What are the 16 Salient Features of Indian Constitution?
The Constitution of India has some outstanding features which distinguish it from other constitutions. The framers of our constitution studied other constitutions, selected their valuable features and put them with necessary modifications in our constitution. Ours is not a borrowed constitution, though it has been influenced by other constitutions.
The framers of the constitution of India did not aim at a completely new or original constitution. They just wanted to produce "a good and workable" constitution. And they succeeded doing this. The fact that the constitution, for last 59 years, has been working satisfactorily is a testimony to its quality and utility. The salient features of the constitution are analysed below.
The Preamble, the preface to the constitution, describes the source nature, ideology, goals and objectives of the constitution. It describes India as a sovereign socialist, secular, democratic republic and underlines the-national objective of social just: economic justice and political justice as well as fraternity. It emphasises the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. It declares that in India the people sovereign.
2. Written Constitution:
There are two types of constitutions in the world.e Most of the constitutions are written. The first modern written constitution was the American constitution. On the other hand, the British constitution is unwritten. It consists of customs and conventions which have grown over the years. In India, we have a written constitution. The framers of our constitution tried to put everything in black and white.
3. Longest Constitution:
The Constitution of India is the longest one in the world. Originally it had 395 Articles and 8 schedules. During the period since 1950 a few Articles have been deleted, but many more have been added through amendments.
Today the constitution has 395 Articles and 12 schedules. However there is a view that the constitution today has 444 Articles. Originally the constitution had 22 parts. Now it has 24 parts.
The constitution became lengthy mainly due to the following factors.
(a) The constitutional fathers wanted to put everything in great detail.
(b) In other federations, there are two constitutions: one for the federation and the other for the states. In India, the states do not have separate constitutions. The powers of states along with the powers of the federation have been stated in one constitution.
(c) The Government of India Act, 1935 was in operation when India got independence. Our leaders were familiar with this Act. They borrowed heavily from this lengthy Act while framing our constitution.
(d) India is a country of great diversity. It is a country of several minorities; it has many languages, castes, races and religions. The problems and interests of these different groups have found place in the constitution.
(e) Good features of other constitutions have been included, with necessary modifications, in our constitution. For example, we have brought the 'bill of rights' from the American constitution, parliamentary system of government from the British constitution and Directive Principles of State Policy from the Irish constitution.
While including these elements of other constitutions in our constitution Ambedkar said the framers of our constitution tried to remove their faults and suit them to our conditions.
(f) Many members of the Constituent Assembly were "lawyer-politicians". They have made the constitution not only long, but also extremely complicated.
Ivora Jennings has described our constitution as a 'lawyer's paradise'.
Jennings says that a constitution should be intelligible to common people, but they fail to clearly understand the Indian constitution which is very complex. Every article of this constitution can be interpreted by the higher judiciary, and...
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