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The Main Sources Of Indian Constitution Features and Highlights

The Main Sources Of Indian Constitution: The Indian Constitution, adopted on January 26, 1950, is the supreme law of the land and the foundation of India’s democratic framework. It draws inspiration from various sources that have shaped its features and highlights. This article explores the main sources of the Indian Constitution, which include historical documents, legal systems, and constitutional principles. It discusses the influence of the Government of India Act, 1935, the Constituent Assembly debates, the ideals of the freedom struggle, and international constitutional practices. By understanding these sources, we gain insights into the unique blend of ideas and values that form the basis of the Indian Constitution, making it a living and evolving document.

The Main Sources Of Indian Constitution

The Indian Constitution, adopted on January 26, 1950, draws its essence from various sources that have contributed to its formation. These sources encompass historical documents, legal systems, and constitutional principles. This article explores the main sources of the Indian Constitution and their significance in shaping its features. It delves into the influence of the Government of India Act, 1935, which served as a precursor to the Constitution. It also examines the Constituent Assembly debates, where diverse perspectives and ideologies were discussed. Furthermore, the article highlights the ideals of the freedom struggle and international constitutional practices that played a crucial role in shaping the Indian Constitution into a comprehensive and inclusive framework for governance.

Government of India Act 1935

  • The Government of India Act 1935 served as a precursor to the Constitution of 1950.
  • The act was the longest act passed by the British government and consisted of 321 sections and 10 schedules.
  • It drew its content from four sources: Report of the Simon Commission, discussions at the Third Round Table Conference, the White Paper of 1933, and reports of the Joint Select Committees.
  • The act abolished provincial dyarchy and proposed the establishment of dyarchy at the center and a ‘Federation of India’ comprising the provinces of British India and most princely states.
  • The office of the Governor was established, consolidating executive powers and authority at the center.
  • The act introduced a Federal Legislature with two houses: the Council of States and the Federal Assembly.
  • The Council of States, the upper house, had 260 members representing British India and the princely Indian states.
  • The Federal Assembly, the lower house, consisted of representatives from British India and princely states.
  • The act granted provincial autonomy, allowing Provincial Governments to be responsible only to Provincial Legislatures.
    Powers between the center and provinces were divided into federal, provincial, and concurrent lists, specifying the subjects under their jurisdiction.
  • Residuary powers were vested with the Viceroy.

The United Kingdom

Parliamentary Form of Government:

  • The concept of a parliamentary form of government is derived from Great Britain.
  • The government is led by a cabinet of ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
  • The Prime Minister is the head of the government, while the President is the nominal head of the state.
  • The presence of opposition parties ensures checks and balances on the ruling party.

Rule of Law:

  • The principle of the rule of law originated in Great Britain and has been incorporated into the Indian Constitution.
  • It states that the country is governed by the law and not by individuals or representatives.
  • Article 14 of the Indian Constitution ensures equality before the law for all individuals.

Single Citizenship:

  • The concept of single citizenship is borrowed from British constitutional practices.
  • It means that a person born or migrated to Indian territory enjoys the political and civil rights of India alone, without any other country’s citizenship simultaneously.
  • India does not allow dual citizenship and does not recognize state citizenship within its territory.

Writs:

  • The power of issuing writs is inherited from British legal traditions.
  • The Supreme Court and High Courts in India have the authority to issue writs to protect the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • The five types of writs include Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, and Quo-Warranto.
  • These writs provide remedies to individuals when their fundamental rights are violated.
  • Articles 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution outline the provisions for these writs.

The Indian Constitution has incorporated these concepts and features from Great Britain to establish a robust democratic system, ensure the rule of law, protect individual rights, and maintain a system of checks and balances in the governance of the country.

The Unites States of America

Fundamental Rights:

  • The concept of fundamental rights is borrowed from the United States.
  • Articles 12 to 32 of the Indian Constitution outline the fundamental rights granted to citizens.
  • Fundamental rights ensure equal standing in society and protect basic human rights.
  • The six fundamental rights include the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of
  • Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights, and Right to Constitutional Remedies.

Judicial Review:

  • The provision of judicial review is another feature inspired by the United States.
  • Judicial review empowers the judiciary to interpret the constitution and review the actions of the legislature and executive.
  • If any law or action is found to be in conflict with the constitution, the judiciary can declare it null and void.
  • This ensures the supremacy of the constitution and upholds the principles of constitutionalism.

By incorporating these features from the United States, the Indian Constitution aims to protect the fundamental rights of citizens and establish a system of checks and balances. The fundamental rights guarantee individual freedoms, while judicial review ensures that the actions of the government are in accordance with the constitutional provisions. These borrowed features contribute to the overall structure and functioning of the Indian democratic system.

Impeachment of the President and Removal of Judges:

  • The Indian Constitution incorporates provisions for the impeachment of the President and the removal of judges.
  • The process of impeaching the President is outlined in Article 61, which involves legislative procedures conducted by both houses of Parliament.
  • Article 124(4) of the Indian Constitution, along with the provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968, governs the removal of judges.
  • These provisions ensure accountability and uphold the principle of separation of powers within the Indian democratic system.
  • Impeachment serves as a mechanism to hold the President accountable for any misconduct or violation of constitutional duties.
  • Similarly, the provisions for the removal of judges ensure that they maintain integrity, independence, and adhere to the ethical standards of the judiciary.
  • These constitutional provisions aim to maintain the credibility and integrity of the highest offices in the country and uphold the rule of law.

Canada

The Indian Constitution borrowed several features from the Canadian constitution, including a strong central government in a federal system, the allocation of residuary powers to the center, appointment of state governors by the center, and the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Article 248 grants Parliament exclusive power to legislate on unmentioned subjects, while Article 143 allows the President to seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on public matters.

France

The ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in the Indian Preamble were inspired by the French Constitution. The Constitution of India established the Indian state as the “Republic of India,” drawing influence from the constitutional legacy of France.

Australia

The provisions of Freedom of Trade and Commerce within the country and between states were borrowed from the Constitution of Australia. Articles 301-307 of the Indian Constitution outline these provisions. Additionally, the concepts of the Concurrent list and joint sitting of both houses of Parliament were also influenced by Australia.

South Africa & Germany

While the Constitution of South Africa gave us the provisions of the procedure of the amendment and the Election of the Rajya Sabha members, the German Constitution, gave us the provision of suspension of fundamental rights during emergency.

Preamble of Indian Constitution

Features of Indian Constitution

I. Preamble:

  • The Preamble of the Indian Constitution sets out the basic ideals and objectives of the Constitution.
  • It declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic.
  • The Preamble emphasizes justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as the core values of the Indian nation.

II. Fundamental Rights:

  • Articles 12 to 35 of the Indian Constitution provide for fundamental rights.
  • These rights include the Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights, and Right to Constitutional Remedies.
  • Fundamental rights ensure that every citizen of India enjoys certain basic human rights and freedoms.

III. Directive Principles of State Policy:

  • The Directive Principles of State Policy are enumerated in Articles 36 to 51 of the Indian Constitution.
  • These principles provide guidance to the government in the formulation of policies and laws.
  • They aim to promote social justice, economic welfare, and the overall development of the country.

IV. Parliamentary Form of Government:

  • India follows a parliamentary form of government.
  • The President is the nominal head of the state, while the Prime Minister is the head of the government.
  • The Council of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister, is collectively responsible to the Parliament.

V. Federal System with Unitary Features:

  • The Indian Constitution establishes a federal system of government.
  • It divides powers between the central government and the state governments.
  • However, it also incorporates unitary features, giving the central government certain overriding powers.

VI. Independent Judiciary:

  • The Indian Constitution establishes an independent judiciary as a separate and distinct organ of the government.
  • The judiciary acts as the guardian of the Constitution and ensures the rule of law.
  • The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the country.

VII. Fundamental Duties:

  • The Indian Constitution includes a list of Fundamental Duties in Article 51A.
  • These duties are non-enforceable in a court of law but serve as moral obligations for citizens.
  • They promote patriotism, respect for the Constitution, and commitment to the country’s unity and integrity.

VIII. Amendment Procedure:

  • The Constitution provides for its own amendment to adapt to changing times and needs.
  • Amendments require a special majority in Parliament or a combination of parliamentary approval and state ratification.

IX. Emergency Provisions:

  • The Constitution empowers the President to declare three types of emergencies: National Emergency, State Emergency, and Financial Emergency.
  • These provisions grant the central government additional powers to deal with critical situations.

X. Local Self-Government:

  • The Constitution provides for the establishment of local self-government institutions, such as municipalities and panchayats.
  • These institutions enable decentralization of power and ensure grassroots-level governance.

XI. Judicial Review:

  • The Indian Constitution grants the judiciary the power of judicial review.
  • The judiciary can review the constitutionality of laws and strike down those that violate the provisions of the Constitution.

XII. Secularism:

  • The Indian Constitution embraces the principle of secularism.
  • It prohibits the state from promoting any particular religion and ensures religious freedom for all citizens.

XIII. Universal Adult Suffrage:

  • The Constitution grants the right to vote to every adult citizen of India.
  • Universal adult suffrage ensures the democratic participation of all eligible citizens in the electoral process.

XIV. Social Justice and Reservation:

  • The Constitution emphasizes social justice and provides for reservations in education and employment for socially disadvantaged groups.
  • Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes are given special provisions to uplift them and promote equality.

XV. Language Policy:

  • The Indian Constitution recognizes multiple languages and promotes the development and preservation of regional languages.
  • Hindi and English are designated as the official languages at the national level.

These are some of the key features of the Indian Constitution, which lay the foundation for the governance and functioning of the country.

Salient Features of Indian Constitution

The Indian Constitution, adopted on January 26, 1950, is a comprehensive document that outlines the structure, principles, and functioning of the Indian government. It embodies several salient features that shape the democratic fabric of the nation.

  1. Lengthy and Detailed: The Indian Constitution is one of the lengthiest written constitutions in the world, containing a preamble and 470 articles, divided into 25 parts. It covers a wide range of aspects, including fundamental rights, directive principles of state policy, governance structure, and the powers and functions of various institutions.
  2. Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and Democratic: The preamble of the Constitution declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic. These principles reflect the foundational values of the Indian state, emphasizing the sovereignty of the nation, the pursuit of social and economic justice, secularism in matters of religion, and the democratic ideals of equality and freedom.
  3. Federal Structure: India follows a federal system of government, where powers are divided between the central government and the state governments. The Constitution delineates the powers and functions of each level of government, ensuring a distribution of authority and promoting cooperation between them.
  4. Independent Judiciary: The Constitution establishes an independent judiciary as a separate and impartial institution. The judiciary acts as the guardian of the Constitution, interpreting laws, resolving disputes, and upholding justice. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the country.
  5. Universal Adult Suffrage: The Constitution grants the right to vote to every adult citizen, regardless of gender, caste, or religion. Universal adult suffrage ensures the democratic participation of all eligible citizens in the electoral process.
  6. Independent Election Commission: The Constitution establishes an independent Election Commission responsible for conducting free and fair elections at various levels. The Commission ensures the integrity of the electoral process and upholds democratic principles.

These salient features of the Indian Constitution reflect the aspirations and values of the Indian people, promoting democracy, social justice, equality, and secularism in the nation’s governance.

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FAQs

How did the Government of India Act 1935 influence the Indian Constitution?

The Government of India Act 1935 provided the framework for the Indian Constitution. It abolished provincial dyarchy, suggested the establishment of dyarchy at the center, and proposed the formation of a Federation of India.

What are some key features derived from these sources in the Indian Constitution?

The Indian Constitution incorporates features such as federalism, fundamental rights, parliamentary form of government, division of powers between the center and the states, and provisions for constitutional remedies.

How did the White Paper of 1933 contribute to the Indian Constitution?

The White Paper of 1933 presented the British government's policy on constitutional reforms in India. It outlined the principles and proposals that were later incorporated into the Indian Constitution.

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