The uniqueness of Indian Constitution lies in the fact that it is the longest written constitution in the world. Initially, our constitution had a preamble, 395 articles and 8 schedules. At present, our constitution has 448 articles and 12 schedules. 26th November of every year is celebrated as the Constitution Day.
In 1934, the idea of the formation of a Constituent Assembly for India was put forward for the first time by M.N.Roy. In 1935, the Indian National Congress also demanded for the formation of a Constituent Assembly. The British Government finally accepted the demand. In November 1946, the Constituent Assembly was constituted under the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Assembly held its first meeting on 9th December 1946. 211 members were present in the meeting. Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was elected as the temporary President of the Assembly. Later, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the Assembly. There were two Vice-Presidents – H.C. Mukherjee and V.T. Krishnamachari.
There were several committees of the Constituent Assembly which dealt with various constituent making tasks. There were 8 major committees and 13 minor committees. The most important among them, the Drafting Committee was set up on 29th August 1947. Its task was to prepare a draft of the new constitution.
The first draft of the Indian Constitution was prepared in February 1948. There was an 8-month period for people to discuss the draft and suggest amendments. Based on public suggestions, second draft was prepared and published in October 1948.
In total, the Drafting Committee sat for 141 days.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the “chief architect of the Constitution of India” introduced the final draft of the Constitution on 4th November 1948. It was declared as passed on 26th November 1949. Some provisions came into force the same day itself, but a majority of the provisions were enforced on 26th January 1950. Due to this, this date is referred as the “date of commencement”.
Features of the Constitution:
- Indian constitution is the lengthiest written constitution in the world.
- It is drawn from constitutions from different countries like Britain, USA, Russia, Australia, Japan, Canada and so on.
- Indian Constitution is a flux of rigidity and flexibility. Some provisions can be amended just like an ordinary law is made while some provisions need special procedure for amendment.
- It’s a perfect balance of federal and unitary features. It follows federal features such as two government, division of powers, written constitution, supremacy of constitution, rigidity of constitution, independent judiciary and bicameralism. It also has unitary features like single constitution, single constitutionship, emergency provisions etc.
- Our constitution follows the parliamentary form of Government, i.e. there is cooperation between the legislative and executive organs of the Government.
- The constitution provides for single citizenship.
- Part IVA of the Constitution outlines various Fundamental Duties of each citizen.
- Part III of the constitution provides 6 Fundamental Rights of each citizen.
- Universal Adult Franchise provides voting right to each and every citizen of the country irrespective of their caste, creed, sex, literacy etc. But the citizen’s age must not be less than 18 years.
- Emergency Provisions – National emergency (due to external aggression or war), State emergency (failure of constitutional machinery), Financial emergency (due to financial instability in the country).
- Another unique feature is three-tier government system which is not found in any other country of the world. Apart from center and state, constitution gives recognition to rural local governments (panchayats).