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Drafting of the Constitution

What is the significance of the constitution?

1. The Indian Constitution is one of the most comprehensive and longest enumerated documents of its kind in the world.

2. It has created sovereign republic of India.

3. It contains the smallest details for governance of the Indian state as it is the prime law of the country.

4. The Constitution created a Union of India by formally ending the distinctions between the British government and the Princely states of pre-Independent India.

5. All laws of Parliament and State Legislatures derive their authority from the Constitution as it is the parent of all laws in the country.

6. The three pillars of the country- Legislature, Executive and Judiciary- derive their authority from the Constitution.

How the laws evolved in British-India?

1. The British came to India in the 17th century for trading purposes and gained power subsequently.

2. They attained the right to collect revenue and self-governance through various rules and regulations.

3. The Governor-General of Bengal became the Governor-General of India through the Charter Act of 1833.

4. A Central Legislature was created making the British supreme rulers of India.

5. The rule of the Company ended with the Government of India Act 1858 and the British crown took over as the ruler of India.

6. Indians started getting representation in the Viceroy’s Council through the Indian Council Acts of 1861, 1892 and 1909.

7. The British restored legislative powers to some provinces (States) and adopted the decentralization of powers between the Centre and States.

8. Legislative Councils came into existence in all the States with the enactment of Government of India Act, 1919.

9. The British adopted a bicameral structure with separate Central and State Governments.

10. For the first time, people could elect their own representatives through direct elections.

11. The Constitution of India later adopted a quasi-federal and bicameral structure of governance.

12. The Government of India Act 1935 was one of the most important events in the history of the Constitution as it divided powers of governance into Federal List, Provincial List and Concurrent List.

13. The Indian Constitution post-independence also adopted this division of powers between the Central and State governments.

14. It provided more autonomy of self-governance to the provinces.

15. It had also established the Federal Court, which is now known as the Supreme Court of India.

16. India became independent and sovereign after the enactment of the Indian Independence Act of 1947.

17. This Act established Central and Provincial Governments besides laying the foundation of the Constituent Assembly.

When the Assembly and Constitution came into existence?

Constituent Assembly

1. The Constituent Assembly of India came into existence as per the provisions of Cabinet Mission Plan of May 1946.

2. It was done to facilitate transfer of sovereign power from British authorities to India.

3. The Assembly had a proportional representation from existing provincial legislatures and from various princely states.

4. These elections were completed by the end of 1946 under the supervision of Reforms Office under the Governor-General.

5. The members of Provincial Assemblies indirectly elected the members of the Constituent Assembly.

6. It served as the first Parliament of India by first meeting on 9th December 1946 in Delhi.

Constitution

7. A Special Committee was constituted to decide on the future course of action after receiving comments on the Draft Constitution in February 1948.

8. 32 members attended the meeting of the Special Committee in April 1948 chaired by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

9. After more than 2 years of deliberations, the Constitution was approved by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949.

10. This day is now celebrated as Constitution Day.

11. The Constituent Assembly formally adopted the Constitution on 26 January, 1950, which made our country the Sovereign Republic.

Who were part of the Constituent Assembly?

1. Some of the prominent members of the Assembly were

a) Dr. Rajendra Prasad (Chairman)

b) V.T. Krishnamachari and H.C. Mookerji (Vice-Chairmen)

c) H.V.R Iyenger (Secretary-General of the Assembly)

d) S.N. Mukerji (Chief Draftsman)

e) B.R. Ambedkar (Chairman of the Drafting Committee)

2. The Constituent Assembly also took help from many non-members in the formulation of the Constitution.

3. Eminent public figures outside the Assembly also worked as members of the committees formed by the Assembly for focused deliberations on specific features.