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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Parliamentary Democracy: The road we travelled -Module 1-(Lecutres for the SC/ST,Minority Entry-in-Serive Coaching Centre, Kannur University)


Parliamentary Democracy: The road we travelled:Important amendments to the Indian Constitution ,-Module-IV-(Lecutres for the SC/ST,Minority Entry-in-Serive Coaching Centre, Kannur University)





Following is the list of all the important amendments to the Indian Constitution(Important for AILET 2013)

The first Amendment Act to the Indian Constitution was made in the year 1951
According to it, Articles 15, 19, 85, 87, 174, 176, 341, 342, 376 were amended and Articles 31A and 3IB inserted and Ninth Schedule was added.

The Constitution (24th Amendment) Act, 1971: It affirmed the power of the Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution. After this amendment, the President is bound to assent to Constitution Amendment Bill. Education was transferred to the Concurrent List by this amendment.

The Constitution (31st Amendment) Act, 1973: increased the elective strength of the Lok Sabha from 525 to 545. Under the Act, the upper limit of representatives of the States goes up from 500 to 525 and that of the Union Territories decreases from 25 to 20.

The Constitution (36th Amendment) Act, 1975: By this Act, Sikkim became the 22nd State of the Indian Union.

The Constitution (37th Amendment) Act, 1975: was passed by Parliament on April 26, 1975, to provide for a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers to Arunachal Pradesh, the country’s north-easternmost Union Territory.

The Constitution (39th Amendment) Act, 1975: The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 7 and received Presidential assent on August 9, 1975. The Act places beyond challenge in courts the election to Parliament of a person holding the office of Prime Minister or Speaker and the election of President and Vice-President.

The Constitution (40th Amendment) Act, 1976: This Amendment has a three-fold objective: (1) It places beyond challenge in courts some major Central laws; (2) It gives similar protection to several State enactments, mostly relating to land legislation, by including them in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution; and (3) It provides that the limits of the territorial waters, the Continental Shelf, the Exclusive Economic Zone and the maritime zones of India shall be specified from time to time by law made by Parliament.
The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976: It was enacted during the period of internal emergency. It was passed by Parliament on November 11, 1976 and received Presidential assent on December 18, 1976.

The Amendment established beyond doubt the supremacy of Parliament over the other wings of Government; gave the Directive Principles precedence over the Fundamental Rights; enumerated for the first time a set of ten Fundamental Duties. It further imposed limits on the power and jurisdiction of the judiciary; raised the term of the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha from five to six years; authorised the use of Central armed forces in any State to deal with law and order problems, made the President bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers and envisaged the establishment of administrative tribunals for service matters of Government employees and also other tribunals for economic offences. The Act also clearly laid down that no Constitutional Amendment could be questioned in any court of law.

The Constitution (43rd Amendment) Act, 1978: It received the Presidential assent on April 13, 1978. This Act repeals the obnoxious provisions of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act passed during the Emergency. It restores civil liberties by deleting Article 3ID which gave powers to Parliament to curtail even legitimate trade union activity under the guise of legislation for the prevention of anti-national activities. The new law, which was ratified by more than half of the States in accordance with the Constitution, also restores legislative powers to the States to make appropriate provision for anti-national activities consistent with the Fundamental Rights. Under the Act, the judiciary has also been restored to its rightful place. The Supreme Court will now have power to invalidate State laws, a power taken away by the 42nd Amendment Act. The High Courts will also be able to go into the question of constitutional validity of Central laws thereby enabling persons living in distant places to obtain speedy justice without having to come to the Supreme Court.

The Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978: The Constitution (45 th Amendment) Bill, re-numbered as the 44th Amendment came into force on April 30, 1979, when the President gave his assent. The Act removes major distortions in the Constitution introduced during the Emergency. The duration of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies has been reduced from six to five years—the normal term which was extended during the Emergencyunder the 42nd Amendment to achieve some political purposes. The Right to Property ceases to be a Fundamental Right and becomes only a legal right according to the Constitution 44th Amendment. The Act also extends, for the first time since independence, constitutional protection for publication of the proceedings of Parliament and State Legislatures, except in cases where it is proved to be “malicious”. Another important feature of the Act is that any proclamation of Emergency need henceforward, be issued by the President only after receiving the advice of the Cabinet as a whole in writing. The President will not be called upon to act on the basis of advice by the Prime Minister on his own without consulting his Cabinet. Other safeguards provide that the proclamation will have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the members of both Houses of Parliament within a month. The 44th Amendment provides safeguards against future subversion of the Constitution for establishing an authoritarian regime. It contains provisions which are designed to make it impossible to impose the kind of emergency the country had experienced for 19 months.

The Constitution (45th Amendment) Act, 1980: The Act extends reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in Parliament and the State Assemblies and the representation of Anglo-Indians by nomination for a further period of 10 years.

The Constitution (46th Amendment) Bill, 1982: It seeks to authorise the government to prepare an authoritative text of the Constitution, in Hindi.

The Constitution (52nd Amendment) Act, 1985: The Act has made defection to another party, after elections illegal. Any member defecting to another party after elections will be disqualified from being member of Parliament or State Legislature.

The Constitution (53rd Amendment) Act, 1986: It confers Statehood on Mizoram and ensures against unnecessary interference by the Central Government with the laws relating to spheres of social relationship and community conduct applicable to Mizoram.

The Constitution (54th Amendment) Act, 1986: It enhances the salaries of Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court of India. The salary of Chief Justice of India will be Rs 10,000; Chief Justice of High Courts Rs 9000; Judges of Supreme Court Rs 9000; and Judges of High Courts Rs 8000.

The Constitution (55th Amendment) Act, 1987: It grants Statehood to Arunachal Pradesh which consequently became the 24th State of the Indian Union.

The Constitution (56th Amendment) Act, 1987: It confers Statehood on Goa and forms a new Union Territory of Daman and Diu. Goa thus became the 25th State of the Indian Republic.

The Constitution (57th Amendment) Act, 1987: It made a special provision for the setting up of the new State of Goa. Consequently Daman and Diu were separated from the former to form a Union Territory.

The Constitution (58th Amendment) Act, 1988: It provides for special arrangements with regard to reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. By amending Article 322 the adjustment of seats has been frozen until 2000 A.D.

The Constitution (59th Amendment) Act, 1988: It empowered the Central Government to impose Emergency in Punjab when deemed necessary. Under the amendment, President’s rule can be extended upto three years. Earlier maximum period was two years.
The Constitution (61st Amendment) Act, 1989: It lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

The Constitution (62nd Amendment) Act, 1989: It provided for the extension by another 10 years of reservation of seats in the Parliament and State Assemblies for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and reservation for Anglo Indian community by nomination.

The Constitution (63rd Amendment) Act, 1989: It repealed Amendment 59 which empowered the government to impose emergency in Punjab.

The Constitution (64th Amendment) Act, 1990: It extended the President’s rule in Punjab by six months.

The Constitution (66th Amendment) Act, 1990: To bring land reforms within the purview of 9th Schedule of the Constitution.

The Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991: Delhi made National Capital Region. The Act also made provision for Legislative assembly and a council of ministers for Delhi.

The Constitution (70th Amendment) Act, 1992: Before this act was made Article 54 relating to the election of the President provided for an electoral college consisting only of the elected members of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of the States (not of Union Territories). The amendment provide for inclusion of members of legislature of Pondicherry and Delhi.

The Constitution (71st Amendment) Act, 1992: The act amends the 8th Schedule to the Constitution to include Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali Languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

The Constitution (72nd Amendment) Act, 1992: To make temporary provision for the determination of the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the State assembly of Tripura, until the re-adjustment of seats is made on the basis of the first census after the year 2000 under article 170 of the Constitution.

The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992: To ensure direct election to all seats in Panchayats; to reserve seats for SCs and STs in proportion to their population; and for reservation of not less than one third of the seats in Panchayats for women.

The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992: was made to ensure direct election to all seats in Nagarpalikas and Municipalities.

The Constitution (75th Amendment) Act 1994: It provides for setting up of State-level Rent Tribunals to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts, except that of the Supreme Court, under Article 136 of the Constitution.

The Constitution (76th Amendment) Act, 1994: It relates to the Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutes and of appointments or posts in the Services under a State, for Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Supreme Court had ruled on November 16, 1992, that the total reservations under Article 16(40) of the Constitution should not exceed 50 per cent.
The Constitution (77th Amendment) Act, 1995: According to this Act, the Government have decided to continue the existing policy of reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

The Constitution (78th Amendment) Act, 1995: It includes land reform laws in the Ninth Schedule so that they cannot be challenged before the courts.

The Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999: It extends the reservation of seats for SC, ST and Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies for next 10 years.

The Constitution (80th Amendment) Act, 2000: It deals with an alternative scheme for sharing taxes between the Union and the States.

The Constitution (81st Amendment) Act, 2000: It provides that the unfilled vacancies of a year reserved for SC/ST kept for being filled up in a year as per Article 16, shall be considered separately for filling vacancies in the succeeding year and the previous list will not be considered for filling the 50% quota of the respective year.

The Constitution (82nd Amendment) Act, 2000: It provides that nothing in the Article 355 shall prevent the State from making any provisions in favour of the members of SC/ST for relaxation in qualifying marks with respect to examination/job/promotion.

The Constitution (83rd Amendment) Act, 2000: The Act amended Article 243 M to provide that no reservation in Panchayats be made in favour of SC/ST in Arunachal Pradesh where the whole population is tribal.
Last edited by ani; 10-11-2012 at 05:31

Parliamentary Democracy: The road we travelled:Important Articles of the Indian Constitution,-Module-IV-(Lecutres for the SC/ST,Minority Entry-in-Serive Coaching Centre, Kannur University)






Indian constitution is the largest constitution in the world it contains originally 395 Articles, 22 parts, and 8 schedule. And presently it has 448 articles, 22 parts, and 12 schedules.
Ø Part 1- Art. 1 to art. 4:
· Art.1- Name and territory of the union.
· Art.2 - Admission and Establishment of the new state.
· Art.3- Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries, and name of existing states.
Ø Part 2- Art. 5 to art. 11:
· Art.5 - Citizenship at the commencement of the constitution.
· Art.6- Rights of citizenship of certain person who have migrated to India from Pakistan.
· Art.10- continuance of rights of citizenship.
· Art.11- Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law.
Ø Part 3- Art.12 to art.35
· Art.12- Definition of the state
· Art.13 Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights.
Originally, constitution provided for 7 basic fundamental rights, now there is only six rights, one Right to property U/A 31 was deleted from the list of fundamental rights by 44th amendment act 1978. It made a legal right U/A 300-A in Part XII of the constitution.
Some important Fundamental Rights are as:
· Right to Equality: Art. 14 to Art. 18
· Art.14- Equality before the law.
· Art.15- Prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex. Or place of birth.
· Art.16- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.
· Art.17- Abolition of the untouchability.
· Art.18- Abolition of titles

· Right to Freedom: Art. 19 to art. 22
· Art.19 guarantees to all the citizens the six rights
· (a) Right to freedom of speech and expression.
· (b) Right to assemble peacefully and without arms.
· (c) Right to form associations or unions.
· (d) Right to move freely throughout the territory of India.

· (e) Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
· (f) Right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade, and business.
· Art.20- Protection in respect of conviction for offences.
· Art.21-Protection of life and personal liberty.
· Art .22- Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
· Right against Exploitation: Art.23 & art. 24
· Art. 23- Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.
· Art.24- Prohibition of employment of children in factories and mines. Under age of 14.
Ø Right to Freedom of Religion: Art.25 to art. 28
· Art.25- Freedom of conscience and free profession , practice and propagation of religion.
· Art.26- Freedom to manage religious affairs.
· Art.27- Freedom as to pay taxes for promotion of any particular religion.
· Art.28- Freedom from attending religious instruction.
Ø Cultural and Educational Rights:Art.29 & art. 30
· Art. 29- Protection of interest of minorities.
· Art.30- Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
Ø Art.32- Remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

Ø Part.4 Directive Principal of states Policy: Art 36 to art. 51

· Art.36- Definition
· Art.37- Application of DPSP
· Art.39A- Equal justice and free legal aid
· Art.40- Organisation of village panchayat
· Art.41- Right to work , to education, and to public assistance in certain cases
· Art.43- Living Wages, etc. for Workers.
· Art.43A- Participation of workers in management of industries.
· Art.44- Uniform civil code.( applicable in Goa only)
· Art.45- Provision for free and compulsory education for children.
· Art.46- Promotion of educational and economic interest of scheduled castes, ST,and OBC.
· Art.47-Duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public heath.
· Art.48-Organisation of agriculture and animal husbandry.
· Art.49- Protection of monuments and places and objects of natural importance.
· Art.50- Separation of judiciary from executive.
· Art.51- Promotion of international peace and security.
· Fundamental Duties: Part IV-A- Art 51A
· It contains, originally 10 duties, now it contains 11 duties by 86th amendments act 2002.
· Part.5- The Union Executive:
· Art.52- The President of india
· Art.53- Executive Power of the union.
· Art.54- Election of President
· Art.61- Procedure for Impeachment of the President.
· Art.63- The Vice-president of India.
· Art.64- The Vice-President to be ex-officio chairman the council of States.
· Art.66-Election of Vice-president.
· Art.72-Pradoning powers of President.
· Art.74- Council of minister to aid and advice President.
· Art.76- Attorney-General for India.
· Art.79- Constitution of Parliament
· Art.80- Composition of Rajya Sabha.
· Art.81- Composition of Lok Sabha.
· Art.83- Duration of Houses of Parliament.
· Art.93- The speakers and Deputy speakers of the house of the people.
· Art.105- Powers, Privileges,etc of the House of Parliament.
· Art.109- Special procedure in respects of money bills
· Art.110- Definition of “Money Bills”.
· Art.112- Annual Financial Budget.
· Art.114-Appropriation Bills.
· Art.123- Powers of the President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of parliament.
· Art.124- Establishment of Supreme Court.
· Art.125- Salaries of Judges.
· Art.126- Appointment of acting Chief justice.
· Art.127- Appointment of ad-hoc judges.
· Art.128-Attendence of retired judge at sitting of the Supreme Court.
· Art.129- Supreme court to be court of Record.
· Art.130- Seat of the Supreme court.
· Art.136- Special leaves for appeal to the Supreme Court.
· Art.137- Review of judgements or orders by the Supreme court.
· Art.141-Decision of the Supreme Court binding on all the courts.
· Art.148- Comptroller and Auditor- General of India
· Art.149- Duties and Powers of CAG.
· Art.153- Governors of State
· Art.154- Executive Powers of Governor.
· Art.161- Pardoning powers of the Governor.
· Art.165-Advocate-General of the State.
· Art.213- Power of Governor to promulgate ordinances.
· Art.214- High Courts for states.
· Art.215- High Courts to be court of record.
· Art.226- Power of High Courts to issue certain writs.
· Art.233- Appoinment of District judges.
· Art.235- Control over Sub-ordinate Courts.
· Art.243A- Gram Sabha
· Art.243B- Constitution of Panchayats
· Art.280- Finance Commission
· Art.300-A- Right to property.
· Art.301-Freedom to trade, commerce, and intercourse.
· Art.302- Power of Parliament to impose restrictions on trade, commersce, and intercourse.
· Art.312- All- India-Service.
· Art.315- Public service commissions for the union and for the states
· Art.320- Functions of Public Service Commission.
· Art.323A- Administrative Tribunals
· Art.324-Superintendence, direction and control of Elections to be vested in an Election Commission.
· Art.325- No person to be ineligible for inclusion in or to claim to be included in a special, electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste, or sex.
· Art.326- Elections to the house of the people and to the legislative assemblies of states to be on the basis of adult suffrage.
· Art.338- National Commission for the SC, & ST.
· Art.340- Appointment of a commission to investigate the conditions of backward classes.
· Art.343- Official languages of the Union.
· Art.345- Official languages or languages of a states.
· Art.348- Languages to be used in the Supreme Court and in the High Courts.
· Art.351-Directive for development of the hindi languages.
· Art.352- Proclamation of emergency ( National Emergency).
· Art.356- State Emergency
· Art.360- Financial Emergency
· Art.361- Protection of President and Governors
· Art.368- Powers of Parliaments to amend the constitution.
· Art.370-Special provision of J&K.
· Art.393-Constituion of India.

Parliamentary Democracy: The road we travelled: Basic Structure,-Module-III-(Lecutres for the SC/ST,Minority Entry-in-Serive Coaching Centre, Kannur University)



Theory of basic structure: a limitation on amending power

The question whether fundamental rights can be amended under article 368 came for consideration in the Supreme Court in Shankari Prasad case.[3] in this case validity of constitution (1st amendment) act, 1951 which inserted inter alia , articles 31-A and 31-B of the constitution was challenged. The amendment was challenged on the ground that it abridges the rights conferred by part III and hence was void. The Supreme Court however rejected the above argument and held that power to amend including the fundamental rights is contained in Article 368and the same view was taken by court in Sajjan Singh case.
In Golak Nath case,the validity of 17th Amendment which inserted certain acts in Ninth Schedule was again challenged. The Supreme Court ruled the parliament had no power to amend Part III of the constitution and overruled its earlier decision in Shankari Prasad and Sajjan Singh case. In order to remove difficulties created by the decision of SC in Golak Nath case parliament enacted the 24th Amendment act. The Supreme Court recognized BASIC STRUCTURE concept for the first time in the historic Kesavananda Bharati[6] case in 1973. Ever since the Supreme Court has been the interpreter of the Constitution and the arbiter of all amendments made by parliament. In this case validity of the 25th Amendment act was challenged along with the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-ninth Amendments. The court by majority overruled the Golak Nath case which denied parliament the power to amend fundamental rights of the citizens. The majority held that article 368 even before the 24th Amendment contained the power as well as the procedure of amendment. The Supreme Court declared that Article 368 did not enable Parliament to alter the basic structure or framework of the Constitution and parliament could not use its amending powers under Article368 to 'damage', 'emasculate', 'destroy', 'abrogate', 'change' or 'alter' the 'basic structure' or framework of the constitution.
This decision is not just a landmark in the evolution of constitutional law, but also a turning point in constitutional history.

Basic Features of the Constitution according to the Kesavanada verdict each judge laid out separately, what he thought were the basic or essential features of the Constitution.
Sikri, C.J. explained that the concept of basic structure included:
# Supremacy of the Constitution
#  Republican and democratic form of government
#  Secular character of the Constitution
#  Separation of powers between the legislature, executive and the judiciary
#  Federal character of the Constitution
Shelat, J. and Grover, J. added three more basic features to this list:
#  The mandate to build a welfare state contained in the Directive Principles of State Policy
#  Unity and integrity of the nation
#  Sovereignty of the country.
Unegde, J. and Mukherjea, J. identified a separate and shorter list of basic features:
#  Sovereignty of India
#  Democratic character of the polity
#  Unity of the country
#  Essential features of the individual freedoms secured to the citizens
#  Mandate to build a welfare state
Jaganmohan Reddy, J. stated that elements of the basic features were to be found in the Preamble Of the Constitution and the provisions into which they translated such as:
#  Sovereign democratic republic
#  Justice - social, economic and political
#  Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
#  Equality of status and the opportunity.

Basic Structure concept reaffirmed- the Indira Gandhi Election case In Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narayan the Supreme Court applied the theory of basic structure and struck down cl. of article 329-A,which was inserted by the 39th Amendment in 1975 on the ground that it was beyond the amending power of the parliament as it destroyed the ? basic feature? of the constitution. The amendment was made to the jurisdiction of all courts including SC, over disputes relating to elections involving the Prime Minister of India.
Basic Features of the Constitution according to the Election case verdict Again, each judge expressed views about what amounts to the basic structure of the Constitution: Justice Y.V. Chandrachud listed four basic features which he considered unamendable:
#  Sovereign democratic republic status
#  Equality of status and opportunity of an individual
#  Secularism and freedom of conscience and religion
#  'government of laws and not of men' i.e. the rule of law
Justice H.R. Khanna- ?democracy is a basic feature of the Constitution and includes free and fair elections.?

Basic structure doctrine reaffirmed - the Minerva Mills

In Minerva Mills case[10] the Supreme Court by majority by 4 to 1 majority struck down clauses(4) and (5) of the article 368 inserted by 42nd Amendment, on the ground that these clauses destroyed the essential feature of the basic structure of the constitution. It was ruled by court that a limited amending power itself is a basic feature of the Constitution
In L. Chandra Kumar case, a larger Bench of seven Judges unequivocally declared "That the power of judicial review over legislative action vested in the High Courts under Article 226 and in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution is an integral and essential feature of the Constitution, constituting part of its basic structure".
Conclusion

Now we can say, there is no hard and fast rule for basic feature of the Constitution. Different judge keep different views regarding to theory of basis structure. But at one point they have similar view that parliament has no power to destroy, alter, or emasculate the 'basic  structure' or framework of the constitution. ?If the historical background, the preamble, the entire scheme of the constitution and the relevant provisions thereof including article 368 are kept in mind then there can be no difficulty, in determining what are the basic elements of the basic structure of the constitution. These words apply with greater force to doctrine of the basic structure, because, the federal and democratic structure of the constitution, the separation of powers, the secular character of our state are very much more definite than either negligence or natural justice.?[12].So for the protection of welfare state, fundamental rights, Unity and integrity of the nation, Sovereign democratic republic and for Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, interpretation of judiciary is mandatory. We can say none is above constitution even parliament and judiciary.

Parliamentary Democracy: The road we travelled: Costitution Features,-Module-II-(Lecutres for the SC/ST,Minority Entry-in-Serive Coaching Centre, Kannur University)



The Constitution of India has some distinct and unique features as compared to other constitutions to the world. As Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee puts it, the framers had tried to accumulate and accommodate the best features of other constitutions, keeping in view the peculiar problems and needs of our country.
The following are the salient features of the Constitution of India.
1. Longest written constitution
Indian Constitution can be called the largest written constitution in the world because of its contents. In its original form, it consisted of 395 Articles and 8 Schedules to which additions have been made through subsequent amendments. At present it contains 395 Articles and 12 Schedules, and more than 80 amendments. There are various factors responsible for the long size of the constitution. One major factors was that the framers of the constitution borrowed provisions form several sources and several other constitutions of the world.
They have followed and reproduced the Government of India Act 1935 in providing matters of administrative detail. Secondly, it was necessary to make provisions for peculiar problems of India like scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes and backward regions. Thirdly, provisions were made for elaborate centre-state relations in all aspects of their administrative and other activities. Fourthly, the size of the constitution became bulky, as provisions regarding the state administration were also included. Further, a detail list of individual rights, directive principles of state policy and the details of administration procedure were laid down to make the Constitution clear and unambiguous for the ordinary citizen. Thus, the Constitution of India became an exhaustive and lengthy one.
(2) Partly Rigid and Partly Flexible
The Constitution of India is neither purely rigid nor purely flexible. There is a harmonious blend of rigidity and flexibility. Some parts of the Constitution can be amended by the ordinary law-making process by Parliament. Certain provisions can be amended, only when a Bill for that purpose is passed in each house of Parliament by a majority of the total membership of that house and. by a majority of not less than two-third of the members of that house present and voting. Then there are certain other provisions which can be amended by the second method described above and are ratified by the legislatures of not less than one-half of the states before being presented to the President for his assent. It must also be noted that the power to initiate bills for amendment lies in Parliament alone, and not in the state legislatures.
Pundit Nehru expressed in the Constituent Assembly, "While we want the Constitution to be as solid and permanent as we can make it, there is no permanence in Constitution. There should be certain flexibility. If you make anything rigid and permanent, you stop the nation’s growth, the growth of a living, vital organic people."
3) A Democratic Republic
India is a democratic republic. It means that sovereignty rests with the people of India. They govern themselves through their representatives elected on the basis of universal adult franchise. The President of India, the highest official of the state is elected for a fixed term. Although, India is a sovereign republic, yet it continues to be a member of the Commonwealth of Nations with the British Monarch as its head. Her membership of the Commonwealth does not compromise her position as a sovereign republic. The commonwealth is an association of free and independent nations. The British Monarch is only a symbolic head of that association.
4) Parliamentary System of Government
India has adopted the Parliamentary system as found in Britain. In this system, the executive is responsible to the legislature, and remains in power only as long and it enjoys the confidence of the legislature. The president of India, who remains in office for five years, is the nominal, titular or constitutional head. The Union Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head is drawn from the legislature. It is collectively responsible to the House of People (Lok Sabha), and has to resign as soon as it loses the confidence of that house. The President, the nominal executive shall exercise his powers according to the advice of the Union Council of Ministers, the real executive. In the states also, the government is Parliamentary in nature.
5) A Federation
Article 1 of the Constitution of India says: - "India that is Bharat shall be a Union of States." Though the word 'Federation' is not used, the government is federal. A state is federal when (a) there are two sets of governments and there is distribution of powers between the two, (b) there is a written constitution, which is the supreme law of the land and (c) there is an independent judiciary to interpret the constitution and settle disputes between the centre and the states. All these features are present in India. There are two sets of government, one at the centre, the other at state level and the distribution of powers between them is quite detailed in our Constitution. The Constitution of India is written and the supreme law of the land. At the apex of single integrated judicial system, stands the Supreme Court which is independent from the control of the executive and the legislature.
But in spite of all these essential features of a federation, Indian Constitution has an unmistakable unitary tendency. While other federations like U.S.A. provide for dual citizenship, the India Constitution provides for single citizenship. There is also a single integrated judiciary for the whole country. The provision of All India Services, like the Indian Administrative Service, the India Police Service, and Indian Forest Service prove another unitary feature. Members of these services are recruited by the Union Public Service Commission on an All-India basis. Because these services are controlled by Union Government, to some extent this constitutes a constraint on the autonomy of states.
A significant unitary feature is the Emergency provisions in the Indian constitution. During the time of emergency, the Union Government becomes most powerful and the Union Parliament acquires the power of making laws for the states. The Governor placed as the constitutional head of the state, acts as the agent of the centre and is intended to safeguard the interests of the centre. These provisions reveal the centralising tendency of our federation.
Prof: K.C. Wheare has rightly remarked that Indian Constitution provides, "a system of government which is quasi-federal, a unitary state with the subsidiary unitary features". The framers of the constitution expressed clearly that there exists the harmony of federalism and the unitarism. Dr. Ambedkar said, "The political system adopted in the Constitution could be both unitary as well as federal according to the requirement of time and circumstances". We can say that India has a "Cooperative federalism" with central guidance and state compliance.
6) Fundamental Rights
"A state is known by the rights it maintains", remarked Prof. H.J. Laski. The constitution of India affirms the basic principle that every individual is entitled to enjoy certain basic rights and part III of the Constitution deals with those rights which are known as fundamental rights. Originally there were seven categories of rights, but now they are six in number. They are (i) Right to equality, (ii) Right to freedom, (iii) Right against exploitation, (iv) Right to freedom of Religion, v) Cultural and Educational rights and vi) Right to constitutional remedies. Right to property (Article-31) originally a fundamental right has been omitted by the 44th Amendment Act. 1978. It is now a legal right.
These fundamental rights are justiciable and the individual can move the higher judiciary, that is the Supreme Court or the High Courts, if there is an encroachment on any of these rights. The right to move to the Supreme Court straight for the enforcement of fundamental rights has been guaranteed under Article 32 (Right to Constitutional Remedies). However, fundamental rights in India are not absolute. Reasonable restrictions can be imposed keeping in view the security-requirements of the state.
7) Directive Principles of State Policy
A novel feature of the Constitution is that it contains a chapter in the Directive Principles of State Policy. These principles are in the nature of directives to the government to implement them for establishing social and economic democracy in the country.
It embodies important principles like adequate means to livelihood, equal pay for both men and women, distribution of wealth so as to subserve the common good, free and compulsory primary education, right to work, public assistance in case of old age, unemployment, sickness and disablement, the organisation of village Panchayats, special care to the economically back ward sections of the people etc. Most of these principles could help in making India welfare state. Though not justiciable. These principles have been stated a; "fundamental in the governance of the country".
8) Fundamental Duties
A new part IV (A) after the Directive Principles of State Policy was incorporated in the constitution by the 42nd Amendment, 1976 for fundaments duties. These duties are:
i) To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
ii) To cherish and follow the noble ideals, which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
iii) To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
iv) To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
v) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sec­tional diversities, to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of woman;
vi) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
vii) to protect and improve the natural environments including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures;
viii) to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
ix) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
x) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of Endeavour and achievement.
The purpose of incorporating these duties in the Constitution is just to remind the people that while enjoying their right as citizens, should also perform their duties for rights and duties are correlative.
9) Secular State
A secular state is neither religious nor irreligious, or anti-religious. Rather it is quite neutral in matters of religion. India being a land of many religions, the founding fathers of the Constitution thought it proper to make it a secular state. India is a secular state, because it makes no discrimination between individuals on the basis of religion. Neither it encourages nor discourages any religion. On the contrary, right to freedom of religion is ensured in the Constitution and people belonging to any religious group have the right to profess, practice or propagate any religion they like.
10) An Independent Judiciary
The judiciary occupies an important place in our Constitution and it is also made independent of the legislature and the executive. The Supreme Court of India stands at the apex of single integrated judicial system. It acts as protector of fundamental rights of Indian citizens and guardian of the Constitution. If any law passed by the legislature or action taken by the executive contravenes the provisions of the Constitution, they can be declared as null and void by the Supreme Court. Thus, it has the power of judicial review. But judicial review in India constitutes a middle path between the American judicial supremacy in one hand and British Parliamentary supremacy in the other.
11) Single Citizenship
The Constitution of India recognises only single citizenship. In the United States, there is provision of dual citizenship. In India, we are citizens of India only, not of the respective states to which we belong. This provision would help in promoting unity and integrity of the nation.