Constitution of india

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.

Quasi-federal constitution

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

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.

Independent judiciary

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.

Secular State

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.

Single Citizenship

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.

Conclusion

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.

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The state of Transgender People in India

The Central Government has informed the Kerala High Court that currently, transgender persons are not legally allowed to enter the National Cadet Corps and the armed forces. The Government also stated that it is their prerogative to create a new division for the third gender. In light of this statement, let us look at the rights afforded to transgender people under the law.

In India, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 protects the rights of transgender persons and provides for their welfare.

A transgender person is any person whose gender does not match with the gender assigned to that person at birth. This includes:

  • A trans-man or trans-woman
  • A person with intersex variations
  • Any genderqueer person
  • People having socio-cultural identities such as kinner, hijra, aravani, jogta, etc.

Educational institutions which are funded or recognised by the government must provide inclusive education and opportunities to transgender people under the law. These educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate against transgender people and have to treat them on an equal basis with other people.

No establishment should discriminate against any transgender person in matters relating to employment, including recruitment, promotion, etc. This applies to establishments including government bodies, companies, firms, cooperatives, associations, agencies, and other institutions. 

Further, no person or establishment can discriminate against transgender people by denying them healthcare services. Transgender people cannot be denied access to goods, accommodation, benefits, opportunities, etc. that are available to the public. Moreover, no one can deny a transgender person’s right of movement and right to occupy or purchase any property.

A transgender person has the right to be recognised as such a person, and has a right to self-perceived gender identity. Any transgender person can apply to the District Magistrate for issuing a certificate of identity as a transgender person. In the case of a minor child, the application should be made by the parent or guardian of the child.

  • Transgenders do not enjoy a legal recognition in India like most of the Asian counterparts.
  • However, some states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha recognise transgenders as the third gender.
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, intended towards the protection of transgenders is yet to be passed.
  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.  In addition, the person’s gender must not match the gender assigned at birth.
  • The bill includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.

The law punishes anyone who:

  • Forces or convinces a transgender person to get involved in forced or bonded labour.
  • Obstructs a transgender person from having access to a public place to which other people have access.
  • Forces or causes a transgender person to leave a household, village, or other place of residence.
  • Injures or endangers the life, safety, health, or well-being of a transgender person.

The punishment for doing any of these acts is imprisonment of six months to two years, along with a fine.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Man, of course, even in natural state is born with certain rights. He has right to live. Even animals recognise this. But in a civilized society which we witness today and for which the man has spent thousands of years of his existence, witnesses abrogation and violation of his ordinary Human Rights. As civilisation advances, more disrespect is shown to human rights. We cannot confine this accusation to a particular country but to the whole world.’Amnesty International’, the universal supervisor, though not a silent spectator, has failed to achieve the targeted results.

Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains. It is not a mere statement of psychological or philosophical nature. But today is material reality. Even in western civilisation like America ‘s great leaders like Lincoln and Martin Luther King who fought for the human rights of blacks in yesteryears fell victims to bullets. Racism has been an eyesore to any civilised society. Man would have better been in jungles.

If it is racism in western world, it is casteism in countries like India. It is appalling note that even today two – tumbler system exists in remote villages of India. As the whole system revolves around this vicious circle, violation of human rights is a everyday phenomenon in India.

Though the Indian Constitution clearly enunciates and defines the Fundamental Rights of citizens and their guardians, need has arisen to create extra-constitutional bodies to protect human rights. Human Rights Commission at National level and at State level have been created to deal with violation of human rights. The high-handedness of the police which is the enforcement body of laws, custody deaths, filing of cases under provisions not related to their pretty crimes committed to satisfy either their superiors or their political bosses have received condemnation from all quarters. The incidents in Tamil Nadu after May – 2008 elections, were subjected to wild criticism. The political vendetta and vengeance by political parties and their leaders are not healthy signs of democracy. Gone are the days when the policies and not individuals were subjected to valid criticisms.

As far as India is concerned, we have enough laws, but the violations arise only when they are implemented. To a large extent, though the violation of human rights can be traced to a large scale illiteracy prevailing in India, it can be safely concluded that the system of education practised in India does not emphasis much on human values. The system needs total revamping. Strict enforcement of law is the need of the hour but violation of human rights is strongly condemnable.

We are in a civilised democratic country. In the words of Churchill, ‘Democracy is the worst form of Government but, we do not know better than that’. Hence, what is required is ‘respect for human values’.

Right of equality(article-14 to 18)

The meaning of Equality before law which is defined under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. It is one of the fundamental right. 

Recently, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) has been implemented in India. This law provides Indian citizenship to the migrants of six religious communities of three countries.

The enactment of the CAA is opposed by many Indian citizens, citing the reasons that it has granted Indian citizenship to six religious communities on the basis of religion while a particular religious community is excluded. So it’s a clear cut violation of article 14. While other Indians think that CAA does not discriminate with others.

What are the Exceptions to Right to Equality:

It is not like that the ‘Rule of Equality’ applies thoroughly. There are some exceptions to this that is why it does not apply in case of these circumstances and individuals. 

I. No criminal proceeding shall be initiated or continued against the President or the governor in any court during his/her term of office.

II. No court can issue an arrest warrant of the President or Government during his/her term of office.

III. No member of state Legislature (MLA) shall be liable to any proceeding in any court in respect of any statement or any vote given by him in the state Legislature.

IV. No member of parliament (MP) shall be liable to any proceeding in any court in respect of any statement or any vote given by him in the Parliament.

V. The United Nations and its agencies also have diplomatic immunity.

VI. Foreign (sovereign ruler), ambassadors and diplomatic persons will be free from criminal and civil cases.

Article 14 says that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

This means that every person, who lives within territory of India, has the equal right before the law. That equals will be treated equally.

This article constitutes of 2 parts, being:

1. Equality before law and

2. Equal protection of the laws.

Although both sound similar, they don’t mean the same. The word “Law” in the former expression is used in a genuine sense – a philosophical sense, whereas the word “Laws” in the latter expression denotes specific laws in force.

Article 15 says that the state shall not any discriminate against any citizen on ground only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.

Article 16 guarantee equality of opportunity in matters of employment under the state. The right is available to citizens only.


Article 17 deals with a peculiar problem of our country. Howsoever praiseworthy the caste system in its origin might have been, it certainly proved to be a disgrace to humanity, a threat to unity and a serious hindrance to social, educational and economic progress of our country.

Article 18 Abolition of titles No title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State No citizen of India shall accept any title from any foreign State No person who is not a citizen of India shall, while he holds any office of profit or trust under the State, accept without the consent of the President any title from any foreign State No person holding any office of profit or trust under the State shall, without the consent of the President, accept any present, emolument, or office of any kind from or under any foreign State Right to Freedom.

The Indian Constitution has granted the right to equality to all citizens. All are equal before the law and there can be no discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth, etc.