SALIENT FEATURES OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION: MODERN CONSTITUTION



The fact that the Indian Constitution was drafted in the mid-twentieth century gave an advantage to its makers in so far as they could take cognizance of the various constitutional processes operating in different countries of the world and thus draw upon a rich fund of human experience, wisdom, heritage and traditions in the area of governmental process in order to fashion a system suited to the political, social and economic conditions in India. In the end result, the Indian Constitution has turned out to be a very interesting and unique document. One could discern in it the impact of several Constitutions. As for instance, the Indian Federalism is influenced by the American, Canadian and Australian Federalism. Fundamental Rights in India owe a great deal to the American Bill of Rights; the process of Constitutional amendment adopted in India is a modified version of the American system.


The influence of the British Constitutional Law, theories and practices on the
Indian Constitution is quite pervasive. As for example, the parliamentary form of
government in India closely follows the British model in substance; the system of
prerogative writs which plays a crucial role in protecting peoples’ legal rights and
ensuring judicial control over administrative action is Britain’s contribution to
India. Australia’s experiences have been especially useful for ordering the Centre-
State financial relationship, and for promoting the concept of freedom of trade
and commerce in the country. Inspiration has come from the Irish Constitution in
the shaping of the Directive Principles of State Policy.
The Government of India Act, 1935, which preceded the Indian Constitution,
has furnished not only administrative details, but also the verbatim language of
many provisions of the Constitution.
It will, however, be wrong to suppose that the Indian Constitution is just a carbon
copy of other Constitutions and contains nothing new and original. While
adopting some of the principles and institutions developed in other democratic
and federal countries, it yet strikes new paths, new approaches and patterns, in
several directions. It makes bold departures in many respects from the established
Constitutional norms and introduces many innovations. For example, in the area
of Centre-State relationship, with a view to achieve the twin objectives of promoting
the unity of India and reducing rigidity inherent in a federal system, the
Indian Constitution makes several provisions which are original in conception as
nothing parallel to these is to be found in any other federal Constitution and, to
this extent, it makes a distinct contribution to the development of theories and
practices of federalism in general.