Indian Constitution

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The Constitution of India has some distinct and unique features as compared to other constitutions to the world. As Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee puts it, the framers had tried to accumulate and accommodate the best features of other constitutions, keeping in view the peculiar problems and needs of our country.

The following are the salient features of the Constitution of India.

1. Longest written constitution

Indian Constitution can be called the largest written constitution in the world because of its contents. In its original form, it consisted of 395 Articles and 8 Schedules to which additions have been made through subsequent amendments. At present it contains 395 Articles and 12 Schedules, and more than 80 amendments. There are various factors responsible for the long size of the constitution. One major factors was that the framers of the constitution borrowed provisions form several sources and several other constitutions of the world.

They have followed and reproduced the Government of India Act 1935 in providing matters of administrative detail. Secondly, it was necessary to make provisions for peculiar problems of India like scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes and backward regions. Thirdly, provisions were made for elaborate centre-state relations in all aspects of their administrative and other activities. Fourthly, the size of the constitution became bulky, as provisions regarding the state administration were also included. Further, a detail list of individual rights, directive principles of state policy and the details of administration procedure were laid down to make the Constitution clear and unambiguous for the ordinary citizen. Thus, the Constitution of India became an exhaustive and lengthy one.

(2) Partly Rigid and Partly Flexible

The Constitution of India is neither purely rigid nor purely flexible. There is a harmonious blend of rigidity and flexibility. Some parts of the Constitution can be amended by the ordinary law-making process by Parliament. Certain provisions can be amended, only when a Bill for that purpose is passed in each house of Parliament by a majority of the total membership of that house and. by a majority of not less than two-third of the members of that house present and voting. Then there are certain other provisions which can be amended by the second method described above and are ratified by the legislatures of not less than one-half of the states before being presented to the President for his assent. It must also be noted that the power to initiate bills for amendment lies in Parliament alone, and not in the state legislatures.

Pundit Nehru expressed in the Constituent Assembly, "While we want the Constitution to be as solid and permanent as we can make it, there is no permanence in Constitution. There should be certain flexibility. If you make anything rigid and permanent, you stop the nation’s growth, the growth of a living, vital organic people."

3) A Democratic Republic

India is a democratic republic. It means that sovereignty rests with the people of India. They govern themselves through their representatives elected on the basis of universal adult franchise. The President of India, the highest official of the state is elected for a fixed term. Although, India is a sovereign republic, yet it continues to be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations with the British Monarch as its head. Her membership of the Commonwealth does not compromise her position as a sovereign republic. The commonwealth is an association of free and independent nations. The British Monarch is only a symbolic head of that association.

4) Parliamentary System of Government

India has adopted the Parliamentary system as found in Britain. In this system, the executive is responsible to the legislature, and remains in power only as long and it enjoys the confidence of the legislature. The president of India, who remains in...
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