Constitution of India

Constitution of India
Constitution of India.jpg
Original titleभारतीय संविधान (IAST: Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna)[a]
Jurisdiction India
Ratified26 November 1949; 70 years ago (1949-11-26)
Date effective26 January 1950; 69 years ago (1950-01-26)
SystemConstitutional parliamentary socialist secular republic
BranchesThree (executive, legislature and judiciary)
ChambersTwo (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha)
ExecutivePrime minister-led cabinet responsible to the lower house of the parliament
JudiciarySupreme court, high courts and district courts
FederalismUnitary (Quasi-federal)
Electoral collegeYes, for presidential and vice-presidential elections
Entrenchments2
Amendments103
Last amended12 January 2019 (103rd)
LocationParliament House, New Delhi, India
Author(s)Drafting Committee of constituent assembly

Benegal Narsing Rau
Constitutional Advisor to Constituent Assembly[1]

Surendra Nath Mukherjee
Chief Draftsmen of Constituent Assembly of India[2]

and other members of Constituent Assembly
Signatories284 members of the Constituent Assembly
SupersedesGovernment of India Act 1935
Indian Independence Act 1947
Constitution of India as of 1957 (Hindi)

The Constitution of India (IAST: Bhāratīya Saṃvidhāna) is the supreme law of India.[3][4] The document lays down the framework demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any country on earth.[b][5][6][7] B. R. Ambedkar, all 7 members of the drafting committee played equal roles in drafting of the constitution.[8]

It imparts constitutional supremacy (not parliamentary supremacy, since it was created by a constituent assembly rather than Parliament) and was adopted by its people with a declaration in its preamble.[9][full citation needed] Parliament cannot override the constitution.

B. R. Ambedkar and Constitution of India on a 2015 postage stamp of India

It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950.[10] The constitution replaced the Government of India Act, 1935 as the country's fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India. To ensure constitutional autochthony, its framers repealed prior acts of the British parliament in Article 395.[11] India celebrates its constitution on 26 January as Republic Day.[12]

The constitution declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular,[13] democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity.[14] The original 1950 constitution is preserved in a helium-filled case at the Parliament House in New Delhi. The words "secular" and "socialist" were added to the preamble in 1976 during the emergency.[15]

Background

A smiling Babasaheb Ambedkar and Rajendra Prasad
Babasaheb Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, presenting the final draft of the Indian constitution to Constituent Assembly president Rajendra Prasad on 25 November 1949

Most of the Indian subcontinent was under British rule from 1857 to 1947. From 1947 to 1950, the same legislation continued to be implemented as India was a dominion of Britain for these three years, as each princely state was convinced by Sardar Patel and V.P.Menon to sign the articles of integration with India, and the British government continued to be responsible for the external security of the country.[16] Thus, the constitution of India repealed the Indian Independence Act 1947 and Government of India Act, 1935 when it became effective on 26 January 1950. India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign democratic republic with the constitution. Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392, 393, and 394 of the constitution came into force on 26 November 1949, and the remaining articles became effective on 26 January 1950.[17]

Previous legislation

The constitution was drawn from a number of sources. Mindful of India's needs and conditions, its framers borrowed features of previous legislation such as the Government of India Act 1858, the Indian Councils Acts of 1861, 1892 and 1909, the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935, and the Indian Independence Act 1947. The latter, which led to the creation of India and Pakistan, divided the former Constituent Assembly in two. Each new assembly had sovereign power to draft and enact a new constitution for the separate states.[18]