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Following article on”The Constitution Of India” is part of our series on general awareness:
The Modern State is considered to be a state for the welfare of the people. It is therefore, suggested that it should have a government of a particular form with appropriate powers and functions.
The document containing laws and rules which determine and describe the form of the government, the relationship between the citizens and the government, is called a Constitution.
The constitution is a fundamental law of a country which reflects the fundamental principles on which the government of that country is based. It lays down the framework and principal functions of various organs of the country as well as the modalities of interaction between the government and its citizens. Almost all democratic countries possess a written constitution except Israel, New Zealand and United Kingdom. India also possesses an elaborate written constitution which was enacted by a constituent assembly specifically set up for the purpose.
The constitution of India was drafted by the Constituent Assembly. The drafting committee of the constitution consists of seven members with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar as the chairman. The Assembly took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to pass the draft of the constitution. It was finally adopted on November 26, 1949 and it came into force on January 26, 1950. The date January 26 was chosen to commemorate the declaration of independence of 1930. It declares the Union of India sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic.
The idea of the Indian constitution has been borrowed from the Constitution of the U.S.A. Some provisions have adopted from many foreign constitutions, yet drafting committee has tried to make the Indian constitution a document which is most suitable to the Indian conditions and environment.
According to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru “Whatever system of government we may establish here must fit in with the temper of our people and be acceptable to them. We stand for democracy. It will be for this House to determine what shape to give to that democracy, the fullest democracy”
The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document. The Preamble is considered to be the key of the Constitution.
The objectives which are laid down in the Preamble are in two ways:
1. Description of Indian State as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic.
2. Provision to all the citizens of India i.e., Justice, Liberty, equality and fraternity
Let us know its objective more in brief to understand the Constitution of India more clearly:
•Sovereignty: Sovereignty is one of the foremost elements of any independent State. It means absolute independence, i.e., a government which is not controlled by any other power: internal or external. A country cannot have its own constitution without being sovereign. India is a sovereign country. It is free from external control. It can frame its policies. India is free to formulate its own foreign policy.
•Socialist: In 1976, the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution incorporated ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’, in the Preamble. The word ‘Socialism’ had been used in the context of economic planning. Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities.
•Secularism: It implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. Every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. The government must not favor or discriminate against any religion. It must treat all religions with equal respect. All citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs are equal in the eyes of law. No religious instruction is imparted in government or government-aided schools.
•Democratic Republic: Democracy is generally known as government of the people, by the people and for the people. Effectively this means that the Government is elected by the people, it is responsible and accountable to the people. The democratic principles are highlighted with the provisions of universal adult franchise, elections, fundamental rights, and responsible government. The Preamble also declares India as a Republic.
Its Directive Principles of State Policy are classified under the following categories:
•JUSTICE, social, economic and political
•LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
•EQUALITY of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all
•FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation
It assures its citizens of justice, equality and liberty, and promotes among all fraternity. India celebrates the adoption of the Constitution on January 26 each year as Republic Day.
The objectives of the constitution were outlined in the ‘Objective Resolution’ moved by Jawaharlal Nehru on December 13, 1946 and unanimously adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947.
The main principles outlined in the resolution are:
•Resolve to proclaim India as an independent sovereign republic
•To establish a democratic union with an equal level of self government for all the constituent parts
•All power and authority of the Union government and governments of the constituent parts are derived from the people
•To guarantee and secure to all people of India justice, social, economic and political; equality of status, freedom of thought, expressions, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action
•Adequate safeguards for minorities, backward and tribal areas and depressed and other backward classes
•To maintain the integrity of the territory of the republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea and air according to justice and law of civilized nation
•To secure for India its right and honored place in the world
•To contribute to the promotion of world peace and welfare of mankind
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers and duties, government and spells out the fundamental right, directive principles and duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 444 articles in 26 parts, 12 schedules and 94 amendments. It is in English as well as in Hindi version.
The Parliamentary form of Government of India was first introduced by the Constitution of the nation. It has two Houses namely Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The President of India leads the Executive of the Union as the Constitutional head. The Prime Minister heads the Council of Ministers as per the Article 74(1) of the Indian Constitution. The 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India indicates that the legislative powers are shared by both the State Legislatures and the Parliament of India.
A Constitution symbolizes independence of a country. Framework and structure for the governance of a free country are provided in the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly prepared the draft of the Constitution by keeping the ‘Objectives Resolution’ as the backdrop which reflected the aspirations of the people of India.
According to B.R.Ambedkar, “Definition of democracy is- A form and a method of Government whereby revolutionary changes in the social life are brought about without bloodshed. That is the real test. It is perhaps the severest test. But when you are judging the quality of the material you must put it to the severest test”