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Making of Indian Constitution, History, Features and Sources

Making of Indian Constitution: The Constitution is the most important set of laws in a country, and in India, it’s the supreme law. This document outlines how the government works, what powers it has, and what rights and duties the people have. It’s the longest constitution globally and gives more importance to the constitution itself rather than the Parliament. The people agreed to follow it, and even the Parliament can’t change it.

Constituent Assembly

MN Roy proposed the idea of the Constituent Assembly for India in 1934. Following extensive discussions, a Cabinet Mission was dispatched to India. Eventually, in November 1946, the Constituent Assembly was formed based on the plan outlined by the Cabinet Mission.

Setting up of the Constituent Assembly

The Constituent Assembly, initially elected for all of undivided India, convened its first session on December 9, 1946. Later, on August 14, 1947, it reconvened as the supreme Constituent Assembly for the Dominion of India. Members were chosen indirectly by the Provincial Legislative Assembly (Lower House only), following the plan suggested by the Cabinet Delegation.

The Features of the Scheme were

  • The Provinces chose 292 members, with Indian States having a maximum allocation of 93 seats.
  • Seats within each province were divided among three main committees (Muslim, Sikh, and General) based on their respective populations.
  • Members of each community in the Provincial Legislative Assembly elected representatives through proportional representation with a single transferable vote.
  • The representatives from princely states were to be nominated by the heads of those states.

The Constituent Assembly formally began its task of creating the Constitution of India on December 13, 1946, when Jawaharlal Nehru presented the Objectives Resolution. This resolution aimed to declare India as an Independent Sovereign Republic and establish a Constitution for its future governance. The resolution outlined broad principles that would guide the Constituent Assembly’s work, and it was adopted on January 22, 1947.

Representatives from princely states gradually joined the Assembly, with six states’ representatives becoming part of it on April 28, 1947. Following the acceptance of the Mountbatten Plan on June 3, 1947, which proposed the partition of the country, representatives from most other princely states also took their seats in the Assembly.

Functions of the Constituent Assembly

In addition to making of Indian Constitution and enacting the ordinary laws, the Constituent Assembly also performed the following functions:

  1. Membership enrollment in the Commonwealth was corrected in May 1949.
  2. The national flag was embraced on July 22, 1947.
  3. The national anthem was officially adopted on January 24, 1950.
  4. The national song was also adopted on January 24, 1950.
  5. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the inaugural President of India on January 24, 1950.

In total, the Constituent Assembly conducted 11 sessions spanning two years, 11 months, and 18 days. The framers of the Constitution studied the constitutions of approximately 60 countries, and the Draft Constitution was under consideration for 114 days. The overall cost incurred in the Constitution-making process amounted to Rs 64 lakh. On January 24, 1950, the Constituent Assembly concluded its final session. Despite this, it didn’t dissolve and continued as the provisional parliament of India from January 26, 1950, until the establishment of the new Parliament after the initial general elections in 1951-52.

Committees of the Constituent Assembly

The Constituent Assembly designated various committees to address different aspects of constitution-making, comprising eight major committees and several minor committees. A total of 22 committees were chosen to handle a range of tasks related to Constitution-making, with 10 focusing on procedural matters and 12 on substantive affairs. Below are the names of these committees and their respective chairpersons:

Committees of the Constituent Assembly
Major Committees Chairmen
Drafting Committee Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Steering Committee, Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag, Committee on the Rules of Procedure, Finance and Staff Committee Rajendra Prasad
Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Committee on Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas, Provincial Constitution Committee Vallabhbhai Patel
Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly G.V. Mavalankar
Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas  Sub-Committee A.V. Thakkar
Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee J.B. Kripalani
House Committee B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
Minorities Sub-Committee H.C. Mukherjee
North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam, Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee Gopinath Bardoloi
Order of Business Committee K.M. Munshi
Union Constitution Committee, Union Powers Committee, States Committee Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

Making of the Constitution of India

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar presented the final draft of the Constitution to the Assembly on November 4, 1948. The motion on the Draft Constitution was approved on November 26, 1949, with signatures from both members and the president. This date is mentioned in the Preamble as the day when the people of India, through the Constituent Assembly, adopted and enacted the Constitution for themselves.

The Constitution, as finalized on November 26, 1949, included a Preamble, 395 Articles, and 8 Schedules. Interestingly, the Preamble was enacted after the entire Constitution. The remaining provisions came into effect on January 26, 1950, recognized as the date of its commencement and celebrated as Republic Day.

Sources of the Constitution at a Glance

United Kingdom
  • Parliamentary government
  • Concept of Single Citizenship
  • Rule of law
  • The legislative speaker and their role
  • Legislative procedure
United States
  • Bill of Rights
  • The federal structure of government
  • Electoral College
  • Independent judiciary and separation of powers
  • Judicial review
  • President as commander-in-chief of the armed forces
  • Equal protection under the law
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • The nomination of a member to the Rajya Sabha
  • Method of Election of President
  • National legislative power to implement treaties, even on matters outside normal federal jurisdiction
  • Concurrent List
  • Preamble terminology
  • The idea of liberty, equality, and fraternity in the Preamble
  • A quasi-federal government-a federal system with a strong central government
  • Distribution of powers between the central and state governments
  • Residual powers, retained by the central government
Soviet Union Soviet Union
  • Fundamental Duties under Article 51-A
  • Mandated planning commission to oversee economic development
Germany Weimar Republic
  • The emergency provision under Article 356
South Africa
  • Amending the Constitution
  • The procedure established by Law

Making of Indian Constitution UPSC

  • The Constituent Assembly convened for the first time on December 9, 1946.
  • Key decisions were made on December 11, including the election of Rajendra Prasad as president, the appointment of Harendra
  • Coomar Mookerjee and V.T. Krishnamachari as vice presidents, and the hiring of B. N. Rau as a constitutional legal advisor.
  • On December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru introduced the “Objective Resolution,” outlining the principles of the Indian Constitution.
  • The proposed Constitution aimed to establish India as a Sovereign, Democratic Republic, ensuring economic and political security.
  • The framework included the creation of a federal government with a balanced division of powers between the center and states.
  • Fundamental rights like equality, justice, freedom of expression, association, and action were emphasized, along with protection for marginalized and underprivileged groups.
  • The integrity of Indian territory and adherence to international laws on maritime, air, and land rights were integral aspects.
  • On January 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly unanimously approved the Objective Resolution.
  • The Indian Independence Act of 1947, signed in July, granted the Constituent Assembly the freedom to create any constitution, with the power to revoke or amend British Parliament laws related to India.
  • Becoming India’s first free Parliament, meetings were presided over by Dr. Rajendra Prasad for the Constituent body and G.V. Mavlankar for the Legislative body.
  • From July to October 1947, the Constitutional Advisor organized reports to draft the Constitution.
  • The Constituent Assembly approved the National Flag on July 22, 1947.
  • The proposed Constitution, with 315 Articles and 8 Schedules, resulted from Drafting Committee discussions from October 1947 to February 1948.
  • Published on November 4, 1948, and presented on November 9, 1948 (First Reading).
  • The Assembly debated the draft Constitution from November 15, 1948, to October 17, 1949 (second reading).
  • In May 1949, India’s participation in the British Commonwealth was acknowledged by the Constituent Assembly.
  • The third reading took place between November 14 and November 26, 1949.
  • The Indian Constitution was approved and ratified by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949.
  • The National Anthem and National Song were adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January 24, 1950, coinciding with the election of Dr. Rajendra Prasad as India’s first president.
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What is the significance of the Constitution of India?

The Constitution of India is the supreme law that outlines the country's political code, structure, powers, and duties of government institutions, fundamental rights, directive principles, and citizens' duties.

How was the Constituent Assembly of India formed?

The idea for the Constituent Assembly was put forward by MN Roy in 1934. It was constituted in November 1946 under the Cabinet Mission Plan after several discussions and a Cabinet Mission's visit to India.

When did the Constituent Assembly begin framing the Constitution?

The Constituent Assembly formally began framing the Constitution on December 13, 1946, with Jawaharlal Nehru introducing the Objectives Resolution, which laid out broad principles for governance.

How were members of the Constituent Assembly elected?

Members of the Constituent Assembly were elected indirectly by the Provincial Legislative Assembly (Lower House only). The Provinces elected 292 members, while Indian States were allotted a maximum of 93 seats.

What were the functions of the Constituent Assembly other than making the Constitution?

The Constituent Assembly also performed functions like rectifying Commonwealth membership, adopting the national flag, national anthem, and national song, and electing Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India.

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Hey there! I'm Nikesh, a content writer at Adda247. I specialize in creating informative content focused on UPSC and State PSC exams. Join me as we unravel the complexities of these exams and turn aspirations into achievements together!

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