Ans. The familiarity with political institutions of colonial rule also helped develop an agreement over the institutional design in the following ways:
1. The British rule had given voting rights only to a few. On that basis the British had introduced very weak legislatures.
2. Elections were held in 1937 to Provincial Legislatures and Ministries all over British India. These were not fully democratic governments. But the experience gained by Indians in the working of the legislative institutions proved to be very useful for the country in setting up its own institutions and working in them.
3. The Indian constitution adopted many institutional details and procedures from colonial laws like the Government of India Act, 1935.
4. Many of our leaders were inspired by the ideals of French Revolution, the practice of parliamentary democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in the US.
1. The drafting of the document called the constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the Constituent Assembly. Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946.
2. A Drafting Committee chaired by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar prepared a draft constitution for discussion.
3. Several rounds of thorough discussion took place on the Draft Constitution, clause by clause.
4. More than two thousand amendments were considered. The members deliberated for 114 days spread over three years.
5. Every document presented and every word spoken in the Constituent Assembly has been recorded and preserved. These are called ‘Constituent Assembly Debates’.
6. When printed, these debates are 12 bulky volumes! These debates provide the rationale behind every provision of the Constitution. These are used to interpret the meaning of the Constitution.
Ans. The constitution of a country is a set of written rules that are accepted by all people living together in a country. Constitution is the supreme law that determines the relationship among people living in a territory (called citizens) and also the relationship between the people and government.
A constitution does many things:
First, it generates a degree of trust and coordination that is necessary for different kind of people to live together;
Second, it specifies how the government will be constituted, who will have power to take which decisions;
Third, it lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us what the rights of the citizens are; and
Fourth, it expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.
1. Sovereign - People have supreme right to make decisions on internal as well as external matters. No external power can dictate the government of India.
2. Socialist - Wealth is generated socially and should be shared equally by society. Government should regulate the ownership of land and industry to reduce socio-economic inequalities.
3. Secular - Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion. But there is no official religion. Government treats all religious beliefs and practices with equal respect.
4. Democratic - A form of government where people enjoy equal political rights, elect their rulers and hold them accountable. The government is run according to some basic rules.
5. Liberty - There are no unreasonable restrictions on the citizens in what they think, how they wish to express their thoughts and the way they wish to follow up their thoughts in action.