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Constitutional Framework - Short Notes

Published on Thursday, April 03, 2014
India became independent - August 15,1947.

MN Roy = suggested = constituent assembly created(to frame a constitution)=1946

Constitution came into being = 26 January 1950

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Government of India(GOI) Act of 1919 aka Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms:

  • Came into force = 1921 
  • Introduced bicameralism (upper house & lower house) & dyarchy(double rule) 
  • Extended principal of communal representation= provided separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans 
  • Established Central Public Service Commission for recruiting civil servants=1926

Simon Commission:

  • Objective:- to report the condition of India under GOI Act 1919. 
  • 7 members (all British) under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon 
Ques - Why all parties in India boycotted this commission?
Answer - All members were British
  • Recommended the abolition of dyarchy, continuation of communal electorate and so on 
  • Because of the this commission India lost Lala Lajpat Rai and the great Sardar Bhagat Singh.

       Communal Awards(1932)-

  • Introduced by = Ramsay MacDonald (the British PM)
  • As we know GOI Act 1919 provided separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans. Communal Awards not only continued this but also extended it to the depressed classes (scheduled castes)=to divide hindu joint electorate
o   Gandhiji = Yervada jail(Poona)=fast unto death(to get the award modified)
§  Agreement between congress leaders and depressed classes known as Poona Pact
§  Poona Pact retained Hindi joint electorate and gave reserved seats to the depressed classes

   Government of India Act of 1935:-

  • Recommendations of Simon Commission (with certain changes) were incorporated.
  • Objective: establishment of an All-India Federation(provinces+ princely states)
  • Federation never came into effect? Because Princely states didn’t joined
  • Divided powers between the Centre and units in terms of three lists – Federal List (for centre with 59 items), Provincial List (for provinces, with 54 items) and the Concurrent List(for both, with 36 items).
  • Abolished dyarchy with Provincial autonomy in 1937(discontinued in 1939).
  • 10 percent population got voting right
 Provided for the establishment of:-
§  Reserve Bank of India
§  Federal Public Service Commission & Provincial Public Service Commission
§  Federal court(was established in 1937)
o   Extended principal of communal representation by providing separate electorates for depressed classes (scheduled castes) (just like communal awards) but it extended to women and labour(workers)

§  Mountbatten Plan = Partition plan(Lord Mountbatten, viceroy of India)

    Indian Independence Act of 1947

  • Declared India as independent
  • Lord Mountbatten became the first Governor-general of the India. He swore in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first PM of independent India.
  • The constituent Assembly of India formed in 1946 became the first Parliament of the Indian Dominion.

Constituent Assembly(1946):

  • 389 members (296 British India + 93 Princely States)
  • Partly elected and partly nominated body
  • Although not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of adult franchise, the assembly comprised representatives of all sections of Indian Society including women of all sections.Included all important personalities of India at that time, with the exception of Mahatma Gandhi and M A Jinnah.
  • Muslim league boycotted the first meeting of the constituent assembly and insisted on a separate state of Pakistan. 
  • Dr. Sachchidanand Sinha(oldest member)=elected as temporary President of the Assembly. Later on, Dr. Rajendra Prasad elected as the President.
  • As discussed above by Indian Independence Act of 1947 - The constituent Assembly of India formed in 1946 became the first Parliament of the Indian Dominion. In other words, two separate functions were assigned to the Assembly, that is, making of a constitution for free Indian and enacting of ordinary laws for the country.
1.       When assembly met as a Constituent body=chairman=Dr. Rajendra Prasad
2.       When assembly met as legislative body=chairman=G V Mavlankar(Hence GV Mavlankar became first speaker of Lok Sabha).
  • Muslim league members withdrew from the Constituent Assembly.
  • Functions performed by Constituent Assembly:-
1.       making of constitution
2.       enacting of ordinary laws
3.       adopted national flag= 22-7-1947
4.       adopted national anthem=24-01-1950
5.       adopted national song=24-01-1950
6.       elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad first President of India=24-01-1950

 Facts about constituent assembly
1.       Had 11 sessions over 2 years, 11 months and 18 days
2.       Constitution makers visited 60 countries.
3.       Total expenditure = Rs 64 lakh

§  Dr. B R Ambedkar = Chairman= Drafting committee=to prepare a draft for the constitution.
  • He introduces the final draft of the constitution in the assembly on November 4 ,1948.
  • The motion on draft constitution was passed on 26-Nov-1949 signed by 284(out of 299) members and the President. This is also the date mentioned in the Preamble as the date on which the people of India in the Constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave to themselves this Constitution.
  • Constitution adopted on 26 Nov 1949=contained A preamble, 395 Articles and 8 Schedules.
1.       Q- If the draft of the constitution was adopted on 26 Nov 1949. Why do we celebrate 26 January as our Republic day? Why not 26 Nov as Republic day?
2.       A-Because only some provisions came into force on 26 Nov 1949, the remaining provisions (the major part) of the constitution came into force on 26 January 1950. Hence we celebrate 26 January as our republic day.

3.       Q-Why 26 January 1950 was chosen? Why didn’t the remaining provisions came into effect on 1 January 1950 or any other date?
4.       A- January 26 was specifically chosen as the ‘date of commencement’ of the Constitution because of its historical importance. (on 26 January 1930 Purna Swaraj day was celebrated following the resolution of the Lahore Session(1929) of Indian National Congress.

Criticism of the Constituent Assembly-

  • As discussed above contained Partly elected and partly nominated body so it was not a representative body.
  • It was created by the Proposals of the British India. Hence was not a Sovereign(not controlled by outside forces) Body
  • Consumed a lot of time (approx 3 years)
  • Dominated by congress, lawyer-politicians and Hindus.

 Salient features of the Constitution

  • Lengthiest written constitution
  • Drawn from various sources. Dr. B R Ambedkar, “Constitution of India has been framed after ‘ransacking all the known Constitutions of the World”.
  • Is rigid and flexible
  • Parliamentary form of government
  • Integrated and Independent Judiciary
  • Fundamental Rights (taken from US Constitution) :-
1.       Part III of the Indian Constitution guarantees six fundamental rights to all the citizens
1.       Right to Equality (Articles 14-18)
2.       Right to Freedom (Articles 19-22)
3.       Right against Exploitation (Articles 23-24)
4.       Right against Freedom of Religion (Articles 25-28)
5.       Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29-30), and
6.       Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
2.       Not absolute, can be suspended during emergency except Article 20 & 21
3.       Justifiable – I can go to court for restoration of my rights

Directive Principles of State Policy(taken from Irish Constitution(Irish copied from Spanish)

1.       Enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution.
2.       Non-Justifiable
3.       Basically denotes the ideals that the State should keep in mind while formulating policies and enacting laws.
4.       Universal Adult Franchise
5.       Single Citizenship (taken from British Constitution)
o   Emergency Provisions
1.       National emergency (Article 352)
2.       State emergency(President rule) (Article 356)
3.       Financial Emergency (Article 360)

§  Preamble of the Constitution:

  • Identity card of the constitution
  • Amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976), which added three new words- socialist, secular and integrity.
  • Non-Justifiable
  • Fundamental Duties(inspired by the Constitution of erstwhile USSR)
  • Added later in 1976 by 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976)
  • Few of them are- to abide by national flag and anthem, protect public property etc
  • Originally there were 10 fundamental duties. However by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002 the following duty was added To provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

Amendment of the Constitution(Article 368)

Procedure for amendment

  1. Member of parliament introduces a bill in either House of Parliament
  2. Bill must be passed in each House by a special majority
  3. Each house must pass the bill separately (in case of a disagreement, there is no provision for holding a joint session)
  4. If the bill seeks to amend the federal provisions of the Constitution then it must also be ratified by the legislatures of half of the states by simple property.
  5. Then the bill is presented to the president for assent(President must give his assent, cannot withhold or return the bill).
  6. After president’s assent, the bill becomes Act
By- Yogesh Tiwari

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