Polity, Constitution and Social Issues
Polity & Constitution
Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishing the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of the government and spells out the fundamental rights, directive principles and duties of citizens. Passed by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
The date 26 January was chosen to commemorate the declaration of independence of 1930. It declares the Union of India to be a sovereign, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty and to promote among them all fraternity. The words "socialist", "secular" and "integrity" and to promote among them all "Fraternity"; were added to the definition in 1976 by constitutional amendment. India celebrates the adoption of the constitution on 26 January each year as Republic Day. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 395 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and 94 amendments, for a total of 117,369 words in the English language version. Besides the English version, there is an official Hindi translation. After coming into effect, the Constitution replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India. Being the supreme law of the country, every law enacted by the government must conform to the constitution. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, as chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, was the chief architect of the Indian Constitution. The majority of the Indian subcontinent was under British colonial rule from 1858 to 1947. This period saw the gradual rise of the Indian nationalist movement to gain independence from the foreign rule. The movement culminated in the formation of the Dominion of India on 15 August 1947, along with the Dominion of Pakistan. The constitution of India was adopted on 26 January 1950, which proclaimed India to be a sovereign democratic republic.
It contained the founding principles of the law of the land which would govern India after its independence from British rule. On the day the constitution came into effect, India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown.
Evolution of the Constitution
(Acts of British Parliament before 1935)
After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British Parliament took over the reign of India from the British East India Company, and British India came under the direct rule of the Crown.
The British Parliament passed the Government of India Act of 1858 to this effect, which set up the structure of British government in India. It established in England the office of the Secretary of State for India through whom the Parliament would exercise its rule, along with a Council of India to aid him.
It also established the office Governor-General of India along with an Executive Council in India, which consisted of high officials of the British Government.
The Indian Councils Act of 1861 provided for a Legislative Council consisting of the members of the Executive council and non-official members. The Indian Councils Act of 1892 established provincial legislatures and increased the powers of the Legislative Council.
These acts increased the representation of Indians in the government, but it was limited in its powers. The Government of India Acts of 1909 and 1919 further expanded the participation of Indians in the government.
(Government of India Act 1935)
The provisions of the Government of India Act of 1935, though never implemented fully, had a great impact on the constitution of India. Many key features of the constitution are directly taken from this Act.
The federal structure of government, provincial autonomy, bicameral legislature consisting of a federal assembly and a Council of States, separation of legislative powers between center and provinces are some of the provisions of the Act which are present in...
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