Constituent Assembly and Making of the Constitution of India

1. The Cabinet Mission envisaged the establishment of a Constituent Assembly to frame a Constitution for the country. Members of the Constituent Assembly were elected by the Provincial Legislative Assemblies.

2.  Each Province and each Indian State were allotted seats in the proportion of its population, roughly in the ratio of one to a million. The seats so ascertained were distributed among the main communities in each Province. The main communities recognized were Sikh, Muslim, and General.

3. The total number of members of the Constituent Assembly was 385, of whom 93 were representatives from the Indian States and 292 from the Provinces (British India). After the partition of India number of members of the Constituent Assembly came to 299, of whom 284 were actually present on the 26th November 1949 and signed on the final approved Constitution of India. The Constituent Assembly, which had been elected for undivided India, held its first meeting on December 9,1946, and reassembled on August 14, 1947, as the sovereign Constituent Assembly for the dominion of India.

4. It took two years, eleven months, and eighteen days for the Constituent Assembly to finalize the Constitution.

5. Objective Resolution was moved in the first session of the Constituent Assembly (on 13 December, 1946) by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru which was adopted after considerable deliberation and debate in the Assembly on 22 January, 1947. The following objectives were embodied in the resolution :

6.  The principles of the Constitution were outlined by various committees of the Assembly, and there was a general discussion on the reports of these Committees. The Assembly appointed the Drafting Committee with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairman on August 29, 1947.

7. The Drafting Committee, headed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, submitted a Draft constitution of India to the President of the assembly on 21 February 1948.

8. The members of the Drafting Committee were N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, K.M. Munshi, Mohd. Saadullah, B.L. Mitter (later replaced by N. Madhava Rao), Dr. D.P. Khaitan (replaced on death by T.T. Krishnamachari).

9. The third and final reading of the draft was completed on November 26, 1949. On this date, the signature of the President of the Assembly was appended to it and the Constitution was declared as passed.

10. The provisions relating to citizenship, elections and provisional Parliament, etc. were implemented with immediate effect, that is, from the 26th November 1949. The rest of the provisions of the constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, and this date is referred to in the Constitution as the date of its commencement.

Different Sources of the Indian Constitution

Although the skeleton of the constitution was derived from the Government of India Act 1935, many provisions were imported from other constitutions of the world. Some of them are listed below along with the Government of India Act, 1935 :

Government of India Act, 1935 : This Act formed the basis or 'blueprint' of the constitution of India with the features of Federal system, office of Governor, emergency powers etc. Besides, the Constitution of India has borrowed from the—

Constitution of Britain : Law making procedures, Rule of law, Single citizenship, Bi-cameral Parliamentary system, office of CAG.

Constitution of USA : Independence of judiciary, judicial review, fundamental rights , removal of Supreme Court and High Court judges, Preamble and functions of President and Vice-president.

Constitution of Canada : Federation with strong Centre, to provide residuary powers to the Centre, Supreme Court's advisory jurisdiction.

Constitution of Ireland : Directive Principles of State policy, method of presidential elections, and the nomination of members to Rajya Sabha by the President.

Weimar Constitution of Germany : Provisions concerning the suspension of fundamental rights during emergency.

Constitution of Australia : Idea, of the Concurrent List, Trade and Commerce provisions.

Constitution of South Africa : Amendment with 2/3rd majority in Parliament and election of the Members of Rajya Sabha on the basis of proportional representation.

Constitution of France : Republican System, / Principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Constitution of former USSR : Fundamental Duties, Ideals of justice in Preamble.

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