Indian Polity Salient Feature of the Constitution

Deal Score+1

Constitutional Framework

Salient Feature of the Constitution


  • The Indian Constitution is unique in its contents and spirit. Though borrowed from almost every constitution of the world, the constitution of India has several salient features that distinguish it from the constitutions of other countries.
  • It s ould be noted at the outset that a number of original features of the Constitution (as adopted in 1949) have undergone a substantial change, on account of several amendments, particularly 7th, 42nd, 44th, 73rd and 74th Amendments. In fact, the 42nd Amendment Act (1976) is known as ‘Mini- Constitution’ due to the important and large number of changes made by it in various parts of the Constitution. However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case1 (1973), the Supreme Court ruled that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.


  • The salient features of the Constitution, as it stands today, are as follows:

1. Lengthiest Written Constitution

  • Constitutions are classified into written, like the American Constitution, or unwritten, like the British Constitution. The Constitution of India is the lengthiest of all the written constitutions of the world. It is a very comprehensive, elaborate and detailed document.
  • Originally (1949), the Constitution contained a Preamble, 395 Articles (divided into 22 Parts) and 8 Schedules. Presently (2013), it consists of a Preamble, about 465 Articles (divided into 25 Parts) and 12 Schedules2. The various amendments carried out since 1951 have deleted about 20 Articles and one Part (VII) and added about 85 Articles, four Parts (IVA, IXA, IXB and XIVA) and four Schedules (9, 10, 11 and 12). No other Constitution in the world has so many Articles and Schedules3. Four factors have contributed to the elephantine size of our Constitution. They are:
  • (a) Geographical factors, that is, the vastness ofthe country and its diversity.
  • (b) Historical factors, e.g., the influence of the Government of India Act of 1935, which was bulky.
  • (c) Single Constitution for both the Centre and the states except Jammu and Kashmir4.
  • (d) Dominance oflegal luminaries in the Constituent Assembly.
  • The Constitution contains not only the fundamental principles of governance but also detailed administrative provisions. Further, those matters which in other modern democratic countries have been left to the ordinary legislation or established political conventions have also been included in the constitutional document itselfin India.

2. Drawn From Various Sources

  • The Constitution of India has borrowed most of its provisions from the constitutions of various other  countries as well as from the Government of India Act5 of 1935. Dr B R Ambedkar proudly acclaimed that the Constitution of India has been framed after ‘ransacking all the known Constitutions ofthe World6’.
  • The structural part of the Constitution is, to a large extent, derived from the Government of India Act of 1935. The philosophical part of the Constitution (the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy) derive their inspiration from the American and Irish Constitutions respectively. The political part of the Constitution (the principle of Cabinet Government and the relations between the executive and the legislature) have been largely drawn from the British Constitution7.
  • The other provisions of the Constitution have been drawn from the constitutions of Canada, Australia, Germany, USSR (now Russia), France, South Africa, Japan, and so on8.
  • However, the criticism that the Indian Constitution is a ‘borrowed Constitution’, a ‘patchwork’ and contains nothing new and original is unfair and illogical. This is because, the framers of the Constitution made necessary modifications in the features borrowed from other constitutions for their suitability to the Indian conditions, at the same time avoiding their faults9.

3. Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility

  • Constitutions are also classified into rigid and flexible. A rigid Constitution is one that requires a special procedure for its amendment, as for example, the American Constitution. A flexible constitution, on the other hand, is one that can be amended in the same manner as the ordinary laws are made, as for example, the British Constitution.
  • The Constitution of India is neither rigid nor flexible but a synthesis of both. Article 368 provides for two types ofamendments:
  • (a) Some provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, i.e., a two-third majority of the members of each House present and voting, and a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent), ofthe total membership ofeach House.
  • (b) Some other provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and with the ratification by halfofthe total states.
  • At the same time, some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the Parliament in the manner of ordinary legislative process. Notably, these amendments do not come under Article 368.

4. Federal System with Unitary Bias

  • The Constitution of India establishes a federal system of government. It contains all the usual features of a federation, viz., two government, division of powers, written Constitution, super-macy of Constitution, rigidity ofConstitution, independent judiciary and bicameralism.
  • However, the Indian Constitution also contains a large number of unitary or non-federal features, viz., a strong Centre, single Constitution, single citizenship, flexibility ofConstitution, integrated judiciary, appointment ofstate governor by the Centre, all-India services, emergency provisions, and so on.
  • Moreover, the term ‘Federation’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution. Article 1, on the other hand, describes India as a ‘Union of States’ which implies two things: one, Indian Federation is not the result ofan agreement by the states; and two, no state has the right to secede from the federation.
  • Hence, the Indian Constitution has been variously described as ‘federal in form but unitary in spirit’, ‘quasi-federal’ by K C Wheare, ‘bargaining federalism’ by Morris Jones, ‘co-operative federalism’ by Granville Austin, ‘federation with a centralising tendency’ by Ivor Jennings, and so on.

5. Parliamentary Form of Government

  • The Constitution of India has opted for the British parliamentary System of Government rather than American Presidential System of Government. The parliamentary system is based on the principle of cooperation and co-ordination between the legislative and executive organs while the presidential system is based on the doctrine ofseparation ofpowers between the two organs.
  • The parliamentary system is also known as the ‘Westminster’ 10 model of government, res-ponsible government and cabinet government. The Constitution establishes the parliamentary system not only at the Centre but also in the states. The features ofparliamentary government in India are:
  • (a) Presence ofnominal and real executives;
  • (b) Majority party rule,
  • (c) Collective responsibility ofthe executive to the legislature,
  • (d) Membership ofthe ministers in the legislature,
  • (e) Leadership ofthe prime minister or the chiefminister,
  • (f) Dissolution ofthe lower House (Lok Sabha or Assembly).
  • Even though the Indian Parliamentary System is largely based on the British pattern, there are some fundamental differences between the two. For example, the Indian Parliament is not a sovereign body like the British Parliament. Further, the Indian State has an elected head (republic) while the British State has hereditary head (monarchy).
  • In a parliamentary system whether in India or Britain, the role of the Prime Minister has become so significant and crucial that the political scientists like to call it a ‘Prime Ministerial Government’.

6. Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy

  • The doctrine of sovereignty of Parliament is associated with the British Parliament while the principle ofjudicial supremacy with that ofthe American Supreme Court.
  • Just as the Indian parliamentary system differs from the British system, the scope of judicial review power of the Supreme Court in India is narrower than that of what exists in US. This is because the American Constitution provides for ‘due process of law’ against that of ‘procedure established by law’ contained in the Indian Constitution (Article 21).
  • Therefore, the framers of the Indian Constitution have preferred a proper synthesis between the British principle of parliamentary sovereignty and the American principle of judicial supremacy. The Supreme Court, on the one hand, can declare the parliamentary laws as unconstitutional through its power of judicial review. The Parliament, on the other hand, can amend the major portion of the Constitution through its constituent power.

7. Integrated and Independent Judiciary

  • The Indian Constitution establishes a judicial system that is integrated as well as independent. The Supreme Court stands at the top of the integrated judicial system in the country. Below it, there are high courts at the state level. Under a high court, there is a hierarchy of subordinate courts, that is, district courts and other lower courts. This single system of courts enforces both the central laws as well as the state laws, unlike in USA, where the federal laws are enforced by the federal judiciary and the state laws are enforced by the state judiciary.
  • The Supreme Court is a federal court, the highest court of appeal, the guarantor of the fundamental rights of the citizens and the guardian of the Constitution. Hence, the Constitution has made various provisions to ensure its independence—security of tenure of the judges, fixed service conditions for the judges, all the expenses of the Supreme Court charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, prohibition on discussion on the conduct ofjudges in the legislatures, ban on practice after retirement, power to punish for its contempt vested in the Supreme Court, separation of the judiciary from the executive, and so on.

8. Fundamental Rights

  • Part III ofthe Indian Constitution guarantees six11 fundamental rights to all the citizens:
  • (a) Right to Equality (Articles 14–18),
  • (b) Right to Freedom (Articles 19–22),
  • (c) Right against Exploitation (Articles 23–24),
  • (d) Right to Freedom ofReligion (Articles 25–28),
  • (e) Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29–30), and
  • (f) Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32).
  • The Fundamental Rights are meant for promoting the idea of political democracy. They operate as limitations on the tyranny ofthe executive and arbitrary laws ofthe legislature. They are justiciable in nature, that is, they are enforceable by the courts for their violation. The aggrieved person can directly go to the Supreme Court which can issue the writs ofhabeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, certiorari and quo warranto for the restoration ofhis rights.
  • However, the Fundamental Rights are not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions. Further, they are not sacrosanct and can be curtailed or repealed by the Parliament through a constitutional amendment act. They can also be suspended during the operation of a National Emergency except the rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21.

9. Directive Principles of State Policy

  • According to Dr B R Ambedkar, the Directive Principles of State Policy is a ‘novel feature’ of the Indian Constitution. They are enumerated in Part IV of the Constitution. They can be classified into three broad categories—socialistic, Gandhian and liberal–intellectual.
  • The directive principles are meant for promoting the ideal of social and economic democracy. They seek to establish a ‘welfare state’ in India. However, unlike the Funda-mental Rights, the directives are non-justiciable in nature, that is, they are not enforceable by the courts for their violation. Yet, the Const-itution itself declares that ‘these principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws’. Hence, they impose a moral obligation on the state author-ities for their application. But, the real force (sanction) behind them is political, that is, public opinion.
  • In the Minerva Mills case12 (1980), the Supreme Court held that ‘the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock ofthe balance between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles’.

10. Fundamental Duties

  • The original constitution did not provide for the fundamental duties of the citizens. These were added during the operation of internal emergency (1975–77) by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976 on the recommendation of the Swaran Singh Committee. The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of2002 added one more fundamental duty.
  • The Part IV-A of the Constitution (which consists of only one Article—51-A) specifies the eleven Fundamental Duties viz., to respect the Constitution, national flag and national anthem; to protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country; to promote the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people; to preserve the rich heritage ofour composite culture and so on.
  • The fundamental duties serve as a reminder to citizens that while enjoying their rights, they have also to be quite conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow-citizens. However, like the Directive Principles, the duties are also non-justiciable in nature.

11. A Secular State

  • The Constitution of India stands for a secular state. Hence, it does not uphold any particular religion as the official religion of the Indian State. The following provisions of the Constitution reveal the secular character ofthe Indian State:
  • (a) The term ‘secular’ was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of1976.
  • (b) The Preamble secures to all citizens ofIndia liberty ofbelief, faith and worship.
  • (c) The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of the laws (Article 14).
  • (d) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground ofreligion (Article 15).
  • (e) Equality ofopportunity for all citizens in matters ofpublic employment (Article 16).
  • (f) All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion (Article 25).
  • (g) Every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the right to manage its religious affairs (Article 26).
  • (h) No person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion of a particular religion (Article 27).
  • (i) No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution maintained by the State (Article 28).
  • (j) Any section of the citizens shall have the right to conserve its distinct language, script or culture (Article 29).
  • (k) All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice (Article 30).
  • (l) The State shall endeavour to secure for all the citizens a Uniform Civil Code (Article 44).
  • The Western concept of secularism connotes a complete separation between the religion (the church) and the state (the politics). This negative concept of secularism is inapplicable in the Indian situation where the society is multireligious. Hence, the Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism, i.e., giving equal respect to all religions or protecting all religions equally.
  • Moreover, the Constitution has also abolished the old system of communal representation13, that is, reservation of seats in the legislatures on the basis of religion. However, it provides for the temporary reservation of seats for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to ensure adequate representation to them.

12. Universal Adult Franchise

  • The Indian Constitution adopts universal adult franchise as a basis of elections to the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies. Every citizen who is not less than 18 years of age has a right to vote without any discrimination of caste, race, religion, sex, literacy, wealth, and so on. The voting age was reduced to 18 years from 21 years in 1989 by the 61st Constitutional Amendment Act of1988.
  • The introduction of universal adult franchise by the Constitution-makers was a bold experiment and highly remarkable in view of the vast size of the country, its huge population, high poverty, social inequality and overwhelming illiteracy.14
  • Universal adult franchise makes democracy broad-based, enhances the self-respect and prestige of the common people, upholds the principle of equality, enables minorities to protect their interests and opens up new hopes and vistas for weaker sections.

13. Single Citizenship

  • Though the Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), it provides for only a single citizenship, that is, the Indian citizenship.
  • In countries like USA, on the other hand, each person is not only a citizen ofUSA but also a citizen of the particular state to which he belongs. Thus, he owes allegiance to both and enjoys dual sets of rights—one conferred by the National government and another by the state government.
  • In India, all citizens irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same political and civil rights of citizenship all over the country and no discrimination is made between them excepting in few cases like tribal areas, Jammu and Kashmir, and so on.
  • Despite the constitutional provision for a single citizenship and uniform rights for all the people, India has been witnessing the communal riots, class conflicts, caste wars, linguistic clashes and ethnic disputes. This means that the cherished goal of the Constitution-makers to build an united and integrated Indian nation has not been fully realised.

14. Independent Bodies

  • The Indian Constitution not only provides for the legislative, executive and judicial organs of the government (Central and state) but also establishes certain independent bodies. They are envisaged by the Constitution as the bulworks ofthe democratic system ofGovernment in India. These are:
  • (a) Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections to the Parliament, the state legislatures, the office ofPresident ofIndia and the office ofVice-president ofIndia.
  • (b) Comptroller and Auditor-General of India to audit the accounts of the Central and state governments. He acts as the guardian of public purse and comments on the legality and propriety ofgovernment expenditure.
  • (c) Union Public Service Commission to conduct examinations for recruitment to all-India services15 and higher Central services and to advise the President on disciplinary matters.
  • (d) State Public Service Commission in every state to conduct examinations for recruitment to state services and to advice the governor on disciplinary matters.
  • The Constitution ensures the independence of these bodies through various provisions like security of tenure, fixed service conditions, expenses being charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, and so on.

15. Emergency Provisions

  • The Indian Constitution contains eleborate emergency provisions to enable the President to meet any extraordinary situation effectively. The rationality behind the incorporation of these provisions is to safeguard the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country, the democratic political system and the Constitution.
  • The Constitution envisages three types ofemergencies, namely:
  • (a) National emergency on the ground of war or external aggression or armed rebellion16 (Article 352);
  • (b) State emergency (President’s Rule) on the ground of failure of Constitutional machinery in the states (Article 356) or failure to comply with the directions ofthe Centre (Article 365); and
  • (c) Financial emergency on the ground ofthreat to the financial stability or credit ofIndia (Article 360).
  • During an emergency, the Central Government becomes all-powerful and the states go into the total control ofthe centre. It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution. This kind of transformation of the political system from federal (during normal times) to unitary (during emergency) is a unique feature ofthe Indian Constitution.

Three-tier Government

  • Originally, the Indian Constitution, like any other federal constitution, provided for a dual polity and contained provisions with regard to the organisation and powers of the Centre and the states. Later, the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts (1992) have added a third-tier of government (i.e., local) which is not found in any other Constitution ofthe world.
  • The 73rd Amendment Act of 1992 gave constitutional recognition to the panchayats (rural local governments) by adding a new Part IX17 and a new Schedule 11 to the Constitution. Similarly, the 74th Amendment Act of 1992 gave constitutional. recognition to the municipalities (urban local governments) by adding a new Part IX-A18 and a new Schedule 12 to the Constitution.

Table 3.1 The Constitution ofIndia at a Glance

Parts Subject Matter Articles Covered
I The Union and its territory 1 to 4
II Citizenship 5 to 11
III Fundamental Rights 12 to 35
IV Directive Principles of State Policy 36 to 51
IV-A Fundamental Duties 51-A
V The Union Government 52 to 151
  Chapter I – The Executive 52 to 78
  Chapter II – Parliament 79 to 122
  Chapter III – Legislative Powers of President 123
  Chapter IV – The Union Judiciary 124 to 147
  Chapter V – Comptroller and Auditor-General of India 148 to 151
VI The State Governments 152 to 237
  Chapter I – General 152
  Chapter II – The Executive 153 to 167
  Chapter III – The State Legislature 168 to 212
  Chapter IV – Legislative Powers of Governor 213
  Chapter V – The High Courts 214 to 232
  Chapter VI – Subordinate Courts 233 to 237
VIII The Union Territories 239 to 242
IX The Panchayats 243 to 243-0
IX-A The Municipalities 243-P to 243-ZG
IX-B The Co-operative Societies 243-ZH to 243-ZT
X The Scheduled and Tribal Areas 244 to 244-A
XI Relations between the Union and the States 245 to 263
  Chapter I – Legislative Relations 245 to 255
  Chapter II – Administrative Relations 256 to 263
XII Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits 264 to 300-A
  Chapter I – Finance 264 to 291
  Chapter II – Borrowing 292 to 293
  Chapter III – Property, Contracts, Rights, Liabilities, Obligations and Suits 294 to 300
  Chapter IV – Right to Property 300-A
XIII Trade, Commerce and Intercourse within the Territory of India 301 to 307
XIV Services under the Union and the States 308 to 323
  Chapter I – Services 308 to 314
  Chapter II – Public Service Commissions 315 to 323
XIV-A Tribunals 323-A to 323-B
XV Elections 324 to 329-A
XVI Special Provisions relating to Certain Classes 330 to 342
XVII Official Language 343 to 351
  Chapter I – Language of the Union 343 to 344
  Chapter II – Regional Languages 345 to 347
  Chapter III—Language of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and so on 348 to 349
  Chapter IV—Special Directives 350 to 351
XVIII Emergency Provisions 352 to 360
XIX Miscellaneous 361 to 367
XX Amendment of the Constitution 368
XXI Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions 369 to 392
XXII Short title, Commencement, Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals 393 to 395


  • Part VII (dealing with Part-B states) was deleted by the 7th Amendment Act (1956). On the other hand, both Part IV-A and Part  XIV-A were added by the 42nd Amendment Act (1976), while Part IX-A was added by the 74th Amendment Act (1992), and Part IX-B was added by the 97th Amendment Act (2011).

Table 3.2 Important Articles ofthe Constitution at a Glance


Deals with

1 Name and territory of the Union
3 Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states
13 Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights
14 Equality before law
16 Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
17 Abolition of untouchability
19 Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.
21 Protection of life and personal liberty
21A Right to elementary education
25 Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion
30 Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions
31C Saving of laws giving effect to certain directive principles
32 Remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights including writs
38 State to secure a social order for the promotion of welfare of the people
40 Organisation of village panchayats
44 Uniform civil code for the citizens
45 Provision for early childhood care and education to children below the age of 6 years.
46 Promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections
50 Separation of judiciary from executive
51 Promotion of international peace and security
51A Fundamental duties
72 Power of president to grant pardons, etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
74 Council of ministers to aid and advise the president
78 Duties of prime minister as respects the furnishing of information to the president, etc.
110 Definition of Money Bills
112 Annual financial statement (Budget)
123 Power of president to promulgate ordinances during recess of Parliament
143 Power of president to consult Supreme Court
155 Appointment of governor
161 Power of governor to grant pardons, etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases
163 Council of ministers to aid and advise the governor
167 Duties of chief minister with regard to the furnishing of information to governor, etc
169 Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states
200 Assent to bills by governor (including reservation for President)
213 Power of governor to promulgate ordinances during recess of the state legislature
226 Power of high courts to issue certain writs
239AA Special provisions with respect to Delhi
249 Power of Parliament to legislate with respect to a matter in the State List in the national interest
262 Adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers or river valleys
263 Provisions with respect to an inter-state council
265 Taxes not to be imposed save by authority of law
275 Grants from the Union to certain states
280 Finance Commission
300 Suits and proceedings
300A Persons not to be deprived of property save by authority of law (Right to property)
311 Dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a state
312 All-India Services
315 Public service commissions for the Union and for the states
320 Functions of Public service commissions
323-A Administrative tribunals
324 Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission
330 Reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the House of the People
335 Claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to services and posts
352 Proclamation of Emergency (National Emergency)
356 Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in states (President’s Rule)
360 Provisions as to financial emergency.
365 Effect of failure to comply with, or to give effect to, directions given by the Union (President’s Rule)
368 Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor
370 Temporary provisions with respect to the state of Jammu and Kashmir

Table 3.3 Schedules ofthe Constitution at a Glance

Numbers Subjext Matter Articles
1. Names of the States and their territorial jurisdiction 1 and 4
  2. Names of the Union Territories and their extent.  
Provisions relating to the emoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of: 59, 65, 75, 97, 125, 148, 158, 164, 186 & 221
  1. The President of India  
  2. The Governors of States  
  3. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha  
  4. The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha  
  5. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in the states  
  6. The Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council in the states  
  7. The Judges of the Supreme Court  
  8. The Judges of the High Courts  
  9. The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India  
Forms of Oaths or Affirmations for: 75, 84, 99, 124, 146, 173, 188 and 219
  1. The Union ministers  
  2. The candidates for election to the Parliament  
  3. The members of Parliament  
  4. The judges of the Supreme Court  
  5. The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India  
  6. The state ministers  
  7. The candidates for election to the state legislature  
  8. The members of the state legislature  
  9. The judges of the High Courts  
Allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and the union territories. 4 and 80
Provisions relating to the administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes. 244
Provisions relating to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. 244 and
Division of powers between the Union and the States in terms of List I (Union List), List II (State List) and List
III (Concurrent List). Presently, the Union List contains 100 subjects (originally 97), the state list contains 61
subjects (originally 66) and the concurrent list contains 52 subjects (originally 47).
Languages recognized by the Constitution. Originally, it had 14 languages but presently there are 22 languages.
They are: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri (Dongri), Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Mathili
(Maithili), Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and
Urdu. Sindhi was added by the 21st Amendment Act of 1967; Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added by the
71st Amendment Act of 1992; and Bodo, Dongri, Maithili and Santhali were added by the 92nd Amendment Act
of 2003.
344 and
Acts and Regulations (originally 13 but presently 282)19 of the state legislatures dealing with land reforms and
abolition of the zamindari system and of the Parliament dealing with other matters. This schedule was added by
the 1st Amendment (1951) to protect the laws included in it from judicial scrutiny on the ground of violation of
fundamental rights. However, in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the laws included in this schedule after
April 24, 1973, are now open to judicial review.
Provisions relating to disqualification of the members of Parliament and State Legislatures on the ground of
defection. This schedule was added by the 52nd Amendment Act of 1985, also known as Anti-defection Law.
102 and
Specifies the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats. It has 29 matters. This schedule was added
by the 73rd Amendment Act of 1992.
Specifies the powers, authority and responsibilities of Municipalities. It has 18 matters. This schedule was added
by the 74th Amendment Act of 1992

Table 3.4 Sources ofthe Constitution at a Glance


Features Borrowed

Government of India
Act of 1935
Federal Scheme, Office of governor, Judiciary, Public Service Commissions, Emergency provisions and
administrative details.
British Constitution Parliamentary government, Rule of Law, legislative procedure, single citizenship, cabinet system,
prerogative writs, parliamentary privileges and bicameralism.
US Constitution Fundamental rights, independence of judiciary, judicial review, impeachment of the president, removal of
Sup-reme Court and high court judges and post of vice-president
Irish Constitution Directive Principles of State Policy, nomination of mem-bers to Rajya Sabha and method of election of
Canadian Constitution Federation with a strong Centre, vesting of residuary powers in the Centre, appointment of state
governors by the Centre, and advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
Australian Constitution Concurrent List, freedom of trade, commerce and inter-course, and joint sitting of the two Houses of
Weimar Constitution of
Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency
Soviet Constitution
(USSR, now Russia)
Fundamental duties and the ideal of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble.
French Constitution Republic and the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Preamble
South African
Procedure for amendment of the Constitution and election of members of Rajya Sabha.
Japanese Constitution Procedure established by Law
  • Kesavananda Bharati v. State ofKerala, (1973)
  • For details on Parts, important Articles and Schedules, see Tables 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 at the end ofthis chapter.
  • The American Constitution originally consisted of only 7 Articles, the Australian 128, the Chinese 138, and the Canadian 147.
  • The State of Jammu and Kashmir has its own Constitution and thus, enjoys a special status by virtue ofArticle 370 ofthe Constitution ofIndia.
  • About 250 provisions ofthe 1935 Act have been included in the Constitution.
  • Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, P. 35–38.
  • P M Bakshi, The Constitution ofIndia, Universal, Fifth Edition, 2002, P. 4.
  • See Table 3.4 at the end ofthis chapter.
  • In this context, Dr B R Ambedkar said: ‘One likes to ask whether there can be anything new in a Constitution framed at this hour in the history of the world. More than hundred years have rolled over when the first written Constitution was drafted. It has been followed by many countries reducing their constitutions to writing. What the scope of a constitution should be has long been settled. Similarly, what are the fundamentals of a constitution are recognised all over the world. Given these facts, all Constitutions in their main provisions must look similar. The only new things if there can be any, in a Constitution framed so late in the day are the variations made to remove the faults and to accommodate it to the needs of the country. The charge ofproducing a blind copy ofthe Constitutions ofother countries is based, I am sure, on an inadequate study of the Constitution. As to the accusation that the draft Constitution. has produced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, I make no apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a Constitution’. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume VII, p. (35–38).
  • Westminster is a place in London where the British Parliament is located. It is often used as a symbol/synonym ofthe British Parliament.
  • Originally, the Constitution provided for seven Fundamental Rights. However, the Right to Property (Article 31) was deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights by the 44th Amendment Act of1978. It is made a legal right under Article 300-A in Part XII ofthe constitution.
  • Minerva Mills v. Union ofIndia, (1980).
  • The 1909, 1919, and 1935 Acts provided for communal representation.
  • Even in the western countries, the right to vote was extended only gradually. For example, USA gave franchise to women in 1920, Britain in 1928, USSR (now Russia) in 1936, France in 1945, Italy in 1948 and Switzerland in 1971.
  • At present, there are three All-India services, namely Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS). In 1947, Indian Civil Service (ICS) was replaced by IAS and the Indian Police (IP) was replaced by IPS and were recognised by the Constitution as All-India Services. In 1963, IFS was created and it came into existence in 1966.
  • The 44th Amendment Act (1978) has replaced the original term ‘internal disturbance’ by the new term ‘armed rebellion’.
  • Part IX of the Constitution provides for a three-tier system of panchayati raj in every state, that is, panchayats at the village, intermediate and district levels.
  • Part IX-A of the Constitution provides for three types of municipalities in every state, that is, nagar panchayat for a transitional area, municipal council for a smaller urban area and municipal corporation for a larger urban area.
  • Though the last entry is numbered 284, the actual total number is 282. This is because, three
    entries (87,92 and 130) have been deleted and one entry is numbered as 257-A.
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