Constituent assembly of India


Constituent assembly

In 1934, M N Roy first proposed the idea of forming a constituent assembly. Later in 1935 an official demand for a constituent assembly was taken up by the Congress Party. The British accepted this demand and under the Cabinet Mission plan of 1946, elections were held for the formation of the constituent assembly of India.

The members of this assembly were elected indirectly, by the members of the provincial assemblies by the method of a single transferable vote of proportional representation. The constituent assembly of India was formed for the purpose of making a constitution for independent India.

First meet of constituent assembly of Indian constitution

The Constituent Assembly first time met in Constitution Hall which is now known as the Central Hall of Parliament House in New Delhi on 9 December, 1946. Overwhelmed and jubilant as they were, the honourable members sat in semi-circular rows facing the Presidential dias.

Front row was occupied by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Shri Sarat Chandra Bose, Smt. Sarojini Naidu, Shri Hare-Krushna Mahatab, Shri C. Rajagopalachari and Shri M. Asaf Ali.

Two hundred and seven representatives, including nine women were present in this first session of constituent assembly. The Acharya Kripalani began the inaugural session at 11 a.m. with the introduction of Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha, as the temporary Chairman of the Assembly.

While welcoming Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha and other member of the constituent assembly, Acharyaji Kripalani said: “As we begin every work with Divine blessings, we request Dr. Sinha to invoke these blessings so that our work may proceed smoothly. Now, I once more, on your behalf, call upon Dr. Sinha to take the Chair.

Occupying the Chair amidst acclamation, Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha read out the goodwill messages received from different countries.

After Chairman’s inaugural address and the nomination of a Deputy Chairman, the members of constituent assembly were formally requested to present their credentials. The First Day’s proceedings ended after all the 207 members present submitted their credentials and signed the Register.

The representatives of the Press and the visitors were seated in the galleries, some thirty feet above the floor of the chamber and witnessed this memorable event.

The All India Radio, Delhi broadcast a composite sound picture of the entire proceedings.

Some facts of constituent assembly of India?

Initially, there were 389 members of constituent assembly. But after partition, the number came down to 299.

Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the first temporary chairman of the Constituent Assembly. Later, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President and its Vice President was Harendra Coomar Mookerjee. The constitutional advisor of the constituent assembly was BN Rau.

The Indian constitution was drafted by 299 constituent assembly members from different caste, region religion, gender etc. The constituent assembly met for over 114 days spread over 3 years (2 years 11 months and 17 days to be precise) to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India and discussed what the Indian constitution should contain and what laws should be included.

The first meeting of constituent assembly in New Delhi on 9 December 1946, and its last session was held on 24 January 1950. During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution.

As to constituent assembly composition, members were chosen by indirect election by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies, according to the scheme recommended by the Cabinet Mission. The arrangement was:

  • 292 members were elected through the Provincial Legislative Assemblies
  • 93 members represented the Indian Princely States and
  • 4 members represented the Chief Commissioners’ Provinces.

The total membership of the Assembly thus was to be 389. However, as a result of the partition under the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June, 1947, a separate Constituent Assembly was set up for Pakistan and representatives of some Provinces ceased to be members of the Assembly. As a result, the membership of the Assembly was reduced to 299.

The Objectives Resolution was moved by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru On 13 December, 1946.
This Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 22 January 1947.

Late in the evening of 14 August, 1947 the assembly met in the Constitution Hall and at the stroke of midnight, took over as the Legislative Assembly of an Independent India.

On 29 August, 1947, a Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was set up by Constituent Assembly to prepare a Draft Constitution for India. While deliberating upon the draft Constitution, the Assembly moved, discussed and disposed of as many as 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 amendments which were tabled.

The Indian Constitution was adopted on 26 November, 1949 and the hon’ble members appended their signatures to it on 24 January, 1950.

In all, 284 members actually signed the Constitution. On that day when the Indian Constitution was being signed, it was drizzling outside which was interpreted as a sign of a good omen. The Indian Constitution came into force on 26 January, 1950. On that day, the Assembly ceased to exist, transforming itself into the Provisional Parliament of India until a new Parliament was constituted in 1952.

Some Key facts of constituent assembly of India?

Important factors of constituent assembly of India
First meeting of Constituent Assembly The Constituent Assembly met first time in New Delhi on 9 December, 1946
Who was the chairman of Constituent Assembly Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the first temporary chairman of the Constituent Assembly.
Who was the president of Constituent Assembly Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the President Constituent Assembly.
Who was the first president of Constituent Assembly Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first President Constituent Assembly.
How were the members of the constituent assembly elected The members of this assembly were elected indirectly, i.e., by the members of the provincial assemblies by the method of a single transferable vote of proportional representation.
The Constituent Assembly for undivided India first met on The Constituent Assembly for undivided India first met in New Delhi on 9 December, 1946
Who moved the objective resolution and when On 13 December, 1946, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru moved the Objectives Resolution
Who was the the chairman of drafting committee of the Constitution Dr B. R. Ambedkar was the chairman of drafting committee of the Constitution.
The constituent assembly adopted the constitution of India on The constituent assembly adopted the constitution of India on 26th November 1949.
When did the Constitution of India come in to force Constitution of India come in to force on 26th January 1950.
When was Jana Gana Mana adopted as our national anthem? Jana Gana Mana was adopted as the national anthem On 24 January 1950.
When was National Flag of Union adopted? National Flag of the Union was adopted on 22 July 1947.

List of sessions of the Constituent Assembly of India

Sessions Duration
First session of constituent assembly 09 December to 23 December, 1946
Second session of constituent assembly 20 January to 25 January, 1947
Third session of constituent assembly 28 April to 02 May, 1947
Fourth session of constituent assembly 14 July to 31 July, 1947
Fifth session of constituent assembly 14 August to 30 August, 1947
Sixth session of constituent assembly 27 January, 1948
Seventh session of constituent assembly 04 November, 1948 to 08 January, 1949
Eighth session of constituent assembly 16 May to 16 June, 1949
Ninth session of constituent assembly 30 July to 18 September, 1949
Tenth session of constituent assembly 06 October to 17 October, 1949
Eleventh session of constituent assembly 14 November to 26 November, 1949
Last session of constituent assembly The Assembly met once again on 24 January, 1950, when the members appended their signature

Important committees of the constituent assembly of India and their chairmen

Name of the committee Chairman
Committee on the Rules of Procedure Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Steering Committee Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Finance and Staff Committee Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Credential Committee Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
House Committee B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
Order of Business Committee K.M. Munsi
Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly G.V. Mavalankar
States Committee Jawaharlal Nehru
Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee J.B. Kripalani
North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee Gopinath Bardoloi Constituent assembly of India
Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than those in Assam) Sub-Committee A.V. Thakkar
Union Powers Committee Jawaharlal Nehru
Union Constitution Committee Jawaharlal Nehru
Drafting Committee Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

State wise membership of the constituent assembly of India as on 31 December, 1947

Provinces – 229
S.No. State No. of Members
1. Madras 49
2. Bombay 21
3. West Bengal 19
4. United Provinces 55
5. East Punjab 12
6. Bihar 36
7. C.P. and Berar 17
8. Assam 8
9. Orissa 9
10. Delhi 1
11. Ajmer-Merwara 1
12. Coorg 1
Total 229
Indian States – 70
Sl No. Name of State. No. of Members
1. Alwar 1
2. Baroda 3
3. Bhopal 1
4. Bikaner 1
5. Cochin 1
6. Gwalior 4
7. Indore 1
8. Jaipur 3
9. Jodhpur 2
10. Kolhapur 1
11. Kotah 1
12. Mayurbhanj 1
13. Mysore 7
14. Patiala 2
15. Rewa 2
16. Travancore 6
17. Udaipur 2
18. Sikkim and Cooch Behar Group 1
19. Tripura, Manipur and Khasi States Group 1
20. U.P. States Group 1
21. Eastern Rajputana States Group 3
22. Central India States Group(including Bundelkhand and Malwa) 3
23. Western India States Group 4
24. Gujarat States Group 2
25. Deccan and Madras States Group 2
26. Punjab States Group I 3
27. Eastern States Group I 4
28. Eastern States Group II 3
29. Residuary States Group 4
Total 70
Constituent assembly of India – Photo gallery
First meeting of constituent assembly

First meeting of constituent assembly

Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the constituent assembly in 1946

Jawaharlal Nehru addressing the constituent assembly in 1946

The Constituent Assembly chamber and press gallery

The Constituent Assembly of Indian chamber and press gallery

Nehru and other members at August 14-15 midnight session

Nehru and other members at August 14-15 midnight session

Constituent assembly of India assembly

Constituent assembly of India assembly

Constituent assembly of India

Constituent assembly of India

Constituent assembly of India

Constituent assembly of India

Members of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution- Rajendra Prasad, BG kher, NV Gadgil, VL Mehta

Members of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution- Rajendra Prasad, BG kher, NV Gadgil, VL Mehta

Members of constituent assembly putting signatures

Members of constituent assembly putting signatures

Sardar Patel and Sardar Baldev Singh Signing the Constitution

Sardar Patel and Sardar Baldev Singh Signing the Constitution

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