|Constitution of India|
|Ratified||26 November 1949|
|Date effective||26 January 1950|
|System||Federal Parliamentary Constitutional 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|
|Electoral college||Yes, for presidential and vice-presidential elections|
|Last amended||25 January 2020 (104th)|
|Citation||Constitution of India (PDF), 9 September 2020, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2020|
|Location||Parliament House, New Delhi, India|
|Author(s)|| Benegal Narsing Rau |
Constitutional Advisor to the Constituent Assembly
B. R. Ambedkar
Surendra Nath Mukherjee
|Signatories||284 members of the Constituent Assembly|
|Supersedes|| Government of India Act 1935 |
Indian Independence Act 1947
|Part of a series on the|
|Constitution of India|
The Constitution of India (IAST: Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna) is the supreme law of India.The document lays down the framework that demarcates 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.
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.Parliament cannot override the constitution.
It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950.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 To ensure constitutional autochthony, its framers repealed prior acts of the British parliament in Article 395. India celebrates its constitution on 26 January as Republic Day.
The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular,and democratic republic, assures its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity. 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.
In 1928, the All Parties Conference convened a committee in Lucknow to prepare the Constitution of India, which was known as the Nehru Report.
Most of the colonial India 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.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.
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 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.
The constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, which was elected by elected members of the provincial assemblies.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.
Dr. 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".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."
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,which had over 30 representatives of the scheduled classes. Frank Anthony represented the Anglo-Indian community, and the Parsis were represented by H. P. Modi. Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a Christian assembly vice-president, chaired the minorities committee and represented non-Anglo-Indian Christians. Ari Bahadur Gurung represented the Gorkha community. Judges, such as Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, Benegal Narsing Rau, K. M. Munshi and Ganesh Mavlankar were members of the assembly. Female members included Sarojini Naidu, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Amrit Kaur and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.
The first, two-day president of the assembly was Sachchidananda Sinha; Rajendra Prasad was later elected president.It met for the first time on 9 December 1946.
Sir 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.Responsible for the constitution's general structure, Rau prepared its initial draft in February 1948. The draft of B.N. Rau consisted of 243 articles and 13 schedules which came to 395 articles and 8 schedules after discussions, debates and amendments.
At 14 August 1947 meeting of the assembly, committees were proposed.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. A revised draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the assembly on 4 November 1947. Dr B. R. Ambedkar in his concluding speech in constituent assembly on 25 November 1949 stated that:
The credit that is given to me does not really belong to me. It belongs partly to Sir B.N. Rau the Constitutional Advisor to the Constituent Assembly who prepared a rough draft of the Constitution for the consideration of Drafting Committee.
While deliberating the revised draft constitution, the assembly moved, discussed and disposed off 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635.Before adopting the constitution, the assembly held eleven sessions in 165 days. On 26 November 1949, it adopted the constitution, which was signed by 284 members. The day is celebrated as National Law Day, or Constitution Day. The day was chosen to spread the importance of the constitution and to spread thoughts and ideas of Ambedkar.
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. ₹6.3 crore (million). The constitution has had more than 100 amendments since it was enacted.The original constitution is hand-written, with each page decorated by artists from Shantiniketan including Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and Nandalal Bose. Its calligrapher was Prem Behari Narain Raizada. 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. The estimated cost of the Constituent Assembly was
|Part of a series on the|
|Constitution of India|
The Indian constitution is the world's longest for a sovereign nation.At its enactment, it had 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules. At about 145,000 words, it is the second-longest active constitution—after the Constitution of Alabama—in the world.
The constitution has a preamble and 470 articles,which are grouped into 25 parts. With 12 schedules and five appendices, it has been amended 104 times; the latest amendment became effective on 25 January 2020.
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.
|First||1 and 4||Lists India's states and territories, changes in their borders and the laws used to make that change.|
|Second||59(3), 65(3), 75(6), 97, 125, 148(3), 158(3), 164(5), 186 and 221||Lists the salaries of public officials, judges, and the comptroller and auditor general.|
|Third||75(4), 99, 124(6), 148(2), 164(3), 188 and 219||Forms of oaths – Lists the oaths of office for elected officials and judges|
|Fourth||4(1) and 80(2)||Details the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) by state or union territory.|
|Fifth||244(1)||Provides for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (areas and tribes requiring special protection).|
|Sixth||244(2) and 275(1)||Provisions made for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.|
|Seventh||246||Central government, state, and concurrent lists of responsibilities|
|Eighth||344(1) and 351||Official languages|
|Ninth||31-B||Validation of certain acts and regulations.|
|Tenth||102(2) and 191(2)||Anti-defection provisions for members of Parliament and state legislatures.|
|Eleventh||243-G||Panchayat Raj (rural local government)|
|Twelfth||243-W||Municipalities (urban local government)|
The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government receive their power from the constitution and are bound by it.With the aid of its constitution, India is governed by a parliamentary system of government with the executive directly accountable to the legislature.
The constitution is considered federal in nature, and unitary in spirit. It has features of a federation, including a codified, supreme constitution; a three-tier governmental structure (central, state and local); division of powers; bicameralism; and an independent judiciary. It also possesses 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.
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,such a course of action is more difficult since the courts have asserted their right of review.
The 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts introduced the system of panchayati raj in rural areas and Nagar Palikas in urban areas.Article 370 gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Article 368 dictates the procedure for constitutional amendments. Amendments are additions, variations or repeal of any part of the constitution by Parliament.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 24th Amendment.
By July 2018, 124 amendment bills had been presented in Parliament; of these, 103 became Amendment Acts.Despite the supermajority requirement for amendments to pass, the Indian constitution is the world's most frequently-amended national governing document. 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,and whether a particular provision of the constitution is a "basic feature" is decided by the courts.
The Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala decision laid down the constitution's basic structure:
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.The extent of land ownership and practice of a profession, in this case, were considered fundamental rights. The ruling was overturned with the ratification of the 24th Amendment in 1971.
The judiciary is the final arbiter of the constitution.Its duty (mandated by the constitution) is to act as a watchdog, preventing any legislative or executive act from overstepping constitutional bounds. 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,which cannot be changed by the legislature or the executive.
Judicial review was adopted by the constitution of India from judicial review in the United States.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:
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).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.
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."The constitution has deliberately been worded in generalities (not in vague terms) to ensure its flexibility. 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." A document "intended to endure for ages to come", 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 21has been expanded to include a number of human rights, including:
At the conclusion of his book, Making of India's Constitution, retired Supreme Court 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."
The President of India, officially the President of the Republic of India, is the ceremonial head of state of India and the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th and current president.
A constituent assembly or constitutional assembly is a body or assembly of popularly elected representatives which is assembled for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution or similar document. The constituent assembly is either entirely elected by popular vote or drawn by sortition; that is, all constituent assemblies are constitutional conventions, but a constitutional convention is not necessarily a constituent assembly. As the fundamental document constituting a state, a constitution cannot normally be modified or amended by the state's normal legislative procedures; instead a constitutional convention or a constituent assembly, the rules for which are normally laid down in the constitution, must be set up. A constituent assembly is usually set up for its specific purpose, which it carries out in a relatively short time, after which the assembly is dissolved. A constituent assembly is a form of representative democracy.
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, also known as the 1973 Constitution, is the supreme law of Pakistan. Drafted by the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, with additional assistance from the country's opposition parties, it was approved by the Parliament on 10 April and ratified on 14 August 1973. The Constitution is intended to guide Pakistan's law, its political culture, and system. It identifies the state, people and their fundamental rights, state's constitutional law and orders, and also the constitutional structure and establishment of the institutions and the country's armed forces. The first three chapters establish the rules, mandate, and separate powers of the three branches of the government: a bicameral legislature; an executive branch governed by the Prime Minister as chief executive; and an apex federal judiciary headed by Supreme Court. The Constitution designates the President of Pakistan as a ceremonial Head of State who is to represent the unity of the state. The first six articles of the constitution outline the political system as federal parliamentary republic system; as well as Islam as its state religion. The Constitution also encapsulates provisions stipulating the legal system's compliance with Islamic injunctions contained in the Quran and Sunnah.
The present Constitution of Portugal was adopted in 1976 after the Carnation Revolution. It was preceded by a number of constitutions including the first one created in 1822, 1826, 1838, 1911, and 1933.
The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to frame the Constitution of India. It was elected by the 'Provincial Assembly'. Following India's independence from British Government in 1947, its members served as the nation's first Parliament.
The Constitution of Bangladesh, officially the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the supreme law of Bangladesh. The document provides the framework that demarcates the Bangladeshi republic with a unitary, parliamentary democracy, that enshrines fundamental human rights and freedoms, an independent judiciary, democratic local government and a national bureaucracy.
The Fundamental Rights, 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 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 Jammu and Kashmir, a region located in the northern part of Indian subcontinent which was administered by India as a state from 1954 to 31 October 2019, conferring it with the power to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state. The Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir is part of the larger region of Kashmir which has been a subject of dispute since 1947 between India, Pakistan and, partly, China.
The basic structure doctrine is a common law legal doctrine that the constitution of a sovereign state has certain characteristics that cannot be erased by its legislature. The doctrine is recognised in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and Uganda. It was developed by the Supreme Court of India in a series of constitutional law cases in the 1960s and 1970s that culminated in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, where the doctrine was formally adopted.
Fundamental rights in India are the rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India. There are six fundamental rights recognised by the Indian constitution : the right to equality, the right to freedom, the right against exploitation, the right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights and the right to constitutional remedies.
The Directive Principles of State Policy of India are the guidelines or principles given to the institutes governing the State of India.These provide Part IV of the Constitution of India, are not enforceable by any court, but the principles laid down there in are considered 'Fundamental' 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.
The Constitution of Latvia is the fundamental law of the Republic of Latvia. Satversme is the oldest Eastern or Central European constitution still in force and the sixth oldest still-functioning republican basic law in the world. It was adopted, as it states itself in the text, by the people of Latvia, in their freely elected Constitutional Assembly of Latvia on 15 February 1922 and came into force on 7 November 1922. It was heavily influenced by Germany's Weimar Constitution and the Swiss Federal Constitution. The constitution establishes the main bodies of government ; it consists of 115 articles arranged in eight chapters.
The 42nd amendment, officially known as The Constitution Act, 1976, was enacted during the Emergency by the Indian National Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi.
Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Anr., also known as the Kesavananda Bharati judgement, is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India that outlined the basic structure doctrine of the Indian Constitution.
The Preamble to Constitution of India is guidelines to guide people of the nation, to present the principles of the Constitution, to indicate the source from which the document derives its authority, and meaning. It reflects the hopes and aspirations of the people. 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. Preamble was made in 1947 but adopted in 1949.
Sir Benegal Narsing Rau, CIE, was an Indian civil servant, jurist, diplomat and statesman known for his key role in drafting the Constitution of India. He was the Constitutional Advisor to Constituent Assembly. He was also India's representative to the United Nations Security Council from 1950 to 1952. His brothers were Governor of the Reserve Bank of India Benegal Rama Rau and journalist and politician B. Shiva Rao.
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 Jammu and Kashmir was the legal document which established the framework for the state government of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The constitution was adopted on 17 November 1956, and came into effect on 26 January 1957. It was rendered infructuous on 5 August 2019 by an order signed by the president of India and ceased to be applicable on that date.
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, also known as National Law Day, 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 to the Constitution of India, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
Nevertheless, partition increased the dominance of the Congress Party in the constituent assembly, which in turn made it easier for its leadership to incorporate in the constitution elements of its vision of Indian unity. This vision was based on a decades-long period of Congress-led consultation concerning the future independent constitution. More importantly, it rested on a detailed draft constitution adopted in 1928 by the All Parties Conference that met in Lucknow. The draft, known as the "Nehru Report," was written by a seven-member committee, chaired by Motilal Nehru. ... The committee was appointed during the May 1928 meeting of the All Parties Conference, which included representatives of all the major political organizations in India, including the All-India Hindu Mahasabha, the All-India Muslim League, the All-India Liberal Federation, the States' Peoples Conference, The Central Khalifat Committee, the All-India Conference of Indian Christians, and others.
On 29 August 1947, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar to prepare a Draft Constitution for India