Interesting Facts About Indian Constitution
Read the story behind the making of Indian constitution. Interesting facts and features of Constitution of India that you don't know. …
In 1946, the British began to seriously consider granting India independence, and sent a Cabinet Mission to India with a plan to meet representatives of the British government and various Indian states, to discuss the possibility of setting up a Constituent Assembly to draft the framework of the Indian Constitution. Here are some lesser known facts on how the Constitution of India was written.
- 1946: The Constituent Assembly was formed under the Cabinet Mission Plan. Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as its permanent Chairman and Dr B.R. Ambedkar was appointed Chairman of the Drafting Committee. 13 Committees were set up to prepare draft reports that went into the framing of the final constitution.
- The Constituent Assembly comprised of 389 members and the initial break-up was – Provinces (292 representatives), States (93 representatives), Chief Commissioner Provinces (3), Baluchistan (1). Later, with Muslim League withdrawing the number was reduced to 299.
- January 1948: The first draft of the Indian Constitution was presented for discussion.
- November 4, 1948: Discussions commenced and carried on for 32 days. During this period, 7635 amendments were proposed and of these, 2473 were discussed in detail. The Constituent Assembly sat for 2 years, 11 months and 18 days.
- January 24, 1950: The Constitution of India was signed by 284 members of the Constituent Assembly, which included 15 women.
- January 26, 1950: The Constitution of India came into force on this day.
- The original Constitution of India was handwritten in Hindi and English by Prem Behari Narain Raizada. Each page was written in intricate calligraphy and in flowing italic, and artists from Shantiniketan in West Bengal further worked upon the presentation of each page. The original copies in English and Hindi are preserved in specially designed helium-filled cases and kept in the Parliament of India Library.
- The Constitution of India is the world’s longest and most comprehensive constitution and contains 25 parts, 448 articles and 12 schedules. The original Constitution had 395 articles and 9 schedules.
- The Constitution of India is also viewed as one of the best drawn constitution in light of the diversity of culture, religion and geography; the fact that it has had only 101 amendments till date shows the comprehensive nature of thought that went into its writing by the Constituent Assembly.
The Constitution draws inspiration and features from Constitutions of other countries as below:
- France: The Preamble of the Constitution of India includes the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The inspiration came from the French Revolution when these were first formed.
- Great Britain: The Indian Parliamentary System is largely influenced by the structure and functioning of the British Parliamentary system. Inspiration on law-making procedures, rule of law and the principles of single citizenship came from the British Constitution.
- Canada: Concept of strong central authority in a federal structure.
- USA: The Indian Preamble begins with “We the people” and its inspiration came from the Preamble of the American Constitution. Features of Fundamental Rights, Independence of the Judiciary, the Judicial Review system, removal of Judges of Supreme Court and High Court also came from the US constitution.
- Republic of Ireland: Directive Principles of State Policy.
- Australia: Concurrent List.
- Germany: (Weimer Constitution): The concept of Emergency.
- USSR: The concept of Five Year Plans.
Interesting Facts About The Indian Constitution
- The constitution was a hand written document, and not typed and printed, with as much as 48 articles, 12 schedules and 94 amendments. Now, that’s a lot of writing!
- A total of 283 members of the constituent assembly signed the constitution, which came into being on 26th January, 1950.
- The Indian constitution is the longest in the world. Remember? Lot of writing!
- It took around 2 years, 11 months and 17 days for the assembly to finish writing the entire constitution. And there you go again; writing to its length!
- Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the first law minister of free India, a jurist, an economist, and a social reformer, was the Chairman of the committee. He also carries the tag of “Father of Indian Constitution”.
- It was a raining cats and dogs outside the parliament, the day constitution was signed, and this was considered to be a good omen by the assembly members.
- The date 26th January was especially selected since it was the anniversary of “Purna Swaraj Day” (26th January 1930); the day Indian congress seeded the fight for complete Independence and hoisted the Indian national flag for the first time.
- The original hand-written copies of the Constitution are kept in helium-filled cases in the Library of Parliament House. Something to check out on you volunteering trip to India this time.
- The national anthem of India, written by Rabindranath Tagore, was scribed in Bengali first and later translated to Hindi by Abid Ali in 1911.
- The Indian national flag, with tri-color and the chakra in the middle, was conceptualized by Pingali Venkayya, a farmer from Machilipatnam (a city in southern state of Andhra Pradesh).
Federation or Union
It was Dr B.R. Ambedkar who clarified that India was a Union and no state had the right to secede from the Union. The first article of the Constitution says, “India, that is Bharath, shall be a Union of states”. When the Constitution of India came into force of January 26, 1950, a debate began on whether India was a Union or a Federation. It was Dr Ambedkar who, at the drafting stage, spoke of India being a federation but with a strong center. The term ‘cooperative federalism’ soon became popular that spoke of dual-polity of states and the Center.
The Preamble of the Constitution of India states that India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. The term “Socialist” was added later in 1976 through the Constitution 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.