Union of India is a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government. The republic of India is governed by the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. It was adopted by the constituent assembly on 26thh November, 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950. It touches all the fields of governance and polity. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. Constitution of India is federal in nature but Unitary in essence, thus, defining India a “quasi-federal state”.
At present there are 448 Articles, 25 parts, 12 schedules and 5 appendages making it the most extensive and longest written constitution of the world.[Note: it is important to mention that originally the Constitution of India had 395 articles, 22 parts and 8 schedules. But due to amendments and addition (in some cases deletion) of new articles and parts and schedules the numbers changed. In order not to disturb the original numbering of the articles (i.e 395), the new articles are inserted with alpha numeric enumerations.]
The salient features of the constitution of India are:
- It is a written constitution: it was framed by the constituent assembly. The oldest member and the 1st chairman of the constituent assembly was Sachidanand Sinha. Later on Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the president of the assembly.
- Lengthy Document: clearly specifies the structure and powers of the central government and also the provisions relating to states and union territories. It includes chapters on fundamental rights and duties, directive principles of state policy, citizenship, centre-state relations, Panchayats and municipalities.
- Borrowed from other existing constitutions but is an unique document. It is a bag of borrowings modified the provisions adopted and adapted to suit the needs of our country.
- Supremacy of the constitution: amendments can be made but it should not disturb the basic nature of the constitution.
- Responsible and responsive form of Government. : The council of ministers to be collectively responsible to the parliament.
- Federal form of the Government: federal in feature but unitary in essence. Makes India a quasi-federal State.
- It is neither too rigid (as some provisions can be amended by a simple majority) nor too flexible (as some requires special majority for amendment).
Constitution: A summary
|Part I||Art. 1-4||Territory of India, admission, establishment of formation of new state(s).|
|Part II||Art. 5-11||Citizenship|
|Part III||Art. 12-35||Fundamental Rights|
|Part IV||Art. 36-51||Directive Principles of state policy|
|Part IV-A||Art 51-A||Fundamental Duties|
|Part V||Art. 52-151||The Union|
|Art. 52-78||The Executive|
|Art 79-122||The Parliament|
|Art. 123||Legislative Power of the President|
|Art 124-147||The Union Judiciary|
|Art. 148-151||Comptroller and Auditor general of India|
|Part VI||Art. 152-237||The State|
|Art. 153-167||The Executive|
|Art. 165-212||The State Legislature|
|Art 213||Legislative power of the Governor|
|Art. 214-232||The High Courts in the States|
|Art. 233-237||The subordinate courts|
|Part VII||Art. 238||The States in part B of the First Schedule|
|Part VIII||Art. 239-242||The Union Territories|
|Part IX||Art 243A-243O||The Panchayats|
|Part XA||Art. 243P-243 XG||The Municipalities|
|Part XB||Art 243 ZH-243 ZT||The Co-operative societies|
|Part X||Art. 244-244A||The scheduled and Tribal Areas|
|Part XI||Art 245-263||The relation between centre and state|
|Part XII||Art. 264-300A||Finance property Contracts and Suits|
|Art. 294-300||Property Contracts Rights Liabilities Obligation and Suits|
|Art. 300A||Right to Property|
|Part XIII||Art. 301- 307||Trade Commerce and Intercourse within the Territories of India|
|Part XIV||Art. 308-323||Services under the Union and the states|
|Part XV-A||Art 323-A-323B||Tribunals|
|Part XV||Art. 324-329A||Elections|
|Part XVI||Art. 330-342||Special provision relating to Certain Classes|
|Part XVII||Art. 343-351||Official Language|
|Part XVIII||Art. 352-360||Emergency Provisions|
|Part XIX||Art. 361-367||Miscellaneous|
|Part XX||Art. 368||Amendment of the Constitution|
|Part XXI||Art. 369-392||Temporary Transitional and Special Provisions|
|Part XXII||Art. 393-395||Short Title, Commencement, Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals|
Schedules : First to Twelfth.
The Preamble :
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India
into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and
to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and
integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of
November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO
OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION”
The Preamble of the Indian Constitution provides a framework of ideals and values for the Indian administration. It is expected of the administrative system to facilitate the application of the ideals of liberty, equality, justice, socialism and secularism in the governance of the country.