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Indian Constitution – The supreme rule-book

Indian Constitution – The supreme rule-book

The Indian Constitution is the supreme rule-book that lays down the instructions to be followed for the governance of India. The Constitution of India is not an inert document but a living, dynamic reality and it deals with functioning institutions and it comes to have meaning only from how it is operated and by whom it is operated.

Emphasizing on the need for every citizen to discharge their fundamental duties diligently, the study of Constitution should be made compulsory at all levels of formal education in India.

When our Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946, a lot of debates and discussions happened, before the leaders came up with the final draft of the Constitution.

The final draft of the Indian Constitution, the longest in the world was adopted on 26 November 1949 after almost 2 years, 11 months and 18 days of meticulous drafting.

It was legally enforced on 26 January 1950, the day that we celebrate as Republic Day ever since.

Important Highlights of Indian Constitution

Preamble – An Identity Card of Indian Constitution

Preamble is considered to be the ID card of Indian Constitution. It declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic and a welfare state committed to secure justice, liberty and equality for the people and for promoting fraternity, dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation.

Fundamental Rights

The Constitution of India grants and guarantees Fundamental Rights to its citizens. The Constitution of India has permitted its citizens to enjoy certain basic rights, known as fundamental rights.

The Constitution of India puts forth six fundamental rights as basic rights; namely:

  • Right to Equality
  • Right to Freedom
  • Right against Exploitation
  • Right to Freedom of Religion
  • Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Right to Constitutional Remedies

Fundamental Duties

The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.

  1. To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;
  2. To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;
  3. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;
  4. To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;
  5. To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;
  6. To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
  7. To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures;
  8. To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;
  9. To safeguard public property and to abjure violence;
  10. To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement;
  11. Parent or guardian, must provide education opportunity to the children between the age of six to fourteen years.

Directive Principles of State Policy

A unique aspect of the Constitution is that these principles are in the nature of directives to the government to implement them to maintain social and economic democracy in the country.

It exemplifies important philosophies such as adequate means to livelihood, equal pay for men and women, distribution of wealth so as to serve the common good, free and compulsory primary education, right to work, public assistance in case of old age, unemployment, sickness and disablement, the organisation of village Panchayats, special care to the economically disadvantaged group in the country. Most of these principles make India, a welfare state.

Parliamentary System

The Constituent Assembly decided to promote Parliamentary form of government both for the Centre and the states. A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive branch derives its democratic legitimacy from the legislature and is also held responsible to that legislature. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is normally a different person from the head of the government.

Judicial Review

The judiciary holds an important position in the Indian Constitution and it is also made independent of the legislature and the executive. The Supreme Court of India stands at the peak of single integrated judicial system. It operates as the defender of fundamental rights of Indian citizens and the guardian of the Constitution.

The entire judicial system of India is systematized into a hierarchical order. Supreme Court is at the highest position of judicial administration below which there are high courts at the state level and district courts at the district level. All the courts of India are bound to accept the decisions of the Supreme Court.

To summarize, all these features of the Indian Constitution is suitable to the Indian environment. The Constitution aids India to organise and operate government and administration in an effective manner both in the times of peace and war. The basic structure of the Constitution and its most fundamental features are the Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, and the Directive Principles.