Indian Polity: Basics of Indian Constitution

By Asha Gupta|Updated : July 26th, 2021

Complete coverage of syllabus is a very important aspect for any competitive examination but before that important subject and their concept must be covered thoroughly. In this article, we are going to discuss the fundamental of Indian Polity: Basics of Indian Constitution.

Basics of Indian Constitution

Introduction:

The constitution is the set of rules which tells about the political structure of the country it is the supreme law of the land that provides convenience as well as regulations for all the citizens living in a country.

There are generally two types of Constitution:

  • Written Constitution

In the written constitution there is the supremacy of the Constitution. In the written Constitution the Constitution is the mother of the Parliament. In the Written Constitution, the Constitutional Amendments are very tough and in all the cases it requires a special majority of 2/3rd. In the written Constitution the Constitutional Amendments can be reviewed by the court of law.

  • Unwritten Constitution

In the unwritten constitution, there is the supremacy of the Parliament. In the written Constitution the Constitution is the Child of the Parliament In the Written Constitution the Constitutional Amendments are very easy and flexible and in all cases, it requires a simple majority of 50%+1. In the written Constitution the Constitutional Amendments cannot be reviewed by the court of law.

The Preamble of the Constitution says India is:

 

  • Sovereign

 

The word sovereignty has been taken from the French Constitution. India adopted the concept of sovereignty in the year 1952. A sovereign country is a country that is not only physically free but it is also free to make its own policies and laws i.e there is no interference of any foreign country while making the policies and laws by the government of India.

 

  • Socialist

 

A socialist country is a country where the policies and laws which are made by the government are not anti-social. The ideas of socialism in India were given by Mahatama Gandhi and that’s why Indian socialism is known as Democratic Socialism or Gandhian Socialism. Gandhi believes in the idea of a mixed economy where not only the government sector but also the private sector works for the betterment of society.

The main aim of socialism is to end the six evils of society:

  1. Poverty
  2. Malnutrition
  3. Discrimination
  4. Untouchability
  5. Ignorance
  6. Inequality

 

  • Secular

 

A secular country is a country where there is the absence of religion i.e. a country which is not having its own state religion. In India positive form of secularism is followed where all the religions have been given equal rights.

 

  • Democratic

 

A democratic country is a country where the government of the country is elected by people and where all the citizens of the country have the right to take part in the elections. In a democracy, there is the concept of the Bi party or the Multi party System. Democracy is further divided into direct and indirect democracy.

 

  • Republic

 

Republic country is a country where the head of the country comes through the electoral process and not through the hereditary process.

Salient Features of Indian Constitution:

Originally having 395 Articles divided into 22 parts and 8 schedules, the lengthiest constitution of the world with systematic elaboration on every topic. At present, it contains 448 Articles with 12 schedules as a result of various amendments (101 till so far, GST Amendment).

  1. Longest written constitution
  2. The unique blend of rigidity and flexibility
  3. India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic
  4. Parliamentary System of Government
  5. Single Citizenship
  6. Universal Adult Franchise
  7. Independent and Integrated Judicial System
  8. Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of State Policy
  9. A Federation with a strong centralizing tendency
  10. Balancing Parliamentary supremacy with Judicial Review

Borrowed Features of the Indian Constitution:

The Indian Constitution is said to be the conglomeration of various constitutions. Our constitution makers tried to adopt the salient features of different constitutions and created one of the best in the world. The following features have been taken from various mentioned constitutions.

U.K.: 

  • Rule of Law
  • Nominal Head – President (like the British Monarch)
  • Cabinet System of Ministers Post of the Prime Minister
  • Parliamentary Type of Government Bicameral Parliament

U.S.:

  • Written Constitution
  • Executive head of state known as President and his being the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
  • Impeachment of the President Vice- President as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha Fundamental Rights
  • Supreme Court Written Constitution

USSR:

  • Fundamental Duties Five year Plan

WEIMAR CONSTITUION OF GERMANY:

  • Emergency Provisions

CANADA:

  • Scheme of federation with a strong centre
  • Distribution of powers between the centre and the states
  • Appointment of Governor of State

IRELAND:

  • Concept of Directive Principles of States Policy (Ireland took it from SPAIN) Method of election of President Nomination of members in the Rajya Sabha by the President

FRANCE

  • Republic and the ideals of liberty, sovereignty, integrity and fraternity

AUSTRALIA

  • Concurrent list
  • Joint sitting of two houses of the Parliament

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS:

The Constitutional Amendments are mentioned in Part XX of the Constitution and Article 368 deals with the Constitutional Amendments.

The Constitution can be amended in three ways:

  1. Amendment by a simple majority of the Parliament,
  2. Amendment by a special majority of the Parliament, and
  3. Amendment by a special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state legislatures.

Important Constitutional Amendments:

  • 1st Amendment Act 1951: To fully secure the constitutional validity of zamindari abolition laws.
  • 26th Amendment Act 1971: Abolition of Privy Purse paid to former rulers of princely states which were incorporated into the Indian Republic. 
  • 36th Amendment Act 1975: Formation of Sikkim as a State within the Indian Union. 
  • 42nd Amendment Act1976: Amendment passed during an internal emergency by Indira Gandhi. Three words were added in the Preamble of the Constitution of India i.e. Socialist, Secular and Integrity. 10 Fundamental Duties were added to the Constitution after the recommendations of the Swarn Singh Committee.
  • 44th Amendment Act1978: Right to Property was deleted as the Fundamental Right was made as to the Legal Right. Armed Rebellion was added as the cause of the National Emergency Under Article 352.
  • 61th Amendment Act 1989: Reduce age for voting rights from 21 to 18.
  • 86th Amendment Act 2002: Provides Right to Education until the age of fourteen and early childhood care until the age of six articles 21(A). 11th Fundamental Duty was added which says that it is the duty of all the parents to send their children of age group 6-14 years to school.
  • 93rd Amendment Act 2006: To enable the provision of reservation for other backward classes (O.B.C.) in government as well as private educational institutions.

CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES of Indian Constitution:

The Constitutional bodies in India are divided into:

  • Finance Commission
  • Attorney General and Solicitor General
  • Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  • Union Public Service Commission
  • Election Commission
  • National Commission for Scheduled Caste
  • National Commission for Scheduled Tribe
  • State Public Service Commission
  • Advocate General of the State

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Asha GuptaAsha GuptaMember since Mar 2021
Associate Content Developer - AE/JE Non-technical
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