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TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Indian Constitution
Constitution Day also known as ‘Samvidhan Divas’ is celebrated in our country on 26th November every year, to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India.
By: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
Objective: The aim is to publicize the glorious and rich composite culture and diversity of our nation. Further, it aims to create awareness of Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Indian Constitution. As citizens of our great nation, we believe firmly in Gandhian thought that ‘The true source of rights is duty. If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek’ and as said by Sardar Patel, ‘Every Indian should forget that he is a Rajput, a Sikh, or a Jaat. He must remember that he is an Indian and he has every right in his country but with certain duties’.
- On December 6, 1949 the Constitution Assembly was formed and its first meeting was held on December 9. Rajendra Prasad was appointed its President and H C Mukherjee its vice-chairman.
- On August 29, 1947, the drafting committee appointed Ambedkar as its chairman and six other members — Munshi N Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Khaitan, Mitter, Muhammed Sadulla, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer.
- The members of the Constituent Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on January 24, 1950.
- On November 26, 1949, the Constitution of India was adopted by the Assembly.
- On January 26, 1950, the Constitution was enforced.
- The words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ were added to the preamble post the emergency in 1976.
- When the Constitution was adopted in the year 1949, there were no provisions regarding Fundamental Duties to the Citizens though there was a Part III for Fundamental Rights. The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the Government. The Committee suggested that steps needed to be taken to ensure that the individual did not overlook his duties while in exercise of his Fundamental Rights.
India’s constitution is the longest written constitution in the world containing 395 Articles, 22 Parts and 12 Schedules. It took around 2 years, 11 months and 17 days to complete the Constitution.
At the beginning of each part of the Constitution, Nandalal Bose has depicted a phase or scene from India’s national experience and history.
After the Constitution was passed, the historic session of the Constituent Assembly ended with the singing of the National Anthem “Jana-gana-mana adhinayaka Jai Hey, Bharat Bhagya Vidhata,” by Purnima Banerjee, a veteran freedom fighter and sister of the late freedom fighter, Aruna Asaf Ali.
People of India are the ultimate custodians of the Constitution. It is in them that sovereignty vests and it is in their name that the Constitution was adopted. The Constitution empowers the citizen, but the citizen too empowers the Constitution – by following it, by adhering to it, by protecting it, and by persevering to make it more meaningful with words and deeds. The Constitution is nobody’s preserve – and it is everybody’s preserve.
The Preamble to the Constitution of India
“WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”
The Constitution of India declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizen’s justice, equality and liberty and endeavours to promote fraternity.
Some of the shaping factors of the Constitution:
- British colonial rule and the Freedom struggle: The oppression leading to the enhanced importance of the rights of citizens like civil liberties (freedom of speech), etc., and through the freedom struggle has shaped the vision of the constitution.
- INC session of Karachi’s resolution on Fundamental rights and National economic programme and other similar events.
- British governance Acts for India: Starting from the Regulating Act of 1773 till the Indian Independence Act of 1947, especially Government of India Act of 1935
- International events: French revolution (Republic, ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity), Russian revolution (ideals of justice), etc., has led to the increased importance and expansion of rights.
- Indian philosophy and thinkers: Like Gandhi’s philosophy leading to the self-government institutions i.e, PRI (article 40 under DPSP), etc. Nehru report of 1928, the first attempt in drafting the Constitutional scheme indigenously had most of the present document’s ideals like fundamental rights, responsible government at the centre and in states, etc.
Thus, the Constitution is a gradually evolved document over a period of time and was carefully articulated by the constituent assembly.
Quotes by President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind
- In a democratic system, the medium of dialogue is the best medium for not allowing the debate to become a dispute.
- In a parliamentary democracy, the opposition also has an important role along with the ruling party, and, therefore harmony, cooperation and meaningful deliberation between the two is necessary. It is responsibility of Presiding Officers to provide congenial atmosphere for a healthy debate to the peoples’ representatives in the House and to encourage courteous dialogue and discussion.
- Fairness and justice is the bedrock of our parliamentary democratic system. The Chair of the Speaker of the House symbolizes both – dignity and duty. It demands sincerity and sense of justice. It also symbolizes impartiality, righteousness and fairness and it is expected from Presiding Officers that their conduct is inspired by these lofty ideals.
- Parliament and Legislative Assemblies are the cornerstone of our parliamentary system. They have an important responsibility to work for a better future of our countrymen. In the last few decades, expectations, aspirations and awareness of the general public have been on the rise. Therefore, the role and responsibilities of Parliament and Legislatures have come into focus even more. Peoples’ representatives are expected to remain true to the principles of democracy. The biggest challenge before democratic institutions and peoples’ representatives is to live up to the expectations of the people.
- The democratic system is eventually governed by the supreme goal of peoples’ welfare, especially the upliftment of the poor, backward and the deprived sections of our society and the progress of the country.
Quotes by Vice President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu
- Decency, Decorum and Dignity of the temples of democracy will be upheld only through adherence to the other three ‘Ds’ namely, Debate, Discuss and Decide
- None of the three organs of the ‘State’ can claim to be supreme as only the Constitution is supreme and the legislature, the executive and the judiciary are bound to work within the respective domains as defined in the Constitution.
- Referring to the Presiding Officers as the ‘high priests of temples of democracy’, urged them to ensure the sanctity of these temples. Stating that legislatures are the cornerstone of democracy that provide the basis for the actions of both the executive and the judiciary, Shri Naidu referred to the public opinion turning against the law making bodies and the legislators over the years. He noted that frequent disruptions, conduct of legislators both within and outside the chambers of the Houses, rising number of law makers with criminal background, rising money power in elections, flaunting of power by legislators are some of the reasons for this negative perception.
- Caste, Cash and Criminality replacing Conduct, Character and Calibre as the criteria for selection of candidates has been eroding the stature of legislators and their members. Shri Naidu urged the political parties to introspect about the present state of affairs to enhance the standing of legislatures and legislators and also to ensure disruption free functioning of legislatures.