Best Notes – Introduction of the Indian Constitution

The Indian Constitution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, is framed and given to themselves by the people of India. It came into full operation with effect from 26 January 1950. Originally adopted Constitution had 22 parts, 395 articles and 8 schedules. Since its adoption:

  • There have been as many as 94 amendments
  • From 8 the number of schedules has gone up to 12
  • The number of articles has increased from 395 to 448
  • News Parts (Parts IVA, IXA, XIVA) have been added to the Constitution
Indian Constitution

Sources of the Indian Constitution

The source of the Indian Constitution are diverse and many. These are both indigenous and foreign. Nearly, 75 percent of the Constitution can be said to be a reproduction of the Government of India Act, 1935 with suitable adaptations and modifications. Besides the indigenous sources, many prominent features of the Constitution were also borrowed from foreign sources which include Irish, British and US constitutions.

Indigenous Sources

  • Demand for some of the Fundamental Rights was made as early as in 1918 at the Bombay session of the Indian National Congress
    a) The Commonwealth of India Bill in 1925 embodied a specific “declaration of rights” including equality before law, freedom of speech, assembly and religions, etc.
  • The Madras session of the Congress in 1927 reiterated the demand for fundamental rights.
  • 10 of the 19 fundamental rights incorporated in the Nehru Committee Report (1928) appeared in the Constitution of India substantially unchanged. Other provisions like safeguards for minorities, federal polity could also be traced back to Nehru Committee Report.
  • The Karachi Congress Resolution of 1931 also made references to fundamental rights and fundamental duties.

Foreign Sources

  • Directive Principles was borrowed from the Irish Constitution
  • Parliamentary system with ministerial responsibility to the legislature was adopted from the British Constitution
  • The posts and powers of the President and vice-President were based on the US Constitution
  • Fundamental Rights were inspired by the bills of Rights of the US Constitution
  • The Canadian Constitution influenced our Federal Structure and provisions relating to Union-State relations
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Parts of the Indian Constitution

In this section the articles in the constitution are grouped as follows:

  • Part I β€” States and union territories
  • Part II β€” Citizenship
  • Part III β€” Fundamental Rights
  • Part IV β€” Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Part IVA β€” Fundamental Duties
  • Part V β€”The Union
  • Part VI β€” The States
  • Part VII β€” States in Part B of the first schedule (repealed)
  • Part VIII β€” Union Territories
  • Part IX β€” Panchayats
  • Part IXA β€” Municipalities
  • Part IXB β€” Co-operative societies
  • Part Xβ€” Scheduled and tribal areas
  • Pan XI β€” Relations between the union and the states
  • Part XII β€” Finance, property, contracts and suits
  • Part XIII β€” Trade and commerce within India
  • Part XIV β€” Services under the union and states
  • Part XIVA β€” Tribunals
  • Part XV β€” Elections
  • Part XVI β€” Special provisions relating to certain classes
  • Part XVII β€” Languages
  • Part XVIII β€” Emergency provisions
  • Part XIX β€” Miscellaneous
  • Part XX β€” Amending the constitution
  • Part XXI β€” Temporary, transitional and special provisions
  • Part XXII β€” Short title, date of commencement, authoritative text in Hindi and repeals

The Preamble, with the words “socialist” and “secular”, and ‘integrity’ was added in 1976 by the 42nd amendment.

Schedules of the Indian Constitution

Schedules are basically categories that facilitate governance and policies.

  • First Schedule (Articles 1, 4) β€” Includes States and UTs, changes in their borders and the laws used to make that change.
  • Second Schedule (Articles 59(3), 65(3), 75(6), 97, 125, 148(3), 158(3), 164(5), 186 and 221) β€” Includes the salaries of public officials, judges, and the CAG.
  • Third Schedule (Articles 75(4), 99, 124(6), 148(2), 164(3), 188 and 219) β€” Forms of oaths β€” Includes the oaths of office for elected officials and judges.
  • Fourth Schedule (Articles 4(1) and 80(2)) β€” Includes details the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of Parliament) by state or union territory.
  • Fifth Schedule (Article 244(1)) β€” Includes provisions for the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes (requiring special protection).
  • Sixth Schedule (Articles 244(2) and 275(1)) β€” Includes provisions made for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • Seventh Schedule (Article 246) β€” Includes Central government, state, and concurrent lists of responsibilities
  • Eighth Schedule (Articles 344 (1) and 351) β€” Includes Official languages
  • Ninth Schedule (Article 31 -B) β€” Includes validation of certain acts and regulations
  • Tenth Schedule (Articles 102 (2), 191 (2)) β€” Includes Anti-defection provisions for MPs and MIAs.
  • Eleventh Schedule (Article 243-G) β€” Panchayat Raj (rural local government)
  • Twelfth Schedule (Article 243-W) β€” Municipalities (urban local government).

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Important Amendments of the Indian Constitution

As of August 2021, there has been so far 105 amendments to the Indian Constitution (since it was first enacted in 1950). There are three types of amendments to the Indian Constitution of which the second and third type of amendments are governed by Article 368. The first type of amendments includes that can be passed by “simple majority”, in each house of the Parliament of India. The second type of amendments includes that can be effected by the parliament by a prescribed “special majority” in each house. The third type of amendments includes those that require, in addition to such “special majority” in each house of the parliament, ratification by at least one-half of the State Legislatures.

Types of Amendments

The Indian Constitution is the most amended national constitution in the world.

There are three types of amendments to the Indian Constitution of which the second and third type of amendments are governed by Article 368.

The first type of amendments includes that can be passed by “simple majority” in each house of the Parliament of India.

The second type of amendments includes that can be effected by the parliament by a prescribed “special majority” in each house; and

The third type of amendments includes those that require, in addition to such “special majority” in each house of the parliament, ratification b at least one-half of the State Legislatures.

1st Amendment (1951): Added Ninth Schedule. This amendment provided several new grounds of restrictions to the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to practice any profession or to carry on any trade or business as contained in Article 19 of the Constitution.

7th Amendment (1956): Re-organisation of States (14 States, 6 UTs).

9th Amendment (1961): Gave effect to the transfer of certain territories to Pakistan in pursuance of the agreement between the Governments of India and Pakistan.

31st Amendment (1973): The total strength of Lok Sabha was increased from 525 to 545 (on the basis of the Census 1971)

38th Amendment (1975): It sought to make a declaration of Emergency non-judiciable and placed beyond the jurisdiction of courts, the Ordinances and Proclamation of Emergency issued by the President and Governors.

39th Amendment (1975): Placed beyond judicial scrutiny, the election of President, PM and Chairman to either House of Parliament.

42nd Amendment (1976): The working of the Preamble was changed from “Sovereign Democratic Republic” to read as: Sovereign Socialist, Secular Democratic Republic” and changed the description “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation”. It laid down 10 Fundamental Duties for all citizens.

44th Amendment (1978): The restoration of life of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies to 5 years.

52nd Amendment (1985): Added 10th Schedule which contains provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection.

61st Amendment (1989): Reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 years.

73rd Amendment (1992): Panchayati Raj Bill passed. Constitution of panchayats at village and other levels. Direct elections to all seats in Panchayats and reservation of seats for the SCs and STs and fixing of tenure of 5 years for Panchayats.

74th Amendment (1993): Nagarpalika bill passed. A new Part IX-A relating to the Municipalities was incorporated in the Constitution of 3 types of Municipalities, i.e., Nagar panchayats for areas in transition from a rural area to urban area, Municipal Corporations for larger urban areas. Reservation of seats for SC, ST and women.

85th Amendment (2001): Amended Article 16(4A) to provide for consequential seniority in promotion by virtue of rule of reservation for the government servants belonging to the SCs and STs.

86th Amendment (2002): It provides for (i) insertion of a new article 21 A that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.

88th Amendment (2003): It provides for the insertion of a new Article 268A which states that taxes on services shall be levied by the Government of India and such tax shall be collected and appropriated by the Govt. of India and the States in the manner provided in clause (2).

89th Amendment (2003): It provides for the amendment of Article 338 and insertion of a new article 338A which provides that there shall be a National commission for ST.

91st Amendment (2003): It provides that the total number of Ministers, including the PM, in the Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Lok Sabha.

93rd Amendment (2005): In this Amendment, a provision has been inserted that the State (i.e., parliament or other legislatures) can make laws for the advancement of the SC, ST or the OBCs of citizens in matters of admission to educational institutions, including private unaided institutions.

95th Amendment (2010): Extended the reservation of SC and ST seats in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies from 60 to 70 years.

99th Amendment (2015): It provides for formation of a National Judicial Appointment Commission.

100th Amendment (2015): It provides for amending First Schedule, that deals with acquisition of certain territories of Bangladesh following agreement between India and Bangladesh.

101st Amendment (2017): The Constitutional 101st Amendment Act, 2016, contains the provisions necessary for the implementation of GST Regime. The amendment Act contains 20 amendments. The important changes made in constitution (new articles / amended articles) via this law are Article 246 (A), Article 269A, and Article 279-A. Changes in the 7th Schedule are in the Union List and State List.

102nd Amendment (2018): It gives constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes addition of Articles 338B, 342A and a Clause 26C. It removed Article 340 and modified Article 338 and 366.

103rd Amendment (2019): The Reservation Act provides for a maximum of 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of citizens of classes other the classes mentioned in Clauses 4 & 5 of Article 15 (other than socially and educationally backward SCs and STs) and in amendment added Clause 6 under Article 15 and Clause 6 under Article 16.

104th Amendment 2020: To extend the reservation of seats for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha (State Assemblies) from 70 years to 80 years. It removed the reserved seat for the Anglo-Indian community in the LS and State Assemblies. The amendment of Article 334 was passed on 25th January.

105th Amendment (2021): It restores the power of State Governments to identify and specify Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBCs). It received the assent of the President of India. The Constitution (127th amendment) Bill 2021 was passed by the Parliament on 11th August, 2021.


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