Constitution of India and its Salient Features

What is Constitution?

The Constitution is a set of laws and rules setting up the machinery of the Government of a state and which defines and determines the relationship between the different institutions and areas of Government viz., the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, the Central, the regional and the Local Governments.

Constitution of India

The Constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent Assembly of India and was declared as passed on 26th November, 1949. It was enacted on 26th January 1950 and laid the foundation for establishment of the democratic republic of India.

Salient Features of the Constitution of India

1. Largest Constitution: - In sheer physical terms, our Constitution is definitely the largest, bulkiest and most detailed Constitution in the world. As originally passed, it contained 395 Articles and 8 Schedules. Presently, it consists of a Preamble, about 395 Articles (divided into 22 Parts) and 12 Schedules.

2. Written Constitution: - In a federation, there should be a written constitution. The written Constitution is very essential for a federal so that whenever there is any dispute between the federal government and the federating units, it can be used as an evidence.

3. Parliamentary Type of Government: - In a parliamentary type of government, the head of the state is nominal, whereas the Prime Minister who is the leader of the majority in the Parliament is the real executive. The Indian Constitution establishes in India a parliamentary type of government on the British model.

4. Partly Rigid and Partly Flexible: - There are certain provisions which can be amended by a simple majority in the Parliament. While there are certain provisions whose amendment requires, not only a special majority in Parliament, but also ratification by at least one-half of the State Legislature.

5. Independent Judiciary: - The Indian Constitution provides for an independent judiciary. The Constitution made the Supreme Court as the custodian and protector of the Constitution. The judgements of the Supreme Court are legally binding and there is no appeal against the judgement of the Supreme Court.

6. Fundamental Rights: - Under Indian Constitution as originally enacted, the citizen of India had been granted the seven Fundamental Rights (currently six). These rights are mentioned in Part III of the Constitution and are justiciable. Fundamental Rights are the claim of citizen against the state.

7. Fundamental Duties: - The 42nd Constitution Amendment added a new part of the Constitution i.e., under the heading Fundamental Duties lays down a code of ten currently (eleven) duties for all the citizens of India.

8. Directive Principles of State Policy: - The Directive Principle of State Policy concept has been borrowed from the Constitution of Ireland. These Principles are contained in part IV of our Constitution. The aim of these principles is to establish a welfare state in India on the socialistic pattern of society.

9. Sovereign, Democratic and Republic: - A sovereign nation is initially supreme and independent of any outside control. The Word ‘socialist’ aims at the establishment of an egalitarian society in India. The term ‘secular’ means a state which has no official religion.

10. A Secular State: - Under the 42nd Constitution Amendment, the word ‘Secular’ has been included in the Preamble of the Constitution. Thus, India has been now officially become a secular state.

11. Official Language of India: - A provision was made in our Constitution to declare Hindi in the Devanagiri script as the official language of India (Article 343). Till that time English was to continue as the official Language.

12. Single Citizenship: - The Constitution of India grants one citizenship to all citizens. In a federation, sometimes a citizen gets double citizenship, one for the Union and the other for the State in which a person lives.

13. Universal Adult Franchise: - The Indian Constitution originally granted universal adult franchise to all those men and women, who attained the age of 21 years. Under the 61st Constitutional Amendment, the age of voting has been reduced from 21 to 18 years.

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