The Indian Constitution
Salient Features of Indian Constitution:
Salient features of the Indian constitution set it apart from the political documents as it reflects the aspirations of a newly independent country. The Indian constitution is the lengthiest constitution in the world.
The Indian constitution represents the vision and values of its founding fathers and is based on the social, political and economic ethos as well as, the faith and aspiration of the people. The Constitution of India was made by a Constituent Assembly which was specially convened to frame the Constitution of the country. The Constituent Assembly was set up under the cabinet Mission Plan of May 16, 1946.
The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest one comprising of 395 Articles divided into 22 parts and 9 Schedules. It is a detailed document in which the functions of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial organs both at the Centre and in the States have been elaborately prescribed.
In a federation there should be a written Constitution. The written Constitution is very essential for a federal so that whenever there is any dispute between the federal government and the federating units, it can be use as a evidence.
Largest Constitution -
In sheer physical terms our Constitution is definitely the largest, bulkiest and most detailed constitution in the World. As originally passed, it contained 395 Articles and 8 schedules.Whereas, the constitution of U.S.A. originally contained 7 Articles, Canada 147 Articles, and Australia 128 Articles.
Sovereign, Democratic & Republic:
A sovereign nation is initially supreme and independent of any outside control. The word socialist aims at the establishment of an egalitarian society in India. The term 'secular' means a state which has no official religion. The best definition of Democracy was given by Abraham Lincoln that, "it is a government by the people, of the people and for the people." The word republic signifies that the Head of our state is elected and not hereditary.
Secular State :
A salient feature of the Constitution was its emphasis on secularism. People are not discriminated on the basis of religion. All citizens enjoy freedom of worship and possess equal civil and political rights irrespective of their religious beliefs. The State does not have a religion of its own.
Under the 42nd amendment this word 'Secular' has been included in the preamble of our constitution. Thus, India has been now officially become a secular state.
Parliamentary type of Government:
In a parliamentary type of government the Head of the State is nominal, whereas the Prime Minister who is the leader of the majority in the Parliament is the real executive.The Indian constitution establishes in India a parliamentary type of government on the British Model.
Partly Unitary and partly Federal:
India's constitution has been variously described as quasi-federal, federal with a strong unitary or pro-centre bias, federal in structure but unitary in spirit, federal in normal times but with possibilities of being converted into a purely unitary one during emergency.
Partly Rigid & partly Flexible:
There are certain provisions which can be amended by a simple majority in the [parliament. While there are certain provisions whose amendment requires not only a special majority in Parliament but also ratification by at least one-half of the state legislature.
Under Indian Constitution as originally enacted, the citizen of India had been granted the seven fundamental rights.A full chapter has been devoted to the description of these fundamental lrights running into 24 articles. These rights are mentioned in part III of the constitution and are justiciable.
The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution added a new part to the constitution under the heading Fundamental Duties. It lays down a code of ten duties for all the citizens of India.
The Directive Principle of State Policy concept has been borrowed from the constitution of Ireland. These principles are contained in part IV of our Constitution. The aim of these principles is to establish a welfare state in India on the socialistic pattern of society.
The Constitution has made the judiciary independent of the executive. The President of India appoints the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts after consulting the Chief Justice of India. The judges are free from the executive control. Their tenure is guaranteed and their salaries are fixed by the Constitution.
The Indian constitution provides for an independent judiciary. The constitution made the supreme court as the custodian and protector of the constitution.The judgement of the supreme court are legally binding and there is no appeal against the judgement of the Supreme Court.
The constitution of India grants only one citizenship to all citizens. In a federation sometimes a citizen gets double citizenship, one of the Union and the other of State in which a person lives.
Universal Adult Franchise:
The Indian constitution originally granted universal adult franchise to all those men and women, who attained the age of 21 years.
Under the 61st amendment6 of the Indian Constitution the age of voting has been reduced from 21 to 18 years.
Official Language of India:
A provision was made in our constitution to declare Hindi in the Devanagiri script as the official language of India. Till that time English was to continue as the official language.
Bicameral Legislature was constituted at the Centre as well as in some of the States. The members of the Lower House are directly elected by the people on the basis of the adult franchise. The life of the lower House is 5 years unless it is dissolved earlier. The members of the Upper House are indirectly elected for a period of 6 years. The Upper House is a permanent body, one third of its members retiring every two years.