Chapter 3: SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION
Lengthiest written constitution:
465 articles [25 parts] and 12 schedules. This can be due
to vast geographic factors, vast historical factors,
single constitution for centre and states, dominance of
legal luminaries in the assembly.
Drawn from various constitutions of
the world: Structural part [GoI Act, 1935],
political part [British constitution].
Partly rigid and flexible
Federal with unitary bias: There
are certain federal features of the constitution viz. Two
governments, separation of powers, bicameralism, written
constitution – rigid and supreme, independent judiciary.
The non federal features are strong centre, singe
constitution, single citizenship, no equal representation
to states in upper house, destructible states, states
can’t cede from union, integrated audit, election
machinery. All India service, appointment of governor and
veto over state bills.
Parliamentary form of government:
Indian democracy is based on Westminster model i.e.
Leadership of PM, dissolution of lower house, dual
membership of Executive, Legislature is supreme, Majority
party rule. However some differences between Indian and
British systems are Indian Parliament isn’t sovereign body
unlike British and President isn’t a hereditary head but
Balance between Judicial and
Parliamentary supremacy: Indian constitution
has mentioned “Procedure established by law” which reduces
judicial review by courts unlike in USA [“due process of
Indian courts can invalidate laws only if they are
unconstitutional, but parliament can use its constituent
power to amend the constitution.
Integrated and independent judiciary:
A single system of courts enforces for both union
and state laws. Independence of courts is ensured by
security of tenure, protection against arbitrary removal,
all expense charged on the consolidated fund, ban on
employment after retirement, contempt of court.
Justifiable by courts. Guarantee political democracy.
Inspired by USA
constitution. Protect against arbitrary laws of
legislature and tyranny of
executive. The courts can issue writs to enforce these
rights. These can be suspended during
emergency. However reasonable restrictions can be placed
on these rights.
Directive principles of state
policy: These are non justifiable, non
enforceable by courts. They are meant to
promote social, economic democracy. They are inspired by
They are also part of Instrument of instructions in GoI
Fundamental duties: These
were added by the 42nd amendment. They are
inspired from Russian
constitution. They are non justifiable and non
enforceable by courts.
Secular state: This word
added to the preamble by 42nd amendment.
Western concept of
secularism “Separation of church and state” doesn’t
apply to India due to its
multi-religious nature. Indian secularism is positive
“State shall treat all
Universal franchise: This
unanimously agreed by the constituent assembly. All
people above age 18
[reduced from 21 by 61st constitution
amendment] can vote. This
ensures broad based participation in the democracy.
of state in which they are born or reside all people
enjoy same political
Independent bodies: Certain
have been created like CAG, EC, and UPSC etc.
Emergency provision: To
protect sovereignty, security, integrity, unity
constitution has certain
emergency powers. During emergencies, centre becomes all
powerful and states go
into its total control. This converts federal structure
into unitary without
formal amendment to the constitution [unique feature].
Constitutional recognition to local
governments [73rd, 74th
amendment] is also unique to India.
Inspired from other constitutions
Fundamental rights – USA
Fundamental duties – USSR
Directive principles – Irish
Procedure established by law –
of Indian federation,
residuary powers – Canada
Procedure to amend constitution –
Emergency powers – Germany
Concurrent list – Australia
Liberty, equality, fraternity –
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