are related to social justice, economic welfare, foreign policy, and legal and administrative matters.


It imparts constitutional supremacy (not parliamentary supremacy, since it was created by a constituent assembly rather than Parliament) and was adopted by its people with a declaration in its preamble. [7] [ full citation needed ] Parliament cannot override the constitution.

Parliamentary sovereignty is a concept in the constitutional law of some parliamentary democracies. It holds that the legislative body has absolute sovereignty and is supreme over all other government institutions, including executive or judicial bodies. It also holds that the legislative body may change or repeal any previous legislation and so it is not bound by written law or by precedent.

Constituent Assembly of India

The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India. Following India's independence from British Government in 1947, its members served as the nation's first Parliament.

Parliament of India National bicameral legislature of the Republic of India

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses: the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The President in his role as head of legislature has full powers to summon and prorogue either house of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The president can exercise these powers only upon the advice of the Prime Minister and his Union Council of Ministers.

B. R. Ambedkar and Constitution of India on a 2015 postage stamp of India Dr. Ambedkar and the constitution 2015 stamp of India.jpg
B. R. Ambedkar and Constitution of India on a 2015 postage stamp of India

It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950. [8] The constitution replaced the Government of India Act, 1935 as the country's fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India. To ensure constitutional autochthony, its framers repealed prior acts of the British parliament in Article 395. [9] India celebrates its constitution on 26 January as Republic Day. [10]

Dominion of India Period of Indian history

India was an independent dominion in the British Commonwealth of Nations with King George VI as the head of state between gaining independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947 and the proclamation of a republic on 26 January 1950. It was created by the Indian Independence Act 1947 and was transformed into the Republic of India by the promulgation of the Constitution of India in 1950.

In political science, Constitutional autochthony is the process of asserting constitutional nationalism from an external legal or political power. The source of autochthony is the Greek word αὐτόχθων translated as springing from the land. It usually means the assertion of not just the concept of autonomy, but also the concept that the constitution derives from their own native traditions. The autochthony, or home grown nature of constitutions, give them authenticity and effectiveness. It was important in the making and revising of the constitutions of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Zambia and many other members of the British Commonwealth.

Parliament of the United Kingdom Supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament or Westminster, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, [11] democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity. [12] The original 1950 constitution is preserved in a helium-filled case at the Parliament House in New Delhi. The words "secular" and "socialist" were added to the preamble in 1976 during the emergency. [13]

Sovereignty concept that a state or governing body has the right and power to govern itself without outside interference

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.

Democratic socialism is a term used to refer to the socialist political philosophy that advocates political democracy alongside a socially owned economy, with an emphasis on workers' self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within a market or some form of a decentralised planned socialist economy. Democratic socialists argue that capitalism is inherently incompatible with the values of freedom, equality and solidarity and that these ideals can be achieved only through the realisation of a socialist society. Democratic socialism can support either revolutionary or reformist politics as a means to establish socialism.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.


Babasaheb Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, presenting the final draft of the Indian constitution to Constituent Assembly president Rajendra Prasad on 25 November 1949 Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, chairman of the Drafting Committee, presenting the final draft of the Indian Constitution to Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 25 November, 1949.jpg
Babasaheb Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, presenting the final draft of the Indian constitution to Constituent Assembly president Rajendra Prasad on 25 November 1949

Most of the Indian subcontinent was under British rule from 1857 to 1947. From 1947 to 1950, the same legislation continued to be implemented as India was a dominion of Britain for these three years, as each princely state was convinced by Sardar Patel and V.P.Menon to sign the articles of integration with India, and the British government continued to be responsible for the external security of the country. [14] Thus, the constitution of India repealed the Indian Independence Act 1947 and Government of India Act, 1935 when it became effective on 26 January 1950. India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign democratic republic with the constitution. Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392, 393, and 394 of the constitution came into force on 26 November 1949, and the remaining articles became effective on 26 January 1950. [15]

Indian subcontinent Peninsular region in south-central Asia south of the Himalayas

The Indian subcontinent, is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

British Raj British rule on the Indian subcontinent, 1858–1947

The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also more formally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.

V. P. Menon Indian civil servant

Rao Bahadur Vappala Pangunni Menon, CSI, CIE was an Indian civil servant who was the Constitutional Adviser and Political Reforms Commissioner to the last three Viceroys during British rule in India.

Previous legislation

The constitution was drawn from a number of sources. Mindful of India's needs and conditions, its framers borrowed features of previous legislation such as the Government of India Act 1858, the Indian Councils Acts of 1861, 1892 and 1909, the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935, and the Indian Independence Act 1947. The latter, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan, divided the former Constituent Assembly in two. Each new assembly had sovereign power to draft and enact a new constitution for the separate states. [16]

Government of India Act 1858 United Kingdom legislation

The Government of India Act 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company and the transference of its functions to the British Crown. Lord Palmerston, then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, introduced a bill for the transfer of control of the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown, referring to the grave defects in the existing system of the government of India. However, before this bill was to be passed, Palmerston was forced to resign on another issue. Later Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby introduced another bill which was originally titled as "An Act for the Better Government of India" and it was passed on 2 August 1858. This act provided that India was to be governed directly and in the name of the Crown.

Indian Councils Act 1861 United Kingdom legislation

After the War of Independence, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan advised the British Government to take Indian nationals into the administration of India. He argued in his pamphlet The Causes of the Indian Revolt that the failure of the British to admit Indians into the Legislative Council, prevented them from having any say in government policies that touched them directly and was the major cause behind the revolt. The Indian Councils Act 1861 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that transformed India's executive council to function as a cabinet run on the portfolio system. This cabinet had six "ordinary members", who each took charge of a separate department in Calcutta's government: home, revenue, military, law, finance, and public works. The military Commander-in-Chief sat in with the council as an extraordinary member. The Executive Council was enlarged by addition of fifth member. The Viceroy was allowed, under the provisions of the Act, to overrule the council on affairs if he deemed it necessary, as was the case in 1879, during the tenure of Lord Lyton.

Indian Councils Act 1892 United Kingdom legislation

The Indian Councils Act 1892 was an Act of British Parliament that introduced various amendments to the composition and function of legislative councils in British India. Most notably, the act entailed provisions on the number of additional members to be represented in the central and provincial councils. For example, the number of Additional Members elected to the Central Legislative Council was increased to a range of ten to sixteen members of whom, as per the Act of 1861, not less than half were to be non-officials, i.e. persons not in the Civil or military service of the Crown. The Governor-General was empowered to invite different bodies in India to elect, select or delegate their representatives and to make regulations for their nomination. After being presented to the House of Lords in 1890, the Act was passed in 1892 in response to nationalist movements beginning to surface across British India.

Constituent Assembly

1950 Constituent Assembly meeting A Constituent Assembly of India meeting in 1950.jpg
1950 Constituent Assembly meeting

The constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, which was elected by elected members of the provincial assemblies. [17] The 389-member assembly (reduced to 299 after the partition of India) took almost three years to draft the constitution holding eleven sessions over a 165-day period. [3] [16]

B. R. Ambedkar was a wise constitutional expert, he had studied the constitutions of about 60 countries. Ambedkar is recognised as the "Father of the Constitution of India". [18] [19] In the constitution assembly, a member of the drafting committee, T. T. Krishnamachari said:

"Mr. President, Sir, I am one of those in the House who have listened to Dr. Ambedkar very carefully. I am aware of the amount of work and enthusiasm that he has brought to bear on the work of drafting this Constitution. At the same time, I do realise that that amount of attention that was necessary for the purpose of drafting a constitution so important to us at this moment has not been given to it by the Drafting Committee. The House is perhaps aware that of the seven members nominated by you, one had resigned from the House and was replaced. One died and was not replaced. One was away in America and his place was not filled up and another person was engaged in State affairs, and there was a void to that extent. One or two people were far away from Delhi and perhaps reasons of health did not permit them to attend. So it happened ultimately that the burden of drafting this constitution fell on Dr. Ambedkar and I have no doubt that we are grateful to him for having achieved this task in a manner which is undoubtedly commendable." [20] [21]

Timeline of formation of the Constitution of India

G. V. Mavlankar was the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) after India turned into a republic.


B. R. Ambedkar, Sanjay Phakey, Jawaharlal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Vallabhbhai Patel, Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar, Sandipkumar Patel, Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Nalini Ranjan Ghosh, and Balwantrai Mehta were key figures in the assembly, [3] [16] which had over 30 representatives of the scheduled classes. Frank Anthony represented the Anglo-Indian community, [3] and the Parsis were represented by H. P. Modi. [3] Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a Christian assembly vice-president, chaired the minorities committee and represented non-Anglo-Indian Christians. [3] Ari Bahadur Gurung represented the Gorkha community. [3] Judges, such as Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, Benegal Narsing Rau, K. M. Munshi and Ganesh Mavlankar were members of the assembly. [3] Female members included Sarojini Naidu, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Amrit Kaur and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. [3]

The first, two-day president of the assembly was Sachchidananda Sinha; Rajendra Prasad was later elected president. [16] [17] It met for the first time on 9 December 1946. [3] [17] [13]


Benegal Narsing Rau, a civil servant who became the first Indian judge in the International Court of Justice and was president of the United Nations Security Council, was appointed as the assembly's constitutional adviser in 1946. [22] Responsible for the constitution's general structure, Rau prepared its initial draft in February 1948. [22] [23] [24]

At 14 August 1947 meeting of the assembly, committees were proposed. [17] Rau's draft was considered, debated and amended by the eight-person drafting committee, which was appointed on 29 August 1947 with B. R. Ambedkar as chair. [3] [13] A revised draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the assembly on 4 November 1947. [13]

While deliberating the revised draft constitution, the assembly moved, discussed and disposed off 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635. [16] [25] Before adopting the constitution, the assembly held eleven sessions in 165 days. [3] [16] On 26 November 1949 it adopted the constitution, [3] [16] [13] [24] [26] which was signed by 284 members. [3] [16] [13] [24] [26] The day is celebrated as National Law Day, [3] [27] or Constitution Day. [3] [28] The day was chosen to spread the importance of the constitution and to spread thoughts and ideas of Ambedkar. [29]

Jawaharlal Nehru signing the constitution Jawaharlal Nehru signing Indian Constitution.jpg
Jawaharlal Nehru signing the constitution

The assembly's final session convened on 24 January 1950. Each member signed two copies of the constitution, one in Hindi and the other in English. [3] [16] [24] The original constitution is hand-written, with each page decorated by artists from Shantiniketan including Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and Nandalal Bose. [13] [24] Its calligrapher was Prem Behari Narain Raizada. [13] The constitution was published in Dehradun and photolithographed by the Survey of India. Production of the original constitution took nearly five years. Two days later, on 26 January 1950, it became the law of India. [13] [30] The estimated cost of the Constituent Assembly was 6.3 crore (63 million). [16] The constitution has had more than 100 amendments since it was enacted. [31]

Influence of other constitutions


The Indian constitution is the world's longest for a sovereign nation. [lower-alpha 2] [3] [4] [5] At its enactment, it had 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules. [16] At about 145,000 words, it is the second-longest active constitution – after the Constitution of Alabama – in the world. [34]

The constitution has a preamble and 448 articles, [lower-alpha 3] [13] which are grouped into 25 parts. [lower-alpha 4] [13] With 12 schedules [lower-alpha 5] [13] and five appendices, [13] [35] it has been amended 103 times; the latest amendment became effective on 14 January 2019. [36]


The constitution's articles are grouped into the following parts:


Schedules are lists in the constitution which categorise and tabulate bureaucratic activity and government policy.


Constitution and government

The executive, legislative and judicial branches of government receive their power from the constitution and are bound by it. [50] With the aid of its constitution, India is governed by a parliamentary system of government with the executive directly accountable to the legislature. The President of India is head of the executive branch, under Articles 52 and 53, with the duty of preserving, protecting and defending the constitution and the law under Article 60. Article 74 provides for a Prime Minister as head of the Council of Ministers, which aids and advises the president in the performance of their constitutional duties. The council is answerable to the lower house under Article 75(3).

The constitution is considered federal in nature, and unitary in spirit. It has features of a federation (a codified, supreme constitution, a three-tier governmental structure [central, state and local], division of powers, bicameralism and an independent judiciary) and unitary features such as a single constitution, single citizenship, an integrated judiciary, a flexible constitution, a strong central government, appointment of state governors by the central government, All India Services (the IAS, IFS and IPS) and emergency provisions. This unique combination makes it quasi-federal in form. [51]

Each state and union territory has its own government. Analogous to the president and prime minister, each has a governor or (in union territories) a lieutenant governor and a chief minister. Article 356 permits the president to dismiss a state government and assume direct authority if a situation arises in which state government cannot be conducted in accordance with constitution. This power, known as president's rule, was abused as state governments came to be dismissed on flimsy grounds for political reasons. After the S. R. Bommai v. Union of India decision, [52] [53] such a course of action is more difficult since the courts have asserted their right of review. [54]

The 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts introduced the system of panchayati raj in rural areas and Nagar Palikas in urban areas. [13] Article 370 gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Constitution and legislature


Amendments are additions, variations or repeal of any part of the constitution by Parliament. [55] The procedure is detailed in Article 368. An amendment bill must be passed by each house of Parliament by a two-thirds majority of its total membership when at least two-thirds are present and vote. Certain amendments pertaining to the constitution's federal nature must also be ratified by a majority of state legislatures. Unlike ordinary bills in accordance with Article 245 (except for money bills), there is no provision for a joint session of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to pass a constitutional amendment. During a parliamentary recess, the president cannot promulgate ordinances under his legislative powers under Article 123, Chapter III. Deemed amendments to the constitution which can be passed under the legislative powers of parliament were invalidated by Article 368(1) in the Twenty-fourth Amendment. [55]

By July 2018, 124 amendment bills had been presented in Parliament; of these, 103 became Amendment Acts. [56] Despite the supermajority requirement for amendments to pass, the Indian constitution is the world's most frequently-amended national governing document. [57] The constitution is so specific in spelling out government powers that many amendments address issues dealt with by statute in other democracies.

In 2000, the Justice Manepalli Narayana Rao Venkatachaliah Commission was formed to examine a constitutional update. The government of India establishes term-based law commissions to recommend legal reforms, facilitating the rule of law.


In Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala , the Supreme Court ruled that an amendment cannot destroy what it seeks to modify; it cannot tinker with the constitution's basic structure or framework, which are immutable. Such an amendment will be declared invalid, although no part of the constitution is protected from amendment; the basic structure doctrine does not protect any one provision of the constitution. According to the doctrine, the constitution's basic features (when "read as a whole") cannot be abridged or abolished. These "basic features" have not been fully defined, [50] and whether a particular provision of the constitution is a "basic feature" is decided by the courts. [58]

The Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala decision laid down the constitution's basic structure: [59]

  1. Supremacy of the constitution
  2. Republican, democratic form of government
  3. Its secular nature
  4. Separation of powers
  5. Its federal character [59]

This implies that Parliament can only amend the constitution to the limit of its basic structure. The Supreme Court or a high court may declare the amendment null and void if this is violated, after a judicial review. This is typical of parliamentary governments, where the judiciary checks parliamentary power.

In its 1967 Golak Nath v. State of Punjab decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Punjab could not restrict any fundamental rights protected by the basic structure doctrine. [60] The extent of land ownership and practice of a profession, in this case, were considered fundamental rights. [61] The ruling was overturned with the ratification of the 24th Amendment in 1971. [61]

Constitution and judiciary

The judiciary is the final arbiter of the constitution. [62] Its duty (mandated by the constitution) is to act as a watchdog, preventing any legislative or executive act from overstepping constitutional bounds. [63] The judiciary protects the fundamental rights of the people (enshrined in the constitution) from infringement by any state body, and balances the conflicting exercise of power between the central government and a state (or states).

The courts are expected to remain unaffected by pressure exerted by other branches of the state, citizens or interest groups. An independent judiciary has been held as a basic feature of the constitution, [64] [65] which cannot be changed by the legislature or the executive. [66]

Judicial review

Judicial review was adopted by the constitution of India from judicial review in the United States. [67] In the Indian constitution, judicial review is dealt with in Article 13. The constitution is the supreme power of the nation, and governs all laws. According to Article 13,

  1. All pre-constitutional laws, if they conflict wholly or in part with the constitution, shall have all conflicting provisions deemed ineffective until an amendment to the constitution ends the conflict; the law will again come into force if it is compatible with the constitution as amended (the Doctrine of Eclipse). [68]
  2. Laws made after the adoption of the constitution must be compatible with it, or they will be deemed void ab initio .
  3. In such situations, the Supreme Court (or a high court) determines if a law is in conformity with the constitution. If such an interpretation is not possible because of inconsistency (and where separation is possible), the provision which is inconsistent with the constitution is considered void. In addition to Article 13, Articles 32, 226 and 227 provide the constitutional basis for judicial review. [69]

Due to the adoption of the Thirty-eighth Amendment, the Supreme Court was not allowed to preside over any laws adopted during a state of emergency which infringe fundamental rights under article 32 (the right to constitutional remedies). [70] The Forty-second Amendment widened Article 31C and added Articles 368(4) and 368(5), stating that any law passed by Parliament could not be challenged in court. The Supreme Court ruled in Minerva Mills v. Union of India that judicial review is a basic characteristic of the constitution, overturning Articles 368(4), 368(5) and 31C. [71]


According to Granville Austin, "The Indian constitution is first and foremost a social document, and is aided by its Parts III & IV (Fundamental Rights & Directive Principles of State Policy, respectively) acting together, as its chief instruments and its conscience, in realising the goals set by it for all the people." [lower-alpha 9] [72] The constitution has deliberately been worded in generalities (not in vague terms) to ensure its flexibility. [73] John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States, said that a constitution's "great outlines should be marked, its important objects designated, and the minor ingredients which compose those objects be deduced from the nature of the objects themselves." [74] A document "intended to endure for ages to come", [75] it must be interpreted not only based on the intention and understanding of its framers, but in the existing social and political context.

The "right to life" guaranteed under Article 21 [upper-alpha 1] has been expanded to include a number of human rights, including the right to a speedy trial,; [3] [76] the right to water; [3] [77] the right to earn a livelihood, [3] the right to health, [3] and the right to education. [78]

At the conclusion of his book, Making of India's Constitution, retired Supreme Court of India justice Hans Raj Khanna wrote:

If the Indian constitution is our heritage bequeathed to us by our founding fathers, no less are we, the people of India, the trustees and custodians of the values which pulsate within its provisions! A constitution is not a parchment of paper, it is a way of life and has to be lived up to. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and in the final analysis, its only keepers are the people." [79]

Khanna, Hans Raj (2008). Making of India's constitution (2nd ed.). Lucknow: Eastern Book Co (published 1 January 2008). ISBN   978-81-7012-108-4. OCLC   294942170.

See also


  1. The Constitution of India was originally written in Hindi and English, so, both Hindi and English are its 'original' languages.
  2. 1 2 The Constitution of Yugoslavia briefly held this position from 1974 until it split up in 1990.
  3. Although the last article of the constitution is Article 395, the total number in March 2013 was 465. New articles added through amendments have been inserted in the relevant location of the original constitution. To not disturb the original numbering, new articles are inserted alphanumerically; Article 21A, pertaining to the right to education, was inserted by the 86th Amendment Act.
  4. The Constitution was in 22 Parts originally. Part VII & IX (older) was repealed in 1956, whereas newly added Part IVA, IXA, IXB & XIVA by Amendments to the Constitution in different times (lastly added IXB by the 97th Amendment).
  5. By 73rd & 74th Amendment, the lists of administrative subjects of Panchayat raj & Municipality included in the Constitution as Schedule 11 & 12 respectively in the year 1993.
  6. Scheduled Areas are autonomous areas within a state, administered federally and usually mainly populated by a Scheduled Tribe.
  7. Scheduled Tribes are groups of indigenous people, identified in the Constitution, who are struggling socioeconomically
  8. Originally Articles mentioned here were immune from judicial review on the ground that they violated fundamental rights. but in a landmark judgement in 2007, the Supreme Court of India held in I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu and others that laws included in the 9th schedule can be subject to judicial review if they violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14, 15, 19, 21 or the basic structure of the Constitution {(ambiguous)} I.R. Coelho (dead) by L.Rs. v. State of Tamil Nadu and others(2007) 2 S.C.C. 1
  9. These lines by Granville Austin from his book The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Nation at p. 50, have been authoritatively quoted many times

Notes on Article 21

  1. Art. 21 "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law"

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Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties of India Rights provided to Indian citizens

The Fundamental Rights of Athiyan, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties are sections of the Constitution of India that prescribe the fundamental obligations of the states to its citizens and the duties and the rights of the citizens to the State. These sections comprise a constitutional bill of rights for government policy-making and the behaviour and conduct of citizens. These sections are considered vital elements of the constitution, which was developed between 1947 and 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India.

Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave special status to the region of Jammu and Kashmir, allowing it to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state. It existed until 2019, when it was revoked.

The basic structure doctrine is an Indian judicial principle that the Constitution of India has certain basic features that cannot be altered or destroyed through amendments by the parliament. Key among these "basic features", as expounded by its most prominent proponent Justice Hans Raj Khanna, are the fundamental rights granted to individuals by the constitution. The doctrine thus forms the basis of a power of the Supreme Court to review and strike down constitutional amendments and acts enacted by the Parliament which conflict with or seek to alter this "basic structure" of the Constitution.The basic features of the Constitution have not been explicitly defined by the Judiciary, and the claim of any particular feature of the Constitution to be a "basic" feature is determined by the Court in each case that comes before it. Thus it gives extra power to court to review and strike down any constitutinal amendmentts and act enacted by the Parliament.

Fundamental rights are those rights which are essential for intellectual, moral and spiritual development of individuals. As these rights are fundamental or essential for existence and all-round development of individuals,hence called as 'Fundamental' rights. These are enshrined in Part III of the Constitution of India. These include individual rights common to most liberal democracies, such as equality before the law, freedom of speech and expression, religious and cultural freedom, peaceful assembly, freedom to practice religion, and the right to constitutional remedies for the protection of civil rights by means of writs such as Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo Warranto.

Constitution of Nepal Present constitution of Nepal

Constitution of Nepal 2015 is the present governing Constitution of Nepal. Nepal is governed according to the Constitution which came into effect on Sept 20, 2015, replacing the Interim Constitution of 2007. The constitution of Nepal is divided into 35 parts, 308 Articles and 9 Schedules.

The 42nd amendment to Constitution of India, officially known as The Constitution Act, 1976, was enacted during the Emergency by the Indian National Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi. Most provisions of the amendment came into effect on 3 January 1977, others were enforced from 1 February and Section 27 came into force on 1 April 1977. The 42nd Amendment is regarded as the most controversial constitutional amendment in Indian history. This was the first instance when the amendment had wholly come up with personal ambitions at the period of Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. It attempted to reduce the power of the Supreme Court and High Courts to pronounce upon the constitutional validity of laws. It laid down the Fundamental Duties of Indian citizens to the nation. This amendment brought about the most widespread changes to the Constitution in its history, and is sometimes called a "mini-Constitution" or the "Constitution of Indira".

<i>Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala</i> HoldingThere are certain principles within the framework of Indian Constitution which are inviolable and hence cannot be amended by the Parliament. These principles were commonly termed as Basic Structure.

The Kesavananda Bharati judgement or His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Anr. is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India that outlined the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution. Justice Hans Raj Khanna asserted through this doctrine that the constitution possesses a basic structure of constitutional principles and values. The Court partially cemented the prior precedent Golaknath v. State of Punjab, which held that constitutional amendments pursuant to Article 368 were subject to fundamental rights review, by asserting that only those amendments which tend to affect the 'basic structure of the Constitution' are subject to judicial review. At the same time, the Court also upheld the constitutionality of first provision of Article 31-C, which implied that any constitutional amendment seeking to implement the Directive Principles, which does not affect the 'Basic Structure', shall not be subjected to judicial review.

Preamble to the Constitution of India Set of guidelines to the nation and the Constitution of India

The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out guidelines, which guides the people of the nation, and to present the principles of the Constitution, and to indicate the source from which the document derives its authority, and meaning The hopes and aspirations of the people are described in it. The preamble can be referred to as the preface which highlights the entire Constitution. It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect on 26 January 1950, celebrated as the Republic day in India.

Amending the Constitution of India is the process of making changes to the nation's fundamental law or supreme law. The procedure of amendment in the constitution is laid down in Part XX of the Constitution of India. This procedure ensures the sanctity of the Constitution of India and keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament of India.

The Constitution of 1956 was the fundamental law of Pakistan from March 1956 until the 1958 Pakistani coup d'état. It was the first constitution adopted by independent Pakistan. There were 234 articles 13 parts and 6 schedules.

The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was the legal document which established the framework of government at state level in Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The constitution was adopted on 17 November 1956, and came into effect on 26 January 1957. As of 2002, 29 amendments were made to the Constitution.

Part I—The Union and Its territories is a compilation of laws pertaining to the constitution of India as a country and the union of states that it is made of.

Twenty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution of India

The Twenty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution of India, officially known as The Constitution Act, 1971, enables Parliament to dilute Fundamental Rights through Amendments of the Constitution. It also amended article 368 to provide expressly that Parliament has power to amend any provision of the Constitution. The amendment further made it obligatory for the President to give his assent, when a Constitution Amendment Bill was presented to him.

Constitution Day (India) Day celebrated to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India

Constitution Day, also known as Samvidhan Divas, is celebrated in India on 26 November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. On 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.

The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh was adopted and enacted on 4 November 1972, after the victory of the independent country on 16 December 1971. As of 2018 the Constitution has been amended 17 times. Amending the Constitution of Bangladesh is the process of making changes to the nation's fundamental law or supreme law.


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