The founding fathers of our constitution studied the various constitutions available in the various countries of the World and picked up the selected principles which would be suitable to Indian social-political, economic, cultural, religious conditions. The Constitution of India have provided the Indian citizen the best of the things for leading a happy and peaceful life. Therefore, the basic features of it are as follows:-
The Preamble means Preface, Preliminary statement or an introduction to any literary work or scholarly work. It is the beginning remarks which takes the readers and the executors of the instructions towards guidance to performance. The Preamble to the Indian Constitution reveals the minds of the Indian Society though a divergent in nature. It reflects the sustaining goals of the Indian polity and the ideals are sought to be achieved through the medium of the Constitution.
2. The Lengthiest Written Constitution in the World
When Indian Constitution was prepared, it had 395 articles 9 schedules and 12 parts. It is most detailed written document. The USA constitution has only 7 articles, the Australian constitution has 128 articles and the Constitution of Canada has 147 articles. Indian Constitution gives the details of administrative machinery, execution, legislation and implementation details of the judiciary. The country like England has no written Constitution at all.
According to the Constitutional Amendment no 92 in the year, 2003, the Indian constitution is consisted of 447 Articles, 12 schedules and 26 parts.
3. Popular Sovereignty
It is clearly stated in the preamble that India is not under any outside control. It is a sovereign nation under the people. The people will have right to elect their representatives to rule for themselves to the government. Hence, India has a democratic system of government. Any citizen who is above 18 years of age irrespective of religion, creed, caste, region, property, rich or poor, man or woman can execute adult franchise and have his representive for his/her welfare. It is very of significant provision in the constitution that the person may be from dire poverty or from an Industrialist will have right to one vote and one vote will have one value. Therefore, popular sovereignly is very important feature of the Constitution of India.
4. Partly Rigid and Partly Flexible
When we read our constitutional document then we come to know that sometime, somewhere the articles of the constitution are very rigid to make any amendment and somewhere some articles are easily amended according to the situation exists. The article 368 of the Constitution provides for the amendment. At the same time, in case of Jammu & Kashmir, the parliament has got limited rights to intervene in the affairs of this state. As against this, during 57 yrs. there are 92 amendments have been made in the constitution and states like Nagaland , Sikkim, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh etc. have been newly created. Many articles are added according to the present context.
5. Provision of Fundamental Rights
The constitution of India guarantees the Fundamental Rights to every individual irrespective of birth, caste, creed, sex, religion, race, language, region, age, education, rich, poor etc: Articles from 12 upto 35 mentions of Fundamental Rights.
The Fundamental Rights are as follows:
- Right to Equality (equality before law for everyone)
- Right to Liberty (includes freedoms)
- Freedom of speech and expression;
- Freedom of assembly;
- Freedom of practice any profession or occupation ;
- Freedom of union or professional organization;
- Freedom of staying anywhere in India;
- Freedom of move anywhere in India;
- Right to freedom of Religion.
- Right against Exploitation.
- Cultural and Educational Rights.
- Right to Constitutional Remedies.
- Habeas Corpus
- Co-Warranto and
Thus by the provision of Fundamental Rights the constitution have woven the thread of unity of the Indians.
6. Fundamental Duties
The Constitution have also provided for the fundamental duties of each citizen/Nonetheless, when Fundamental Rights were specified, it was obvious that one should not violate other’s rights is the duty of everybody to be understood. But by the 42nd constitutional amendment in 1976, government clearly specified the Fundamental Duties.
7. Federal System with Unitary Bias
The Constitution has its supremacy over all the political governments. The powers have been divided among the various provinces and states between the Union Government It also provides for the single Citizenship. The Central and State governments must discharge their powers-and duties according to their subjects of legislation and execution. The Constitution have divided the subjects into three lists i.e. Central list, State list and concurrent list. Central list have 99 subjects, State list have 61 and Concurrent list 52 subjects as of now. It means that centre state can pass acts, make legislations only on the subjects listed in their list. So far subjects listed in the Concurrent list, both the Centre and State can make legislation on these subjects. But due to unitary biasness the legislation of Central government will be supreme over the state. It means we can experience the equal powershare between State and Federal government but regarding Emergency (due to Constitutional Breakdown) Centra! government can dissolve the State government may be with bias attitude.
8. Parliamentary Democracy
We have adopted the Parliamentary Democracy with President as its Constitutional and Executive head. It means that Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers is the representative of President. Therefore, it is said that President is the nominal head and real power of the Union Government is lying in Prime Minister.
Parliament is bicameral and consists of i) Loksabha and ii) Rajyasabha. These houses pass various laws, acts, with majority of the members of the Parliament.
9. Directive Principles of the State Policy
We find that these Principles are provided in the articles from 36 to 51. They are the extra legal instructions and guidelines to the political governments. The government is supposed to take note of those principles for the welfare of the people and achieve necessary conditions within the concept of welfare state. One can not go against the violation of these principles in the court of law. Despite governments must follow these instructions for succeeding the next tenure of power. Otherwise people will not get sucl” political parties elected in future by ballot boxes, e.g. Article 45 of the constitution provides for the free and compulsory education tc the children between the age 6 to 14. Then to provide education t< them is the moral responsibility of that state government. Hence government starts schools, appoints teachers, pays their salaries construct school buildings etc. Therefore this one of the feature ha got very significant role to play.
10. Principle of Secularism
The word ‘Secular’ is adopted in the Preamble of the Constitution 1976 by 42nd amendment. This means that state has no ‘Sta Religion1. At the same time government will not favour anybody religion and also not disfavor the religion of others. State will n interfere the religious affairs’of the. individual and will be neuti about it. Religioin is the private affairs. Accprding to former President of India R. Venkata Raman “India is not pro-religious, non-retigious and anti-religious” i.e. India in secular.
The religion will have no influence over any government. The citizens have got right to any religion, worship any God & Goddesses. It is only because of this constitutional secular nature of the state that led to become the President, Prime Minister from any religion or community.
11. Single Citizenship
The American Constitution has given its citizens the ‘Dual Citizenship’, one for the country and other from the representing state. Contrary to this Indian constitution provides only Single Citizenship i.e. only for the country and not for the state. It is due to multiplicity of the nature of Indians society that states should not have loyalties only to their States. Therefore, any person can inhabit in any part of the country, take education, join profession or occupation. We also introduce ourselves as ‘I am an Indian first.’ Single citizenship bounds the Indians into oneness and unity.
12. The Independent Judiciary
The Indian Constitution, among its three major bodies of Legislature, Executive and Judiciary; more rights and freedoms are given to the Judiciary. The rules and laws and reulations regarding the appointments and rights and powers of the Judiciary i.e. Supreme Court, High Court and Subsequent courts and their judges having been clearly stated in the constitution. The judiciary have been kept tally out of the purview of the legislation and executive body. The Judgement given by the judiciary becomes the law.
13. The Judicial Review
The Supreme Court and the High Courts are the guardians of the Constitution. They have also got right to interpret the provision of the constitution. Therefore, government before passing any act or law undergoes investigation into the constitution and takes care that there would not be violation of the constitutional provisions. It happens sometimes that Parliament Councils & Assemblies may be wrong in passing any act against which one can ask the Courts of law to review the decisions taken by the governments. The Supreme court and the High Court can declare such law null and void or unconstitutional if it goes against constitutional provisions.
14. End of Old Order and Rise of New Order
Our Indian constitution is revolutionary in true sense of the term. Since ancient times & for thousands of years, the power was administered by the provision in Manusmriti, instead, now it runs with provisions of Constitution. The Constitution guarantees equality, liberty, fraternity, justice, equal opportunity etc. which were denied to certain section of the society. Now, there is no discrimination based on sex, caste, creed, religion language, region, rich, poor etc. The Constitution has abolished untouchability and termed it as an offence punishable. It also protects women, children and historically deprived or depressed classes. Hence the Old Order of Mansmirti have gone and the New Order of the constitution has risen.
15. Adoption of Good Principles from Others
The architects of the constitutions knew the constitutional provision of the many countries. Hence, after lots of study they adopted certain good principles from the constitutions of other nations of the world.