HISTORY BEHIND THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA


Author

Krish Bhatia, Chandigarh University


“For a successful resolution it is not enough that there is discontent. what’s required may be a profound and thorough conviction of the justice, necessity and importance of political and social rights”. – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

448 Articles in twenty two parts, 12 schedules, and 97 amendments – a perception into how India got itself a permanent constitution on the date January 26, 1950. India’s struggle against the British marked by the civil disobedience Associate in Nursingd non-violence movements lead by sage Gandhi finally helped in an freelance India on the date August fifteen, 1947.

The Constituent Assembly of 1948 and the Constitution of 1950

In 1946, the British determined to look at the chance of granting independence to Bharat. As a result, a British cabinet mission was despatched to India to (1) hold discussions with the representatives of British India and the Indian States in order to agree on the framework for writing a constitution, and (2), set up a constituent body and an executive council. Following this mission and also the succeeding negotiations, a Constituent Assembly was indirectly elective by the provincial legislatures comprising 278 representatives and fifteen girls. Parties represented in the CA were the Congress Party which had a majority, Muslim League, Scheduled Caste Federation, the Indian Communist Party and also the Union Party. The CA met for the initial time in Dec 1946 and by November 1949 the draft constitution was approved. The constitution went into result in January 1950 and also the CA was reworked into a probationary Parliament.
The Constitution which is still in force has been amended over 90 times making it one of the most frequently amended constitutions in the world. It is also known to be one of the longest and most detailed in the world with 395 articles and 10 appendixes called schedules. Extensively modeled on western legal and constitutional practice, its key features include:
• The establishment of a federal system with residual powers in a central government
• A list of fundamental rights
• A Westminster style parliamentary system of government

Key timelines in the 1948 constitutional process

1946 Britain decides on to grant independence to {india|India|Republic of Bharat|Bharat|Asian country|Asian nation} and cabinet mission is dispatched to India to debate modalities for transfer of power
14 August 1947 Proposal for creation of committees is tabled
29 August 1947 Drafting committee is established
6 December 1947 Constituent Assembly formally convenes for the first time, following elections, to begin the method of writing a constitution.
4 November 1947 Draft is finalized and submitted
1948 – 1949 Constituent Assembly meets in sessions open to the public
26 November 1949 Constituent Assembly adopts final draft making it official
26 January 1950 Entry into force of the new constitution

Indian constitution – the history behind its making
At the top of the nineteenth century, the country demanded to be involved in government, and put an end to torture and oppression. Thanks to the role contend by India in supporting Great Britain in World War I, the Supreme legislative body of United Kingdom, the British Parliament introduced the Government of India Act, 1919 which received a royal approval on Dec 23 an equivalent year. The act lead to dyarchy – a twin kind of governance in some giant provinces. many areas of governance like health, education, agriculture and superintendence of native government were handed over to a set of Indian ministers UN agency according to the provincial council. However, military, defence, foreign affairs, and communications were under the direct control of the Viceroy. It was secure that the act would be reviewed once 10 years by a special commission and so notorious Simon Commission arrived in India in 1928. The Simon Commission looked at the constitutional reforms and reviewed the Government of India Act, 1919. The Simon Report was printed in 2 volumes in 1930, which was referred to as ‘not final’ following a constitutional situation. To free the constitution of this situation, 3 sessions of a spherical Table Conference were command in 1930, 1931 and 1932 respectively. The conference was also attended by representatives of several Indian communities. British made their own reporting drafts on ‘white papers’, based mostly on the outputs of these spherical table sessions. A committee that had twenty representatives from British India and 7 Indians worked on the white papers from Apr 1933 to Dec 1934 and submitted its report back to British Parliament by the top of that year. A bill was passed in February 1935, which received royal approval on July twenty four, 1935. It officially came into enforcement on Apr 1, 1935, and was named Government of India Act, 1935.
Drafting of the constitution
On twenty first February 1948, the drafting committee submitted the Draft Constitution of India to the President of the constituent assembly. Fourth months earlier, the Committee had received a Draft Constitution ready by the Assembly’s constitutional advisor – B.N. Rau. Rau’s Draft reflected the decisions taken by the Assembly on the reports of various committees that were tasked with drawing up constitutional provisions on specific components of the Constitution. The Drafting Committee, between October 1947 and February 1948, scrutinized, tweaked and added to Rau’s Draft and what emerged from this process was the Draft Constitution of India, 1948 (henceforth ‘Draft’).
The Draft consisted of 315 articles – organized around eighteen ‘Parts’, and eight ‘Schedules’. It touched upon a range of topics that one would expect in a constitutional document that included the structure of government, rights and center-state relations. Wherever the Draft moved significantly away from B.N Rau’s Draft, or there was controversy or lack of clarity on some provision, the Drafting Committee placed footnotes and brief explanations in the document.
It is vital to note that this Draft was the initial blueprint of the Indian Constitution that was publically out there. It was widely circulated to members of the Assembly, provincial governments, central ministries, the Supreme Court and High Courts, and the general public along with an invitation to provide feedback and suggestions. In March and October 1948, the Drafting Committee reviewed and took decisions on comments it received and prepared amendments.
On four November 1948 Dr. BR Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, formally introduced the Draft in the Assembly – every member had a copy along with the set of amendments recommended by the Drafting Committee in light of comments and suggestions it received. In his speech, Ambedkar gave an summary of the Draft and addressed some controversies that emerged around it. The initial reactions of the Assembly members to the Draft were mixed. While some applauded it, others were defeated – for e.g. members were unhappy that the Draft failed to base the executive and political structure of Bharat on principles of Panchayati Raj.
On 15th November 1948, the Assembly took up, article by article, all the provisions of the Draft for dialogue and discussion. It considered, deliberated and took selections on varied amendments moved by individual members of the Assembly and the Drafting Committee. This method went up until October seventeenth once which the Drafting Committee revised the Draft based mostly on the selections of the Assembly and created a second version on ordinal November which it place to the Assembly for another reading.
It is vital to note that the Assembly’s deliberations over the Draft Constitution (including the revised version) fashioned the bulk of the Constituent Assembly debates and also the overall constitution creating process: out of one hundred sixty five sittings of the Constituent Assembly, 114 were spent debating this Draft. The Draft Constitution was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 as the constitution of India.

Conclusion The unambiguous commitment to a democratic, secular, egali¬tarian and civil libertarian society by the framers of the constitution is a clear indication of the foresight of the learned makers of the constitution and their commitment for the welfare of all but not of the few.

Last however not the smallest amount, I am again mentioning the quote of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, which he had made in the concluding remarks of his speech in 1948:

I feel that the constitution is workable, it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together bothin peacetime and in wartime. Indeed, if i could say thus, if things go wrong under the new Constitution, the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we tend to can have to say is that Man was vile.


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