The Constitution of India became effective on 26 January 1950. B. R. Ambedkar was the chairman of the drafting committee. It lays down the fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions. Also, it sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the supreme law of India. Let us now discuss the features of Indian constitution.
Features of Indian Constitution
The constitution of India was created by a constituent assembly and not by the Parliament of India. It was adopted by its people with a declaration in its preamble. Thus, the Parliament of India cannot override the Indian constitution.
The features of Indian constitution are:
1. Lengthiest constitution
It is the lengthiest and the longest constitution in the world. It has 395 Articles and 12 Schedules. Also, about 90 Articles have been added since 1951 and there have been more than 100 Amendments.
But, as the Articles are not separately added but as a part of an existing Article, the total number of Articles remain the same.
Learn more about Fundamental Rights and Duties
2. Drawn from Different Sources
The basis of the basic structure such as Federal scheme, Judiciary, Governors, Emergency powers, Public Service Commissions, Administrative details, etc. are from the Government of India Act,1935.
Similarly, the fundamental rights are from the American constitution, Directive Principles from the Irish Constitution and the Cabinet form of government is from the British Constitution.
Also, it adopts various provisions from the Constitutions of Canada, Australia, Germany, USSR, and France.
3. Federal System and Unitary Features
The federal features of governance are a dual system of government i.e. center and states, the division of powers between the executive, judiciary and legislature which are the three organs of the state, Supremacy of the Constitution, independent Judiciary and bicameralism.
The Indian constitution contains all these features. Thus, it is a federal system.
But, it also contains many unitary features such as a strong center, All India Services common to the center and the states, emergency provisions that can modify the Constitution into a unitary one, the appointment of Governors by the President on the advice of the center, etc.
Article 1 of the Indian constitution clearly mentions that India is a “Union of states”.
Therefore, this makes the Indian Constitution a federal system with unitary features.
4. Parliamentary Form of Government
The Indian Constitution chose the Parliamentary form of government. In a Parliamentary form of government executive is part of the legislature and there is a collective responsibility of the council of ministers to the legislature.
Also, there exists majority party rule and the Prime Minister is the leader of the country and the Chief Minister is the leader in the state.
5. Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy
The Indian Constitution has a proper balance between Parliamentary sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy. The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review vide Articles 13, 32 and 136.
Thus, it can cancel any Parliamentary law as unconstitutional. On the other hand, the Parliament has the authority to make laws and also amend the major portion of the Constitution vide Article 368.
6. Independent and Integrated Judicial System
As per the Indian constitution, a single system of judiciary prevails in India. The Supreme Court is at the top, the High Courts at the state level and district and other subordinate courts are below and are subject to the supervision of the High Courts.
Also, all the levels of courts have a duty of enforcing central as well as state laws.
7. Directive Principles
The Directive Principles of State Policies in Part IV of the Constitution intends to make India a welfare state. The Directive Principles are not enforceable by the courts for their violation.
However, it is a moral obligation of the state to apply these principles in making laws.
8. Rigid and Flexible
The Indian Constitution is a combination or a blend of rigidity and flexibility.
As per Article 368, some provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament i.e. a 2/3rd majority of the members of each House present and voting and majority which is more than 50 percent of the total membership of each House.
Also, some other provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and with the ratification by half of the total states.
However, some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the Parliament in the manner of the ordinary legislative process but these do not fall under the purview of Article 368.
Questions on features of Indian constitution
How is the judicial system of India independent?
The following provisions make the judicial system independent:
- The collegium system of appointment of judges of Supreme Court and High Courts.
- Impeachment procedure for the removal of judges.
- The charge of salaries, pensions, and allowances of judges of Supreme Court upon the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Power to punish for contempt of itself.
- The ban on the practice of judges after retirement.