Salient Features of Indian Constitution
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The Indian Constitution is exclusive in its content and spirit through borrowed from almost every constitution of the world. several features of the Indian Constitution that distinguish it from the constitution of other countries.
It should be noted at the outset that a number of the original constitutions (as adopted in 1949) have undergone a considerable change, on account of several amendments particularly the 7th,42nd, 44th, 73rd, 74th, and 97th Amendments.
In fact, the 42nd amendment act (1976) is known as a ‘mini-constitution’ due to the important and large number of changes made by it in various parts of the Constitution.
However, within the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), the Supreme Court ruled that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 doesn’t enable it to change the ‘basic structure‘ of the constitution.
List of all Salients Features of Indian Constitution
The salient of features the Indian constitution, as it stands today, are as follows:
List of all Salients Features of Indian Constitution
Salient Features of Indian Constitution in details:-
Lengthiest Written Constitution
The constitution can be classified into written like the American constitution or unwritten like the British constitution. the constitution of India is the lengthiest of all the written constitution of the world. it is a very comprehensive elaborate and detailed document.
Originally, In 1949 the constitution contains a preamble 395 articles (divided into 22 parts) and eight schedules presently (2016) it consists of a preamble, about 465 articles (divided into 25 parts), and 12 schedules the various amendment administered since 1951 have deleted about 20 articles and one part(VII) and added about 90 articles, four parts (IVA, IXA, IXB, and XIVA) and four schedules (9, 10, 11 and 12). no other constitution in the world so many articles and schedules.
Four factors that have contributed to the elephantine size of our constitution are as follow:-
- Geographical factors, it is the vastness of the country and its diversity.
- Historical factors,e.g – the influence of the government of India act of 1935, which was bulky.
- Single constitution for both the center and states except Jammu and Kasmir.
- The dominance of legal luminaries in the constituent assembly. the constitution contains not only the fundamental principles of governance but also detailed administrative provisions. further, those matters which in other modern democratic countries are left to the standard legislation or established political conventions have also been included within the constitutional document itself in India.
Drawn From Various Sources
The constitution of India has borrowed most of its provisions from the constitution of various other countries as well as from the Government of India Act 1935.
Government of India Act of 1935
- Federal Scheme
- Office of governor
- Public Service Commissions
- Emergency provisions and administrative details
- Parliamentary government
- Rule of law
- legislative procedure
- single citizenship
- cabinet system
- prerogative writs
- parliamentary privileges and bicameralism
- Fundamental rights
- independence of judiciary
- judicial review
- impeachment of the president
- removal of the supreme court and high court judges and post of vice-president
- Directive principles of state policy
- the nomination of members to Rajya Sabha and method of election of the president
- Federation with a strong center
- vesting of residuary powers in the center
- appointment of state governors by the center and advisory jurisdiction of the supreme court
- Concurrent list
- freedom of trade, commerce, and intercourse
- the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament
Weimar Constitution of Germany
- Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency
Soviet Constitution (USSR, now Russia)
- Fundamental duties and the ideal of justice ( social, economic, and political) in the preamble
- Republic and ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity in the preamble
South African Constitution
- Procedure for amendment of the Constitution and election of members of Rajya Sabha
- Procedures established by law
Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility
- A rigid constitution is one that requires a special procedure for its amendment for example American constitution,
- a flexible constitution can be the same manner as the ordinary laws are constitutional.
- The Constitution of India is neither rigid nor flexible it is a synthesis of both types.
- Article 368 provides for two types of amendments are as follows:- (a). some provisions can be amended by a special majority of the parliament. (b). some o ther provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament with the satisfaction of half of the total states.
Federal System with Unitary Bias
(a). Unitary Constitution included all power in a single government like as Central Government and state government depends on Centre Government.
Features of Unitary Constitution:-
- Strong center government
- Single citizenship
- Emergency provisions
- Integrated Judiciary
- All India services
- Flexibility of Constitution
- Appointment of State Governor by the centre
(b). In the Federal Constitution, power is divided into two governments (center and state), and both governments function independently in their field.
Features of Federal Constitution:-
- Division of powers
- Supremacy of Constitution
- Written Constitution
- Independent judiciary
- Irrevocability of Constitution
- Rigidity of Constitution
- Two types of Government
Parliamentary form of Government
The constitution of India has opted for the British parliamentary system of Govt instead of the American presidential system of Govt.
The parliamentary system is predicated on the principle of cooperation and coordination between the legislative and executive organs while the presidential system is predicated on the doctrine of separation of powers between two organs.
The parliamentary system is additionally referred to as the Westminster model of government, responsible Government, and cabinet government.
Features of Parliamentary System
- Presence of nominal and real executive
- Majority party rule
- Collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature
- Membership of the ministers in the legislature
- The leadership of the prime minister or the chief minister
- Dissolution of the lower house (Lok Sabha or assembly)
Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy
The doctrine of the sovereignty of Parliament is associated with the British while the principle of judicial Supremacy has been taken from the American Supreme Court. the Indian parliamentary system differs from the British system.
The scope of Judicial review power of the supreme court in India is narrower than in the USA because the American constitution provides for ‘due process of law’ against procedures established by law, therefore, the framers of the Indian Constitution
Integrated and Independent Judiciary
The supreme court stands at the top of the integrated judicial system in the country below it there is the high court at the state level under a high court there is a hierarchy of subordinate court that is District Court and other Lower court.
This single system of court enforces both the central laws as well as the state laws, unlike in the USA, where the federal law is enforced by the federal Judiciary, and the State Laws are enforced by the state Judiciary.
The supreme court is a federal court, the highest court of appeal the guarantor of the fundamental rights of the citizen and the guardian of the Constitution.
Hence the constitution has made various provision to ensure its independence – security of tenure of the judges, fixed service condition for the judges, all the expenses of the supreme court charged on the consolidated fund of India prohibition on the discussion on the conduct of judges in the legislature, ban on practice after retirement power to punish for its contempt vested in the supreme court separation of Judiciary from the executive.
- Part (III) of the Indian Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to all citizens.
- Right to Equality under Article (14 – 18)
- right to freedom under article (19 – 22)
- right against exploitation under article (23 – 24)
- right to freedom of religion under article (25 – 28)
- cultural and educational right under article (29 – 30)
- right to constitutional remedies under article (32)
- They are justiciable in nature that is there enforceable by the courts for their violation.
- The aggrieved person can directly attend the supreme court which may issue the writs of habeas, Corpus, mandamus prohibition certiorari, and quo-warranto for the restoration of his rights.
- However, fundamental rights aren’t absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions.
- Further, they’re not sacrosanct and are often curtailed or repealed by the Parliament through a Constitutional Amendment.
- They will even be suspended during the operation of a national emergency except the proper guaranteed by articles 20 and 21.
Directive principles of states policy
- Enumerated in part IV of the Constitution.
- They can be classified into three broad categories socialist Gandhian and liberal intellectual.
- The directive principle is meant for promoting the ideal of social and economic democracy.
- They seek to determine a state in India however unlike the fundamental rights Directives aren’t justiciable in nature that’s they’re not enforceable by the courts for their violation.
- Hence, they impose a moral obligation on the state authorities for their application.
- In the Minerva Mills case (1980) Supreme Court held that the Indian constitution founded on the bedrock of the balance between fundamental rights and directive principles.
The original constitution didn’t provide for the fundamental duties of citizens were added during the operation of internal emergency in (1975 -77) by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act 1976 on the advice of Swaran Singh committee 86th amendment act 2002 added another fundamental duty the part (IV-A) of the constitution (which consists of just one article 51-A) specifies the eleven fundamental duties viz.,
- To respect the constitution national flag and national anthem;
- To guard the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of the country;
- To promote the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people;
- To preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture then on.
Fundamental duties function as a reminder of citizens that while enjoying their rights they required also to be quite conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society, and to their fellow-citizens. however that’s directive principles
A Secular State
- The Constitution of India stands for a secular state. hence, it does not upload any specific religion as the official religion of the Indian state. The following provisions of the constitution reveal the secular character of the Indian state.
- The term secular was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
- The Preamble secures to all or any citizens of India liberty of belief, faith, and worship.
- The states shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of laws (Article 14)
- The state shall not discriminate against any Citizen on the bottom of religion (article 15)
- Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters of public employment (Article 16)
- All person is equally entitled to freedom of conscience and right to freely progress, practice and propagate any religion (article 25)
- Every religious denomination or any of its sections shall have the right to manage its religious affairs (article 26)
- No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion of a specific religion (article 27)
- No religious instruction shall be provided in any institution maintained by the state (article 28)
- Any section of the citizen shall have the right to conserve its distinct language, script, or culture (article 29)
- All minorities shall have the right to determine and administer the institution of their choice (article 30)
- States shall endeavor to secure for all citizens a Uniform, Civil Code (article 44).
Universal Adults Franchise
The Indian Constitution adopted the Universal adult franchise as a basis of election to the Lok Sabha and therefore the state legislative assemblies.
Every citizen who isn’t less than 18 years of age Right to Vote without any discrimination of caste, race, religion, sex, literacy, wealth, and so on. the voting age was reduced to 18 years from 21 years in 1989 by the 61st constitutional amendment act 1988.
The introduction of the Universal Adult franchise by the constitution-makers was a bold experiment and highly remarkable insight into the vast size of the country. its huge population high poverty social equality and overwhelming illiteracy.
The universal adult franchise makes democracy broad-based enhances the self-respect and honor of the people uphold the principle of equality enables minorities to protect their interests and open up new hopes and vistas for weaker section.
Indian Constitution is federal in nature. provides for only single citizenship that is Indian citizenship. In India all citizens irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same political and civil rights of citizenship all over the country and no discrimination is made between them except in few cases like tribal areas and Jammu Kashmir.
Indian Constitution provides for the legislature, executive, and judicial organ and also established some independent bodies like- Election Commission, CAG, UPSC, etc.
The constitution ensures the independence of these bodies through various provisions like the security of tenure, fix services conditions, expenses being charged on the consolidated fund of India.
- Election Commission to ensure free and fair election to the Parliament the state legislature, the office of president of India, and the office of Vice-President of India.
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India to audit accounts of the central and state governments he acts as the guardian of public purse and comments on the legality and propriety of government expenditure.
- Union Public Service Commission to conduct examination for recruitment to all India services and higher Centre service and to advise the president and disciplinary matters.
- State public service commission in every state to conduct examination for recruitment to state services and to advise the governor and disciplinary matters.
The Indian Constitution contains an emergency provision that enables the President to control any extraordinary situation. these emergency provisions safeguard the sovereignty, unity integrity, and security of the nation.
During an emergency, the central government becomes enjoy all power, and the state goes into total control of the center it converts the federal into a unitary government without any formal amendment. these emergency are:–
- National emergency on the ground of war or external aggression or armed rebellion article (352).
- State emergency (president’s rule) on the ground of failure of constitutional machinery in the state’s article (356). or failure to comply with the direction of the center article (365).
- Financial emergency on the ground up the threat to the financial stability are credit of India article (360).
The Indian Constitution such as any other Federal constitution provided for a dual polity and contained provisions with regard to the organization and power of the center and States.
Later, the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment acts (1992) have added a third-tier government (i.e., local) which is not found in any other constitution of the world.
This 73rd Amendment Act 1992 gave constitutional recognition to the panchayats (rural local government) by adding a new part IX and a new schedule 11th to the constitution.
Similarly, the 74th Amendment Act 1992 gave constitutional recognition to the municipalities (urban local government) by adding a new part (IX-A)and a new schedule 12 to the constitution.
The 97th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2011 offers a constitutional status and protection to co-operative societies. In this context, it made the subsequent three changes within the constitution.
- It made the right to form cooperative societies a fundamental rights (Article 19).
- It included in the new directive principle of state policy on the promotion of cooperative societies (Article 43-B).
- It added a new part IX-B in the constitution which is entitled to co-operative societies (Article 243-ZH to 243-ZT).
The new part IX-B contains different provisions to establish the co-operative societies in the country function in a democratic, professional, autonomous, and economically sound manner. It empowers the parliament in respect of Multi-State Co-operative Societies and state legislature in respect of other cooperative societies to make the appropriate law.
CONCLUSION (Salient Features of Indian Constitution)
India is a sovereign democratic republic with a parliamentary system of government it took 2 years and 11 months and 18 days for the constitution to be written on 26 November 1949. the constitution was universally accepted by the constituent assembly. the constitution came to be an effect on January 26, 1950.
Several changes have been made to the constitution from time to time the original constitution becomes with the preamble which the introduction to the constitution.
Originally, the constitution had 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules. As of January 2018 (101 amendments) have been made to the constitution. currently, the constitution has 25 parts with 448 articles, 12 schedules, and 5 appendices.
Indian Constitution is the second largest active constitution in the world. the Indian Constitution is the largest written constitution of any sovereign country and another important feature of the Indian constitution is that it is neither flexible nor rigid. the constitution of India is federal in nature but unitary in spirit.
During an emergency, the constitution provides a unitary structure instead of a Federal one. during emergencies, the constitution provides single citizenship with no separate citizenship for States.
India’s parliamentary system of government-unique in the world. It provides for both parliamentary, sovereignty, and judicial Supremacy. It provides for an independent Judiciary. It provides fundamental rights to the citizens of India and protects them.
Directive principles of state policy are directions given to the state. Embodies in (part 4) of the Constitution directive principle of State Policy of state are directions given to the state to guide the free establishment of economic and social democracy. the constitution also sets out fundamental duties in (part IV-A).
Despite all these salient features of the Indian constitution, a provision also made for amending the constitution. The Constitution of India
India’s secular Nation every citizen in India above the age of 18 has the right to vote without any discrimination on the basis of caste, treat, religion, gender, and educational qualification.
In the beginning, the minimum age of voting was 21 years. Indian constitution also provides for separation of caste among the legislature, the executive, and the Judiciary.
In the Indian constitution, there are also provisions for independent bodies like, Election Commission, the Comptroller, and Auditor General, and the Union Public Service Commission that act as the important pillars of the democratic system.
Originally, the constitution provided for a two-level government system including the center and state. however, after 73rd and 74th amendments, a provision was made for a three-tier government system including local bodies.
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