Evolution or The Making of the constitution: An overview - Seeker's Thoughts

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Evolution or The Making of the constitution: An overview

The idea to have constitution was given by a political philosopher  M.N. Roy. The constitution of the republic of India is a product  of research and deliberation of a body of eminent representatives of the people who sought to improve upon the existing system of administration. Practically the constitution of 1949 differs from the constitutional documents of the preceding for two centuries. The people themselves made the republican constitution through representatives assembled in sovereign constituent assembly. 

The Constituent Assembly-
The constituent assembly adopted our national flag on 22 July , 1947.

1.       The constituent assembly consisted of 385 members of which 292 were elected by the elected members of the provincial legislative assemblies while 93 members were nominated by princely states. These were to be added a representative each from the four chief commissioners Provinces of Delhi, Ajmer- Marwar, Coorg and British Baluchistan.

2.         Each Province and Indian State were allotted a total number of seats proportional to their respective population roughly in the ratio of one million.

3.       B.N Rao was appointed as constitutional Advisor.

4.       The first meeting of constituent assembly took place on 9 December, 1946 .

5.       The assembly had 13 committees for framing the constitution.

6.       Drafting Committee: It was responsible for drafting the constitutional documents from July 1947 to September 1948, and it (Drafting Committee )was formed on August 29, 1947.

7.       The members of the Drafting Committee were :-

   Dr. B. R Ambedkar

    N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar

    Alladi Krishna Swamy Ayyar (A distinguished Jurist)

    K.M Munshi

    Sayyed Mohd. Saadulla

    N. Madhav Rao (In Place of B L Mitra)

    D. P. Khaitan

   The Constituation of India:-  It was finally passed and unofficially accepted on November 26, 1949. The last session of constitiuent assembly was held on 24, January and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the president of India.

Although constitution of India was ready on Nov. 26, 1949 but it was delayed till January 26, 1950 because on this day in 1929 the Indian National Congress demanded ‘Poorna Swaraj’ in Lahore session under  J.L Nehru.
The constituent assembly took 2 years- 11 months and 18 days to complete the constitution. Originally or constitution had 395 articles and 8 Schedules (Currently 12 Schedules).
The Federal Structure of  the Indian Constitution : The system of governance if federal. The constitution enables the federation to transform itself into a unitary state. Such a combination of federal and unitary system is unique in the world.

Article (1) of our constitution says,-“India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” That means-

-          The Indian federation is not the result of an agreement by Units.

-          The component units have no freedom to secede from it.
Working of federal system in India (Issue and Challenges):
Some scholars in India have urged that the unitary bias of Indian constitution has been accentuated. In its actual working the two factors- 

1.        the overwhelming financial power of the union  and the utter dependence of the states upon the union grants for discharging their functions 

2.       The comprehensive sweep of the Union Planning Commission, set up under the concurrent power of planning

The criticism may be justified in point of degree but not in principle for two reasons,-

a.       Both of the above controls are aimed at securing a uniform development of the country as a whole.  It is true that bigger states are not allowed to appropriate their resources and system of assignment and distribution of tax resources  by the union. It means that the dependence of bigger states upon the union to the larger extent.

b.       Such practices have strengthened the national government to a degree which is truly remarkable. In fact, the traditional theory of mutual independence of the two governments (States and Union) has given a way to “Co-operative federalism”

 The federal system in Indian constitution normally divide the powers under which the states enjoy autonomy within their own sphere, with the power to raise revenue. The need of national integrity and a strong union government is very necessary.

Issues and Challenges and Survival of federation in India:-  The strong central bias has however been a boon to keep India together against separatist forces of communalism, linguism and scramble of power.

The states are not really functioning as agents of union government or under the direction, for then events like those in Assam (Over language problem) or territorial dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra could have not taken place at all.
The government of the parties in the states differs from that of the centre. So the decisions get affected  for example- The reference of Kerala Education Bill by the president for the advisory opinion of the supreme court instead of of his assent to the bill in the usual course, has been criticized in Kerala as an undue reference with the constitutional rights of the states. Later, the opinion delivered by the court was legalistic free from all political consideration.
States demands greater financial powers. As the case for greater autonomy for states in all respect was first launched by Tamil Nadu in October, 1983. It was joined by stated ruled by non- congress parties forming an opposition conclave though all parties were not prepare to go to the same extent.

- Seeker's Notes
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