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L-5 Salient Features of the Indian Constitution

L-5 Salient Features of the Indian Constitution

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5

SALIENT FEATURES OF TIlE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

5.1 INTRODUCTION
You have already re8(.f !..."l the previous lesson about the making of the Constitution of India, its Preamble and the political philosophy. We know that State. like any other organization. requires a set of laws to govern itself. A co~on is a body oflaws that determines the nature of the State. It is a fundamental document according to which the government of the State functions. A constitution is, thus, the basic law wliich defines and delimits the powers of various 'organs of the government. It also enumerates the basic rights of the citizens.

The Constituent Assembly spent 2 years. 11 months and 18 days to frame the constitution and. adopted the draft on 26 November ·1949 but the Constitution of India was eoforted on 26 January. 1950. Tbe Constitutioo maka:s of India borrowed various ideas from'the ConStitutiOns of different countries. Thus, the Constitution of India is unique in many ways with several. special featun:s.

5.2 OBJECTIVES
.t.fter studying this lesson. you will be able to :
(i) identify the main features of the Constitution of India: (ii) distinguish between a written and an UDwritten Constitution; (iii) differentiate betweea a rigid

and aflexi~le Constiwtion;

(iv) identify the nature of the Indian Constitution (v) establish the importance of fundamental rights and fundamental duties;
(vi) appreciate the special ~

of the worlli. .

rbat distlDpiIb the lDdian Constitution from OCher COnstitutions .

principles).3 WRITTEN C6NSTITUTION A constitution may he written 01'unwritten. 26th January 1950. (Con~tituent A~Articlcs.A written constitution is One which is framed al a giventime and comes inti. the Constitution of India was adopteQ. .:" . the Constitution of the United States.'Osnlitulion is helpful in. is a result of evolution. (e) The Co. A wriuen tOnstilution always enacted while an unwritten O~stitutiun is evolved.' On the contrary.of Amcrica has only 7 Articles. dOOult or easy. . State Assembly. When the constitution is in the form 01' a documenl. (495. people have a clear understanding about the powers of the government. 1949.. England is a well-administered country though its con!ollitution is mostly unwritten. 12.For camp. Generally. customs and statutes that grow over the centuries.and enforced hy nul' country on 26 January 19'5O. As against this constiturion. It can he amenckd without any special procedure .UnionGovernment and State Governments. The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest written Constitution in the world.best example of an evolved and unwritten.1-----------(rules. rigid constitutions. The BlitishoCollstitution is the. the constitution cannot be amended hy a simple majority.4 A COMBINATION OF RIGIDITY AND FLEXmlLITY A constitution may be called rigid or flexible on the basis of the amending procedure. It has 395 Articles and 12 Schedules..n~titution of India was enforced on 1941. The strength of' it written or enacted con. nary legislative process. the process of amending or changing a written constitution is comparatively complex. but this viewpoint can also be-disputed. It other words. It is based on conventions. that it fails to adapt uKClf to changing conditions easily. The written constilution mentions clearly the division (If powers between the Union and the States. a f1e~ihlc constitution is . (15th Agusut. It is never framed by arty Constituent Assembly. The Cosntitutions of the United States of A~· Switzerland dutl Australia are considered 300.An unwritten constitution.: the Constinaion of England is l1exiblc because any provision. In a written constitution.there arc two sets of governments . providing better government. In a federal Slate like India •. 395. 295l schedules in the Indian constitution. The weakness of a written constitution is. on (he other hand. It is generally said thai written t. (15. 'is INTEXT QUESTION 5.on a fixed dale. For example. force. cnnstitution. .It is given hy history. 5. a special nugority'is need"'l1 for amendment. It requires a special procedure where. . 26th November. of':tbe. (c) The Indian Constitution consists (d) There are ---.8dhl1Cofistitutiu' ~ ---..9). (he rights of the people are secure.'ilit~tion is that it is deal' and definite. For example. It meaDs that a rigid co~stitutio~ is one which cannot be amended easily. Committee. This amendment procedure can be. laws.5.onewhich can he ameQded easily by an Of{ll . Fill in the blanks with appropriate words given i(l the brackets: (a) A constitution is a hody of (b) The Constitution of India was adopted by sembly.

cia] matters are concerned. there is a government for each of the • Units or States.be Concurrent Ust. 5. whereas aflexible constitution is unstable. the constitution is gene~y of the constitution forces every one to abide by it rigid and supre:me. These lists have been explained in detail in Lesson 8. federation.5 FEDERAL POLITY A State may be either federal or unitary. Also. (e) The Constitution of India is . is considered progressive in nature and helpful in the development of the nation as it changes easily and adapts to the changing circumstances. Similaly. a unique example of combination of rigidity and flexibility. our constitution there are three methods of amendment. there is only one government for the whole country. In a federal system. may not be easily changed according to the changing 'conditions. In a unitary system. A flexible con . so that the COft· stitution could be interpreted impaniall) In India. can In federations some rigidity is considered necessary.~-----------Which of the following statements are true and which are false: (a) The Constitution of India is based on conventions and customs. financial & judi. Fundamental Rights of citimes of the India. on the other hand. . in case of Indian Federalism.appointllicnt of of ". The Indian Constitution io. Morever. In India. HM\'Over. there are three lists of powers such as Union List.Salient Fearures of tbc lad_aD CObSIitulwn. because. the State is divided into various units. so that the p lwers of the States may not be tampered with. There is ORegovernment for the whole country called the Union or Central government. (d) In a rigid Constitution. In a federal system. There is a distibution of powers between the Centre and the State governments. the State will. division of powers favouring the Central Government. Some of the Articles of the Constitution can be amended by a special maiority of l'arliament and some provisions be amended only after ratification by legislatures of DOt less than ball of the States with a special majority.a combination of rigidity and flexibility. a federation cannot exist. It is stable.titution. not be able to take aWAy even the. withoutit. State List and I. This supremacy The supremacy of judiciary is ail essential fecrtore of. can be l hanged by all act of Parliament. the amending procedure is very easy. INTEXT QUESTIONS 5. A rigid constitution. In.is given to the Union.to guard the Constitution. the Supreme Court has been established.. Cen1tn unItary fcanues such aflexibtiity oftbe CooStitit· tion. (b) A written constitution is always enacted. An example of a federal State is the United States of America and the example of a unitary State is the United IGngdom. the fundamental rights of the people and the interests of the minorities are more secure under a rigid constitution.Government as administrative legislative. mOre power. (c) The Swiss Constitution is a flexible coustitution.ards as: He_ . however. The strength !Jf a rigid cosntitution is that it is a guarantee against hasty changes. Distribution of power is necessary.

44th. justiciable. etc . h lays down a list of ten fundamental duties for allthe citizens of India. right to equality. one of the important aspirations of the people of India was that they should have some basic rights. and Right to Constitutional Remedies.. The duties are non• justiciable ~ their violation is.. i. Right against Exploitation. the head of the stare is nominal In India. unlimited) -.. the duties are obligations. 46th) 52 (d) The Fundamental Duties were incmced througb the amendment. Cultural and Educational Rights. 5.7 FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES Fundamental rights and duties are one of the important feamres of the Indian Constitution. hence. therefore.e. These Fundamental Rights are justiciable and are protected bythe court. there is a close relationship between the legislature and the ·executive. These rights include Right to Equality. In other words. (people. right to freedom. In this form of democracy.. not punishable. are guarantees given to the people and the State is bound to protect them.. he enjoys many powers but jn practice he does not exercise these powers. In case of violation of any of these rights one can move to'the court of law and secure them. Fundamental Duties were added to our Constitution through the 42nd Amend· ment. Therefore. quasi-federal) enjoys the real power.3-----------Fill in the blanks with appropriate words given in the brackets:(a) India is a State.. (unitary. In a parliamentary democracy. Right to freedom._ (b) In a parliamentary democracy the dent. this quasi federal set-up is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution. . We were denied most of the civil and politiCal rights by the British. (About these duties you will read iii detail in Lesson 7) INTEXT QUESTIONS 5. single unified Judiciary. But the Fundamental Rights are not absolute or unlimited. While the rigbt. which really exercises these powers..6 PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of democracy. further" substantiates the unitary nature at our federalism where the states autonomy is limited.PoJiticaiScieDce State Governments by the -Central Government. federal. itholds office so long as it enjoys the confidence of the legislature . Constitutionally. the President is the head of the State. which every citizen is expected to perform.. In the Lesson 6 you will learn about 'the Fundamental Rights in detail. etc. cabinet) (c) The Fundamental Rights are the (42nd. The Indian Constitution provides several fundamental lights. Right to Freedom of Religion. 5. This system has been borrowed from the British system. presi• (absolute. It is tlie Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Hence the cabinet is selected from among the members of legislature as well as it is responsible to it.

INTEXT QuEsTIONS 5.4 Choose the right answer. criminal or constitutional laws. Therefore. The High Courts have right of supervision on the lower courts. The aim of the Directive Principles is to establish a Welfare State in India. witra are. whether the Union or the States. are appointed from among experienced judges of the lower courts. They are paid adequate-salaries. protect the FUndamental Rights andsettl~ the disputes between the Union and the States. the government cannot ignore them. riot binding on the governments. Courts fonn a single integrated judicial structure with jurisdiction over all laws. The Supreme Court ana the.8 DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY Directive Principles of State Policy is another unique feature of OUI Constitution. .Salient Features 01 the IndiAn Con~. The Directive Principles were included in our Constitution in order to provide economic jsutice and to avoid concentration of wealth in the hands of a few people. You wiU read in detail about them in lesson 7. Indian judiciary is fully integrated. The Directive Principles are instructions given by the Constitution to all the gov. The judiciacy has to interpret the Constitution.J The Directive Principles are instructions given by the Constitution to : 53 . AS the Supreme Court stands at the apex of the Indian judicial system. Unlike tbe judicial system of the United States. Most of the socio-economic rights of the people which the founding fathers wanted to add in Chapter III but could not -include them because of economic constraints.9 SINGLE INTEGRATED JUDICIAL SYSTEM India has a single integrated judicial system. State.. They however. Similarly: a good number of judges of the High Courts. the ". HIgh. The founding fathers of our Constitution borrowed the ideas from the Irish Constitution.: In addition to the single integrated judiciary. another important feature of the Indian Constitution is the provision of an independent judiciary. Thus. judges of the Supreme Court areappointed from among the experienced judges of the High Courts. They have thus been included under these Principles. The governments. You will read in detail about the "Indian judicial system in Lesson 14.) • 5!lO INDEPENDENCE OF JUDICIARY. are expected to frame their policies in accordance these Directive Principles. its word is the final law of the land. The entire judiciary is one hierarchy of COUrts. The Indian judiciary is free from the influence of the executive and the legislabJre. the Supreme Court may give any direction to the High Courts.t.lu 5. from one High Court to another within the country. ernments in the country. safeguard the Cosntitution. They are the Directives to the future governments to incorporate them in the decisions and policies to be formulated by them. The judges are appointed on the l>aSisof their qualifications . " 5. we do not have separate federal and State courts. It means jurisdiction over the union._ "f.and cannot be removed easily. There is a provision of transfer of the judges. Their salaries and allowances are protected. but they are fundamental in the governance of the country. civil. The. Similarly. ..

The citizens elect lbeir repre. Pun. For example. irrespective of the place 'of his residence.of India -.s exrended to all adldLS only gradually. Witboul the universal adult franchise.for the legislative branch 0 r the gO"'U1IJI1enl. Ill. d ii) the experienced judges of. Thus the Indian ConstitutioD. Every citizen of India who is 18 years of age or above t5 entitled to vote in.111 the P~llllk India.·dk· nghllo vote wa. Oi) the experienced judges of the upper couns.they en. Every person has the fight to only one vote.ecuons Irrespective of. (d) The Fundamental Rights are protected by (i) (il) Constitution Judiciary (iii) Parliament.the high courts.. In India. sex.. I Hi. race.jab. a person can get employment either under the federal gQvemment Of under the government of his own State only. etc. UleM! . Hiu"ycma.. ul all the members III Purhamcnt (b: The Supreme ffllrt 01 India has junsdictiun over: ·. religion and status. He or she is not a citizen of the constituent Slate like Uttar Pradesh.(i) all thc'govcmmems in the country. Indian democracy IS lhc biggest in the world wherein we have adopted·a government ofthc people for lhe JX.1' ~111 cnnunal law ~ only crvil laws on Iy (iii) all consntutional laws c The iudges ot the Supreme Court are appointed from amling 'll the experienced judges of thc lower COUll!!. Ihrougb universal adult franchise. estatllilihes political equalily in India INTEXT QUESTIONS S.'Opk:. to which he or she belongs. Even io !he advanced democracies of the western world. usually double citizenship is given to. 5.TFRANCHIS.joy all the rights equally in all pans . 5. democracy is meaningless.11 SINGLE CITIZENSHIP In a federul State.'lelJtative~ . caste. .auld by the people. Thus. It means lhar every Indian is a citizen of India. AJI the citiznes of India can secure employment anywhere in the country and . in the United Stales of Americacvery person is a citizen of his or her State and also of the United States of America. we have adopted single citizenship.11 -n the blanks wnh appropnate words given in the brackets: .~-----------.12 UNIVERSAL ADUJ. the citizens.

...· headed by Prune Minister who emoys the r~al powers. The citizens who are I R years of age or above are entitled to vote in the electiens. the lndran Consritunon IS a ~omhmation of rigidity and flexibrl . Some orthe provisronsof OUI Constitntion cannot be amended easily and. 2~ yearst WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT "'Hel -. Jh~ Dirccuvc Pnnciples of State Pehey were also mcluded 10 our Constitution' These pnni'{ples-arc insuucnons grven by the Constitution to all the governments in the an" of these fights.:1' .. Cal Cb) Th "'Il~ . .one fucrarchy of courts.. The enure judic.. and' IS responsible to i1.. The Supreme Court and tire High COutts form . TERMINAL EXERCISES I.: • t. • C Uni . 4: Discuss briefly about a wriuen constitution.:Iar) i:. The Indmn Consutuuon-providcs a number 01 fundamental rights.\loruy for amendment. Whar is the reuaionslup between the Fundamental Ri. ny..' Amenca I1. Distinguish between a rigid and a f1exible constitltion Explain briefly India as ~ federal State .>.uu has a smyJe mtegrated judicial system.1.. In India. one canmove to the courts.l purhamentury tom) of democracy. Anotheruuportant feature lfJ' the Constitution 01 InLj~aIS Its tedcrul sci-up In India.. 2. There IS . protect the Fundamental· Rights aDd settle the dis· flutes between l he Union and the Slates. It 'has ~95 Articles and 12 Schedules. These ')g:hl:!larcjusufiable These nghts arc protected hy the Supreme Court and.Jnu .L" a svstem.!h!' .. nslup meanv a person IS a cmzen oj his own stale only a 1('I". The Indian jutiJdary IS tree from the mflu cncc ul the exccunvc and the legislature. R \'C'lI'S.. lountry. the High Courts In case 01 vrolauon of rn tundamneral dunes for uU the cuizens or India werealso included tn our Constitu. It means thatevery Indian IS a citizen of India.tudymg rhe sahent features ot th~ IndHIIl Constuunon..· 'I vears. Smu iarl)."ni: e "ilil'cn '" the "'flute union. n !usHfiable but every citizen is expected to followthem. There is a clear dlViSJon \)1 JlIl\\CI'S between (he· Umongovernrneru and rhe State eovernments The Supreme .1' Indta protects the Constitution Constitution uf India provrdes fOI .pcciul Illi.uhlt ~ emponlf\ ~1I1c:' . Later on. The govenuuents <Ire expected to frame their policies in accordance with these Dirccnve Principles . Court .:' Parluuncnt. . Besides.{:h~~d the Fundamcntal~1 ------------------------------~---------------------------------.1 'iinglc integrated Judicia] structure with Jurisdiction over all laws. one can 'lay that Il bas ccrtmn teuturcs which distinguish It from other cosstitutions For-example.There IS a dose . a persuu is a cmzenot hi~ native place I Cd ~. On the other hand. The judiciary has duty to mtctpret the Consutuuon.if requires .. the Constitution IS supreme. . the Indian ('Uil'lutllfiOIl Hi the lengthiest written consurution i~ the world. .un VOlin!! igem Imlul .<II. Coenctlor Mimstcrs . d. safeguard the constitution.cJ"Uon~hlp between the Legislature and the Executive.. we have single citizenship. certain other provisions can be amended by the Simple: maiority only. In.I . . nuu·'.~" These dune .

ANSWERS TO IIVrEXT QUESTIONS S..« Wn"~ '.'l: (!t: Fai~e '-.l bnet note on the iollllwlnl! IUd)~'lal svstcm independence \)1 Judicial) ib.2 I.ll ... Singleintezrated .nn 11 ..d\ HINTS TO TERMINAL EXER~F..4i. 1\··.'r dl.4! I.' Refe' to 5.Uclable ''.muat) :e 5. Refer to 4\ .1 .10 'C\ .al 19SU J-al~ i':l1~ ':h) True .lu!.7 ~ Refer to a) 5 In .4 la) II) .. True 5.aIllnet 'd' -'2nd amendment 5.lIllhl . b ... =:c_' .'ieJDhl Articles d' . .Il' 5'-) '~i S.t ra Laws fb (nnsutuenl \9'. 4 .:':' Umversal Adult h.~ ~erto~ 2.~ Refertl:'..3 (a.' quasi. ~hedules ' c '.

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