Important characteristics of Indian constitution
Constitution of India is a scared document. Indian constitution includes the characteristics of main Constitutions of World. Indian Constitution is a result of continues attempt, study, discussion, thinking and hard work of drafting committee during the period of 2 years 11 month and 18 days. Indian constitution was enforced in 26th January, 1950 throughout the India.
The major features of Indian Constitution are :
1. Biggest Constitution
Generally, the form of constitution is small. Only main points are mentioned in it and the rest is left for the Interpretation. But, the constitution of India is an exception. The form of the constitution of India is neither small nor very big. Indian Constitution contains all the necessary points in it.
The original form of Indian constitution consists of 22 Chapters, 395 Articles and 9 schedules. Later these has been increased along with the amendments.
The constitution of India is biggest and detailed Constitution of the world. Critics describe is as “Heaven of Lawyers”.
2. Establishment of Sovereign Democratic Republic –
The main feature of Indian constitution if the establishment of Sovereign Democratic Republic. It is called sovereign because its sovereignty is vested among the people of India instead of another country. It is now completely free from outside control. The internal and external policies are determined and controlled by India itself.
Democracy has been established in India. The governance is secured in the hands of its people. It fulfils the criteria of the Democracy, “Government is for the people, by the people and of the people”. Its main object is the welfare of the public.
3. Socialism and secularism –
Indian constitution nourishes Socialism and Secularism. it fulfils the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi of the structure of Socialist Society. Its Preamble mentions about “Social, Economic and Political justice.” Thus all discriminations are rewarded to establish equality. Socialist structure could be seen from the fact that “Right to property” is removed from the chapter of Fundamental Rights and added as “General Constitution Rights”.
Social Economic and Political Justice has been guaranteed to every person in the constitution ( Nandini Sunder Vs State of Chhatisgarh, All 2011 Sc 2839 ). Indian constitution is a ‘Secular Constitution”. It recognises all type of religion. Every person has the freedom to follow, conduct and preach his religion. It does not impose state religion on anyone.
It is noteworthy to mention here that the expressions ‘Socialism’ and ‘Secularism’ were not mentioned in the original format of the Indian constitution. It has been added by the 42nd amendment.
4. Origin of Parliamentary Governance –
India is a federation of states. Constitution is federal. Federal Constitution can be of two type- Presidential or Parliamentary. Presidential for has the President as the ultimate power like America ( United States of America ). Whereas in Parliamentary form the actual power is in the hands of the people. It is government of the people, for the people and by the people.Peoples representative conducts the Governance in the form of cabinet.
India has the parliamentary form of government actual power is in the hands of representatives elected by the people. President is the head of the country, but it is only for namesake. He has to do all work on the advice of the cabinet.
5. Fundamental Rights –
An important and achievement of the constitution of India is inclusion of fundamental rights in it.These fundamental rights are like a gift and boom for the Indians who had suffered by foreign rule for years.The main object of the fundamental rights is to provide an opportunity to the citizens of India for their complete development.Part-III of Constitution provides following fundamental rights-
(i) Right to equality,
(ii) Right to freedom,
(ii) Protection of the life and Personal liberty
(iv) Safeguards against Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
(v) Right against Exploitation
(vi) Right of freedom of Religion
(vii) Culture and Education Rights
(vii) Right to Constitutional Remedies
It is noteworthy that right to property was earlier a fundamental right , but later it has remained on a Constitutional right by an amendment.
Right to freedom is an important fundamental right in itself.
Article 19 of the constitution lays down following freedoms-
(i) Freedom of speech and expression,
(ii) Freedom of Peaceful and un-obstructing assembly,
(iii) Freedom to form associations and unions,
(iv) Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India,
(v) Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory,
(vi) Freedom to profession , occupation , trade or business.
6. Fundamental Duties –
The original format of the constitution was not containing ‘Fundamental Duties ‘.Fundamental rights were added but fundamental duties were left.later , it was found to have fundamental duties to be introduced. As a result, new part-IV-A which consists of only one article 51-A was added to the constitution by the 42nd amendment –
(a) to abide by the constitution and respect its ideal and institutions, the National Flag and National Anthem.
(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom.
(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or selection diversities to practice derogatory to the dignity of women.
(f) to value and preserve the right heritage of our composite culture.
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.
(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
(j) to safe guard public property and to abjure violence
(k) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the national constantly rise to higher level of endeavour and achievements
7. Directive Principles of State –
The constitutional drafters had perceived such structure of constitution which is for the welfare of humanity. The constitutional drafters wanted that state shall determine their own policies in such a manner that living standards of every person are raised, children’s free education, no one is devoid of justice owning to poverty, equal pay for equal work, economic security during all old age and sickness, decentralisation of power, etc.
These welfare provisions are not made compulsory and left on the availability of the resources with State. It is the reason that they are called Directive Principles of States Policy and not fundamental rights.
8. Co-ordination of rigidity and flexibility –
if it is said that the Indian Constitution is neither strictly rigid nor strictly flexible, then it shall not be an exaggeagate statement. The Constitution contains such a procedure of amendment which is neither flexible as England nor rigid as America. It provides amendment in accordance with country, time and circumstances. it is the proof that there has been only 85 amendments, till 2001.
9. Adult Suffrage –
As we know India has adopted Parliamentary system of governance. In Parliamentary system, power is vested in the hands of the representatives of people. People elects the representatives. The power has been entrusted by the Constitution to adults, that is, who have completed the age of 18 years.
Article 326 of the Constitution provides for adult suffrage. it is important that there has been no discrimination on the basis religion, caste, tribe, etc in the suffrage. It is specific characteristics of Indian Constitution.
10. Independence of Judiciary –
It is an important pillar of democracy. Judiciary is the ‘ Security Guard ‘ of the Fundamental Rights, of people. The responsibility of protection of Constitution is also on Judiciary. It is good that Independence of judiciary has been given ultimate position. The Independence of judiciary has been concluded as basic structure of the Constitution, with which there can be no interference.
11. Single Citizenship –
Another important feature is the provision of single citizenship. Every citizen is called Citizen of India. They cannot claim double citizenship a like America.
12. Decentralisation of Powers –
India believes in decentralisation of powers. The power is vested among the people, not centralised in one person. ‘ Panchyati Raj System ‘ is a good example, 73rd Amendments Act, 1992 had further strengthened it.