Main Features of Indian Constitution, Indian Constitution Facts

This article gives detail insights about main features of Indian Constitution, facts about Indian Constitution, important points about Indian Constitution, basic information about Indian Constitution. This article also answers frequent questions like who made the constitution of India, who has written the constitution of India, how many laws are there in Indian Constitution, where is the original copy of Indian Constitution kept etc.

Constitution is main law of a country which reflects the basic principles on which the government of that country works. It lays down the main framework  and Principal functions of various bodies of Government. It also defines the procedure by which various organs of the government interact with each other. It also defines the rules by which government interacts with the common citizens. With the exception of UK all democratic countries have their written Constitution. The Indian Republic is governed in terms of the Constitution of India which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November, 1949 and came into force on 26th January, 1950. The constitutional head of the Country is President.

The government of India Act, 1935 exercised great influence on the Indian Constitution. The federal scheme, office of governor, powers of federal judiciary etc were drawn from this act. The constitution of India was not an original but all the good ideas from the Constitutions of other Western Countries were adopted in it. The effects of Constitutions of other countries are enlisted as follows –

  • The Parliamentary system of government, rule of law, law making procedure  and single citizenship was taken from British Constitution.
  • Independence of Judiciary, Judicial review, Fundamental Rights and guidelines for removal of Judges were taken from US Constitution.
  • The federal system, with strong central authority was adopted from Canada.

Indian Constitution is longest written constitution of world. At the time of inception, Indian Constitution contained 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules. Presently there are 25 parts, 448 articles, 12 schedules and 5 appendices. There are about 1,45,000 words scribed in Indian Constitution. There are 101 total amendments of Indian Constitution so far with the recent one on 8th Sept 2016.

The main features of Indian Constitution are as follows :-main features of indian constitution

Features of Indian Constitution : Bulky and Voluminous 

The Indian Constitution is one of the Bulkiest Constitution in the World. The constitution originally consisting 395 articles now consists of 448 articles divided into 25 parts and 12 schedules. The factors which lead to make it bulky are –

  1. incorporation of good provisions of other countries to avoid future loopholes
  2. Absence of separate constitution for the states and provision of both central and state structure in one of the main feature of Indian Constitution.
  3. Incorporation of Fundamental Rights, Fundamental duties and Directive Principles of State Policy.
  4. Inclusion of Emergency provisions for protection of interests of the country and people.
  5. Inclusion of details regarding centre- state relations to eliminate future conflicts.
  6. detail provisions regarding organisation of judiciary, the services, elections and other transitory provisions.
  7. provision of specific problems of our country such as problems of SC-ST, OBC classes and official languages etc.

Features of Indian Constitution : Combination of Rigidity and Flexibility

The Indian Constitution is a combination of rigidity and flexibility. while some constitutional provisions can be amended by simple majority, others require two third majority by members of parliament as well as majority in state legislatures. Flexibility is introduced in the constitution by provisions which permit parliament to supplement the provisions of constitution by legislation.

Features of Indian Constitution : Parliamentary system of Government

It provides parliamentary system of governance under which the real executive power rests with council of ministers and the President is only nominal ruler. The council of ministers stay in office as long as they enjoy the confidence of parliament. Parliamentary system of government was decided for several reasons -Firstly, the system was already in practice in India and people were well acquainted with it. Secondly, the vast size of country and diversity of the culture necessitated the adoption of parliamentary form of government. Thirdly to avoid the conflict between executive and legislature which is common in America.

Features of Indian Constitution : Federal System with Unitary Bias

The Indian constitution provides a federation with a strong centre. It is worthy to note that constitution has not used the word Federation anywhere and has described India as Union of States. It implies that Indian Federation is not the result of any agreement among the units and the units can’t secede from it. India possesses most of the federal features but also several unitary features. The Indian Federal structure acquires a unitary character during emergency when the normal distribution of powers between the state and centre undergoes vital changes.

Features of Indian Constitution : Fundamental Rights

The constitution contains elaborate list of Fundamental Rights. The state can’t make laws which takes away any of the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. If it does so, the courts can declare such a law as unconstitutional. The constitution of India ensures that state can never breach the liberty and freedom of citizens as instructed by Fundamental Rights. The Fundamental rights of Indian constitution are enforceable by court of law. However Fundamental Rights are not absolute. It can not be claimed in any situation. Fundamental Rights are subjected to certain restrictions and can bt curtailed during emergency. Originally there were seven different Fundamental Rights, but after elimination of Right to Property, only six Fundamental Rights remains.

Features of Indian Constitution : Fundamental Duties

The constitution also mentions a list of 10 fundamental duties of citizens. These duties were added in 42nd amendment in 1976. Article 51A of Indian Constitution deals with Fundamental duties. These duties serves as constant reminder to the citizens that they have to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct. Some examples of Fundamental duties include respecting national flag, national anthem; to abide by constitution and respect its ideals and institutions; to value and preserve rich heritage and composite culture of country etc.

Directive Principle of State Policy

Directive principles are basically certain set of guidelines which the government has to keep in mind while formulating any policy. These principles seek to provide social justice and economic basis for democracy and the establishment of welfare. Unlike Fundamental Rights, Directive principles of State policy are non justiciable. In other words the directive principles are not enforceable by court, but these principles are irrefutable in governance and policy making of state. Directive principles are enlisted in Part IV (Article 36 -51) of Indian Constitution. Directive principles can be classified in categories like – economic and social welfare, political and administration, justice and legal aspects, peace and security, environment protection, protection of monuments etc.

Secular Features of Indian Constitution 

The constitution makes India a secular state. This means that there is no state religion and the state is completely detached from religious bias. It also implies that citizens are free to profess, propagate any religion.

Features of Indian Constitution : Independent Judiciary

The constitution provides an independent judiciary which acts as guardian of liberties and fundamental rights of citizens.

People as Source of Authority

The constitution draws its authority from the people and has been promulgated  in the name of people. This is evident from preamble which states ” We the People of India…”

Features of Indian Constitution : Universal Adult Franchise 

The constitution introduces universal adult franchise and accords the right to vote to all citizens above 18 years of age without discrimination.

Features of Indian Constitution : Emergency Power 

The constitution vests extraordinary powers in the President during emergency arising out of armed rebellion or external aggression.

Features of Indian Constitution : Single Citizenship

The constitution of India provides single citizenship. All persons residing in India are entitled to same rights. There is no separate citizenship of different states.

Bicameral Legislature

It provides Bicameral legislature at the centre. Rajya sabha contains representatives of the people while Lok Sabha contains representatives of the state.

Special Provisions for Minorities

The constitution accords special provision for minorities, Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes etc. In not only reserves seats for them in parliament and state legislatures, but also grants them certain special rights and privileges.

Panchayati Raj 

The constitution provides constitutional basis to Panchayati Raj as well as to Urban local bodies. This was achieved through Seventy fourth amendment of constitution in Dec 1992.