India is a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic country. It assures its citizens freedom of justice, equality and liberty. It is all because of the leaders who toiled to create Constitution of India which is a living document and supreme law of India. We all must be thankful to those scholars and specially to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
Constitution of India is the world’s longest constitution.The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. It was a hard job and a large assembly was created to complete this herceulean task. Total 389 members of Constituent Assembly took “2 years, 11 months and 18 days” to complete the historic task of drafting the Constitution of India. During this period, it held 11 sessions covering a total of 165 days.
Under the Chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee to prepare a Draft of Constitution for India on 29 August 1947. While debating the draft Constitution, the Assembly moved, discussed and disposed of as many as 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 tabled.
Sanjay Phakey, Pt. J.L. Nehru, C. Rajgopalachari, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, Kanhaiya Lal Munshi, Rajender Prasad, G.V. Mavalankar, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sandipkumar Patel, Nalini Ranjan Ghosh, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Balwant Raj Mehta were some important figures in the Assembly.
Mr. Frank Anthony represented the Anglo-Indian community, while H. P. Modi represented Parsis. Chairman of the Minorities Committee was Harendra Coomar Mukherjee, a distinguished Christian who represented all Christians other than Anglo-Indians. Hansa Mehta, Sarojini Naidu, Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Durga Bai Deshmukh were important women members.Gorkha Community was represented by Ari Bahadur Gururng. Prominent jurists like Benegal Narsing Rau, K.M. Munshi, G.V. Mavalankar and Alladi Krishna Swamy Iyer were also members of the Assembly. There were more than 30 members of scheduled classes.
Let’s discuss some interesting historical facts about Constitution of India.
There are total 22 parts of the Constitution of India (Excluding Preamble). They are-
- Union and its Territory (Part-I)
- Citizenship (Part-II)
- Fundamental Rights (Part-III)
- Directive Principles of State Policy (Part-IV)
- Fundamental Duties (Part-IV A)
- The Union (Part-V)
- The States (Part-VI)
- States in the B part of the First schedule (Part-VII)
- The Union Territories (Part-VIII)
- The Panchayats (Part-IX)
- The Municipalities (Part-IX A)
- The Co-operative Societies (Part- IX B)
- The scheduled and Tribal Areas (Part-X)
- Relations between the Union and the States (Part- XI)
- Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits (Part- XII)
- Trade and Commerce within the territory of India (Part- XIII)
- Services Under the Union, the States (Part-XIV)
- Tribunals (Part- XIV A)
- Elections (Part-XV)
- Special Provisions Relating to certain Classes (Part- XVI)
- Languages (Part- XVII)
- Emergency Provisions (Part- XVIII)
- Miscellaneou (Part- XIX)
- Amendment of the Constitution (Part-XX)
- Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions (Part- XXI)
- Short title, date of commencement, Authoritative text in Hindi and Repeals (Part-XXII)
- On the 14 August 1947 meeting of the Assembly, a proposal for forming various committees was presented.
- Such committees included a Committee on Fundamental Rights, the Union Powers Committee and Union Constitution Committee.
- On 29 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed, with Dr. Bheem Rao Ambedkar (Dr. B.R. Ambedkar)as the Chairman along with six other members assisted by a constitutional advisor. These members were Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, K M Munshi, Alladi Krishna Swamy Iyer, N Gopalaswami Ayengar, B L Mitter , Md. Saadullah and D P Khaitan .
- The constitutional advisor was Sir B.N. Rau (Benegal Narsing Rau).
- A Draft Constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Assembly on 4 November 1947.
- On 26 November 1949, the process was completed and Constituent assembly adopted the constitution. 284 members signed the document and the process of constitution making was complete.
- The Assembly met in sessions open to the public, for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution, 308 members of the Assembly signed two copies of the document (Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950.
- The original Constitution of India is hand-written. The calligraphy in the book was done by Prem Behari Narain Raizda. It was published in Dehradun and photolithographed at the offices of Survey of India.
- Artists from Shantiniketan (including Beohar Ram Manohar Sinha and Nanda Lala Bose) beautified and decorated each page.
- The illustrations on the cover and pages represent styles from the different civilizations of the subcontinent, ranging from the prehistoric Mohen-Jodaro civilisation, in the Indus Valley to the present.
- The entire exercise to produce the original took nearly five years. Two days later, on 26 January 1950, the Constitution of India became the law of all the States and Territories of Independent India.
- Official estimate of expenditure on constituent assembly was Rs.1,00,00,000 was .
- The original 1950 Constitution of India is preserved in helium cases in the Parliament House, New Delhi.
Schedules are lists in the Constitution that categorize and tabulate bureaucratic activity and policy of the Government.
- 1st Schedule (Articles 1 and 4) – This lists the states and territories of India, lists any changes to their borders and the laws used to make that change.
- 2nd Schedule (Articles 59(3), 65(3), 75(6), 97, 125, 148(3), 158(3), 164(5), 186 and 221)- – This lists the salaries of officials holding public office, judges, and Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
- 3rd Schedule (Articles 75(4), 99, 124(6), 148(2), 164(3), 188 and 219)—Forms of Oaths – This lists the oaths of offices for elected officials and judges.
- 4th Schedule (Articles 4(1) and 80(2)) – This details the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of Parliament) per State or Union Territory.
- 5th Schedule (Article 244(1)) – This provides for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (areas and tribes needing special protection due to disadvantageous conditions).
- 6th Schedule (Articles 244(2) and 275(1))— Provisions made for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
- 7th Schedule (Article 246) —The union (central government), state, and concurrent lists of responsibilities.
- 8th Schedule (Articles 344(1) and 351)—The official languages.
- 9th Schedule (Article 31-B) – Validation of certain Acts and Regulations.
- 10th Schedule (Articles 102(2) and 191(2))—”Anti-defection” provisions for Members of Parliament and Members of the State Legislatures.
- 11th Schedule (Article 243-G) —Panchayat Raj (rural local government),
- 12th Schedule (Article 243-W) — Municipalities (urban local government).
- Appendix I—The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954.
- Appendix II— Re-statement, with reference to the present text of the Constitution, of the exceptions and modifications subject to which the Constitution applies to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Appendix III—Extracts from the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978.
- Appendix IV—The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002.
- Appendix V— The Constitution (Eighty-eighth Amendment) Act, 2003.