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Salient Features of the Indian Constitution

The Constitution of India is the supreme legal and living document. Which consists of fundamental principles, procedures, practices, rights, responsibilities, powers, and duties of the state. It was drafted by the 389 members being a part of the Constituent Assembly, and Dr. BR Ambedkar being the head of the constitution drafting committee.

It took roughly about 2 years and 11 months and 17 days, to complete the duty of drafting the constitution of India, which was finally completed on 26th November 1949, celebrated as the Constitution Day. On 26 January 1950, constitution was adopted, replacing the Government of India act 1935, which is celebrated as the Republic Day of India.

Salient Features are as follows:

  1. Modern constitution:

    The constitution makers, made it the world's richest document which consisted of human knowledge, intellect, inheritance and civilizations that is best suited to the social, economic, political, and cultural situations of the country. Nevertheless, it will be wrong to say that the Indian constitution is a carbon copy of constitutions of countries in the world, since it has taken several significant principles, procedures and provisions of the other countries but at the end it came out with its own ability to choose, new directions, methods, principles, and constantly aiming at new constitutional innovations.
  2. Written constitution:

    When the Indian constitution was adopted in 1949 originally, it consisted of 395 Articles, divided into 22 parts and 9 schedules. Today after 103 amendments, it consists of 495 Articles, categorized into 22 parts and 12 schedules, which is longest written constitution in the world and is designated as an 'elephant size' living constitution.
  3. Secular state:

    In 1976, the term Secular was made a part of the constitution, by introducing the 42nd amendment. The union does not give any superior status to any particular religion, in the country. Aiming at all the religions should enjoy equivalent status, acceptance and respect, there is a definite right to freedom of religion, with no discrimination of any kind, ensuring the prohibition of formation of a theocratic state. Every person in the country has an equivalent right and freedom to practice, profess, propagate any religion of their choice with equal protection, respect and support from the state.
  4. Welfare state:

    It is a system of government in which the state has a responsibility to defend and promote the economic and social wealth of its citizens, based upon such principles of equal opportunities, distribution of wealth, and owing responsibilities towards the citizens who are unable to avail these services for leading a decent life. This concept of welfare state is further supported by the Directive principles of the State policy, which provides the economic, political, social, cultural goals for the state, putting compulsion on the state, to accomplish its maximum social well-being for every citizen.
  5. Preamble:

    As an essential part of constitution, which does not give any special power to the constitution but it gives a route and a motive for the constitution to exist. Outlines the purposes of the constitution it asserts India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republic in nature. Apart from this, it also highlights other important provisions for its citizens like:
    Justice (Social, Economic and Political); Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality and Fraternity (Unity and Integrity of Nation).
  6. Socialist state:

    The term 'Socialism' was included in the Preamble with the 1976 amendment, which is now observed as one of the key features of the State. It imitates how the opinions of India, for ending all forms of exploitation, discriminations and inequalities, hence is dedicated towards bringing social and economic well-being for the citizens. India has always highlighted the concept of mixed economy, wherein both the public and private sectors have their independent roles to play. The court is also well known about the importance of democratic socialism, aiming to, eliminate inequalities of all kinds and safeguarding a decent standard of life for all citizens.
  7. Responsible government:

    The Preamble provides us with a democratic and Parliamentary form of governance, wherein the central and state tiers of government look after all the duties, regulated by the system of checks and balances. The President being the nominal head of the country, is nominated by both houses of the Parliament, with elected members of State Assembly. In such a form of government, the Prime Minister being the head of council of Ministers is accountable to look after the actions of his government.
  8. Fundamental rights:

    The fundamental Rights are assured by the constitution, under Part III of the constitution laid down from Articles 12 to 35. These include Right to Equality, The Right to freedom, Freedom of religion, Rights against Exploitation, Educational and Cultural right and right to constitutional Remedies. These are essential rights, as a result of which no law, rule, order, or any amendments can interfere or take away these rights, otherwise they will be declared as unconstitutional. Where the people can also approach the court of laws if their rights are violated for its enforcement.
  9. Minorities and Backward classes:

    There are multiple castes, classes, religions, languages, cultures, which exist in the Indian society, consisting of people from different sections, which are reasonably weaker than others in various spheres of life. So, in order to encourage a sense of security, safety and pleasure amongst the minorities, and for improving the living conditions of the backward classes by submerging them into the society equally, the constitution provides various liberal schemes and provisions for reservations.
  10. Elections:

    India has adopted the concept of adult suffrage, according to which every citizen, attaining the age of 18 years has a right to vote, which is not subjected to any kind of discrimination. According to this concept, the citizens do not need any necessary education qualification for voting, and even a large chunk of the population can vote, where they may not be educated but still, they may have a basic knowledge about their needs and requirements, and so they can select their representatives wisely.
  11. Supreme Judiciary:

    The constitution has kept Judiciary independent from the legislature and executive. Judges are free of any kind of intrusion, by other organs of the government, so that the judges can give their decisions independently without fear, favor. The concept of separation of power maintains this independence, it also has the power of judicial review, which provides the power to the courts to state any law, rule or order passed by the legislature and any performance of executive as void, if found contradictory to any provision of the constitution. The judiciary has many other tasks like, supervising governmental processes, acting as a wheel of balance for federalism, therefore, highlighting the supremacy of the Judiciary.
  12. Federal constitution:

    Since, India has a federal type of constitution, establishing dual polity, having two-tiers government. All the powers, functions, and duties of the government are divided amongst central and state level, without interfering in others functioning. The schedule 7, and Article 246 of the constitution talks about three lists, The Union, State and Concurrent list, which specifying the various matters on which the laws are to be made. India's federalism is a unique blend of simplicity and complexity, having the concept of single citizenship, and becoming a part of the basic structure as well.

The constitution is the pride of our country, where it not only deals with the organizations, functions, responsibilities, structures, authorities of the Central government but also, signifies of the state. It is also focused at maintaining the relationship of the central and state government when their views are contrary. Due to lack of homogeneousness, there are many communities, castes, cultures, religions, languages and classes, which are guaranteed with equal protection and impartial access to justice.

The Fundamental rights not only guarantee equality to all but also prohibit discrimination of all kinds, and on the other hand, the Directive principles of state policies, create an environment for social welfare and aim at establishing an egalitarian society.

Written By: Manav Puri

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