This article is written by Madhur Samriti Sharma, a student of ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad
The Constitution of India is known as an organic law. It is because it lays down a set of rules and laws which serves as a base for government, corporations, organizations and, citizens of the sovereign state. The constitution came on 26th January 1950. It starts with the Preamble which says that the citizens of India came together into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and Republic, Democratic and to secure to all its citizens. Before enacting the constitution, India was under control of the British rule. 200 years of slavery and torture came to an end with the Independence Day on 15th August 1947.
As evident and straightforward it is, the British government dominated India for over 200 years with extreme subjugation and persecution. The British administration have many acts and enactments for governance, which we shall read further:
Government of India Act, 1858: – When the British Crown took hegemony over India from the East India Company, the Parliament validated the first statute for the patronage under the direct control of the British Government. The act was influenced by the philosophy of total royal control without any sought-after engagement in the management of the country. By this act, the powers of the Royal were to be utilized by the Secretary of State for India, aided by a Council of fifteen members, and termed as the Council of India. The Council was incorporated of people from England, some of whom were applicants of the Royal while others were the agents of the Directors of the East India Company. The Secretary of State, who was in charge of the British Parliament, administered India through the Governor-General, supported by an Executive Council, which consisted of high officials of the Government. The important hallmarks of the system introduced by the Act of 1858 were: –
- The government of the Company was not only separate but immutably centralized.
- Though the administration of the country dissected into Provinces with a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor assisted by his Executive Council as the chief of each of them.
- The Provincial Governments were mere representatives of the Government of India and had to function under the charge and control of the Governor-General in all matters relating to the government of the Province.
- There was no separation of functions.
- The entire machinery of administration was bureaucratic, totally unconcerned about public opinion of India.
Indian Councils Act, 1861: – This act initiated a new section, which was so long comprised of exclusively of officials, should also include certain non-officials in the Council. But even after the enactment of this new Act the main and more important powers were kept for the Governor-General like: –
- Giving foregoing sanction Bills relating to certain matters, without which they could not be introduced in the Legislative Council.
- Vetoing the bills after they were passed or reserving them for consideration of the Crown.
Indian Councils Act, 1892: – Two improvements as regards the Indian and Provincial Legislative Councils were presented by the Indian Councils Act, 1892, i.e.
- The official members of the Indian Legislative Council were to be nominated by the Bengal Chamber and the Legislative Councils
- The non-official members were to be nominated by certain local bodies such as universities, district boards, municipalities;
- The Councils were to have the power of discussing the annual statement of revenue and expenditure.
There are other acts which gradually enacted after one another expanding the scope for the citizens and non-official members. Every act brought new legislation and amendments. Like Morley-Minto reforms and The Indian Councils Act, 1909 which was known by the names of the then Secretary of State for India (Lord Morley and the Viceroy Lord Minto) which was implemented by the Indian Councils Act introduced the element of vast representation of non-official members and elections; Montagu-Chelmsford Report and the Government of India Act, 1919 was another constitutional development of India as Morley-Minto Reforms failed to satisfy the aspirations of the nationalists. The Indian National Congress which was established in 1885 was in control of moderates but became active during World War I and started the ‘Home Rule Movement’. But every Act of amendment comes with a loop hole. After the non-cooperation movement by the nationalists, the British introduced the Simon Commission. It should be noted that even after all the reforms, acts or amendments The British Crown kept their authority to the highest and always. But after all the reforms, changes, martyr, torture, and then came Indian Independence Act, 1947. The following were the results: –
- Abolition of Indian Dependency and the suzerainty of the British Crown
- Sovereignty of the Dominion Legislature
Making of the Constitution
The Constituent Assembly which had been elected for unalloyed India, held its various sittings reading and finishing the constitution and it finally was the date 26th November, 1949, on which it was declared as passed. The features of the Indian Constitution were borrowed from different countries. The rest of the additional provisions effect, i.e. from November 26, 1949.
Classification of Constitutions
- Evolved and Enacted constitutions
- Legal and Real constitutions
- Written and Unwritten constitutions
- Flexible and Rigid constitutions
Evolved and Enacted constitutions: – An evolved constitution is the repercussion of the historical burgeoning. It is not mounted at a particular time. For instance, the British Constitution has either been passed by any exceptional Constituent Assembly at a specific time or has the ruler given it to the people. Natively, England is about a complete kingship still, but in practice her place is different. Enacted constitutions are framed at a specific time, like the American constitution mounted by a Constituent Assembly after the declaration of Independence. In France, the 1st constitution was made in 1830, 2nd was constituted in 1848, third was framed in 1871, 4th in 1946 and 5th in 1958. After the II World War, India’s new constitution was completed on November 26, 1949 and it was introduced on 26th January, 1950.
Legal and Real constitutions: – The scribbled components of the constitution constitute legal constitution and when the agreements and decisions of the court are added to it, it becomes the real constitution.
Written and Unwritten constitution: – According to DR. Garner, the dissimilarity between evolved and enacted constitution is similar to that of written and unwritten one. Unwritten is the one, in which the most part is not written like decisions, legal judgements, customs etc.
Flexible and Rigid constitutions: – A flexible constitution refers to which could be amended by ordinary law exercise. While rigid constitution refers to which could only be amended by a very difficult special procedure.
Constitution may come in different forms or shapes but still it acts as a parent for all rules and regulations of a state. It serves as a base of rights and duties served to citizens.
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