Constitution of India
Overview
 
The Constitution of India (Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

: भारतीय संविधान; see also names in the other official languages
Names of the Indian Constitution in the official languages of India
Below is a list of word Indian Constitution written in the official languages of India....

) is the supreme law
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles
Directive Principles in India
The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines to the central and state governments of India, to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies...

, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 448 Although the last article of the Constitution is Article 395, the total number, as of March 2011 is 448.
Encyclopedia
The Constitution of India (Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

: भारतीय संविधान; see also names in the other official languages
Names of the Indian Constitution in the official languages of India
Below is a list of word Indian Constitution written in the official languages of India....

) is the supreme law
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles
Directive Principles in India
The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines to the central and state governments of India, to be kept in mind while framing laws and policies...

, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 448 Although the last article of the Constitution is Article 395, the total number, as of March 2011 is 448. New articles added through amendments have been inserted in the relevant location in the original constitution. In order not to disturb the original numbering, the new articles are inserted with alphanumberic enumerations. For example, Article 21A pertaining to Right to Education was inserted by the 86th Amendment Act. articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and 95 amendments, for a total of 117,369 words in the English language version. Besides the English version, there is an official Hindi translation.

The Constitution was enacted by the Constituent Assembly
Constituent Assembly of India
The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India, and following independence served as the nation's first Parliament.-Nature of the Assembly:...

 on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. The date 26 January was chosen to commemorate the Purna Swaraj declaration of independence
Purna Swaraj
The Purna Swaraj declaration, or Declaration of the Independence of India was promulgated by the Indian National Congress on January 26, 1930, resolving the Congress and Indian nationalists to fight for Purna Swaraj, or complete self-rule independent of the British Empire...

 of 1929. With its adoption, the Union of India officially became the modern and contemporary Republic of India and it replaced the Government of India Act 1935
Government of India Act 1935
The Government of India Act 1935 was originally passed in August 1935 , and is said to have been the longest Act of Parliament ever enacted by that time. Because of its length, the Act was retroactively split by the Government of India Act 1935 into two separate Acts:# The Government of India...

 as the country's fundamental governing document. The Constitution declares India to be a sovereign
Sovereign
A sovereign is the supreme lawmaking authority within its jurisdiction.Sovereign may also refer to:*Monarch, the sovereign of a monarchy*Sovereign Bank, banking institution in the United States*Sovereign...

, socialist, secular, democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

, assuring its citizens of justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

, equality
Equality before the law
Equality before the law or equality under the law or legal egalitarianism is the principle under which each individual is subject to the same laws....

, and liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

, and endeavours to promote fraternity
Fraternity
A fraternity is a brotherhood, though the term usually connotes a distinct or formal organization. An organization referred to as a fraternity may be a:*Secret society*Chivalric order*Benefit society*Friendly society*Social club*Trade union...

 among them. The words "socialist" and "secular" 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
Republic Day (India)
The Republic Day of India commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on 26 January 1950....

.

Background

The majority of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 was under British colonial rule
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 from 1858 to 1947. This period saw the gradual rise of the Indian independence movement to gain independence from foreign rule. The movement culminated in the formation of the Dominion of India
Dominion of India
The Dominion of India, also known as the Union of India or the Indian Union , was a predecessor to modern-day India and an independent state that existed between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950...

 on 15 August 1947, along with the Dominion of Pakistan
Dominion of Pakistan
The Dominion of Pakistan was an independent federal Commonwealth realm in South Asia that was established in 1947 on the partition of British India into two sovereign dominions . The Dominion of Pakistan, which included modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was intended to be a homeland for the...

. The Constitution of India was adopted on 26 November 1949 and came into effect on 26 January 1950, proclaiming 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
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 of the British Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

.

Acts of British Parliament before 1935

After the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 began as a mutiny of sepoys of the British East India Company's army on 10 May 1857, in the town of Meerut, and soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to...

, the British Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 passed the Government of India Act 1858
Government of India Act 1858
The Government of India Act 1858 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company and the transference of its functions to the British Crown...

, which abolished the role of the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 in the government of India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, and transferred British India to the direct rule of the Crown
The Crown
The Crown is a corporation sole that in the Commonwealth realms and any provincial or state sub-divisions thereof represents the legal embodiment of governance, whether executive, legislative, or judicial...

. The Act also established in England the office of the Secretary of State for India
Secretary of State for India
The Secretary of State for India, or India Secretary, was the British Cabinet minister responsible for the government of India and the political head of the India Office...

 through whom Parliament would exercise its rule (along with a Council of India
Council of India
The Council of India was the name given at different times to two separate bodies associated with British rule in India.The original Council of India was established by the Regulating Act of 1773 as a council of four formal advisors to the Governor-General at Fort William...

 to aid him), as well as establishing the office of Viceroy of India (along with an Executive Council in India, consisting of high officials of the British Government). The Indian Councils Act 1861
Indian Councils Act 1861
The Indian Councils Act 1861 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that transformed the Viceroy of India's executive council into a cabinet run on the portfolio system. This cabinet had six "ordinary members" who each took charge of a separate department in Calcutta's government: home,...

 provided for a Legislative Council consisting of the members of the Executive council and non-official members. The Indian Councils Act 1892 established provincial legislatures and increased the powers of the Legislative Council. Although these Acts increased the representation of Indians in the government, their power still remained limited. The Indian Councils Act 1909 and the Government of India Act 1919
Government of India Act 1919
-See also:*British India*British Raj*History of Bangladesh*History of India*History of Pakistan*Governor-General of India*Government of India Act*India Office*Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms*Secretary of State for India...

 further expanded participation of Indians in the government.

Government of India Act 1935

The provisions of the Government of India Act 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, a bicameral central legislature consisting of a federal assembly
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

 and a Council of States
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

, and the separation of legislative powers between the centre and provinces, are some of the provisions of the Act which are present in the Constitution of India.

The Cabinet Mission Plan

In 1946, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Clement Attlee
Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS was a British Labour politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, and as the Leader of the Labour Party from 1935 to 1955...

 formulated a cabinet mission
1946 Cabinet Mission to India
The British Cabinet Mission of 1946 to India aimed to discuss and plan for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership, providing India with independence under Dominion status in the Commonwealth of Nations...

 to India to discuss and finalize plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership as well as provide India with independence under Dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 status in the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

. The Mission discussed the framework of the constitution and laid down in some detail the procedure to be followed by the constitution drafting body.. Elections for the 296 seats assigned to the British Indian provinces were completed by August 1946. The Constituent Assembly of India
Constituent Assembly of India
The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India, and following independence served as the nation's first Parliament.-Nature of the Assembly:...

 first met and began work on 9 December 1946.

The mission consisted of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade, and A. V. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty. However, Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, did not participate.

Indian Independence Act 1947

The Indian Independence Act, passed by the British Parliament on 18 July 1947, divided British India into two new independent states, India and Pakistan, which were to be dominions under the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 until they had each finished drafting and enacted a new constitution. The Constituent Assembly was divided into two for the separate states, with each new Assembly having sovereign powers transferred to it for the respective dominion. The Act also terminated British suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 over the princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

s, each of which was left to decide whether to accede to one or other of the new dominions or to continue as independent states in their own right. However, in most cases the states were so dependent on central institutions that they were widely expected to accede to a dominion.

When the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950, it repealed the Indian Independence Act. India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign democratic republic. 26 November 1949 is also known as National Law Day.

Constituent Assembly


The Constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly
Constituent Assembly of India
The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India, and following independence served as the nation's first Parliament.-Nature of the Assembly:...

, which was elected by the elected members of the provincial assemblies. Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

, C. Rajagopalachari
C. Rajagopalachari
Chakravarti Rajagopalachari , informally called Rajaji or C.R., was an Indian lawyer, independence activist, politician, writer and statesman. Rajagopalachari was the last Governor-General of India...

, Rajendra Prasad
Rajendra Prasad
Dr. Rajendra Prasad was an Indian politician and educator. He was one of the architects of the Indian Republic, having drafted its first constitution and serving as the first president of independent India...

, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel was an Indian barrister and statesman, one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress and one of the founding fathers of India...

, Sandipkumar Patel, Dr Ambedkar
B. R. Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor, a revolutionary and one of the founding fathers of independent India. He was also the Chairman...

, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
Syama Prasad Mookerjee
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee was a minister in Jawaharlal Nehru's Cabinet as a Minister for Industry and Supply....

, Nalini Ranjan Ghosh
N.R. Ghosh
Nalini Ranjan Ghosh was an Indian politician. In the 1958 by-election, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Cooch Behar constituency. In 1962, she was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Jalpaiguri constituency. Ghosh was a member of the Indian National Congress party....

, and Balwantrai Mehta
Balwantrai Mehta
Balwantrai Mehta was the second Chief Minister of Gujarat, India. He was a valiant freedom fighter, social worker and pioneer of concept of Panchayati Raj . He was a soldier in the Bardoli Satyagraha. His greatest contribution were in the sphere of princely states' peoples' fight for self-rule....

 were some important figures in the Assembly. There were more than 30 members of the scheduled classes. Frank Anthony represented the Anglo-Indian community, and the Parsis were represented by H. P. Modi. The Chairman of the Minorities Committee was Harendra Coomar Mookerjee
Harendra Coomar Mookerjee
Harendra Coomar Mookerjee was the Governor of West Bengal from November 1, 1951 through August 8, 1956.Mookerjee was the first Indian to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree...

, a distinguished Christian who represented all Christians other than Anglo-Indians. Ari Bahadur Gururng represented the Gorkha Community. Prominent jurists like Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer
Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer
Diwan Bahadur Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer was an Indian lawyer and member of the Constituent Assembly of India, which was responsible for framing the Constitution of India. He was Advocate General of the Composite Madras State....

, B. R. Ambedkar
B. R. Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor, a revolutionary and one of the founding fathers of independent India. He was also the Chairman...

, Benegal Narsing Rau
Benegal Narsing Rau
Sir Benegal Narsing Rau, CIE or B.N. Rau was an Indian bureaucrat, jurist, diplomat and statesman known for his key role in drafting the Constitution of India. He was also India's representative to the United Nations Security Council from 1950 to 1952. He was the brother of former Governor of...

 and K. M. Munshi
K. M. Munshi
Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi was an Indian independence movement activist, politician, writer and educationist from Gujarat state. A lawyer by profession, he later turned to literature and politics. He was a well known name in Gujarati literature...

, Ganesh Mavlankar were also members of the Assembly. Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu
Sarojini Naidu , also known by the sobriquet The Nightingale of India, was a child prodigy, Indian independence activist and poet...

, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh
Durgabai Deshmukh
Durgābāi, Lady Deshmukh was an Indian freedom fighter, lawyer, social worker and politician. She was a member of the Constituent Assembly of India and the Planning Commission of India....

, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur
Dame Rajkumari Amrit Kaur DStJ was the health minister in the Indian Cabinet for ten years after India's independence from the British Raj in 1947. She was an eminent Gandhian, a freedom fighter, and a social activist....

 and Vijayalakshmi Pandit were important women members. The first president of the Constituent Assembly was Dr Sachidanand Sinha. Later, Rajendra Prasad
Rajendra Prasad
Dr. Rajendra Prasad was an Indian politician and educator. He was one of the architects of the Indian Republic, having drafted its first constitution and serving as the first president of independent India...

 was elected president of the Constituent Assembly. The members of the Constituent Assembly met for the first time on 9 December 1946.

Drafting

On the 14 August 1947 meeting of the Assembly, a proposal for forming various committees was presented. Such committees included a Committee on Fundamental Rights, the Union Powers Committee and Union Constitution Committee. On 29 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed, with Dr Ambedkar
B. R. Ambedkar
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist, political leader, philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor, a revolutionary and one of the founding fathers of independent India. He was also the Chairman...

 as the Chairman along with six other members. A Draft Constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947.

The architects of India’s constitution, though drawing on many external sources, were most heavily influenced by the British model of parliamentary democracy. In addition, a number of principles were adopted from the Constitution of the United States of America, including the separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 among the major branches of government, the establishment of a supreme court, and the adoption, albeit in modified form, of a federal
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

 structure (a constitutional division of power between the Union (central) government and state governments)

The Assembly met in sessions open to the public, for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution. After many deliberations and some modifications, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950. The original Constitution of India is hand-written with beautiful calligraphy, each page beautified and decorated by artists from Santiniketan including Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and others. Two days later, on 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India became the law of all the States and territories of India
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

.

The Constitution has undergone many amendments since its enactment.

Structure

The Constitution, in its current form (March 2011), consists of a preamble, 22 parts containing 450 articles, 12 schedules, 2 appendices and 94 amendments to date. Although it is federal in nature it also has a strong unitary bias.

Parts

The individual Articles of the Constitution are grouped together into the following Parts:
  • Preamble
    Preamble to the Constitution of India
    The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document....

  • Part IUnion and its Territory
    States and territories of India
    India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

  • Part IICitizenship
    Citizenship
    Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

    .
  • Part III
    Fundamental Rights in India
    'Part III - Fundamental Rights' is a charter of rights contained in the Constitution of India. It guarantees civil liberties such that all Indians can lead their lives in peace and harmony as citizens of India...

    – Fundamental Rights
  • Part IVDirective Principles and Fundamental Duties
    Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties of India
    The Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties are sections of the Constitution of India that prescribe the fundamental obligations of the State to its citizens and the duties of the citizens to the State. These sections comprise a constitutional bill of rights ...

    .
  • Part V – The Union.
  • Part VI – The States.
  • Part VII – States in the B part of the First schedule(Repealed).
  • Part VIII – The Union Territories
  • Part IX – Panchayat system and Municipalities.
  • Part X
    PART Ten of the Constitution of India
    Part X - consists of Articles on the scheduled and Tribal AreasArticles 244 - 244A on Administration, creation of Council of Ministers,...

    – The scheduled and Tribal Areas
  • Part XI
    PART Eleven of the Constitution of India
    Part XI - consists of Articles on Relations between the Union and States.-Chapter 1:Articles 245 - 255 on Distribution of Legislative PowersArticles 245 - 255 on Distribution of Legislative RelationsChapter 11 =...

    – Relations between the Union and the States.

  • Part XII
    PART Twelve of the Constitution of India
    Part XII - consists of Articles on Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits-Chapter I:Articles 264 - 291 on FinanceArticles 264 - 267 GeneralArticles 268 - 281 on Distribution Revenues between the Union and the States...

    – Finance, Property
    Property
    Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

    , Contracts and Suits
  • Part XIII
    PART Thirteen of the Constitution of India
    Part XIII - consists of Articles on Trade and Commerce within the territory of IndiaArticles 301 - 305 on Freedom of Trade and Commerce, and the power of Parliament and States to impose restrictions on the same...

    – Trade and Commerce within the territory of India
  • Part XIV
    PART Fourteen of the Constitution of India
    Part XIV - consists of Articles on Services Under the Union and the States-Chapter I:Articles 308 - 314 on ServicesArticles 308 - 313 on ServicesArticle 314 - Repealed - Replaced by the Constitution Act, 1972, s. 3 Part XIV - consists of Articles on Services Under the Union and the States-Chapter...

    – Services Under the Union, the States and Tribunals
  • Part XV
    PART Fifteen of the Constitution of India
    Part XV - consists of Articles on ElectionsArticles 324 - 329 on ElectionsArticle 329A - Repealed - Replaced by the Constitution Act, 1978, s. 36 ....

    – Elections
  • Part XVI
    PART Sixteen of the Constitution of India
    Part XVI of the Constitution of India establishes that certain castes and tribes shall be represented in the Lok Sabha in proportion to their population--that is, if the specified caste makes up 20% of the population in a given province, at least 20% of that province's members of the Lok Sabha...

    – Special Provisions Relating to certain Classes.
  • Part XVII
    PART Seventeen of the Constitution of India
    -Chapter I:Articles 349 - 349 on Language of the UnionArticles 343 - 344 Official Language of the Union-Chapter III:Articles 348 - 349 on Language of the Supreme Court, High courts, EtcArticles 348 - 349 on Language used in Supreme Court, High courts Etc...

    – Languages
  • Part XVIII
    PART Eighteen of the Constitution of India
    Part XVIII - consists of Articles on Emergency ProvisionsArticles 352 - 359 on Emergency ProvisionsArticle 359A - Repealed - Replaced by the Constitution Act, 1989, s. 3....

    – Emergency Provisions
  • Part XIX
    PART Nineteen of the Constitution of India
    Part XIX - MiscellaneousArticles 361 - 361A - MiscellaneousArticle 362 - Repealed - Replaced by the Constitution Act, 1971, s. 2.Articles 363 - 367 - Miscellaneous...

    – Miscellaneous
  • Part XX
    Amendment of the Constitution of India
    Amendment of the Constitution of India is the process of making changes to the nation's fundamental law. Changes to the Indian constitution are made by the federal parliament. They must be approved by a super-majority in each house of the Parliament of India, and certain amendments must also be...

    – Amendment of the Constitution
  • Part XXI
    PART Twenty One of the Constitution of India
    Part XXI consists of Articles on Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.Articles 369 - 378A on Temporary, Transitional and Special ProvisionsArticle 379 - 391 - Repealed - Replaced by the Constitution Act, 1956,- References :...

    – Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions
  • Part XXII
    PART Twenty Two of the Constitution of India
    Part XXII consists of Articles on short title, date of commencement, Authoritative text in Hindi and Repeals.Articles 393 - 395 Commencement, authoritative text in Hindi and repeals....

    – Short title, date of commencement, Authoritative text in Hindi
    Hindi
    Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

     and Repeals


Schedules

Schedules are lists in the Constitution that categorize and tabulate bureaucratic activity and policy of the Government.
  • First Schedule (Articles 1 and 4)- This lists the states and territories of India, lists any changes to their borders and the laws used to make that change.
  • Second Schedule (Articles 59, 65, 75, 97, 125, 148, 158, 164, 186 and 221)-This lists the salaries of officials holding public office, judges, and Comptroller and Auditor-General of India
    Comptroller and Auditor General of India
    The Comptroller and Auditor General of India is an authority, established by the Constitution of India, who audits all receipts and expenditure of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government. The CAG is...

    .
  • Third Schedule (Articles 75, 99, 124, 148, 164, 188 and 219)—Forms of Oaths This lists the oaths of offices for elected officials and judges.
  • Fourth Schedule (Articles 4 and 80) This details the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha
    Rajya Sabha
    The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

    (the upper house of Parliament) per State or Union Territory.
  • Fifth Schedule (Article 244) This provides for the administration and control of Scheduled AreasScheduled Areas are autonomous areas within a state, administered federally, usually populated by a predominant Scheduled Tribe. and Scheduled TribesScheduled Tribes are groups of indigenous people
    Adivasi
    Adivasi is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups claimed to be the aboriginal population of India. They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India...

    , identified in the Constitution, struggling socio-economically
    Socioeconomics
    Socioeconomics or socio-economics or social economics is an umbrella term with different usages. 'Social economics' may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society." More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social...

    (areas and tribes needing special protection due to disadvantageous conditions).
  • Sixth Schedule (Articles 244 and 275)— Provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • Seventh Schedule (Article 246)—The union (central government), state, and concurrent lists of responsibilities.
  • Eighth Schedule (Articles 344 and 351)—The official languages.
  • Ninth Schedule (Article 31-B) – Articles mentioned here are immune from judicial review.
  • Tenth Schedule (Articles 102 and 191)—"Anti-defection" provisions for Members of Parliament and Members of the State Legislatures.
  • Eleventh Schedule (Article 243-G)—Panchayat Raj (rural local government).
  • Twelfth Schedule (Article 243-W)—Municipalities (urban local government).

System of government

The basic form of the Union Government envisaged in the Constitution is as follows,

Federal Structure

The Constitution provides for distribution of powers between the Union and the States. It enumerates the powers of the Parliament
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

 and State Legislatures in three lists, namely Union list, State list and Concurrent list. Subjects like national defence, foreign policy, issuance of currency are reserved to the Union list. Public order, local governments, certain taxes are examples of subjects of the State List, on which the Parliament has no power to enact laws in those regards, barring exceptional conditions. Education, transportation, criminal law are a few subjects of the Concurrent list, where both the State Legislature as well as the Parliament have powers to enact laws. The residuary powers are vested with the Union.

The upper house of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

, which consists of representatives of States, is also an example of the federal nature of the government.

Parliamentary Democracy

The President of India
President of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

 is elected by the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies, and not directly by the people. The President is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

, and all the business of the Executive and Laws enacted by the Parliament are in his/her name. However, these powers are only nominal, and the President must act only according to the advice of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

 and the Council of Ministers.

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers exercise their offices only as long as they enjoy a majority support in the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

, the lower house of the Parliament, which consists of members directly elected by the people. The ministers are answerable to both the houses of the Parliament. Also, the Ministers must themselves be elected members of either house of the Parliament. Thus, the Parliament exercises control over the Executive.

A similar structure is present in States, where the directly elected Legislative Assembly
Vidhan Sabha
The Vidhan Sabha or the Legislative Assembly is the lower house or the sole house of the provincial legislature in the different states of India. The same name is also used for the lower house of the legislatures for two of the union territories, Delhi and Pondicherry...

 enjoys control over the Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

 and the State Council of Ministers.

Independent Judiciary

The Judiciary of India
Judiciary of India
The Indian Judiciary is partly a continuation of the British legal system established by the English in the mid-19th century based on a typical hybrid legal system in which customs, precedents and legislative law have validity of law. The Constitution of India is the supreme legal document of the...

 is free of control from either the executive or the Parliament. The judiciary acts as an interpreter of the constitution, and as an intermediary in case of disputes between two States, or between a State and the Union. An act passed by the Parliament or a Legislative Assembly is subject to judicial review, and can be declared unconstitutional by the judiciary if it feels that the act violates the provisions of the Constitution.

Changing the constitution

Amendments to the Constitution are made by the Parliament, the procedure for which is laid out in Article 368. An amendment bill must be passed by both the Houses of the Parliament by a two-thirds majority and voting.In addition to this, certain amendments which pertain to the federal nature of the Constitution must be ratified by a majority of state legislatures.

As of September 2010, there have been 108 amendment bills presented in the Parliament, out of which 94 have been passed to become Amendment Acts. Most of these amendments address issues dealt with by statute in other democracies. However, the Constitution is so specific in spelling out government powers that many of these issues must be addressed by constitutional amendment. As a result, the document is amended roughly twice a year.

The Supreme Court has ruled in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case that not every constitutional amendment is permissible, the amendment must respect the "basic structure
Basic structure
The basic structure doctrine is the judge-made principle that certain features of the Constitution of India are beyond the limit of the powers of amendment of the Indian parliament. The doctrine, which was first expressed by the Indian Supreme Court in Kesavananda Bharati v...

" of the constitution, which is immutable.

In 2000 the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) was setup to look into updating the constitution.

Judicial review of laws

Judicial review is adopted in the Constitution of India from the Constitution of the United States of America. In the Indian constitution, Judicial Review is dealt with under Article 13. Judicial Review refers that the Constitution is the supreme power of the nation and all laws are under its supremacy. Article 13 states that

1. All pre-constitutional laws, after the coming into force of constitution, if in conflict with it in all or some of its provisions then the provisions of constitution will prevail and the provisions of that pre-constitutional law which conflicts the provisions of the constitution will not be in force until an amendment of the constitution relating to the same matter. In such situation the provision of that law will again come into force, if it is compatible with the constitution as amended. This is called the Doctrine of Eclipse.

2. In a similar manner, laws made after adoption of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly must be compatible with the constitution, otherwise the laws and amendments will be deemed to be void-ab-initio.

In such situations, the Supreme Court or High Court interprets the laws as if they are in conformity with the Constitution. If such an interpretation is not possible because of inconsistency, and where a separation is possible, the provision that is inconsistent with constitution is considered to be void. In addition to article 13, articles 32, 124, 131, 219, 228 and 246 provide a constitutional basis to the Judicial review in India.

See also

  • Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as extending beyond the definition of 'the economic analysis of constitutional law' in explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the...

  • Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism
    Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

  • History of democracy
    History of democracy
    The history of democracy traces back to Athens to its re-emergence and rise from the 17th century to the present day. According to one definition, democracy is a political system in which all the members of the society have an equal share of formal political power...

  • List of national constitutions
  • Magna Carta
    Magna Carta
    Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

  • Rule according to higher law
    Rule according to higher law
    The rule according to a higher law means that no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice...

  • Uniform civil code of India

External links

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