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57736061 Ncert XI Indian Constitution

57736061 Ncert XI Indian Constitution

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Published by Mahendra Pande
constitution
constitution

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Published by: Mahendra Pande on Feb 13, 2012
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LANDMARKS IN THECONSTITUTIONALDEVELOPMENT OF INDIA
T
he Constitution of India, as optedby the Constituent Assembly in1949, was not something absolutelynew. It was,
 
to a great extent,influenced by the Government of IndiaAct of 1935 that was passed by theBritish Parliament. In order tounderstand and appreciate theConstitution, it is necessary to glanceat the constitutional developmentduring the British rule in India. Someof the landmarks in the constitutionaldevelopment are given in the followingpassages.The foundation of British authorityin India was laid in down through theestablishment of East India Companyin England under a Charter of theBritish Queen Elizabeth. Under theCharter the Company was given anexclusive right of trading with India. Inthe beginning the Company was purelya trading organization, but later on dueto political circumstances, it acquiredterritorial power.
Regulating Act of 1773
With the expansion of political powerof the Company, it was felt in Englandthat the affairs of the Company neededsome regulation. As a result, theRegulating Act of 1773 came intobeing. Some of the salient features of the Act were as follows – (i) it set up agovernment in Calcutta Presidencyconsisting of a Governor- General anda Council of four members whoexercised their authority jointly, (ii)the governments of the Presidenciesof Bombay and Madras were sub-ordinated to the government inCalcutta and (iii) it empowered theBritish Crown to establish a SupremeCourt in Bengal with jurisdiction overBengal, Bihar and Orissa.The Act subjected the legislativeauthority of the Governor-General andCouncil to certain limitations: (i) therules and regulations made by themwere not to be repugnant to the laws of England, (ii) they required registrationby the Supreme Court which was giventhe power to veto them, (iii) there couldbe an appeal against them to the BritishGovernment and (iv) the Governor-General and the Council were underthe duty to forward all such rules andregulations to England and the King-in-Council was competent to dis-approve them at any time withintwo years.
The Charter Act of 1833
To make the legislative functions of thegovernment distinct, the BritishGovernment enacted the Charter Act of 1833. It made substantial changes inthe constitutional set up of India. Thesole legislative power in India wasvested in the Governor-General-in-Council. The Council was to consist of four members, of whom one was to be
Chapter
1
 
INDIAN CONSTITUTION AND ADMINISTRATION2
a Law Member, who could attend theCouncil meetings, as a matter of right,only when it was to perform legislativefunctions. The Councils functionswere, thus, divided into two categories.When it performed executive functions,it consisted of the Governor-Generaland three members only. But, when itperformed legislative functions, itconsisted of the Governor-Generaland the four members. In this way, theAct laid the foundation of the futureCentral Legislature, also called ImperialLegislative Council.
The Charter Act of 1853
In order to strengthen the legislativemachinery the Charter Act of 1853 wasenacted. The Act further extended themachinery of legislation. Under the newAct, the Governor-General’s Council,when acting in its legislative capacity,was enlarged by the addition of six newmembers. Among these six members,one was to be an official representativefrom each of the four Provincesviz., Madras, Bombay, Bengal andNorth Western Provinces, and theChief Justice and a puisne judge of the Supreme Court. Besides, theCommander-in-Chief was also given anextraordinary membership. Thus, thestrength of the Legislative Councilbecame twelve.
The Act of 1858
The First War of Independence of 1857brought the era of the East IndiaCompany to an end. In 1858 theBritish Crown took over the rightsof the Company’s Government inIndia in its own hands. The Actbrought substantial changes in theconstitutional set-up. Some of theimportant changes were: (i) it abolishedthe Board of Directors and the Boardof Control and vested their powers inone of Her Majesty’s Secretary (aMinister in the British Cabinet), (ii) hewas designated as the Secretary of Statefor India and was empowered tosuperintend, direct and control all thegovernmental affairs in India, (iii) theSecretary of State was to be assisted bya Council of India, (iv) the Governor-General and Governors of thePresidencies were to be appointed bythe Crown and the members of theirCouncils by the Secretary of State-in-Council, (v) Lieutenant Governors wereto be appointed by the Governor-General, subject to the approval of HerMajesty and appointments to thecovenanted civil service were to be madethrough open competition with theassistance of the Civil ServiceCommission.
Indian Councils Act of 1861
In 1861 the British Governmentdecided to expand the legislativeCouncils. This was done through theIndian Councils Act of 1861. The mainprovisions of the Act were as follows –(i) the Governor-General’s Council wasexpanded for legislative purposes byadding 6-12 new members, to benominated for two years, (ii) priorsanction of the Governor-General wasessential for introducing somemeasures, (iii) every Act passed by theLegislature in India was subject toapproval of Her Majesty acting throughthe Secretary of State-in-Council, (iv) theGovernor-General was authorised toexercise a veto and issue ordinances in
 
3LANDMARKS IN THE CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF INDIA
an emergency and (v) the strength of the Governor-General’s Council forexecutive purposes was raised to fiveby addition of one more member.
Indian Councils Act of 1892
In 1892 another Act was passed tofurther expand and strengthen thelegislative councils. The main featuresof the Act were as follows – (i) thestrength of the central and provinciallegislative councils was expandedby adding 8–20 new members, (ii) two-fifth of these new additional memberswere to be non-officials, (iii) theGovernor-General-in-Council wasauthorized to make rules subject to thesanction of the Secretary of State-in-Council, for discussion of annualfinancial statements and for askingquestions.
Indian Councils Act of 1909
During the beginning of the twentiethcentury, the British Government wasconfronted with three types of pressures. While on the one hand themoderates were appealing for morereforms and the extremists wereagitating for getting Swarajya, therevolutionaries, on the other hand, wereresorting to terrorist activities to achievetheir goal, i.e. end of the alien rule. Inorder to mollify the discontent, to someextent, the government enacted theIndian Councils Act of 1909.The salient features of the Act were asfollows (a)The Act provided for the expansionof the Legislative Councils at boththe levels, Central as well asProvincial.(b)It maintained the majority of officialmembers in the Central LegislativeCouncil. There were four categoriesof members i.e. ex-officio members,nominated officials, nominatednon-officials and elected members.(c)It provided for non-official majorityin the Provincial Legislatures Butthen, the combined strength of official and nominated non-officialmembers out-numbered theelected members.(d)The Act enlarged the functions of the Legislative Councils. This Act(i) empowered the members todiscuss the budget and moveresolutions before it was finallyapproved, (ii) they were allowed toask supple-mentary questions, tomove resolutions on mattersrelating to loans to local bodies,additional grants and new taxesand (iii) it also extended to themembers the right to discussmatters of public interest, adoptresolutions or demand a division onthem, but the resolutions adoptedby the House were not binding onthe government.(e)One of the most important andunfortunate feature of this Act wasthe introduction of separate anddiscriminatory electorate. Theelectorate for returning the re-presentatives to the councils wasdivided on the basis of class,community and interests. For theprovincial councils the electorateprovided for three categories, viz.,general, special and class (such asland owners and chambers of commerce). For the Central Councilone more category viz. Muslim wasadded to it.

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