This law note talks about the parts, nature, features and sources of the Indian Constitution, along with basic information about the Preamble. Every Indian, including law students, must know these fundamental facts about the Constitution.
The Constituent Assembly enacted the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949. However, it came into enforcement on January 26, 1950. November 26 is celebrated every year as Constitution Day. It is also known as National Law Day. And January 26 is celebrated as Republic Day.
The Constitution of India is known as the supreme law of India. The Constitution establishes a framework which mentions the fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and responsibilities of government institutions, as well as of people. It also sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and duties of the citizens.
The Constitution is a legally binding document that outlines the structure (framework), functions, responsibilities, and principles of government organs.
The Constitution of India is the lengthiest written Constitution in the world. Initially, it contained 395 Articles, 22 Parts and 8 Schedules. But currently, there are 448 Articles, 25 Parts and 12 Schedules in the Indian Constitution.
Confusing question many people have:
Are there 22 Parts in the Indian Constitution or 25 Parts?
If you go by basic numbering, there are 22 Parts of the Indian Constitution. But new Parts like 4A, 9A, 9B, and 14A were added later by amendments. These new Parts take this number to 22 + 4 = 26. But Part 7 of the Constitution was entirely repealed way back in 1956 by the Seventh Constitution Amendment Act. Therefore, the Indian Constitution presently has 22 + 4 – 1 = 25 Parts.
Nature of the Indian Constitution
The Constitutions of various countries in the world are either unitary or federal.
In a unitary form of the Constitution, the powers of the government are vested only in one government, i.e., the central government. And in the federal form of the Constitution, there is a division of powers between the central and the state governments.
As far as India is concerned, constitutional jurists have different opinions regarding the nature of the Indian Constitution. Some opines that the Constitution of India is quasi-federal in nature and has more unitary features than federal. While others opine that it is a federal constitution.
Thus, we can conclude that the Indian Constitution is neither completely federal nor completely unitary. Instead, it is a combination of both.
Learn more about this topic:
1. Federal vs Unitary Structure With Pros, Cons, and Differences
2. 10 Reasons Why Centre Is Powerful Than the States
3. Cooperative Federalism and Competitive Federalism in India
- The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest and most detailed written Constitution in the world.
- The Indian Constitution supports the parliamentary system of government for both the centre and the states. The constitutional Head of India is the President. However, the Council of Ministers, whose leader is the Indian Prime Minister, has actual executive authority.
- The Consitution of India provides fundamental rights in favour of the people of India. It says that no law can be made that takes away or abridges (shortens) any rights of the citizens guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.
- The Indian Constitution provides for single citizenship. There is no state citizenship. Every Indian is a citizen of India and acknowledges the same rights of citizenship irrespective of the state he is residing in.
- The Constitution of India provides provisions for an independent judiciary. An independent and impartial judiciary with the power of judicial review has been established under the Constitution of India.
Schedules contain or provide additional information or provisions not given in the Articles. Initially, there were 8 Schedules in the Indian Constitution. However, due to constitutional amendments, the number of Schedules has increased. As a result, currently, there are 12 Schedules in the Constitution of India.
A list of Schedules is given below:
- 1st Schedule: List of States and Union Territories and territorial jurisdiction of states.
- 2nd Schedule: Allowances, privileges and emoluments of President, Governors, Supreme Court judges, etc.
- 3rd Schedule: Oaths and affirmations.
- 4th Schedule: Allocations of seats for states and union territories in the Rajya Sabha.
- 5th Schedule: Administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
- 6th Schedule: Administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
- 7th Schedule: Federal structure (a division of powers between the Union and the states, and three legislative lists.)
- 8th Schedule: 22 official languages.
- 9th Schedule: Land reforms and the abolition of the Zamindari system.
- 10th Schedule: Disqualification of the members on the ground of defection.
- 11th Schedule: Panchayats.
- 12th Schedule: Municipalities.
The Constitution of India has borrowed several provisions from various other Constitutions in the world. There are mainly 11 sources of the Indian Constitution:
- Australian Constitution
- Constitution of Canada
- Irish Constitution (Constitution of Ireland)
- Constitution of Japan
- Soviet Union (USSR) (now Russia)
- British Constitution (Constitution of UK)
- Constitution of United States
- Weiwar Constitution (Constitution of Germany)
- Constitution of South Africa
- Constitution of France
- Government of India Act, 1935
We have an excellent and easy law note that precisely mentions what features were borrowed from which country’s Constitution. Make sure you see this: 49 Features of Indian Constitution Taken From Other Countries.
The Preamble to the Indian Constitution outlines the main objectives that the legislation is intended to achieve. It serves as an introduction to the statute. It sets out the government’s structure as well as its ideals. The Preamble was given “the place of pride” by the framers of the Constitution.
Purpose or Objective of the Preamble
The Preamble of the Constitution of India serves the following purposes:
- It indicates the source of the Constitution. The Preamble precisely declares that it is the people of India who have adopted, enacted and given to themselves the Constitution.
- It embodies the enacting clause, which brings into force the Constitution.
- It further lays down the rights and freedoms available to all citizens.
- It also declares the type of government and polity which was to be established. It declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic.
Can the Preamble be Amended?
In the Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala AIR (1973) case, it was held that by virtue of amending power provided in Article 368, even the Preamble can be amended. However, it can only be amended subject to the condition that the basic structure of the Constitution is not destroyed.
1. Doctrine of Basic Structure With Landmark Judgements
2. 18 Most Important Amendments of the Indian Constitution
3. Amendment in the Indian Constitution – Procedure, Modes, and Types