Topics: India, Separation of powers, Fundamental Rights in India Pages: 5 (1267 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Salient Features of the Constitution of India

Salient Features of the Constitution of India
The main features of Indian Constitution are the following:
(i) A written and lengthy constitution:
The Constitution of India is a written constitution. It was framed by a Constituent Assembly which was established for the purpose in 1946. It has 395 Articles and 12 Schedules. A number of amendments, (about 96) passed since its enforcement in 1950, have also become a part of the Constitution. The Constitution of India is the lengthiest constitution in the world as no other constitution contains as many articles. The constitution of USA has 7 Articles, of China 138, Japanese 103, and Canadian 107 Articles. (ii) Sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic:

The Constitution declares India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic. The words, 'Socialist' and 'secular' were added in the Preamble of the Constitution by 42nd amendment which was passed in 1976. Sovereign means absolutely independent; it is not under the control of any other state. Before 1947, India was not sovereign as it was under the Britishers. Now it can frame its policy without any outside interference. Socialist:

Word 'Socialist' was added in the Preamble by 42nd Amendment of the Constitution which was passed in 1976. This implies a system which will endeavour to avoid concentration of wealth in a few hands and will assure its equitable distribution. It also implies that India is against exploitation in all forms and believes in economic justice to all its citizens. Secular:

The word 'Secular', like Socialist, was also added in the Preamble by 42nd Amendment of the Constitution. There is no state religion in India. Every citizen is free to follow and practise the religion of his/her own choice. The state cannot discriminate among its citizens on the basis of religion. Democratic:

Means that the power of the government is vested in the hands of the people. People exercise this power through their elected representatives who, in turn, are responsible to them. All the citizens enjoy equal political rights. Republic:

Means that the head of the State is not a hereditary monarch but a President who is indirectly elected by the people for a definite period.

(iii) Federal government:
The Constitution provides for a federal form of government. In a federation, there are two governments-at the central level and at the state (province) level. In India, the powers of the government are divided between the central government and state governments. There are three different lists of subjects- (i) Union list, (ii) State list and (iii) Concurrent list. The Union list contains 97 subjects of national importance like Defence, Foreign Affairs, Currency, Post and Telegraph, Railways. On these subjects, only central legislature (Parliament) can make laws. State list contains 66 subjects of local importance. On these subjects, state legislatures make laws. These subjects include agriculture, police, and jails. Concurrent list contains 47 subjects which are of common concern to both the central and state governments. These include marriage, divorce, social security etc. On these subjects, both the parliament and state legislatures can legislate. However, if there is a conflict between a central law and the state law over a subject given in the concurrent list, the central law will prevail. (iv) Parliamentary government:

Indian Constitution provides for a parliamentary form of government. President is nominal head of the state. In actual practice, the government is run by the Prime Minister and other members of the Council of Minister. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Parliament. (v) Fundamental rights and duties. The Constitution of India guarantees six fundamental rights to every citizen. These are: i. Right to Equality.

ii. Right to Freedom.
iii. Right against Exploitation.
iv. Right to Freedom of Religion.
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