Constitutional Design

Enactment of the Indian Constitution

India had a tough struggle to achieve independence. There was a general consensus about the way democratic India would shape after Independence. There were various opinions involved that were taken into consideration to form the democratic India that we see today. We will look at the making of the Indian Constitution and its constitutional design in brief.

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Making of the Indian Constitution

Motilal Nehru and eight other leaders were the first set of people who drafted a constitution in 1928. In 1931, at the Lahore session of Congress, a resolution was passed declaring the overall objective of the constitution. In these two instances, there were certain common things like the inclusion of universal adult franchise, right to equality and freedom and minority rights’ protection.

Constitutional Design

One of the first elections in India was held in 1931. They were the elections to the Provincial Assemblies where the political parties of India got to participate in popular elections. This taught the eminent leaders about leadership and how to set up institutions and successfully run them.

Deriving the Constitution From the Rest of the World

The nationalist leaders also learned about imbibing positives from the constitutions of different countries and include them in the Constitution of India. Thus, our constitution has reflections of the constitutions of other countries. We borrowed our democracy from France and fundamental rights from the US. We were also inspired by the parliamentary system in Britain and socialism in Russia.

The Constituent Assembly

Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. After the partition of the country, the Constituent Assembly was divided into India and Pakistan’s constituent assemblies. The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949. However, it came into full effect from 26 January 1950.

The Constituent Assembly had members from all parts of India. They were selected in such a way so as to represent all the social groups of India. The Assembly was a true representative of the society at that time.
It is because of this concept of pan-India representatives in the Assembly that has made our constitution survive the tests of time.

Philosophy of the Constitution of India

The philosophy of the Indian constitution lies in our Preamble. To understand the constitution you will have to understand the Preamble first! Let us look at all the basic keywords in our constitution:

  • WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA: This statement means that the constitution was drawn and enacted by the people of India through their representatives. The constitution is our own product and was not handed over by any king or Britisher.
  • SOVEREIGN: By sovereignty, the Preamble means that India is a free country and no external power can dictate the government of India. The Constituent Assembly rejected the proposal for British rule over India and preferred for full freedom.
  • SOCIALIST: Indian socialism symbolizes the generation of wealth by the society and sharing of wealth equally by the society. In the Preamble, it was decided that the government would be responsible for the regulation of the ownership of land and industry to reduce socio-economic inequality.
  • SECULAR: There is no official religion in India and no religion gets special status from the government of India. Citizens of the country enjoy complete freedom to follow any religion. All religions are treated with equal respect by the government.
  • DEMOCRATIC: India would adopt a form of government in which people would elect their rulers and hold them accountable. It was also decided that the people would enjoy equal political rights.
  • REPUBLIC: This term means that the head of the state, i.e. the President of India is an elected person and it is not a hereditary position. There are special elections to choose the President of India.
  • JUSTICE: The land of the law never discriminates between the citizens on the basis of caste, religion, and gender. The government would work for the welfare of poor and oppressed so that social inequalities could be reduced.
  • LIBERTY: Citizens are given the liberty to express their opinions in a way which is found suitable for them. There are no unreasonable restrictions on the liberty of citizens.
  • EQUALITY: All citizens are equal before the law; irrespective of differences in socio-economic conditions. Every citizen would be provided equal opportunities to improve his/her socioeconomic conditions.
  • FRATERNITY: Each citizen should respect the spirit of brotherhood and no one should treat a fellow citizen as inferior.

Our Constitutional Design

A constitution is much more than being just a statement of values and philosophy. It is all about incorporating the values mentioned above into institutional arrangements. The constitutional design lays down the procedures for the formation of a government.

It defines the distribution of power among various organs of the government. The constitution also puts a few restrictions on the power of a constitutional design body. Certain rights are described which are given to citizens and also describes certain restrictions on those rights.

Questions For You

Q. Who drafted the Preamble of the Indian Constitution?

Ans: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

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