Salient features of the constitution
SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION
Lengthiest written constitution: India’s Constitution is the lengthiest known Constitution. Originally it was composed of 395 articles, 22 parts and 8 schedules. It has undergone many changes/ amendments and presently it consists of 465 articles, 25 parts and 12 schedules.
Changes it has undergone:
Deletion of 20 articles and part 7 of the Constitution.
Addition of 90 articles, part 4 ( 4A, 9A, 9B, 14A) and 4 schedule (9-12).
Factors responsible for elephant size of the Constitution:
Geographical factors: India is a very vast country with a lot of diversity in terms of religion, caste, culture.
Historical factors: the Present Indian Constitution is largely derived from its historical experience and documents. As the Government of India Act 1935 was very bulky, so does the constitution.
Single constitution for both the centre and states.
Dominance of legal luminaries in constituent assembly.
Drawn from various sources
Structural part of the constitution is derived from the Government of India Act, 1935. such as federal schemes, judiciary, governors, emergency provisions, public service commission and administrative details.
Philosophical part of the constitution i.e. the fundamental rights, directive principle of state policy etc. is derived from the United States of America and Irish Constitution.
Political part of the Constitution i.e. the principle of cabinet government legislative executive relation has been derived from the British Constitution.
Blend of rigidity and flexibility: Indian constitution is perfect blend of rigidity and flexibility of the constitutions
Rigidity implies the difficulty faced by legislative members in amending the constitution for example, In America it cannot be amended until three-fourth of the states approve the amendment, thus its procedure of amendment is rigid.
Flexibility implies the ease with which a constitution can be amended. For example the constitution of the UK is flexible. It has parliamentary supremacy and thus parliament can amend the constitution by simply passing an Act.
India is a blend of both, its federal provisions can be amended only after fifty percent of states ratify the act, whereas others can be amended with a special or simple majority of the parliament.
Federal system with unitary bias:
Unitary or non federal feature of the Indian Constitution:
Strong centre, single constitution, single citizenship, flexibility of constitution, integrated judiciary, appointment of state governor by centre, all india service, emergency provisions.
The term “Union of states” which is used in Article 1 to describe the nature of Indian state implies:
Indian federation is not the result of an agreement by the states.
No state has a right to secede that means no state has the right to leave Indian Union on its own.
It was called as Bargaining federalism by K C Wheare and Cooperative federalism by Granville Austin.
Parliamentary form of government:
India follows the Westminster model i.e. the British Model of the Government.
The Government/ minister is held responsible under parliamentary system of governance.
Features of parliamentary form of government:
There is a presence of nominal and real executives in the parliamentary system.
It has majority party rule i.e. the party which gets the maximum votes will be allowed to form the government
Collective responsibility of executive: this implies that the Council of minister is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha and if Lok Sabha passes the “No confidence motion” Council of minister has to resign.
Leadership of Prime Minister/ Chief minister.
Dissolution of lower house i.e. the Lok Sabha can be dissolved pre maturely.
Difference of Indian Parliamentary system with British Parliamentary system:
Indian parliament is not a sovereign body whereas British Parliament is a sovereign body and it is not restricted by the law/ Constitution.
Indian head is elected head whereas British’s head is hereditary in nature.
Integrated and independent judiciary:
Indian Supreme court is a federal court and highest court of appeal. It is the guarantee of fundamental rights to the citizen and the guardian of the constitution.
Constitution ensures the independence of the Supreme court by providing for security of tenure of judges, fixed service conditions for the judges, all expenses of the Supreme Court charged on Consolidated Fund of India.
The constitution has provided for Directive principles of State policy
To establish a welfare state in India.
These principles are fundamental in governance of the country.
In the Minerva mills, 1980 case, Supreme Court declared that the Indian constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between Fundamental rights and Directive principle of State Policies.
Universal Adult Franchise:
The Constitution provides for universal adult franchise i.e. every individual with age of more than 18 has the right to cast their votes. Voting age was reduced to 18 years from 21 years in 1989 by 61 constitutional Amendment Act 1988.
In India there is only single citizenship for citizens i.e. for India only. In America there is a system of dual citizenship, one for centre and one for state.
Three tier government:
By 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment act, the constitution gave the third tier of the government i.e. Panchayti Raj Institute and municipalities were accorded constitutional status.
Government of India Act,1935:
Office of governor
Public Service Commission
Rule of law
United States Constitution
Indpendence of judicairy
Impeachemnt of of the president
Removal of SC and HC judges
Post of Vice President
Directive Principle of state policy
Nomination of members of Rajya Sabha
Method of election of president
Federation with strong centre
Vesting of residual powers in centre
Appointment of state governor
Advisory jurisdiction of Supreme Court
Freedom of trade, commerce and inter course
Joint sitting of 2 house of parliament
Weimar constitution of Germany
Suspension of fundamnetal right during emergency
Idea of justice in preamble
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
South African Constitution
Election of Rajya Sabha
Procedure established by law