SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION
- 42nd Constitutional Amendment (1976) is also known as ‘Mini Constitution’.
- KESAVANANDA BHARTI CASE (1973): SC ruled, constituent power of parliament doesn’t allow it to change the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution.
|IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION:|
- Lengthiest Written Constitution- The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest of all written constitution. Presently, it consists of a Preamble, about 470 articles and 12 schedules.
- Dominance of legal luminaries in the Constituent Assembly.
- Single Constitution for both the Centre and the states .
- Drawn from various sources:
|1.||Govt. of India Act,1935||Federal scheme, Governor’s office, Judiciary, Public Service Commission, Emergency Provisions and administrative details.|
|2.||British Constitution||Parliamentary govt., Rule of Law, Single Citizenship, Cabinet System, Parliamentary privileges, Bicameralism, prerogative writs.|
|3.||US Constitution||Fundamental Rights, Independent Judiciary, Impeachment of President, Judicial review, Removal of supreme court and high court judges and post of vice-president.|
|4.||Irish Constitution||DPSP, method of election of president and nomination of members to Rajya Sabha.|
|5.||Canadian Constitution||Federation with a strong centre, vesting Residuary powers to centre, appointment of state governors by the centre and advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.|
|6.||Australian Constitution||Concurrent List, Joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament.|
|7.||Weimar Constitution of Germany||Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency|
|8.||USSR Constitution||Fundamental Duties and the ideal of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble.|
|9.||French Constitution||Republic and the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Preamble.|
|10.||South African Constitution||Procedure for amendment of the Constitution and election of members of Rajya Sabha|
|11.||Japanese Constitution||Procedure established by Law.|
|Part of Constitution||Derived From|
|Structural part of the Constitution||Government of India Act,1935.|
|Philosophical part of the Constitution (FR and DPSPs)||American and Irish Constitution respectively.
|political part of the constitution||British Constitution.
- Rigidity and Flexibility- The Indian Constitution is neither rigid nor flexible, but a blend of both.
- Federal system with unitary bias:
|features of federation System||Two government, division of powers, written Constitution, bicameralism, supremacy of Constitution etc.|
|features of Unitary System||Strong centre, single constitution, single citizenship, integrated judiciary, all-India services, emergency provisions, etc.|
- Parliamentary form of Government-The Indian Constitution has preferred British Parliamentary System of government to American Presidential System of government. Features of Parliamentary form of government are: Presence of nominal and real executives + Rule of majority party + Leadership of the Prime Minister or the chief minister + Membership of the ministers in the legislature + Dissolution of the lower house (Lok Sabha).
- Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy- The sovereignty of parliament is associated with the British Parliament while Judicial supremacy is associated with American system. The framers of the Indian Constitution have preferred a proper synthesis between the British principle of parliamentary sovereignty and the American principle of judicial supremacy.
- Integrated and Independent Judiciary-The Supreme Court stands at the top of the integrated judicial system in the country followed by High courts in states and subordinate courts and other lower courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal, the guarantor of the fundamental rights of the citizens and the guardian of the constitution.
- Fundamental Rights- Part III of the constitution guarantees 6 FRs to all the citizens à (1) Right to equality(Article 14-18) + (2) Right to freedom(Article 19-22) + (3) Right against exploitation(Article 23-24) + (4) Right to Freedom of Religion(Article 25-28) + (5) Cultural and Educational Rights(Article 29-30) + (6) Right to Constitutional Remedies(Article 32). If a fundamental right of any Indian citizen is violated, then the aggrieved person can directly go to the Supreme Court which can issue the writs of Habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, and quo warranto for the restoration of his rights.
- Directive Principles of State Policy- Mentioned in Part IV of the constitution. The DPSPs are meant to promote the ideals of social and economic democracy. However, unlike the FRs, the directives are non- justiciable in nature, i.e. they are non- enforceable by the courts for their violation.
NOTE- MINERVA MILLS CASE(1980): SC held that ‘the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and the DPSPs – Basic Structure
- Fundamental Duties- Added to the Constitution only after the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee. The 86th CAA, 2002 added one more fundamental duty. The duties are also non-justiciable in nature.
- A Secular State- The term ‘secular’ was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd CAA, 1976. The Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of Secularism, i.e. giving equal respect to all religions or protecting all religions equally.
- Universal Adult Franchise-The voting age was reduced to 18 years from 21 years in 1989 by 61st CAA,
- Single Citizenship- Enjoy the same political and civil rights of citizenship all over the country.
- Independent Bodies-Certain Independent Bodies are envisaged by the Constitution as the bulwarks of the democratic system of Government of India. These are: Election Commission + Comptroller and Auditor-General + Union Public Service Commission + State Public Service Commission.
- Emergency Provisions – National Emergency (Art. 352), State Emergency or President’s Rule (Art. 356 and Art. 365) and Financial Emergency (Art. 360). During an emergency, the federal structure converts into unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution and the Central government becomes all-powerful.
- Three-tier Government- The 73rd and 74th CAA, 1992 have added a third-tier of government (local) which is not found in any other constitutions of the world. The 73rd CAA of 1992 gave constitutional recognition to Panchayats by adding a new part IX and a new schedule 11 to the constitution. The 74th CAA of 1992 gave constitutional recognition to Municipalities by adding a new part IX-A and a new schedule 12 to the constitution.
- Cooperative Societies- The 97th CAA, 2011 gave a constitutional status and protection to co-operative societies. It made the right to form co-operative societies a FR (Art. 19) + added a new DPSP on promotion of co-operative societies (Art. 43-B) + added a new part IX-B in the constitution entitled as “The Co-operative Societies” (Art. 243-ZH to 243-ZT).
|IMPORTANT SCHEDULES TO REMEMBER|
|First||Names of the states and their territorial jurisdiction + Names of the Union territories and their extent.|
|Second||Provisions related to emoluments, allowances, privileges of: President of India, Governors of states, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly in the states, Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the CAG of India, The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council in the states.|
|Third||Oaths and affirmations for: Union Ministers, candidates for election to the Parliament, MPs, judges of SC and HC, the CAG, the candidates for election to the state legislature, members of State Legislatures. etc|
|Fourth||Allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and the UTs.|
|Fifth||Provisions related to the administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.|
|Sixth||Provisions related to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.|
|Seventh||Division of powers between the Union and the States in terms of Union List, State List and Concurrent List.|
|Eighth||Languages recognized by the Constitution. Originally, it was 14 and currently it is 22.|
|Ninth||Acts and regulations of the state legislatures dealing with land reforms and abolition of zamindari system. This schedule was added by the 1st Amendment (1951).|
|Tenth||Anti-Defection Law was added by 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1985.|
|Eleventh||Related to Panchayats. Schedule was added by the 73rd CAA, 1992.|
|Twelfth||Related to Municipalities. Schedule was added by the 74th CAA, 1992.|