Rules are important whether in sports or life. A game of cricket or football can’t be played without rules.
A game with no rules in force will finally end in chaos and disturbance. So is true with the society and the country as well.
A country also needs to be governed by definite rules, that all of its citizens and government institutions must follow, to maintain order and discipline.
There has to be a definite way in which democratic elections are conducted; the powers of the judiciary, executive, and the legislative; powers vested in states and union; fundamental privileges are given to the citizens, etc all are defined in the constitution.
When the Indian Constitution did come into effect?
What had been the Dominion of India became the Republic of India after the constitution came into effect. It replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the principal governing document of the country.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Chairman of the constitution drafting committee, presented the draft constitution to the then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 25th November 1949, subsequently it was adopted by the constituent assembly on 26th November.
The constitution of India came into force on the day when the final session of the constituent assembly was held on 26th January 1950.
Salient Features of Indian Constitution
The constitution of India has several salient or distinguishing features that separate it from the leagues of other constitutions around the world. The most distinguished and significant salient features of the Indian constitution are defined as under.
Longest handwritten constitution
The constitution of India is one of the lengthiest and most detailed constitutions of the world. The English version of the constitution has 117,369 words contained in 444 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules, and 115 amendments as of 2020.
The lengthiness of the Indian constitution was necessitated by the diversity of India. The constitution became larger in order to accommodate several demographic differences of the state of India.
Parliamentary form of government
The constitution of India stipulates a bicameral legislature, that is, the power and authority are shared between two separate houses, in this case, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.Opposite of bicameral is a unicameral legislature where only one house is present. In a bicameral setup debates and discussions play an important role in the passage of a bill.
A rigid and flexible constitution
The constitution of India is neither completely rigid nor flexible. A constitution is said to be rigid when it is difficult to make amendments, like the constitution of the United States.On the contrary, the constitution of India has been amended 103 times since it came into force, but all the amendments have to pass through definite tests and mandatory requirements.
The constitution of India is therefore considered a perfect blend of rigidity and flexibility.
The preamble to the constitution.
The preamble of the Indian constitution is its introductory paragraph that declares the constitution’ss fundamental philosophy and purpose.
It declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic. It also states some objectives like, securing justice, liberty, and equality to all the citizens and promoting fraternity in order to maintain national unity and integrity.
The constitution of India is quasi-federal because it combines the features of both the federal government and the unitary government.
The Supreme Court of India has also stated that India has a federal structure with a strong bias towards the center.
Federal features of the constitution are – supreme law, a bicameral legislature, dual government policy, a written constitution, a rigid constitution, independent judiciary, and revenue sharing.
On the other hand, unitary features of the constitution are – single constitution applicable to the union and states, unequal representation of states in the Rajya Sabha, the unequal division of power between the center and states, states depend on center, non-rigid constitution, unified judicial system and proclamation of emergency.
Fundamental rights and duties
The constitution of India describes the fundamental rights and duties of all the citizens of India irrespective of the states, region, religion, or ethnicity.
The seven fundamental rights provided by the constitution to every citizen are – right to equality, right to freedom, right against exploitation, right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights, and right to constitutional remedies.
Fundamental duties are enshrined in the constitution to promote integrity. Some of the important fundamental duties are to uphold the sovereignty and unity of India, to preserve rich heritage, to safeguard public property, etc.
Directive principles of state policy
The directive principles of state policy are contained in Part IV of the Indian constitution. These are the sets of instructions meant for the states.
Basically, they constitute the instructions to the legislature and the executive that are mandatory to be followed whenever the state frames new legislation.
Adult suffrage means that any Indian citizen irrespective of gender, caste, or any other difference, has a right to vote to elect the government, provided that he or she is above 18 years of age.
This right is guaranteed by Article 326 of the constitution. Initially, the age of voting was 21 years but after the 61st amendment also called the Constitution Act 1988, it was amended to 18 years. However, the right to vote doesn’t apply to non-citizens, persons with unsound minds, or criminals.
The constitution of India has several provisions to ensure that the judiciary remains unbiased and independent.The Supreme Court of India acts as the caretaker of the constitution and ensures that its provisions are followed.Also, the courts at the state and district levels are out of the influence of bureaucracy or political governments.High courts in states directly function under the Supreme Court.
The term ‘Secular’ in the constitution was added by the 42nd amendment in the Preamble.It was included to promote peace and harmony among different religious groups of India. Every citizen of India is free to follow the religion of his/her choice and it is obligatory for the government to ensure that his/her rights and privileges are protected.
Part II of the constitution from Article 5 to Article 11 deals with citizenship. According to it, all the citizens of India enjoy equal rights and privileges across the complete territory of India.In whatever state or Union Territory of India you may travel, you will enjoy similar rights and privileges as enjoyed in your home state.
Importance of Indian Constitution
The constitution is the supreme law that governs the country. The three pillars of democracy – the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary, functions as per the provisions provided in the constitution.
It guarantees the fundamental rights and duties of the citizens and ensures that India remains a secular state, which is important considering its religious and cultural diversity.
Without the constitution, the whole democratic setup would just crumble and rights and privileges could not be exercised.India is one of the world’s most successful democracies today because its people and the government religiously follow every word of the constitution.
At the core of the constitution is an idea to generate an equal and civilized society that is governed by principles and definite rules.
Like every game has its rule book, similarly, the constitution of India is also the rule book that dictates all the rules, regulations, powers, and privileges to effectively govern the country.