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Outstanding features of the Indian Constitution

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The following are the salient features of the Indian Constitution:

Written Constitution

Indian Constitution is a written Constitution. Written constitution is that which is drafted after a prolonged process of discussion by a representative body elected for this very purpose, for example Constituent Assembly of India (1946-49). An unwritten constitution, as in Britain, evolves from popular conventions, customs and traditions along with the social values and ideals.

1 : “Indian Constitution lacks originality and rather is drawn from other Constitutions of the world : Do you agree? Support your answer with reasonable arguments?

The Constituent Assembly, desirous of providing the best features in the Constitution, drew from many sources as shown below

British Constitution

  • Parliamentary form of government

  • Rule of law

  • Procedure of Law Making

United States Constitution

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights

  • Federal structure of government

  • Electoral Collage

  • Independence of the judiciary

  • Judicial review

Irish Constitution

  • Directive principles of state policy

Australian Constitution

  • Concurrent List

  • Joint sitting of the Parliament

French constitution

  • Ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

Canadian Constitution

  • A quasi-federal form of government a federal system with a strong central government

  • The idea of Residuary Powers with centre

Constitution of the Soviet Union

  • Fundamental Duties (Art. 51-A) on the recommendations of Sardar swaran Singh Committee (1976)

Other Constitutions

  • Emergency Provision from Weimar Constitution

  • Amendment of Constitution from South Africa

2 : Indian Constitution is the most voluminous in the world. Discuss?

Indian Constitution is the lengthiest in the world in terms of the number of articles. Originally, at the time of being adopted, it consisted of 395 articles but after 97 amendments (2012), it presently has more than 440 articles. There are 12 Schedules to amplify and support the contents in the Articles.

The reasons for the voluminous nature of the Constitution are

  • There are detailed provisions for various aspects of administration in order to minimise conflict and confusion.

  • Being a democratic country, there is a great need to lay down elaborately the rights of the individuals. Hence, there is a seperate chapter on Fundamental Rights.

  • A federal constitution has to detail the rights and jurisdictions of the centre and states. It is more so in India where much care is taken to spell out in detail the functions of the states and centre. The idea is to prevent any constitutional conflicts and crisis in the working of the Constitution

  • Since the Constitution draws from many Constitutions as shown above, it is bound to be lengthy.

  • The size and diversity of the country with a pluralist tradition require that Constitution promote the same with detailed provisions. For example, language policy.

  • Independent bodies Election Commission, Union Public Service Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General of India have been set up with elaborate provisions for powers, independence etc which are in other Constitutions not a part of the Constitution but only statutes.

3 : Presidential system of democracy can at best provide secondary solution to the existing challenges to the Indian parliamentary democracy. Critically examine the statement in light of recent developments?

The Constitution of India adopts Parliamentary system of democracy in order to represent the pluralist tradition and interests of the country. In the parliamentary form, members of legislature provide the executive. That is, the Council of Ministers who make up the executive are necessarily drawn from legislature in order to enforce the highest forms of popular accountability. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the legislature. Council of Ministers enjoy power till they have support of the popular house Lok Sabha of India. There are many devices in the Constitution and various statutes and rules with the Parliament holds the executive answerable. As a last resort, no-confidence motion is provided to vote out the council of ministers and either replace it with another party or coalition or have a general election to the Lok Sabha.

4 : Indian polity is neither federal nor unitary. Examine the statement with examples from recent past.

The Constitution contains all the basic features of a federation as shown below

  • Set up a dual polity- the Union Government and the State Governments

  • Legislative, administrative and financial powers are divided between the two levels of government. All legislative powers are classified into three lists-the Union List, the

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