KNC501/KNC601 Constitution of India, Law and Engineering
Chapter 2: Indian Constitution
The Constitution of India (Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna) is the supreme law of India. The document lays down the framework demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any country on earth. B. R. Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, is widely considered to be its chief architect.
It imparts constitutional supremacy (not parliamentary supremacy, since it was created by a constituent assembly rather than Parliament) and was adopted by its people with a declaration in its preamble Parliament cannot override the constitution.
It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950.The constitution replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India.
To ensure constitutional autochthony, its framers repealed prior acts of the British parliament in Article 395. India celebrates its constitution on 26 January as Republic Day.
The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity. The original 1950 constitution is preserved in a helium-filled case at the Parliament House in New Delhi. The words “secular” and “socialist” were added to the preamble in 1976 during the Emergency.
Enforcement of the Constitution
In 1928, the All Parties Conference convened a committee in Lucknow to prepare the Constitution of India, which was known as the Nehru Report.
Most of colonial India was under British rule from 1857 to 1947. From 1947 to 1950, the same legislation continued to be implemented as India was a dominion of Britain for these three years, as each princely state was convinced by Sardar Patel and V.P.Menon to sign the articles of integration with India, and the British government continued to be responsible for the external security of the country. Thus, the constitution of India repealed the Indian Independence Act 1947 and Government of India Act 1935 when it became effective on 26 January 1950. India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign democratic republic with the constitution. Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392, 393, and 394 of the constitution came into force on 26 November 1949, and the remaining articles became effective on 26 January 1950.
Formation of the Constitution of India
- 6 December 1946: Formation of the Constitution Assembly (in accordance with French practice).
- 9 December 1946: The first meeting was held in the constitution hall (now the Central Hall of Parliament House). The 1st person to address was J. B. Kripalani, Sachchidananda Sinha became temporary president. (Demanding a separate state, the Muslim League boycotted the meeting.)
- 11 December 1946: The Assembly appointed Rajendra Prasad as its president, H. C. Mukherjee as its vice-chairman and B. N. Rau as constitutional legal adviser. (There were initially 389 members in total, which declined to 299 after partition. Out of the 389 members, 292 were from government provinces, 4 from chief commissioner provinces and 93 from princely states.)
- 13 December 1946: An ‘Objective Resolution’ was presented by Jawaharlal Nehru, laying down the underlying principles of the constitution. This later became the Preamble of the Constitution.
- 22 January 1947: Objective resolution unanimously adopted.
- 22 July 1947: National flag adopted.
- 15 August 1947: Achieved independence. India split into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.
- 29 August 1947: Drafting Committee appointed with B. R. Ambedkar as its Chairman. The other 6 members of the committee were Munshi, Muhammed Sadulla, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Khaitan, and Mitter.
- 16 July 1948: Along with Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, V. T. Krishnamachari was also elected as second vice-president of the Constituent Assembly.
- 26 November 1949: The Constitution of India was passed and adopted by the assembly.
- 24 January 1950: Last meeting of Constituent Assembly. The Constitution was signed and accepted. (with 395 Articles, 8 Schedules, 22 Parts)
- 26 January 1950: The Constitution came into force. (The process took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days – at a total expenditure of ₹6.4 million to finish.)
- G. V. Mavlankar was the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) after India turned into a republic.