Sunday, 2 July 2017

CBSE Class 8 - Social Science - Indian Constitution - Salient Features (#cbseNotes)

Salient Features of the Constitution

CBSE Class 8 - Social Science - Indian Constitution - Salient Features (#cbseNotes)

T
he Indian Constitution closely follows the British parliamentary model but differs from it in one important respect that is the Constitution is supreme, not the parliament. The Indian courts are vested with authority to act as a judge on the constitutionality of any law passed by parliament.


The present constitution consists of the following:
The Preamble
25 Parts covering 448 articles
12 Schedules and
5 Appendices containing the Panchayats and schedule XI (Articles 243 G)

The parliament of India adopted the constitution on 26th November 1949. The constitution became fully operational with effect from 26th January 1950.

In September 2016, there has been 101st amendment (GST Bill) to the Constitution of India. The salient features of Indian constitution are listed as follows:

Written Constitution
Lengthy document
Drawn from different sources
A Federal Polity with unitary bias
Single citizenship
More flexible than rigid
A Democratic Republic
Balance between Judicial Supremacy and parliamentary
Universal adult franchise
Secular state
provision of provision of fundamental rights
Principles for a welfare state
Incorporation of fundamental duties
Emergency provisions
Protection of minorities
Provision for autonomous organisation




Written Constitution
The constitution must be necessarily a written one. A written constitution avoids any doubt about the Supremacy of the Constitution as well as to clearly demarcate the powers between the Centre and the state governments.


Lengthy document
The constitution of India has the distinction of being the most lengthy and detailed constitutional document the word has so far produced. The constitution contains as many as 448 articles and 12 schedules and after the 101 constitutional amendments since September 2016. The US Constitution has only 7 Articles and the French Constitution with its 89 Articles.


③ Drawn from different sources
Critics of the Constitution have described it as a 'bag of borrowings' or as 'a glorified addition of the Act of 1935' or as 'a hotchpotch of elements drawn from various sources'. But the true fact is our constitutional makers wanted to have the best from the various constitution and then to mould it according to Indian conditions.

Almost two-thirds of the Constitution owes its origin Act of 1935 but it has been modified and rewritten to suit our needs.


A Federal Polity with unitary bias
According to the federal set up, there has been a division of powers between the Centre and the states. There are the Central list, state list, concurrent list and then some residuary powers given to the centre. There is an independent judiciary.


Single citizenship
Many countries like USA, UK, Australia etc. there is a dual citizenship. A citizen belongs to the state in which he is born and also enjoy the citizenship rights of the federation. As per Indian constitution, there is only one citizenship. Citizen belongs to the Indian Union and not to any state.


⑥ More flexible than rigid
Some parts of the Indian Constitution are rigid i.e. these can't be changed. While others have provisions to ratify it by more than half majority by passing a simple law, while the American Constitution requires ratification by the three-fourth majority.


A Democratic Republic
The Preamble to the Constitution declares that India is a sovereign democratic republic. The government is represented by the representatives of people who are chosen by voting by the citizens of India. The government has a fixed term of 5 years and after that, it needs to content election.


Balance between Judicial Supremacy and parliamentary
An independent Judiciary with the power of judicial review is a prominent feature of our constitution.
The Supreme Court acts as the guardian protector and interpreter of the Constitution. Parliament can make law but the Supreme Court has right to review and reject it if found unconstitutional.

Similarly, judges are appointed by the President. To impeach a Supreme Court judge, it requires a consent of the parliament.


Universal adult franchise
It is the boldest step taken by the constitution makers and it was an act of faith that they had placed in the common man. Article 326 of the Constitution provides that election to the House of the people and to the Legislative Assembly of every state shall be on the basis of adult suffrage. Every adult man and woman (citizen of India), above the age of 18 years, has the right to vote.

Secular state
A multi-religious nation like India has to be a secular state. The word 'secular' was missing from our Constitution till the 42nd amendment of the constitution. Indian secularism guarantees equal freedom to all religions, provided any religious practice should not violate the Indian constitution.

Provision of fundamental rights
Six fundamental rights have been incorporated in the constitution. It is called the Indian Bill of Rights.


Directive Principles for a welfare state
The objective of the Constitution makers was to draft a constitution of socio-economic revolution. They incorporated many provisions in the constitution to make India a welfare state.


Incorporation of fundamental duties
After the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, a chapter on fundamental duties was incorporated in the Constitution by adding a new article (Article 51 A). The article provides that every citizen of India shall have specific fundamental duties.


Emergency provisions
One of the unique features of the Constitution of India is the way in which situations will be dealt with during emergencies like war or external aggression or economic crisis. The president of India when satisfied that it is impossible to run the administration of the country or a part, he can declare an emergency and take administration of the country of the part thereof in his own hands.


Protection of minorities
The Constitution has provided for a system of reservation of seats for minorities. Reservation of some jobs for the people belonging to SCs, STs and OBCs has also been in operation. The president can nominate in Lok Sabha not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian Community in case he is of the opinion that this community is not adequately represented in the House.


Provision for autonomous organisation
The constitution has also made a provision for certain autonomous bodies which have been set up as the important organs of the government. e.g. Election Commission and the Supreme Court are autonomous bodies to carry out their duties impartially.