Main Features of Indian Constitution
The main features of Indian Constitution are as follows :-
1. Bulky and Voluminous Features of Indian Constitution
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 –
- incorporation of good provisions of other countries to avoid future loopholes
- Absence of separate constitution for the states and provision of both central and state structure in one of the main feature of Indian Constitution.
- Incorporation of Fundamental Rights, Fundamental duties and Directive Principles of State Policy.
- Inclusion of Emergency provisions for protection of interests of the country and people.
- Inclusion of details regarding centre- state relations to eliminate future conflicts.
- detail provisions regarding organisation of judiciary, the services, elections and other transitory provisions.
- provision of specific problems of our country such as problems of SC-ST, OBC classes and official languages etc.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Fundamental Duties
The constitution also mentions a list of 10 fundamental duties of citizens. These duties were added in 42nd amendment in 1976. These duties serves as constant reminder to the citizens that they have to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct.
7. Directive Principle of State Policy
It outlines certain directive principles which the government has to keep in mind while formulating any policy. These principles seek to provide social and economic basis for democracy and the establishment of welfare state. Unlike Fundamental Rights, Directive principles of State policy are non justiciable.
8. 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.
9. Independent Judiciary Features of Indian Constitution
The constitution provides an independent judiciary which acts as guardian of liberties and fundamental rights of citizens.
10. 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…”
11. 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.
12. Emergency Power related Features of Indian Constitution
The constitution vests extraordinary powers in the President during emergency arising out of armed rebellion or external aggression.
13. Single Citizenship Features of Indian Constitution
It provides single citizenship. All persons residing in India are entitled to same rights. There is no separate citizenship of different states.
14. Bicameral Legislature
It provides Bicameral legislature at the centre. Rajya sabha contains representatives of the people while Lok Sabha contains representatives of the state.
15. 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.
16. Panchayati Raj Features of Indian Constitution
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.