Salient Features of the Constitution
Indian Constitution is a written Constitution. A written Constitution is a one which has been framed in given time-frame and then adopted on a fixed date. The British Constitution is an example of an unwritten constitution. The Indian Constitution was framed over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. It was adopted on 26th November 1949, and it came in force on 26th January 1950.
The lengthiest Constitution in the world
– The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest and the most detailed of all the written Constitutions of the world containing 449 articles in 25 parts, 12 schedules, 5 appendices and 101 Amendments.
– A single Constitution for the entire country except for Jammu and Kashmir.
Parliamentary form of Government
The constitution of India establishes a parliamentary form of a government both at the Centre and the State. This forms talks about the presence of nominal (Dejure) and real (defacto) executives. The essence of the parliamentary government is its responsibility to the Legislature. The president is the constitutional head of the State but the real executive power is vested in the council of ministers whose head is the Prime Minister (Chief Minister at the state level).
Unique blend of rigidity and flexibility
It has been the nature of the amending process itself in federations which had led political scientists to classify federal Constitution as rigid. It is rigid which means there is a special procedure for amending the Constitution. And its flexible which means that with an ordinary procedure some areas in the constitution can be amended.
These rights are prohibitions against the State. The State cannot make a law which takes away or abridges any of the rights of the citizens guaranteed in part III of Constitution. Originally 7 fundamental rights were mentioned in the constitution, but at present there are only 6, after the deletion of ‘Right To Property’ by the 44th amendment.
Directive Principles of State policy (DPSP)
The Directive Principles of State Policy contained in Part IV of the Constitution, it set out the aims and objectives to be taken up by the States in the governance of the country. These are non-justiciable. It means this cannot be challenged in the court of law. In the Minerva Mills case of 1980 the Supreme Court held that the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and DPSP).
This was added by the 42nd amendment in the year 1976. It was recommended by Swaran Singh Committee. Part IV A was added for accommodating Fundamental Duties. Initially on 10 Fundamental Duties were added. 11th Fundamental Duty was added in the year 2002 through the 86th Constitutional amendment.
A Secular State
The constitution declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. A Secular State has no religion. Thus India does not have any official religion. It treats all religions equally. Articles 25 to 28 of the Indian Constitution give concrete shape to this concept of secularism. It guarantees to every person the freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practice and propagate religion.
– All person above the age of 18 years can vote Under the Indian Constitution.
– Initially, the voting age was 21 years. But through the 61st amendment voting age has been reduced from 21 to 18 in the year 1989.
– Provided for 3 types of emergencies. National Emergency, State Emergency or President’s Rule & Financial Emergency
– During National emergency India from the state of Federation, it becomes Unitary.
3 Tier Government
– Through 73rd and 74th amendments, 3 tier structures were created.
– Panchayati Raj and Municipalities are made the Constitutional bodies.
A federation with strong centralising tendency
The most remarkable feature of the Indian Constitution is that being a federal Constitution it acquires a unitary character during the time of emergency. During the proclamation of emergency, the normal distribution of powers between Centre and State undergoes a vital change. The union parliament is empowered to legislate on any subject mentioned in the state list. The financial arrangements between the Centre and State can also be altered by the Union Government.
An Independent Judiciary
An independent and impartial judiciary with the power of judicial review has been established under the Constitution of India. It is a custodian right of citizens. Besides, in a federal Constitution, it plays another significant role in determining the limits of power of the Centre and States.
The American constitution provides for dual citizenship, i.e., the citizen of America and a state citizenship. But in India, there is only one citizenship, i.e., Citizen of India. No state citizenship like a citizen of Assam, Citizen of Delhi. Every Indian is Citizen of India and enjoys the same rights of citizenship no matter in what state he resides.
It provides a bicameral legislature at Union consisting of the Lok Sabha And Rajya Sabha. Thr former contains Representatives Of The People, while the latter contains Council Of States.
Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Srilanka and other country have their constitution based on the Indian Constitution.
Salient Features of the Constitution