Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries


The sources of Indian Constitution include the imaginative aspirations of the nationalist leaders, the actual working of the Government of India Act, 1935, and the experience gained from the actual working of some of the Constitutions of important countries of the world. Its sources thus include not only the sources upon which the founding fathers of our Constitution drew but also the developmental ones such as the judicial decisions, constitutional amendments, constitutional practices and so on. The following overview of the major constitutions of the world has been laid down below.

A constitution is a set of rules through which a country or state operates.Some countries have unwritten constitutions which means there is no formal constitution written in one particular document. Their constitutional rules are originated from a number of sources. Britain sources its constitution from a number of important statutes, or laws, as well as principles decided in legal cases and conventions. New Zealand and Israel are two other countries that do not have formal written constitutions.Other nations have formal written constitutions in which the structure of government is defined and the respective powers of the nation and the states are written in one single document. These systems may also include unwritten conventions and constitutional law which can inform how the constitution is interpreted. Australia, India and the United States are examples of countries with a written constitution.

Importance of constitution:

The role of a constitution is to make certain that the government operates efficiently and in a fair and responsible manner. It does this in three ways:-

–It holds the government to the law.

–It provides distinction of power so that no one part of the government is any more powerful than another.

— It provides a series of checks and balances so that when laws are made or amended, the government follows the correct procedure to pass a Bill.

Ingredients of the Preamble:

The Preamble reveals four ingredients or components:

Source of authority of the Constitution:

The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.

Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and republican polity.

Objectives of the Constitution: It postulates justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as the objectives.

Date of adoption of the Constitution: It stipulates November 26, 1949 as the date.

Striking Features of the Constitution:

The Constitution of India establishes a federal system of government. It contains all the usual features of a federation, viz., two government, division of powers, written Constitution, supremacy of Constitution, rigidity of Constitution, independent judiciary, and bicameralism.

Though, the Indian Constitution also covershuge number of unitary or non-federal features, viz., a strong Centre, single Constitution, single citizenship, flexibility of Constitution, integrated judiciary, appointment of state governor by the Centre, all-India services, and emergency provisions.

Furthermore, the term ‘Federation’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution. Article 1, on the other hand, defines India as a ‘Union of States’ which implies two things: one, Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement by the states; and two, no state has the right to secede from the federation.

Parliamentary Form of Government:

The Constitution of India has chosen the British parliamentary System of Government instead of American Presidential System of Government. The parliamentary system is based on the principle of collaboration and coordination between the legislative and executive organs while the presidential system is based on the principle of separation of powers between the two organs.

The parliamentary system is also called the ‘Westminster’ model of government, responsible government and cabinet government. The Constitution establishes the parliamentary system not only at the Centre but also in the states. The basic attributes of parliamentary government in India are:

a)Presence of nominal and real executives

b)Majority party rule

c)Collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature

d) Membership of the ministers in the legislature

e) Leadership of the prime minister or the chief minister

f) Dissolution of the lower House (Lok Sabha or Assembly)

Though the Indian Parliamentary System is mainly based on the British system, there are some important differences between the two. For example, the Indian Parliament is not anindependent body like the British Parliament. Additionally, the Indian State has an elected head (republic) while the British State has hereditary head (monarchy).

Impact and comparison of various constitutions:

In order to compare Indian constitutional scheme with other countries, it is crucial to assess the impact of various constitution on India and the subsequent features borrowed.

The founding members of the Indian Constitution were intelligent to borrow from the experience gained in working of various other Constitutions. It is well recognized that the Constitution of India is borrowed from the various working Constitutions.

Comparison of Indian constitution vs British Constitution : The British Constitution had immense impact in many respects such as (i) Constitutional head of State (ii) Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha) is more powerful than the Upper House; (iii) Responsibility of Council of Ministers towards Parliament; (iv) Parliamentary system of Government , and (v) Prevalence of Rule of Law. UK, US and India countries are labelled as democratic countries of the world. United States is the oldest democratic country of the world and its constitution was made in 1789. WhereasIndia was the Colonial state of the United Kingdom till 1947 and the Indian Constitution came into force in 1950. But constitution of United Kingdom is dissimilar.

Although, UK is the self-governing country but the head of the state is monarch. Besides this one of the uniqueness of theUK‘s constitution is that it‘s not codified one like the US and India having. The UK Parliament can make any law or amendment by simply passing it by majority and then send to the monarch for his assent, which just the formality part. Other dissimilarities among these three countries is that United State is a true federal country, where each state has its own constitution; India is quasi federal there only one constitution for whole country but area of operation is divided between the Union and the State governments. Whereas UK is not having the federal structure, it has the unitary setup of government. In Federal system of governance, state legislatures have asay in amending the constitution but in unitary setup it‘s only the Parliament which hassupremacy for amending the constitution.

US and Indian constitution : The Constitution of the United States had its impact in many ways such as

(i) Preamble of the Constitution
(ii) Provision of Fundamental Rights
(iii) Functions of the Vice-President
(iv) Amendment of the Constitution
(v) Nature andfunctions of the Supreme court

There are many differences between the Constitution of India, and United States of America. Major difference between the two constitutions is that India has a prime minister which is like the president but is actually the head of the legislative branch, whereas the U.S. Constitution has a president, who is the head of the government, and only works in the executive branch. Under the Indian Constitution, the head of state is the president while the actual head of the government is the prime minister. The prime minister and his cabinet has political power, while the president has more power in the name. Other major difference involves the number of terms a president can run. In America, a president can serve a maximum of two -four year terms, while in India a president and prime minister can serve an unlimited number of terms that each last five years.

Comparison of Indian and Australian Constitution: The Indian Constitution, like that of Australia, espoused the federal arrangement and the creation of a judicial branch wholly independent of the other branches of government. Judicial review, to keep all recipients of pubic power within the Constitution and other applicable laws was faithfully imitated. But the Indian Constitution went further. Australian Constitution gave long list of concurrent powers and the procedure for solving deadlock over concurrent subjects between the Centre and the States.Under the Australian Constitution, the subjects in the concurrent list are 39. In India, the Concurrent list had 37 subjects to begin with. They were increased to 52 subsequently. The technique of resolution of disputes between the centre and the states has also been taken from Australia (Article 251) by the Indian Constitution.

Comparison of Indian and Canadian Constitution : India borrowed the provisions of a strong nation, the name ofUnion of Indian and vesting residuary poers with the Union from Canada. India has opted for Federal structure of Government on Canadian pattern. Like Canada, India has made centre more powerful. Indian Federal structure is termed ‘Quasifederal’ i.e., Federal with unitary bias’. Canadian Centre is very influential, so is the case with Indian Union government. Special powers have been accorded to the Union government for meeting all possible eventualities.The division of subjects between the centre and the units and provision of lists is to a great extent on Canadian lines. The Canadian constitution provides for lists of legislative powers, central and provincial. The residuary powers have been given to the centre.