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Year:
2019
Edition:
6th
Publisher:
Mc Graw Hill
Language:
english
Pages:
1533
ISBN 10:
9389538475
ISBN 13:
9789389538472
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INDIAN POLITY

For Civil Services and Other State
Examinations

Sixth Edition

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
M Laxmikanth obtained his postgraduate degree in Political
Science from Osmania University in 1989. He is the former
founder and director of an erstwhile coaching institute called
Laxmikanth’s IAS Academy, Hyderabad. Other books authored by
him include Governance in India, Objective Indian Polity,
Public Administration and Constitution of India.

INDIAN POLITY

For Civil Services and Other State
Examinations

Sixth Edition

M Laxmikanth
Former Founder-Director
Laxmikanth’s IAS Academy (Closed)
Hyderabad

McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited

Published by McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited
444/1, Sri Ekambara Naicker Industrial Estate, Alapakkam, Porur, Chennai 600 116
Indian Polity, 6/e
Copyright © 2020, 2017, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2004, McGraw Hill Education
(India) Private Limited.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or
by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior
written permission of the publishers. The program listings (if any) may be
entered, stored and executed in a computer system, but they may not be
reproduced for publication.
This edition can be exported from India only by the publishers,
McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 7101351 23 22 21 20 19
Printed and bound in India
ISBN (13): 978-93-89538-47-2
ISBN (10): 93-89538-47-5
Information contained in this work has been obtained by McGraw Hill
Education (India), from sources believed to be reliable. However, neither
McGraw Hill Education (India) nor its authors guarantee the accuracy or
completeness of any information published herein, and neither McGraw
Hill Education (India) nor its authors shall be responsible for any errors,
omissions, or damages arising out of use of this information. This work is
published with the understanding that McGraw Hill Education (India) and
i; ts authors are supplying information but are not attempting to render
engineering or other professional services. If such services are required,
the assistance of an appropriate professional should be sought.
Typeset at TNQ Technologies Pvt. Ltd., 4/600, Phase II, Dr Vikram
Sarabhai Instronics Estate, Kottivakkam, Chennai 600 041 and printed at
Rajkamal Electric Press, Plot No. No. 2, Phase-IV, Kundli, Haryana.
Cover Designer: Creative Designer

DQBLCDLTDLXBD
visit us at: www.mheducation.co.in
Write to us at: info.india@mheducation.com
CIN: U80302TN2010PTC111532
Toll Free Number: 1800 103 5875

Dedicated
to
My Wife
Mamadgi Vidya
and
My Daughters
Mamadgi Anjali
Mamadgi Aishwarya
and
My Native Place
Dhanasiri (Zaheerabad – Telangana)

Preface to the
Sixth Edition

I

am pleased to place before the readers a thoroughly revised,
enlarged and updated edition of this widely read book on Indian
Polity.
In 2011 and 2013, the UPSC changed the pattern and syllabus
of the preliminary and main examinations, respectively. Both
times, the scope of Indian Polity has been considerably increased.
Hence, this new edition of the book is more relevant now and is
aimed to meet the expanded needs of the aspirants.
In the course of revision and updation of this edition of the
book, various new developments related to the subject, like recent
constitutional amendments, parliamentary legislations, executive
decisions and supreme court judgments, have been taken into
account.
Changes in this Edition:
1. Addition of 6 new chapters.
2. Inclusion of 2017, 2018 and 2019 preliminary questions with
answers.
3. Inclusion of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 mains questions.
4. Updation of the year-wise break-up of the UPSC questions
in the preliminary and main examinations.
5. Inclusion of additional updated information on a number of
topics.
6. New items included in various chapters.
New Chapters:
1. Goods and Services Tax Council
2. National Commission for Backward Classes
3. National Investigation Agency
4. National Disaster Management Authority
5. Role of Regional Parties
6. Coalition Government

I firmly believe that this is now a very comprehensive and
updated manual. It is a matter of immense satisfaction that the
previous five editions of this book have received an overwhelming
response from readers. I am confident that readers would
continue to repose their faith in this edition as well.
Constructive comments and concrete suggestions to further
improve the book are welcome and shall be gratefully
acknowledged.
M. LAXMIKANTH

Preface to the
First Edition

I

have great pleasure in placing this book before the aspirants of
the top administrative services. The book has been written to
meet the growing requirements of the candidates appearing for
the Civil Services Examinations (Preliminary and Main) conducted
by the Union Public Service Commission. It directly and fully
covers the Indian Polity section of the paper on General Studies
and is also useful for certain optional subjects like Public
Administration, Political Science, Law, Sociology and
Anthropology.
This comprehensive volume would enable the readers to
acquire a complete and detailed understanding of the subject. It
covers all dimensions (constitutional, non-constitutional, political
and administrative) of the subject. My first-hand experience of
coaching the candidates for the Civil Services Examinations has
been a great source of inspiration and has helped me immensely
in writing this book.
An effort has been made to make the contents of the book
relevant, authentic, and up-to-date. The constitutional provisions
are explained in the light of the debates of the Constituent
Assembly of India as well as the judgements of the Supreme
Court and the high courts. I have also used tables to make the
presentation more clear. The Appendices, provided at the end of
the book, serve as a reference section.
I welcome all constructive comments and concrete suggestions
from the readers of this book.
M. LAXMIKANTH

Acknowledgements

D

uring the course of writing this book, I have received help,
encouragement and assistance from my teachers, students,
family members, colleagues, friends, library staff and others.
I am thankful to all of them.
I am particularly grateful to my wife, Smt. M. Vidya, for the
encouragement and support that she provided during the
preparation of the book.
I am deeply indebted to the eminent political scientists and
constitutional experts (Granville Austin, Moris Jones, K.C.
Wheare, Rajni Kothari, Paul Appleby, K. Santhanam, N.A.
Palkhivala, Soli Sorabji, D.D. Basu, V.N. Shukla, M.P. Jain,
Subhash Kashyap) and other scholars of repute whose valuable
works have been highly useful in the writing of this book.
My thanks are also due to Mr. Tanmoy Roychowdhury, Mr.
Deepak Singh, Ms. Shukti Mukherjee, Ms. Shalini Jha, Ms.
Shreya Soni and Ms. Anjali Chakravarty of McGraw Hill India
Private Limited for their unstinted cooperation in bringing out this
updated edition on time.
M. LAXMIKANTH

Year-Wise Break-up of the UPSC
Questions on Indian Polity
(General Studies—Prelims)
Sl.No.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.

Year
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019

No. of Questions Asked
12
12
19
19
22
10
13
12
13
14
10
12
20
18
13
15
06
22
15
15

Note I: In 2011, the UPSC changed the pattern and syllabus of
the Preliminary Examination. In the new scheme, the Indian Polity
section has been renamed as “Indian Polity and Governance”. It
covers Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public
Policy, Rights Issues, etc. Also, now each question carries two
marks (previously one mark).
Note II: In the above table, the number of questions asked on
“Governance” (since 2011) are also included.

Year-Wise Break-up of the UPSC
Marks on Indian Polity
(General Studies—Mains)
Sl.No.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.

Year
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019

No. of Questions Asked
130
100
130
100
100
100
100
100
130
66
66
111
47
100
88
100
112
110
125
125

Note I: In 2013, the UPSC changed the pattern and syllabus of
the Main Examination. In the new scheme, a separate and full
paper on “Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and
International Relations” has been introduced. It carries 250 marks.
Note II: In the above table, the number of marks allotted to the
questions relating to the “Governance Social Justice and
International Relations” (since 2013) are not included.

About the Civil Services
Examination
The Civil Services examination comprises two successive
stages:
(i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) for
the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and
(ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for
the selection of candidates for the various services and posts.
Scheme and
Examination.

subjects

for

the

Preliminary

and

Main

A. PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION
The Examination shall comprise two compulsory Papers of 200
marks each.
Note:
(i) Both the question papers will be of the objective type (multiple
choice questions).
(ii) The question papers will be set both in Hindi and English.
However, questions relating to English Language
Comprehension Skills of Class X level will be tested through
passages from English language only without providing Hindi
translation thereof in the question paper.

B. MAIN EXAMINATION
The written examination will consist of the following papers:
Qualifying Papers:
Paper A: (One of the Indian Language to be selected by the
candidate from the Languages included in the Eighth Schedule to
the Constitution).
300 Marks
Paper B: English
300 Marks

The papers on Indian Languages and English (Paper A and Paper
B) will be of Matriculation or equivalent standard and will be of
qualifying nature. The marks obtained in these papers will not be
counted for ranking.
Papers to be counted for merit
Paper I: Essay
250 Marks
Paper II: General Studies–I
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World
and Society)
250 Marks
Paper III: General Studies –II
250 Marks
(Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International
Relations)
Paper IV: General Studies –III
250 Marks
(Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment,
Security and Disaster Management)
Paper V: General Studies –IV
250 Marks
(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)
Paper VI: Optional Subject – Paper 1
250 Marks
Paper VII: Optional Subject – Paper 2
250 Marks
Sub Total (Written test):
1750 Marks
Personality Test:
275 Marks
Grand Total:
2025 Marks
Candidates may choose any one of the optional subjects
from amongst the list of subjects given below:

List of optional subjects for Main Examination:
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
(v)
(vi)
(vii)
(viii)
(ix)
(x)
(xi)
(xii)
(xiii)
(xiv)
(xv)
(xvi)
(xvii)
(xviii)
(xix)
(xx)
(xxi)
(xxii)
(xxiii)
(xxiv)
(xxv)
(xxvi)

Agriculture
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science
Anthropology
Botany
Chemistry
Civil Engineering
Commerce and Accountancy
Economics
Electrical Engineering
Geography
Geology
History
Law
Management
Mathematics
Mechanical Engineering
Medical Science
Philosophy
Physics
Political Science and International Relations
Psychology
Public Administration
Sociology
Statistics
Zoology
Literature of any one of the following

Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada,
Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali,
Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and
English.

Contents
Preface to the Sixth Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Acknowledgements
Year-Wise Break-up of the UPSC Questions on Indian Polity
(General Studies—Prelims)
Year-Wise Break-up of the UPSC Marks on Indian Polity (General
Studies—Mains)
About the Civil Services Examination
List of Tables
PART-I
Constitutional Framework
1

Historical Background
The Company Rule (1773–1858)
The Crown Rule (1858–1947)
Notes and References

2

Making of the Constitution
Demand for a Constituent Assembly
Composition of the Constituent Assembly
Working of the Constituent Assembly
Committees of the Constituent Assembly
Enactment of the Constitution
Enforcement of the Constitution
Experts Committee of the Congress
Criticism of the Constituent Assembly
Important Facts
Hindi Text of the Constitution
Notes and References

3

Salient Features of the Constitution
Salient Features of the Constitution
Criticism of the Constitution
Notes and References

4

Preamble of the Constitution
Text of the Preamble
Ingredients of the Preamble
Key Words in the Preamble
Significance of the Preamble
Preamble as Part of the Constitution
Amendability of the Preamble
Notes and References

5

Union and its Territory
Union of States
Parliament’s Power to Reorganise the States
Exchange of Territories with Bangladesh
Evolution of States and Union Territories
Notes and References

6

Citizenship
Meaning and Significance
Constitutional Provisions
Citizenship Act, 1955
Single Citizenship
Overseas Citizenship of India
Notes and References

7

Fundamental Rights
Features of Fundamental Rights
Definition of State
Laws Inconsistent with Fundamental Rights
Right to Equality
Right to Freedom

Right Against Exploitation
Right to Freedom of Religion
Cultural and Educational Rights
Right to Constitutional Remedies
Writs—Types and Scope
Armed Forces and Fundamental Rights
Martial Law and Fundamental Rights
Effecting Certain Fundamental Rights
Present Position of Right to Property
Exceptions to Fundamental Rights
Criticism of Fundamental Rights
Significance of Fundamental Rights
Rights Outside Part III
Notes and References
8

Directive Principles of State Policy
Features of the Directive Principles
Classification of the Directive Principles
New Directive Principles
Sanction Behind Directive Principles
Criticism of the Directive Principles
Utility of Directive Principles
Conflict Between Fundamental Rights and Directive
Principles
Implementation of Directive Principles
Directives Outside Part IV
Notes and References

9

Fundamental Duties
Swaran Singh Committee Recommendations
List of Fundamental Duties
Features of the Fundamental Duties
Criticism of Fundamental Duties
Significance of Fundamental Duties

Verma Committee Observations
Notes and References
10 Amendment of the Constitution
Procedure for Amendment
Types of Amendments
Criticism of the Amendment Procedure
Notes and References
11 Basic Structure of the Constitution
Emergence of the Basic Structure
Elements of the Basic Structure
Notes and References
PART-II
System of Government
12 Parliamentary System
Features of Parliamentary Government
Features of Presidential Government
Merits of the Parliamentary System
Demerits of the Parliamentary System
Reasons for Adopting Parliamentary System
Distinction between Indian and British Models
Notes and References
13 Federal System
Federal Features of the Constitution
Unitary Features of the Constitution
Critical Evaluation of the Federal System
Notes and References
14 Centre–State Relations
Legislative Relations
Administrative Relations

Financial Relations
Trends in Centre–State Relations
Notes and References
15 Inter-State Relations
Inter-State Water Disputes
Inter-State Councils
Public Acts, Records and Judicial Proceedings
Inter-State Trade and Commerce
Zonal Councils
Notes and References
16 Emergency Provisions
National Emergency
President’s Rule
Financial Emergency
Criticism of the Emergency Provisions
Notes and References
PART-III
Central Government
17 President
Election of the President
Qualifications, Oath and Conditions
Term, Impeachment and Vacancy
Powers and Functions of the President
Veto Power of the President
Ordinance-Making Power of the President
Pardoning Power of the President
Constitutional Position of the President
Notes and References
18 Vice-President
Election

Qualifications, Oath and Conditions
Term and Vacancy
Powers and Functions
Indian and American Vice-Presidents Compared
Notes and References
19 Prime Minister
Appointment of the Prime Minister
Oath, Term and Salary
Powers and Functions of the Prime Minister
Role Descriptions
Relationship with the President
Chief Ministers who became Prime Ministers
Notes and References
20 Central Council of Ministers
Constitutional Provisions
Nature of Advice by Ministers
Appointment of Ministers
Oath and Salary of Ministers
Responsibility of Ministers
Composition of the Council of Ministers
Council of Ministers vs Cabinet
Role of Cabinet
Role Descriptions
Kitchen Cabinet
Notes and References
21 Cabinet Committees
Features of Cabinet Committees
List of Cabinet Committees
Functions of Cabinet Committees
Groups of Ministers
Notes and References

22 Parliament
Organisation of Parliament
Composition of the Two Houses
System of Elections to Lok Sabha
Duration of Two Houses
Membership of Parliament
Presiding Officers of Parliament
Leaders in Parliament
Sessions of Parliament
Devices of Parliamentary Proceedings
Legislative Procedure in Parliament
Joint Sitting of Two Houses
Budget in Parliament
Multifunctional Role of Parliament
Ineffectiveness of Parliamentary Control
Position of Rajya Sabha
Parliamentary Privileges
Sovereignty of Parliament
Notes and References
23 Parliamentary Committees
Meaning
Classification
Financial Committees
Departmental Standing Committees
Committees to Inquire
Committees to Scrutinise and Control
Committees Relating to the Day-to-Day Business of the
House
House-Keeping Committees
Consultative Committees
Notes and References
24 Parliamentary Forums

Establishment of the Forums
Objectives of the Forums
Composition of the Forums
Functions of the Forums
Notes and References
25 Parliamentary Group
Rationale of the Group
Composition of the Group
Objectives of the Group
Functions of the Group
The Group and IPU
The Group and CPA
Notes and References
26 Supreme Court
Composition and Appointment
Qualifications, Oath and Salaries
Tenure and Removal
Acting, Adhoc and Retired Judges
Seat and Procedure
Independence of Supreme Court
Jurisdiction and Powers of Supreme Court
Supreme Court Advocates
Notes and References
27 Judicial Review
Meaning of Judicial Review
Importance of Judicial Review
Constitutional Provisions for Judicial Review
Scope of Judicial Review
Judicial Review of the Ninth Schedule
Notes and References
28 Judicial Activism

Meaning of Judicial Activism
Judicial Review and Judicial Activism
Justification of Judicial Activism
Activators of Judicial Activism
Apprehensions of Judicial Activism
Judicial Activism vs. Judicial Restraint
Notes and References
29 Public Interest Litigation
Meaning of PIL
Features of PIL
Scope of PIL
Principles of PIL
Guidelines for Admitting PIL
Notes and References
PART-IV
State Government
30 Governor
Appointment of Governor
Conditions of Governor’s Office
Term of Governor’s Office
Powers and Functions of Governor
Constitutional Position of Governor
Notes and References
31 Chief Minister
Appointment of Chief Minister
Oath, Term and Salary
Powers and Functions of Chief Minister
Relationship with the Governor
Notes and References
32 State Council of Ministers

Constitutional Provisions
Nature of Advice by Ministers
Appointment of Ministers
Oath and Salary of Ministers
Responsibility of Ministers
Composition of the Council of Ministers
Cabinet
Notes and References
33 State Legislature
Organisation of State Legislature
Composition of Two Houses
Duration of Two Houses
Membership of State Legislature
Presiding Officers of State Legislature
Sessions of State Legislature
Legislative Procedure in State Legislature
Position of Legislative Council
Privileges of State Legislature
Notes and References
34 High Court
Composition and Appointment
Qualifications, Oath and Salaries
Tenure, Removal and Transfer
Acting, Additional and Retired Judges
Independence of High Court
Jurisdiction and Powers of High Court
Notes and References
35 Tribunals
Administrative Tribunals
Tribunals for Other Matters
Notes and References

36 Subordinate Courts
Constitutional Provisions
Structure and Jurisdiction
National Legal Services Authority
Lok Adalats
Permanent Lok Adalats
Family Courts
Gram Nyayalayas
Notes and References
37 Special Provisions for Some States
Provisions for Maharashtra and Gujarat
Provisions for Nagaland
Provisions for Assam and Manipur
Provisions for Andhra Pradesh or Telangana
Provisions for Sikkim
Provisions for Mizoram
Provisions for Arunachal Pradesh and Goa
Provisions for Karnataka
Notes and References
PART-V
Local Government
38 Panchayati Raj
Evolution of Panchayati Raj
73rd Amendment Act of 1992
Compulsory and Voluntary Provisions
PESA Act of 1996 (Extension Act)
Finances of Panchayati Raj
Reasons for Ineffective Performance
Notes and References
39 Municipalities

Evolution of Urban Bodies
74th Amendment Act of 1992
Types of Urban Governments
Municipal Personnel
Municipal Revenue
Central Council of Local Government
Notes and References
PART-VI
Union Territories and Special Areas
40 Union Territories
Creation of Union Territories
Administration of Union Territories
Special Provisions for Delhi
Advisory Committees of Union Territories
Notes and References
41 Scheduled and Tribal Areas
Administration of Scheduled Areas
Administration of Tribal Areas
Notes and References
PART-VII
Constitutional Bodies
42 Election Commission
Composition
Independence
Powers and Functions
Vision, Mission and Principles
Notes and References
43 Union Public Service Commission
Composition

Removal
Independence
Functions
Limitations
Role
Notes and References
44 State Public Service Commission
Composition
Removal
Independence
Functions
Limitations
Role
Joint State Public Service Commission
Notes and References
45 Finance Commission
Composition
Functions
Advisory Role
Notes and References
46 Goods and Services Tax Council
Establishment of the Council
Vision and Mission of the Council
Composition of the Council
Working of the Council
Functions of the Council
Other Functions of the Council
Notes and References
47 National Commission for SCs
Evolution of the Commission
Functions of the Commission

Report of the Commission
Powers of the Commission
Notes and References
48 National Commission for STs
Separate Commission for STs
Functions of the Commission
Other Functions of the Commission
Report of the Commission
Powers of the Commission
Notes and References
49 National Commission for BCs
Establishment of the Commission
Functions of the Commission
Report of the Commission
Powers of the Commission
Notes and References
50 Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
Constitutional Provisions
Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities
Role of the Commissioner
Vision and Mission
Functions and Objectives
Notes and References
51 Comptroller and Auditor General of India
Appointment and Term
Independence
Duties and Powers
Role
Cag and Corporations
Appleby’s Criticism
Notes and References

52 Attorney General of India
Appointment and Term
Duties and Functions
Rights and Limitations
Solicitor General of India
Notes and References
53 Advocate General of the State
Appointment and Term
Duties and Functions
Notes and References
PART-VIII
Non-Constitutional Bodies
54 NITI Aayog
Establishment
Rationale
Composition
Specialised Wings
Objectives
Functions
Guiding Principles
Cooperative Federalism
Criticism
Attached Offices
Erstwhile Planning Commission
National Development Council
Notes and References
55 National Human Rights Commission
Establishment of the Commission
Composition of the Commission
Functions of the Commission

Working of the Commission
Role of the Commission
Performance of the Commission
Notes and References
56 State Human Rights Commission
Composition of the Commission
Functions of the Commission
Working of the Commission
Human Rights Courts
2019 Amendment Act
Notes and References
57 Central Information Commission
Composition
Tenure and Service Conditions
Powers and Functions
Notes and References
58 State Information Commission
Composition
Tenure and Service Conditions
Powers and Functions
RTI Amendment Act, 2019
Notes and References
59 Central Vigilance Commission
Establishment
Composition
Organisation
Functions
Jurisdiction
Working
Vigilance Units in the Ministries
Whistle Blowers Protection Act (2014)

Notes and References
60 Central Bureau of Investigation
Establishment of CBI
Motto, Mission and Vision of CBI
Organisation of CBI
Composition of CBI
Functions of CBI
Provision of Prior Permission
CBI vs. State Police
CBI Academy
Notes and References
61 Lokpal and Lokayuktas
Global Scenario
Position in India
Lokpal
Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013)
Lokayuktas
Notes and References
62 National Investigation Agency
Establishment of the NIA
Rationale of the NIA
Functions of the NIA
Vision of the NIA
Mission of the NIA
Jurisdiction of the NIA
NIA (Amendment) Act, 2019
Notes and References
63 National Disaster Management Authority
Establishment of the NDMA
Objectives of the NDMA
Functions of the NDMA

Additional Functions of the NDMA
State Disaster Management Authority
District Disaster Management Authority
Notes and References
PART-IX
Other Constitutional Dimensions
64 Co-operative Societies
Constitutional Provisions
Reasons for the 97th Amendment
Notes and References
65 Official Language
Language of the Union
Regional Languages
Language of the Judiciary and Texts of Laws
Special Directives
Committee of Parliament on Official Language
Classical Language Status
Notes and References
66 Public Services
Classification of Services
Constitutional Provisions
Notes and References
67 Rights and Liabilities of the Government
Property of the Union and the States
Suits by or Against the Government
Suits Against Public Officials
Notes and References
68 Special Provisions Relating to Certain Classes
Rationale of Special Provisions

Specification of Classes
Components of Special Provisions
Notes and References
PART-X
Political Dynamics
69 Political Parties
Meaning and Types
Party System in India
Recognition of National and State Parties
Notes and References
70 Role of Regional Parties
Features of Regional Parties
Classification of Regional Parties
Rise of Regional Parties
Role of Regional Parties
Dysfunctions of Regional Parties
Notes and References
71 Elections
Electoral System
Election Machinery
Election Process
Notes and References
72 Election Laws
Representation of the People Act, 1950
Representation of the People Act, 1951
Delimitation Act, 2002
Other Acts Relating to Elections
Rules Relating to Elections
Orders Relating to Elections
Notes and References

73 Electoral Reforms
Committees Related to Electoral Reforms
Electoral Reforms Before 1996
Electoral Reforms of 1996
Electoral Reforms After 1996
Electoral Reforms Since 2010
Notes and References
74 Voting Behaviour
Meaning of Voting Behaviour
Significance of Voting Behaviour
Determinants of Voting Behaviour
Role of Media in Elections and Voting Behaviour
Notes and References
75 Coalition Government
Meaning of Coalition Government
Features of Coalition Government
Formation of Coalition Governments
Merits of Coalition Government
Demerits of Coalition Government
Notes and References
76 Anti-Defection Law
Provisions of the Act
Evaluation of the Act
91st Amendment Act (2003)
Notes and References
77 Pressure Groups
Meaning and Techniques
Pressure Groups in India
Notes and References
78 National Integration

Meaning of National Integration
Obstacles to National Integration
National Integration Council
National Foundation for Communal Harmony
Notes and References
79 Foreign Policy
Principles of Indian Foreign Policy
Objectives of Indian Foreign Policy
Gujral Doctrine of India
Nuclear Doctrine of India
Connect Central Asia Policy of India
Act East Policy of India
Notes and References
PART-XI
Working of the Constitution
80 National Commission to Review the Working of the
Constitution
I. Terms of Reference of the Commission
II. Fifty Years of Working of the Constitution
III. Areas of Concern: Commission’s Perception
IV. Recommendations of the Commission
V. Earlier Efforts to Review the Constitution
Notes and References
Appendices
Appendix I: Articles of the Constitution (1–395)
Appendix II: Subjects of Union, State and Concurrent Lists
Appendix III: Table of Precedence
Appendix IV: Constitutional Amendments at a Glance
Appendix V: Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Prime Ministers, etc.

Appendix VI: Chairpersons of the National Commissions
Appendix VII: UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General Studies
—Prelims 2010–2019)
Appendix VIII: Practice Questions on Indian Polity (General
Studies—Prelims)
Appendix IX: UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General Studies
—Mains 2010–2019)
Appendix X: Practice Questions on Indian Polity (General Studies
—Mains)
Additional reading material available at the weblink given below:
http://www.mhhe.com./indianpolity6e
1. Oath by the Constitutional and Other Authorities
2. Definitions Under the Constitution
3. Allied Amending Acts at a Glance
4. Model Code of Conduct Relating to Elections
5. Representation of the People Act, 1950 at a Glance
6. Representation of the People Act, 1951 at a Glance
7. Flag Code of India
8. UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General Studies—
Prelims 2000–2009)
9. UPSC Questions on Indian Polity (General Studies—Mains
2000–2009)

List of Tables
Table 1.1
Table 1.2
Table 2.1
Table 2.2
Table 2.3
Table 2.4
Table 2.5
Table 2.6
Table 2.7
Table 3.1
Table 3.2
Table 3.3
Table 3.4
Table 5.1
Table 5.2
Table 5.3
Table 5.4
Table 5.5
Table 5.6
Table 6.1
Table 6.2
Table 7.1
Table 7.2

Interim Government (1946)
First Cabinet of Free India (1947)
Allocation of seats in the Constituent Assembly of
India (1946)
Results of the Elections to the Constituent Assembly
(July–August 1946)
Community-wise Representation in the Constituent
Assembly (1946)
State-wise Membership of the Constituent Assembly
of India as on December 31, 1947
Sessions of the Constituent Assembly at a Glance
Time Taken by the Framers of Other Constitutions
Articles Related to Short Title, Commencement, Hindi
Text and Repeals at a Glance
The Constitution of India at a Glance
Important Articles of the Constitution at a Glance
Schedules of the Constitution at a Glance
Sources of the Constitution at a Glance
Territory of India in 1950
Original Parts of the Constitution Dealing with States
and Territories
Territory of India in 1956
Territory of India in 2019
Laws Made by Parliament Under Article 3 of the
Constitution
Articles Related to Union and its Territory at a Glance
Comparing NRI, PIO and OCI Cardholder
Articles Related to Citizenship at a Glance
Fundamental Rights at a Glance
Fundamental Rights (FR) of Foreigners

Table 7.3
Table 7.4
Table 8.1
Table 8.2
Table 11.1
Table 12.1
Table 13.1
Table 14.1
Table 14.2
Table 14.3
Table 15.1
Table 15.3
Table 15.2
Table 16.1
Table 16.2
Table 16.3
Table 17.1
Table 17.2
Table 17.3
Table 18.1
Table 18.2
Table 19.1
Table 20.1
Table 20.2
Table 22.1

Martial Law Vs National Emergency
Articles Related to Fundamental Rights at a Glance
Distinction Between Fundamental Rights and
Directive Principles
Articles Related to Directive Principles of State Policy
at a Glance
Evolution of the Basic Structure of the Constitution
Comparing Parliamentary and Presidential Systems
Comparing Features of Federal and Unitary
Governments
Articles Related to Centre-State Legislative Relations
at a Glance
Articles Related to Centre-State Administrative
Relations at a Glance
Articles Related to Centre-State Financial Relations
at a Glance
Inter-State Water Dispute Tribunals Set-up So Far
Articles Related to Inter-State Relations at a Glance
Zonal Councils at a Glance
Comparing National Emergency and President’s
Rule
Imposition of President’s Rule (1951–2019)
Articles Related to Emergency Provisions at a
Glance
Elections of the Presidents (1952–2017)
Veto Power of the President At a Glance
Articles Related to President at a Glance
Elections of the Vice-Presidents (1952–2017)
Articles Related to Vice-President at a Glance
Articles Related to Prime Minister at a Glance
Distinction Between Council of Ministers and Cabinet
Articles Related to Central Council of Ministers at a
Glance
Adjournment vs Prorogation

Table 22.2
Table 22.3
Table 22.4
Table 22.5
Table 22.6
Table 22.7
Table 22.8
Table 22.9
Table 23.1
Table 26.1
Table 26.2
Table 27.1
Table 30.1
Table 30.2
Table 30.3
Table 30.4
Table 31.1
Table 32.1
Table 33.1
Table 33.2
Table 33.3
Table 33.4

Censure Motion vs No Confidence Motion
Public Bill vs Private Bill
Ordinary Bill vs Money Bill
Allocation of Seats in Parliament for States and
Union Territories (2019)
Seats Reserved for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha
(2019)
Durations of the Lok Sabha (from First Lok Sabha to
Present Lok Sabha)
Speakers of the Lok Sabha (from First Lok Sabha to
Present Lok Sabha)
Articles Related to Parliament at a Glance
Departmental Standing Committees and their
Jurisdiction (2019)
Comparing Indian and American Supreme Courts
Articles Related to Supreme Court at a Glance
Number of Acts and Regulations Included in the
Ninth Schedule
Comparing Veto Powers of President and Governor
Comparing Ordinance-Making Power of President
and Governor
Comparing Pardoning Powers of President and
Governor
Articles Related to Governor at a Glance
Articles Related to Chief Minister at a Glance
Articles Related to State Council of Ministers at a
Glance
Comparing Legislative Procedure in the Parliament
and State Legislature
Strength of Legislative Assemblies and Legislative
Councils (2019)
Seats Reserved for SCs and STs in the Legislative
Assemblies (2019)
Articles Related to State Legislature at a Glance

Table 33.5 Laws made by Parliament under Article 169 of the
Constitution
Table 34.1 Name and Jurisdiction of High Courts
Table 34.2 Articles Related to High Courts at a Glance
Table 35.1 Name and Jurisdiction of Benches of CAT
Table 35.2 Circuit Sittings of Benches of CAT
Table 35.3 Articles Related to Tribunals at a Glance
Table 36.1 Articles Related to Subordinate Courts at a Glance
Table 37.1 Articles Related to Special Provisions for some
States at a Glance
Table 38.1 Study Teams and Committees on Panchayati Raj
Table 38.2 Articles Related to Panchayats at a Glance
Table 38.3 Name of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the States
(2019)
Table 38.4 Milestones in the Evolution of Panchayati Raj
Table 38.5 Committees Related to Panchayati Raj (After
Constitutionalisation)
Table 39.1 Committees and Commissions on Urban Local
Governments
Table 39.2 Classification of Cantonment Boards
Table 39.3 Articles Related to Municipalities at a Glance
Table 39.4 Name of Urban Local Bodies in the States (2019)
Table 40.1 Administrative System of Union Territories at a
Glance
Table 40.2 Comparing States and Union Territories
Table 40.3 Articles Related to Union Territories at a Glance
Table 41.1 Tribal Areas at a Glance (2019)
Table 41.2 Articles Related to Scheduled and Tribal Areas at a
Glance
Table 41.3 Parliamentary Laws Related to the Fifth and Sixth
Schedules of the Constitution
Table 43.1 Articles Related to UPSC at a Glance
Table 44.1 Articles Related to SPSC at a Glance
Table 45.1 Finance Commissions Appointed so far

Table 45.2 Articles Related to Finance Commission at a Glance
Table 51.1 Articles Related to Comptroller and Auditor-General
of India at a Glance
Table 52.1 Articles Related to Attorney-General of India at a
Glance
Table 53.1 Articles Related to Advocate-General of the state at a
Glance
Table 53.2 Articles Related to Constitutional Bodies at a Glance
Table 57.1 National Commissions / Central Bodies and the
Related Ministries
Table 61.1 Establishment of Lokayukta in States (Chronological
Order)
Table 64.1 Articles Related to Co-operative Societies at a
Glance
Table 65.1 Languages conferred with Classical Language
Status
Table 65.2 Articles Related to Official Language at a Glance
Table 66.1 Articles Related to Public Services at a Glance
Table 67.1 Articles Related to Rights and Liabilities of the
Government at a Glance
Table 68.1 Articles Related to Special Provisions for Certain
Classes at a Glance
Table 69.1 Recognised National Parties and State Parties (First
to Seventeenth General Elections)
Table 69.2 Recognised National Parties and their Symbols
(2019)
Table 69.3 Recognised State Parties and their Symbols (2019)
Table 69.4 Formation of Political Parties (Chronological Order)
Table 71.1 Results of Lok Sabha Elections
Table 71.2 Prime Ministers after each Lok Sabha General
Election
Table 71.3 Participation in Lok Sabha Elections
Table 71.4 Women in Lok Sabha Elections
Table 71.5 Cost of Lok Sabha Elections

Table 71.6 Largest and Smallest (Area-wise) Lok Sabha
Constituencies in Fourteenth General Elections
(2004)
Table 71.7 Largest and Smallest (Electors-wise) Lok Sabha
Constituencies in Sixteenth General Elections (2014)
Table 71.8 Articles Related to Elections at a Glance
Table 73.1 Limit on Election Expenditure (As declared in 2014)
Table 75.1 Formation of Coalition Governments at the Centre
Table 78.1 Meetings of the National Integration Council

PART-I
CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
1. Historical Background
2. Making of the Constitution
3. Salient Features of the Constitution
4. Preamble of the Constitution
5. Union and its Territory
6. Citizenship
7. Fundamental Rights
8. Directive Principles of State Policy
9. Fundamental Duties
10. Amendment of the Constitution
11. Basic Structure of the Constitution

1

Historical Background

T

he British came to India in 1600 as traders, in the form of
East India Company, which had the exclusive right of
trading in India under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth
I. In 1765, the Company, which till now had purely trading
functions obtained the ‘diwani’ (i.e., rights over revenue and civil
justice) of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.1 This started its career as a
territorial power. In 1858, in the wake of the ‘sepoy mutiny’, the
British Crown assumed direct responsibility for the governance of
India. This rule continued until India was granted independence
on August 15, 1947.

With Independence came the need for a Constitution. Hence, a
Constituent Assembly was formed for this purpose in 1946 and on
January 26, 1950, the Constitution came into being. However,
various features of the Indian Constitution and polity have their
roots in the British rule. There were certain events in the British
rule that laid down the legal framework for the organisation and
functioning of government and administration in British India.
These events have greatly influenced our constitution and polity.
They are explained here in a chronological order under two major
headings :
1. The Company Rule (1773 – 1858)
2. The Crown Rule (1858 – 1947)

THE COMPANY RULE (1773–1858)
Regulating Act of 1773
This act was of great constitutional importance as (a) it was the
first step taken by the British Government to control and regulate
the affairs of the East India Company in India; (b) it recognised,
for the first time, the political and administrative functions of the
Company; and (c) it laid the foundations of central administration
in India.
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It designated the Governor of Bengal as the ‘GovernorGeneral of Bengal’ and created an Executive Council of four
members to assist him. The first such GovernorGeneral was
Lord Warren Hastings.
2. It made the governors of Bombay and Madras presidencies
subordinate to the governor-general of Bengal, unlike earlier,
when the three presidencies were independent of one
another.
3. It provided for the establishment of a Supreme Court at
Calcutta (1774) comprising one chief justice and three other
judges.
4. It prohibited the servants of the Company from engaging in
any private trade or accepting presents or bribes from the
‘natives’.
5. It strengthened the control of the British Government over
the Company by requiring the Court of Directors (governing
body of the Company) to report on its revenue, civil, and
military affairs in India.

Amending Act of 1781
In a bid to rectify the defects of the Regulating Act of 1773, the
British Parliament passed the Amending Act of 1781, also known
as the Act of Settlement.
The features of this Act were as follows:

1. It exempted the Governor-General and the Council from the
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the acts done by them
in their official capacity. Similarly, it also exempted the
servants of the company from the jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court for their official actions.
2. It excluded the revenue matters and the matters arising in
the collection of revenue from the jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court.
3. It provided that the Supreme Court was to have jurisdiction
over all the inhabitants of Culcutta. It also required the court
to administer the personal law of the defendants i.e., Hindus
were to be tried according to the Hindu law and Muslims
were to be tried according to the Mohammedan law.
4. It laid down that the appeals from the Provincial Courts
could be taken to the Governor-General-in-Council and not
to the Supreme Court.
5. It empowered the Governor-General-inCouncil to frame
regulations for the Provincial Courts and Councils.

Pitt’s India Act of 1784
The next important act was the Pitt’s India Act2 of 1784.
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It distinguished between the commercial and political
functions of the Company.
2. It allowed the Court of Directors to manage the commercial
affairs, but created a new body called Board of Control to
manage the political affairs. Thus, it established a system of
double government.
3. It empowered the Board of Control to supervise and direct
all operations of the civil and military government or
revenues of the British possessions in India.
Thus, the act was significant for two reasons: first, the
Company’s territories in India were for the first time called the
‘British possessions in India’; and second, the British Government
was given the supreme control over Company’s affairs and its
administration in India.

Act of 1786
In 1786, Lord Cornwallis was appointed as the Governor-General
of Bengal. He placed two demands to accept that post, viz.,
1. He should be given power to override the decision of his
council in special cases.
2. He would also be the Commander-in-Chief.
Accordingly, the Act of 1786 was enacted to make both the
provisions.

Charter Act of 1793
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It extended the overriding power given to Lord Cornwallis
over his council, to all future Governor-Generals and
Governors of Presidencies.
2. It gave the Governor-General more powers and control over
the governments of the subordinate Presidencies of Bombay
and Madras.
3. It extended the trade monopoly of the Company in India for
another period of twenty years.
4. It provided that the Commander-in-Chief was not to be a
member of the Governor-General’s council, unless he was
so appointed.
5. It laid down that the members of the Board of Control and
their staff were, henceforth, to be paid out of the Indian
revenues.

Charter Act of 1813
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It abolished the trade monopoly of the company in India i.e.,
the Indian trade was thrown open to all British merchants.
However, it continued the monopoly of the company over
trade in tea and trade with China.
2. It asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the
Company’s territories in India.
3. It allowed the Christian missionaries to come to India for the
purpose of enlightening the people.

4. It provided for the spread of western education among the
inhabitants of the British territories in India.
5. It authorised the Local Governments in India to impose
taxes on persons. They could also punish the persons for
not paying taxes.

Charter Act of 1833
This Act was the final step towards centralisation in British India.
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It made the Governor-General of Bengal as the GovernorGeneral of India and vested in him all civil and military
powers. Thus, the act created, for the first time, Government
of India having authority over the entire territorial area
possessed by the British in India. Lord William Bentick was
the first Governor-General of India.
2. It deprived the Governor of Bombay and Madras of their
legislative powers. The Governor-General of India was given
exclusive legislative powers for the entire British India. The
laws made under the previous acts were called as
Regulations, while laws made under this act were called as
Acts.
3. It ended the activities of the East India Company as a
commercial body, which became a purely administrative
body. It provided that the Company’s territories in India were
held by it ‘in trust for His Majesty, His heirs and successors’.
4. The Charter Act of 1833 attempted to introduce a system of
open competition for selection of civil servants and stated
that the Indians should not be debarred from holding any
place, office and employment under the Company. However,
this provision was negated after opposition from the Court of
Directors.

Charter Act of 1853
This was the last of the series of Charter Acts passed by the
British Parliament between 1793 and 1853. It was a significant
constitutional landmark.

The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It separated, for the first time, the legislative and executive
functions of the Governor-General’s council. It provided for
addition of six new members called legislative councillors to
the council. In other words, it established a separate
Governor-General’s legislative council which came to be
known as the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. This
legislative wing of the council functioned as a miniParliament, adopting the same procedures as the British
Parliament. Thus, legislation, for the first time, was treated
as a special function of the government, requiring special
machinery and special process.
2. It introduced an open competition system of selection and
recruitment of civil servants. The covenanted civil service3
was, thus, thrown open to the Indians also. Accordingly, the
Macaulay Committee (the Committee on the Indian Civil
Service) was appointed in 1854.
3. It extended the Company’s rule and allowed it to retain the
possession of Indian territories on trust for the British Crown.
But, it did not specify any particular period, unlike the
previous Charters. This was a clear indication that the
Company’s rule could be terminated at any time the
Parliament liked.
4. It introduced, for the first time, local representation in the
Indian (Central) Legislative Council. Of the six new
legislative members of the GovernorGeneral’s council, four
members were appointed by the local (provincial)
governments of Madras, Bombay, Bengal and Agra.

THE CROWN RULE (1858–1947)
Government of India Act of 1858
This significant Act was enacted in the wake of the Revolt of
1857–also known as the First War of Independence or the ‘sepoy
mutiny’. The act known as the Act for the Good Government of
India, abolished the East India Company, and transferred the
powers of Government, territories and revenues to the British
Crown.
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It provided that India, henceforth, was to be governed by,
and in the name of, Her Majesty. It changed the designation
of the Governor-General of India to that of Viceroy of India.
He (Viceroy) was the direct representative of the British
Crown in India. Lord Canning, thus, became the first Viceroy
of India.
2. It ended the system of double Government by abolishing the
Board of Control and Court of Directors.
3. It created a new office, Secretary of State for India, vested
with complete authority and control over Indian
administration. The secretary of state was a member of the
British Cabinet and was responsible ultimately to the British
Parliament.
4. It established a 15-member council of India to assist the
Secretary of State for India. The council was an advisory
body. The secretary of state was made the Chairman of the
council.
5. It constituted the Secretary of State-inCouncil as a body
corporate, capable of suing and being sued in India and in
England.
‘The Act of 1858 was, however, largely confined to the
improvement of the administrative machinery by which the Indian
Government was to be supervised and controlled in England. It
did not alter in any substantial way the system of Government that
prevailed in India4 .’

Indian Councils Act of 1861
After the great revolt of 1857, the British Government felt the
necessity of seeking the cooperation of the Indians in the
administration of their country. In pursuance of this policy of
association, three acts were enacted by the British Parliament in
1861, 1892 and 1909. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 is an
important landmark in the constitutional and political history of
India.
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It made a beginning of the representative institutions by
associating Indians with the law-making process. It, thus,
provided that the Viceroy should nominate some Indians as
non-official members of his expanded council. In 1862, Lord
Canning, the then Viceroy, nominated three Indians to his
legislative council–the Raja of Benaras, the Maharaja of
Patiala and Sir Dinkar Rao.
2. It initiated the process of decentralisation by restoring the
legislative powers to the Bombay and Madras Presidencies.
It, thus, reversed the centralising tendency that started from
the Regulating Act of 1773 and reached its climax under the
Charter Act of 1833. This policy of legislative devolution
resulted in the grant of almost complete internal autonomy to
the provinces in 1937.
3. It also provided for the establishment of new legislative
councils for Bengal, North-Western Provinces and Punjab,
which were established in 1862, 1886 and 1897,
respectively.
4. It empowered the Viceroy to make rules and orders for the
more convenient transaction of business in the council. It
also gave a recognition to the ‘portfolio’ system, introduced
by Lord Canning in 1859. Under this, a member of the
Viceroy’s council was made in-charge of one or more
departments of the Government and was authorised to issue
final orders on behalf of the council on matters of his
department(s).
5. It empowered the Viceroy to issue ordinances, without the
concurrence of the legislative council, during an emergency.

The life of such an ordinance was six months.

Indian Councils Act of 1892
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It increased the number of additional (non-official) members
in the Central and provincial legislative councils, but
maintained the official majority in them.
2. It increased the functions of legislative councils and gave
them the power of discussing the budget5 and addressing
questions to the executive.
3. It provided for the nomination of some non-official members
of the (a) Central Legislative Council by the viceroy on the
recommendation of the provincial legislative councils and the
Bengal Chamber of Commerce, and (b) that of the provincial
legislative
councils
by
the
Governors
on
the
recommendation of the district boards, municipalities,
universities, trade associations, zamin-dars and chambers.
‘The act made a limited and indirect provision for the use of
election in filling up some of the non-official seats both in the
Central and provincial legislative councils. The word “election”
was, however, not used in the Act. The process was described as
nomination made on the recommendation of certain bodies6 .’

Indian Councils Act of 1909
This Act is also known as Morley-Minto Reforms (Lord Morley was
the then Secretary of State for India and Lord Minto was the then
Viceroy of India).
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It considerably increased the size of the legislative councils,
both Central and provincial. The number of members in the
Central legislative council was raised from 16 to 60. The
number of members in the provincial legislative councils was
not uniform.
2. It retained official majority in the Central legislative council,
but allowed the provincial legislative councils to have nonofficial majority.

3. It enlarged the deliberative functions of the legislative
councils at both the levels. For example, members were
allowed to ask supplementary questions, move resolutions
on the budget and so on.
4. It provided (for the first time) for the association of Indians
with the executive councils of the Viceroy and Governors.
Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the
Viceroy’s executive council. He was appointed as the Law
Member.
5. It introduced a system of communal representation for
Muslims by accepting the concept of ‘separate electorate’.
Under this, the Muslim members were to be elected only by
Muslim voters. Thus, the Act ‘legalised communalism’ and
Lord Minto came to be known as the Father of Communal
Electorate.
6. It also provided for the separate representation of
presidency
corporations,
chambers
of
commerce,
universities and zamindars.

Government of India Act of 1919
On August 20, 1917, the British Government declared, for the first
time, that its objective was the gradual introduction of responsible
Government in India7 .
The Government of India Act of 1919 was thus enacted, which
came into force in 1921. This Act is also known as MontaguChelmsford Reforms (Montagu was the Secretary of State for
India and Lord Chelmsford was the Viceroy of India).
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It relaxed the central control over the provinces by
demarcating and separating the central and provincial
subjects. The central and provincial legislatures were
authorised to make laws on their respective list of subjects.
However, the structure of government continued to be
centralised and unitary.
2. It further divided the provincial subjects into two parts–
transferred and reserved. The transferred subjects were to
be administered by the Governor with the aid of Ministers

3.

4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

9.
10.

responsible to the legislative council. The reserved subjects,
on the other hand, were to be administered by the Governor
and his executive council without being responsible to the
legislative council. This dual scheme of governance was
known as ‘dyarchy’–a term derived from the Greek word diarche which means double rule. However, this experiment
was largely unsuccessful.
It introduced, for the first time, bicameralism and direct
elections in the country. Thus, the Indian legislative council
was replaced by a bicameral legislature consisting of an
Upper House (Council of State) and a Lower House
(Legislative Assembly). The majority of members of both the
Houses were chosen by direct election.
It required that the three of the six members of the Viceroy’s
executive Council (other than the Commander-in-Chief)
were to be Indian.
It extended the principle of communal representation by
providing separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians,
Anglo-Indians and Europeans.
It granted franchise to a limited number of people on the
basis of property, tax or education.
It created a new office of the High Commissioner for India in
London and transferred to him some of the functions hitherto
performed by the Secretary of State for India.
It provided for the establishment of a public service
commission. Hence, a Central Public Service Commission
was set up in 1926 for recruiting civil servants8 .
It separated, for the first time, provincial budgets from the
Central budget and authorised the provincial legislatures to
enact their budgets.
It provided for the appointment of a statutory commission to
inquire into and report on its working after ten years of its
coming into force.

Simon Commission
In November 1927 itself (i.e., 2 years before the schedule), the
British Government announced the appointment a seven-member
statutory commission under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon

to report on the condition of India under its new Constitution. All
the members of the commission were British and hence, all the
parties boycotted the commission. The commission submitted its
report in 1930 and recommended the abolition of dyarchy,
extension of responsible Government in the provinces,
establishment of a federation of British India and princely states,
continuation of communal electorate and so on. To consider the
proposals of the commission, the British Government convened
three round table conferences of the representatives of the British
Government, British India and Indian princely states. On the basis
of these discussions, a ‘White Paper on Consitutional Reforms’
was prepared and submitted for the consideration of the Joint
Select Committee of the British Parliament. The recommendations
of this committee were incorporated (with certain changes) in the
next Government of India Act of 1935.
Communal Award
In August 1932, Ramsay MacDonald, the British Prime Minister,
announced a scheme of representation of the minorities, which
came to be known as the Communal Award. The award not only
continued separate electorates for the Muslims, Sikhs, Indian
Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans but also extended it to
the depressed classes (Scheduled Castes). Gandhiji was
distressed over this extension of the principle of communal
representation to the depressed classes and undertook fast unto
death in Yerawada Jail (Poona) to get the award modified. At last,
there was an agreement between the leaders of the Congress and
the depressed classes. The agreement, known as Poona Pact,
retained the Hindu joint electorate and gave reserved seats to the
depressed classes.

Government of India Act of 1935
The Act marked a second milestone towards a completely
responsible government in India. It was a lengthy and detailed
document having 321 Sections and 10 Schedules.
The features of this Act were as follows:

1. It provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation
consisting of provinces and princely states as units. The Act
divided the powers between the Centre and units in terms of
three lists–Federal List (for Centre, with 59 items), Provincial
List (for provinces, with 54 items) and the Concurrent List
(for both, with 36 items). Residuary powers were given to the
Viceroy. However, the federation never came into being as
the princely states did not join it.
2. It abolished dyarchy in the provinces and introduced
‘provincial autonomy’ in its place. The provinces were
allowed to act as autonomous units of administration in their
defined spheres. Moreover, the Act introduced responsible
Governments in provinces, that is, the Governor was
required to act with the advice of ministers responsible to the
provincial legislature. This came into effect in 1937 and was
discontinued in 1939.
3. It provided for the adoption of dyarchy at the Centre.
Consequently, the federal subjects were divided into
reserved subjects and transferred subjects. However, this
provision of the Act did not come into operation at all.
4. It introduced bicameralism in six out of eleven provinces.
Thus, the legislatures of Bengal, Bombay, Madras, Bihar,
Assam and the United Provinces were made bicameral
consisting of a legislative council (upper house) and a
legislative assembly (lower house). However, many
restrictions were placed on them.
5. It further extended the principle of communal representation
by providing separate electorates for depressed classes
(Scheduled Castes), women and labour (workers).
6. It abolished the Council of India, established by the
Government of India Act of 1858. The secretary of state for
India was provided with a team of advisors.
7. It extended franchise. About 10 per cent of the total
population got the voting right.
8. It provided for the establishment of a Reserve Bank of India
to control the currency and credit of the country.
9. It provided for the establishment of not only a Federal Public
Service Commission, but also a Provincial Public Service

Commission and Joint Public Service Commission for two or
more provinces.
10. It provided for the establishment of a Federal Court, which
was set up in 1937.

Indian Independence Act of 1947
On February 20, 1947, the British Prime Minister Clement Atlee
declared that the British rule in India would end by June 30,1948;
after which the power would be transferred to responsible Indian
hands. This announcement was followed by the agitation by the
Muslim League demanding partition of the country. Again on June
3, 1947, the British Government made it clear that any
Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly of India (formed
in 1946) cannot apply to those parts of the country which were
unwilling to accept it. On the same day (June 3, 1947), Lord
Mountbatten, the Viceroy of India, put forth the partition plan,
known as the Mountbatten Plan. The plan was accepted by the
Congress and the Muslim League. Immediate effect was given to
the plan by enacting the Indian Independence Act9 (1947).
The features of this Act were as follows:
1. It ended the British rule in India and declared India as an
independent and sovereign state from August 15, 1947.
2. It provided for the partition of India and creation of two
independent dominions of India and Pakistan with the right
to secede from the British Commonwealth.
3. It abolished the office of Viceroy and provided, for each
dominion, a governorgeneral, who was to be appointed by
the British King on the advice of the dominion cabinet. His
Majesty’s Government in Britain was to have no
responsibility with respect to the Government of India or
Pakistan.
4. It empowered the Constituent Assemblies of the two
dominions to frame and adopt any constitution for their
respective nations and to repeal any act of the British
Parliament, including the Independence act itself.
5. It empowered the Constituent Assemblies of both the
dominions to legislate for their respective territories till the

new constitutions were drafted and enforced. No Act of the
British Parliament passed after August 15, 1947 was to
extend to either of the new dominions unless it was
extended thereto by a law of the legislature of the dominion.
6. It abolished the office of the Secretary of State for India and
transferred his functions to the Secretary of State for
Commonwealth Affairs.
7. It proclaimed the lapse of British paramountcy over the
Indian princely states and treaty relations with tribal areas
from August 15, 1947.
8. It granted freedom to the Indian princely states either to join
the Dominion of India or Dominion of Pakistan or to remain
independent.
9. It provided for the governance of each of the dominions and
the provinces by the Government of India Act of 1935, till the
new Constitutions were framed. The dominions were
however authorised to make modifications in the Act.
10. It deprived the British Monarch of his right to veto bills or ask
for reservation of certain bills for his approval. But, this right
was reserved for the GovernorGeneral. The GovernorGeneral would have full power to assent to any bill in the
name of His Majesty.
11. It designated the Governor-General of India and the
provincial governors as constitutional (nominal) heads of the
states. They were made to act on the advice of the
respective council of ministers in all matters.
12. It dropped the title of Emperor of India from the royal titles of
the King of England.
13. It discontinued the appointment to civil services and
reservation of posts by the secretary of state for India. The
members of the civil services appointed before August 15,
1947 would continue to enjoy all benefits that they were
entitled to till that time.
At the stroke of midnight of 14-15 August, 1947, the British rule
came to an end and power was transferred to the two new
independent Dominions of India and Pakistan10. Lord Mountbatten
became the first GovernorGeneral of the new Dominion of India.
He swore in Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of

independent India. The Constituent Assembly of India formed in
1946 became the Parliament of the Indian Dominion.
Table 1.1 Interim Government (1946)
Sl. Members
No.

Portfolios Held

1.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Vice-President of the Council;
External Affairs & Commonwealth
Relations

2.

Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel

Home, Information & Broadcasting

3.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Food & Agriculture

4.

Dr. John Mathai

Industries & Supplies

5.

Jagjivan Ram

Labour

6.

Sardar Baldev Singh Defence

7.

C.H. Bhabha

Works, Mines & Power

8.

Liaquat Ali Khan

Finance

9.

Abdur Rab Nishtar

Posts & Air

10.

Asaf Ali

Railways & Transport

11.

C. Rajagopalachari

Education & Arts

12.

I.I. Chundrigar

Commerce

13.

Ghaznafar Ali Khan

Health

14.

Joginder Nath
Mandal

Law

Note: The members of the interim Government were members of
the Viceroy’s Executive Council. The Viceroy continued to be the
head of the Council. But, Jawaharlal Nehru was designated as the
Vice-President of the Council.
Table 1.2 First Cabinet of Free India (1947)
Sl.

Members

Portfolios Held

No.
1.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Prime Minister; External Affairs &
Commonwealth Relations; Scientific
Research

2.

Sardar Vallabhbhai
Patel

Home, Information & Broadcasting;
States

3.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Food & Agriculture

4.

Maulana Abul Kalam Education
Azad

5.

Dr. John Mathai

Railways & Transport

6.

R.K. Shanmugham
Chetty

Finance

7.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar

Law

8.

Jagjivan Ram

Labour

9.

Sardar Baldev Singh Defence

10.

Raj Kumari Amrit
Kaur

Health

11.

C.H. Bhabha

Commerce

12.

Rafi Ahmed Kidwai

Communication

13.

Dr. Shayama Prasad Industries & Supplies
Mukherji

14.

V.N. Gadgil

Works, Mines & Power

NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. The Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam, granted ‘Diwani’ to
the Company after its victory in the Battle of Buxar
(1764).
2. It was introduced in the British Parliament by the then
Prime Minister, William Pitt.
3. At that time, the Civil Services of the company were
classified into covenanted civil services (higher civil
services) and uncovenanted civil services (lower civil

4.
5.
6.
7.

8.
9.

10.

services). The former was created by a law of the
Company, while the later was created otherwise.
Subhash C. Kashyap, Our Constitution, National Book
Trust, Third Edition, 2001, P. 14.
The system of Budget was introduced in British India in
1860.
V. N. Shukla, The Constitution of India, Eastern Book
Company, Tenth Edition, 2001, P. A-10.
The declaration thus stated: ‘The policy of His Majesty’s
Government is that of the increasing association of
Indians in every branch of the administration, and the
gradual development of self-government institutions,
with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible
government in India as an integral part of the British
Empire’.
This was done on the recommendation of the Lee
Commission on Superior Civil Services in India (192324).
The Indian Independence Bill was introduced in the
British Parliament on July 4, 1947 and received the
Royal Assent on July 18, 1947. The act came into force
on August 15, 1947.
The boundaries between the two Dominions were
determined by a Boundary Commission headed by
Radcliff. Pakistan included the provinces of West
Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, East Bengal, North-Western
Frontier Province and the district of sylhet in Assam.
The referendum in the North-Western Frontier Province
and Sylhet was in favour of Pakistan.

2

Making of the Constitution

DEMAND FOR A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
It was in 1934 that the idea of a Constituent Assembly for India
was put forward for the first time by M.N. Roy, a pioneer of
communist movement in India. In 1935, the Indian National
Congress (INC), for the first time, officially demanded a
Constituent Assembly to frame the Constitution of India. In 1938,
Jawaharlal Nehru, on behalf the INC declared that ‘the
Constitution of free India must be framed, without outside
interference, by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of
adult franchise’.
The demand was finally accepted in principle by the British
Government in what is known as the ‘August Offer’ of 1940. In
1942, Sir Stafford Cripps, a Member of the Cabinet, came to India
with a draft proposal of the British Government on the framing of
an independent Constitution to be adopted after the World War II.
The Cripps Proposals were rejected by the Muslim League, which
wanted India to be divided into two autonomous states with two
separate Constituent Assemblies. Finally, a Cabinet Mission1 was
sent to India. While it rejected the idea of two Constituent
Assemblies, it put forth a scheme for the Constituent Assembly
which more or less satisfied the Muslim League.

COMPOSITION OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The Constituent Assembly was constituted in November 1946
under the scheme formulated by the Cabinet Mission Plan.
The features of the scheme were:
1. The total strength of the Constituent Assembly was to be
389. Of these, 296 seats were to be allotted to British India
and 93 seats to the princely states. Out of 296 seats allotted
to the British India, 292 members were to be drawn from the
eleven governors’ provinces2 and four from the four Chief
Commissioners’ provinces3 , one from each.
2. Each province and princely state (or group of states in case
of small states) were to be allotted seats in proportion to
their respective population. Roughly, one seat was to be
allotted for every million population.
3. Seats allocated to each British province were to be divided
among the three principal communities–Muslims, Sikhs and
General (all except Muslims and Sikhs), in proportion to their
population.
4. The representatives of each community were to be elected
by members of that community in the provincial legislative
assembly and voting was to be by the method of
proportional representation by means of single transferable
vote.
5. The representatives of the princely states were to be
nominated by the heads of the princely states.
It is, thus, clear that the Constituent Assembly was to be a
partly elected and partly nominated body. Moreover, the members
were to be indirectly elected by the members of the provincial
assemblies, who themselves were elected on a limited franchise4 .
The elections to the Constituent Assembly (for 296 seats
allotted to the British Indian Provinces) were held in July-August
1946. The Indian National Congress won 208 seats, the Muslim
League 73 seats and the small groups and independents got the
remaining 15 seats. However, the 93 seats allotted to the princely
states were not filled as they decided to stay away from the
Constituent Assembly.

Although the Constituent Assembly was not directly elected by
the people of India on the basis of adult franchise, the Assembly
comprised representatives of all sections of the Indian society–
Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Anglo-Indians, Indian Christians,
SCs, STs including women of all these sections. The Assembly
included all important personalities of India at that time, with the
exception of Mahatma Gandhi.

WORKING OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The Constituent Assembly held its first meeting on December 9,
1946. The Muslim League boycotted the meeting and insisted on
a separate state of Pakistan. The meeting was, thus, attended by
only 211 members. Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha, the oldest
member, was elected as the temporary President of the Assembly,
following the French practice.
Later, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the
Assembly. Similarly, both H.C. Mukherjee and V.T. Krishnamachari
were elected as the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly. In other
words, the Assembly had two Vice-Presidents.

Objectives Resolution
On December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru moved the historic
‘Objectives Resolution’ in the Assembly. It laid down the
fundamentals and philosophy of the constitutional structure. It
read:
1. “This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn
resolve to proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign
Republic and to draw up for her future governance a
Constitution:
2. Wherein the territories that now comprise British India, the
territories that now form the Indian States and such other
parts of India as are outside India and the States as well as
other territories as are willing to be constituted into the
independent sovereign India, shall be a Union of them all;
and
3. wherein the said territories, whether with their present
boundaries or with such others as may be determined by the
Constituent Assembly and thereafter according to the law of
the Constitution, shall possess and retain the status of
autonomous units together with residuary powers and
exercise all powers and functions of Government and
administration save and except such powers and functions
as are vested in or assigned to the Union or as are inherent
or implied in the Union or resulting therefrom; and

4. wherein all power and authority of the sovereign
independent India, its constituent parts and organs of
Government are derived from the people; and
5. wherein shall be guaranteed and secured to all the people of
India justice, social, economic and political; equality of status
of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought,
expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and
action, subject to law and public morality; and
6. wherein adequate safeguards shall be provided for
minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and
other backward classes; and
7. whereby shall be maintained the integrity of the territory of
the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea and air
according to justice and the law of civilized nations; and
8. This ancient land attains its rightful and honoured place in
the world and makes its full and willing contribution to the
promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind.”
This Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Assembly on
January 22, 1947. It influenced the eventual shaping of the
constitution through all its subsequent stages. Its modified version
forms the Preamble of the present Constitution.

Changes by the Independence Act
The representatives of the princely states, who had stayed away
from the Constituent Assembly, gradually joined it. On April 28,
1947, representatives of the six states5 were part of the Assembly.
After the acceptance of the Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947, for
the partition of the country, the representatives of most of the
other princely states took their seats in the Assembly. The
members of the Muslim League from the Indian Dominion also
entered the Assembly.
The Indian Independence Act of 1947 made the following three
changes in the position of the Assembly:
1. The Assembly was made a fully sovereign body, which could
frame any Constitution it pleased. The act empowered the
Assembly to abrogate or alter any law made by the British
Parliament in relation to India.

2. The Assembly also became a legislative body. In other
words, two separate functions were assigned to the
Assembly, that is, making of the Constitution for free India
and enacting of ordinary laws for the country. These two
tasks were to be performed on separate days. Thus, the
Assembly became the first Parliament of free India
(Dominion Legislature). Whenever the Assembly met as the
Constituent body it was chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and
when it met as the legislative body6 , it was chaired by G.V.
Mavlankar. These two functions continued till November 26,
1949, when the task of making the Constitution was over.
3. The Muslim League members (hailing from the areas7
included in the Pakistan) withdrew from the Constituent
Assembly for India. Consequently, the total strength of the
Assembly came down to 299 as against 389 originally fixed
in 1946 under the Cabinet Mission Plan. The strength of the
Indian provinces (formerly British Provinces) was reduced
from 296 to 229 and those of the princely states from 93 to
70. The state-wise membership of the Assembly as on
December 31, 1947, is shown in Table 2.4 of this chapter.

Other Functions Performed
In addition to the making of the Constitution and enacting of
ordinary laws, the Constituent Assembly also performed the
following functions:
1. It ratified the India’s membership of the Commonwealth in
May 1949.
2. It adopted the national flag on July 22, 1947.
3. It adopted the national anthem on January 24, 1950.
4. It adopted the national song on January 24, 1950.
5. It elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India
on January 24, 1950.
In all, the Constituent Assembly had 11 sessions over two
years, 11 months and 18 days. The Constitution-makers had gone
through the Constitutions of about 60 countries, and the Draft
Constitution was considered for 114 days. The total expenditure
incurred on making the Constitution amounted to ₹64 lakh.

On January 24, 1950, the Constituent Assembly held its final
session. It, however, did not end, and continued as the provisional
parliament of India from January 26, 1950, till the formation of new
Parliament8 after the first general elections in 1951–52.

COMMITTEES OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The Constituent Assembly appointed a number of committees to
deal with different tasks of constitution-making. Out of these, eight
were major committees and the others were minor committees.
The names of these committees and their Chairman are given
below:

Major Committees
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Union Powers Committee - Jawaharlal Nehru
Union Constitution Committee -Jawaharlal Nehru
Provincial Constitution Committee -Sardar Patel
Drafting Committee - Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and
Tribal and Excluded Areas - Sardar Patel. This committee
had the following five sub-committees:
(a) Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee - J.B. Kripalani
(b) Minorities Sub-Committee - H.C. Mukherjee
(c) North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded &
Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee -Gopinath
Bardoloi
(d) Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than those
in Assam) Sub-Committee - A.V. Thakkar
(e) North-West Frontier Tribal Areas Sub-Committee8a
6. Rules of Procedure Committee - Dr. Rajendra Prasad
7. States Committee (Committee for Negotiating with States) Jawaharlal Nehru
8. Steering Committee - Dr. Rajendra Prasad

Minor Committees
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Finance and Staff Committee - Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Credentials Committee - Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
House Committee - B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
Order of Business Committee - Dr. K.M. Munshi
Ad-hoc Committee on the National Flag - Dr. Rajendra
Prasad

6. Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly G.V. Mavalankar
7. Ad-hoc Committee on the Supreme Court - S. Varadachari
(Not an Assembly Member)
8. Committee on Chief Commissioners’ Provinces - B. Pattabhi
Sitaramayya
9. Expert Committee on the Financial Provisions of the Union
Constitution -Nalini Ranjan Sarkar (Not an Assembly
Member)
10. Linguistic Provinces Commission - S.K. Dar (Not an
Assembly Member)
11. Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution Jawaharlal Nehru
12. Press Gallery Committee - Usha Nath Sen
13. Ad-hoc Committee on Citizenship - S. Varadachari (Not an
Assembly Member)

Drafting Committee
Among all the committees of the Constituent Assembly, the most
important committee was the Drafting Committee set up on
August 29, 1947. It was this committee that was entrusted with the
task of preparing a draft of the new Constitution. It consisted of
seven members. They were:
1. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (Chairman)
2. N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar
3. Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
4. Dr. K.M. Munshi
5. Syed Mohammad Saadullah
6. N. Madhava Rau (He replaced B.L. Mitter who resigned due
to ill-health)
7. T.T. Krishnamachari (He replaced D.P. Khaitan who died in
1948)
The Drafting Committee, after taking into consideration the
proposals of the various committees, prepared the first draft of the
Constitution of India, which was published in February, 1948. The
people of India were given eight months to discuss the draft and
propose amendments. In the light of the public comments,

criticisms and suggestions, the Drafting Committee prepared a
second draft, which was published in October, 1948.
The Drafting Committee took less than six months to prepare
its draft. In all it sat only for 141 days.

ENACTMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar introduced the final draft of the Constitution in
the Assembly on November 4, 1948 (first reading). The Assembly
had a general discussion on it for five days (till November 9,
1948).
The second reading (clause by clause consideration) started on
November 15, 1948, and ended on October 17, 1949. During this
stage, as many as 7653 amendments were proposed and 2473
were actually discussed in the Assembly.
The third reading of the draft started on November 14, 1949.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar moved a motion–‘the Constitution as settled by
the Assembly be passed’. The motion on Draft Constitution was
declared as passed on November 26, 1949, and received the
signatures of the members and the president. Out of a total 299
members of the Assembly, only 284 were actually present on that
day and signed the Constitution. This is also the date mentioned
in the Preamble as the date on which the people of India in the
Constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave to themselves
this Constitution.
The Constitution as adopted on November 26, 1949,
contained a Preamble, 395 Articles and 8 Schedules. The
Preamble was enacted after the entire Constitution was already
enacted.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the then Law Minister, piloted the Draft
Constitution in the Assembly. He took a very prominent part in the
deliberations of the Assembly. He was known for his logical,
forceful and persuasive arguments on the floor of the Assembly.
He is recognised as the ‘Father of the Constitution of India’. This
brilliant writer, constitutional expert, undisputed leader of the
Scheduled Castes and the ‘chief architect of the Constitution of
India’ is also known as a ‘Modern Manu’.

ENFORCEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
Some provisions of the Constitution pertaining to citizenship,
elections, provisional parliament, temporary and transitional
provisions, and short title contained in Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60,
324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392 and 393 came into force
on November 26, 1949, itself.
The remaining provisions (the major part) of the Constitution
came into force on January 26, 1950. This day is referred to in the
Constitution as the ‘date of its commencement’, and celebrated as
the Republic Day.
January 26 was specifically chosen as the ‘date of
commencement’ of the Constitution because of its historical
importance. It was on this day in 1930 that Purna Swaraj day was
celebrated, following the resolution of the Lahore Session
(December 1929) of the INC.
With the commencement of the Constitution, the Indian
Independence Act of 1947 and the Government of India Act of
1935, with all enactments amending or supplementing the latter
Act, were repealed. The Abolition of Privy Council Jurisdiction Act
(1949) was however continued.

EXPERTS COMMITTEE OF THE CONGRESS
While elections to the Constituent Assembly were still in progress,
on July 8, 1946, the Congress Party (Indian National Congress)
appointed an Experts Committee for the purpose of preparing
material for the Constituent Assembly. This committee consisted
of the following members8b :
1. Jawaharlal Nehru (Chairman)
2. M. Asaf Ali
3. K.M. Munshi
4. N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
5. K.T. Shah
6. D.R. Gadgil
7. Humayun Kabir
8. K. Santhanam
Later, on the Chairman’s proposal, it was resolved that Krishna
Kripalani be co-opted as member and convener of the committee.
The committee had two sittings, the first at New Delhi from July
20 to 22, 1946, and the second at Bombay from August 15 to 17,
1946.
Apart from a number of notes prepared by its members, the
committee discussed the procedure to be adopted by the
Constituent Assembly, the question of the appointment of various
committees and the draft of a resolution on the objectives of the
constitution to be moved during the first session of the Constituent
Assembly8c .
On the role played by this committee in the making of the
Constitution, Granville Austin, a British constitutional expert,
observed: “It was the Congress Experts Committee that set India
on the road to her present Constitution. The committee members,
working within the framework of the Cabinet Mission Scheme,
made general suggestions about autonomous areas, the powers
of provincial Governments and the Centre, and about such issues
as the princely states and the amending power. They also drafted
a resolution, closely resembling the Objectives Resolution”.8d

CRITICISM OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
The critics have criticised the Constituent Assembly on various
grounds. These are as follows:
1. Not a Representative Body: The critics have argued that the
Constituent Assembly was not a representative body as its
members were not directly elected by the people of India on
the basis of universal adult franchise.
2. Not a Sovereign Body: The critics maintained that the
Constituent Assembly was not a sovereign body as it was
created by the proposals of the British Government. Further,
they said that the Assembly held its sessions with the
permission of the British Government.
3. Time Consuming: According to the critics, the Constituent
Assembly took unduly long time to make the Constitution.
They stated that the framers of the American Constitution
took only four months to complete their work8e. In this
context, Naziruddin Ahmed, a member of the Constituent
Assembly, coined a new name for the Drafting Committee to
show his contempt for it. He called it a “Drifting
Committee”.
4. Dominated by Congress: The critics charged that the
Constituent Assembly was dominated by the Congress
party. Granville Austin, an American Constitutional expert,
remarked: ‘The Constituent Assembly was a one-party body
in an essentially one-party country. The Assembly was the
Congress and the Congress was India’9 .
5. Lawyer-Politician Domination: It is also maintained by the
critics that the Constituent Assembly was dominated by
lawyers and politicians. They pointed out that other sections
of the society were not sufficiently represented. This, to
them, is the main reason for the bulkiness and complicated
language of the Constitution.
6. Dominated by Hindus: According to some critics, the
Constituent Assembly was a Hindu dominated body. Lord
Viscount Simon called it ‘a body of Hindus’. Similarly,

Winston Churchill commented that the Constituent Assembly
represented ‘only one major community in India’.

IMPORTANT FACTS
1. Elephant was adopted as the symbol (seal) of the
Constituent Assembly.
2. Sir B.N. Rau was appointed as the constitutional advisor
(Legal advisor) to the Constituent Assembly.
3. H.V.R. Iyengar was the Secretary to the Constituent
Assembly.
4. S.N. Mukerjee was the chief draftsman of the constitution in
the Constituent Assembly.
5. Prem Behari Narain Raizada was the calligrapher of the
Indian Constitution. The original constitution was handwritten
by him in a flowing italic style.
6. The original version was beautified and decorated by artists
from Shantiniketan including Nand Lal Bose and Beohar
Rammanohar Sinha.
7. Beohar Rammanohar Sinha illuminated, beautified and
ornamented the original Preamble calligraphed by Prem
Behari Narain Raizada.
8. The calligraphy of the Hindi version of the original
constitution was done by Vasant Krishan Vaidya and
elegantly decorated and illuminated by Nand Lal Bose.

HINDI TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION
Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with
respect to an authoritative text of the Constitution in the Hindi
language. Later, a provision in this regard was made by the 58th
Constitutional Amendment Act of 19878f. This amendment
inserted a new Article 394-A in the last part of the Constitution i.e.,
Part XXII8g. This article contains the following provisions:
1. The President shall cause to be published under his
authority:
(i) The translation of the Constitution in Hindi language. The
modifications which are necessary to bring it in
conformity with the language, style and terminology
adopted in the authoritative texts of the Central Acts in
Hindi can be made in it. All the amendments of the
Constitution made before such publication should be
incorporated in it.
(ii) The translation in Hindi of every amendment of the
constitution made in English.
2. The translation of the Constitution and its every amendment
published shall be construed to have the same meaning as
the original text in English. If any difficulty arises in this
matter, the President shall cause the Hindi text to be revised
suitably.
3. The translation of the Constitution and its every amendment
published shall be deemed to be, for all purposes, its
authoritative text in Hindi.
Table 2.1 Allocation of seats in the Constituent Assembly of India
(1946)
Sl.No. Areas
1.

British Indian Provinces (11)

2.

Princely States (Indian States)

3.

Chief Commissioners’ Provinces (4)
Total

Seats
292
93
4
389

Table 2.2 Results of the Elections to the Constituent Assembly
(July–August 1946)
Sl.No. Name of the Party

Seats
won

1.

Congress

2.

Muslim League

73

3.

Unionist Party

1

4.

Unionist Muslims

1

5.

Unionist Scheduled Castes

1

6.

Krishak - Praja Party

1

7.

Scheduled Castes Federation

1

8.

Sikhs (Non-Congress)

1

9.

Communist Party

1

10.

Independents

8

Total

208

296

Table 2.3 Community-wise Representation in the Constituent
Assembly (1946)
Sl.No. Community

Strength

1.

Hindus

163

2.

Muslims

80

3.

Scheduled Castes

31

4.

Indian Christians

6

5.

Backward Tribes

6

6.

Sikhs

4

7.

Anglo-Indians

3

8.

Parsees

3

Total

296

Table 2.4 State-wise Membership of the Constituent Assembly of
India as on December 31, 1947
Sl.No.

Name

No. of Members

A. Provinces (Indian Provinces)–229
1.

Madras

49

2.

Bombay

21

3.

West Bengal

19

4.

United Provinces

55

5.

East Punjab

12

6.

Bihar

36

7.

C.P. and Berar

17

8.

Assam

8

9.

Orissa

9

10.

Delhi

1

11.

Ajmer-Merwara

1

12.

Coorg

1

B. Indian States (Princely States)–70
1.

Alwar

1

2.

Baroda

3

3.

Bhopal

1

4.

Bikaner

1

5.

Cochin

1

6.

Gwalior

4

7.

Indore

1

8.

Jaipur

3

9.

Jodhpur

2

10.

Kolhapur

1

11.

Kotah

1

12.

Mayurbhanj

1

13.

Mysore

7

14.

Patiala

2

15.

Rewa

2

16.

Travancore

6

17.

Udaipur

2

18.

Sikkim and Cooch Behar Group

1

19.

Tripura, Manipur and Khasi States
Group

1

20.

U.P. States Group

1

21.

Eastern Rajputana States Group

3

22.

Central India States Group
(including Bundelkhand and Malwa)

3

23.

Western India States Group

4

24.

Gujarat States Group

2

25.

Deccan and Madras States Group

2

26.

Punjab States Group

3

27.

Eastern States Group I

4

28.

Eastern States Group II

3

29.

Residuary States Group

4

Total

299

Table 2.5 Sessions of the Constituent Assembly at a Glance
Sessions

Period

First Session

December 9–23, 1946

Second Session January 20–25, 1947
Third Session

April 28-May 2, 1947

Fourth Session

July 14–31, 1947

Fifth Session

August 14–30, 1947

Sixth Session

January 27, 1948

Seventh Session November 4, 1948-January 8, 1949
Eighth Session

May 16-June 16, 1949

Ninth Session

July 30-September 18, 1949

Tenth Session

October 6–17, 1949

Eleventh
Session

November 14–26, 1949

Note: The Assembly met once again on January 24, 1950, when
the members appended their signatures to the Constitution of
India.
Table 2.6 Time Taken by the Framers of Other Constitutions8h
Sl.
No.

Country No. of Working Period
Articles

Time Taken

1

U.S.A.

7

May 25, 1787 to
September 17,
1787

Less than 4
months

2

Canada

147

October 10, 1864 to About 2 years
March 1867
and 6 months

3

Australia 128

March 1891 to July About 9 years
9, 1900

4

South
Africa

October 1908 to
September 20,
1909

153

1 year

Table 2.7 Articles Related to Short Title, Commencement, Hindi
Text and Repeals at a Glance
Article No.

Subject Matter

393

Short title

394

Commencement

394A

Authoritative text in the hindi language

395

Repeals

NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. The Cabinet Mission consisting of three members (Lord
Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V.
Alexander) arrived in India on March 24, 1946. The
Cabinet Mission published its plan on May 16, 1946.
2. These include Madras, Bombay, UP, Bihar, Central
Provinces, Orissa, Punjab, NWFP, Sindh, Bengal and
Assam.
3. These include Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg and British
Baluchistan.
4. The Government of India Act of 1935 granted limited
franchise on the basis of tax, property and education.
5. These include Baroda, Bikaner, Jaipur, Patiala, Rewa
and Udaipur.
6. For the first time, the Constituent Assembly met as
Dominion Legislature on November 17, 1947 and
elected G.V. Mavlankar as its speaker.
7. These are West Punjab, East Bengal, NWFP, Sindh,
Baluchistan and Sylhet District of Assam. A separate
Constituent Assembly was set up for Pakistan.
8. The Provisional Parliament ceased to exist on April 17,
1952. The first elected Parliament with the two Houses
came into being in May 1952.
8a. One of the political consequences of the British
Government’s statement of June 3, 1947, was that
following a referendum, the North-West Frontier
Province and Baluchistan became part of the territory of
the Dominion of Pakistan and as a result the tribal areas
in this region became a concern of that Dominion. The
Sub-Committee on the Tribal Areas in the North-West
Frontier Province and Baluchistan was not therefore
called upon to function on behalf of the Constituent
Assembly of India. (B. Shiva Rao, The Framing of
India’s Constitution : Select Documents, Volume III,
P.681.)
The members of this Sub-Committee were : Khan
Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Khan Abdul Samad Khan and

Mehr Chand Khanna. The information about the
Chairman is not found.
8b. B. Shiva Rao, The Framing of India’s Constitution,
Select Documents, Volume 1, p.326.
8c. Ibid.
8d. Granville Austin, The Indian Constitution - Cornerstone
of a Nation, Oxford, 1966, pp. 32–33.
8e. See Table 2.6 at the end of this chapter.
8f. The 56th Constitutional Amendment Bill of 1987, after
being passed by both the Houses of Parliament and
assented by the President, finally emerged as the 58th
Constitutional Amendment Act of 1987.
8g. Part XXII is entitled as ‘Short Title, Commencement,
Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals’. Originally, this
part consisted of three Articles only - Article 393 (short
title), Article 394 (commencement) and Article 395
(repeals).
8h. J.R. Siwach, Dynamics of Indian Government and
Politics, Sterling Publishers Private Limited, Second
Edition, 1990, p.10.
9. Granville Austin, The Indian Constitution–Cornerstone
of a Nation, Oxford, 1966, P. 8.

3

T

Salient Features of the Constitution

he Indian Constitution is unique in its contents and spirit.
Though borrowed from almost every Constitution of the
world, the Constitution of India has several salient features
that distinguish it from the Constitutions of the other countries.
It should be noted at the outset that a number of original
features of the Constitution (as adopted in 1949) have undergone
a substantial change, on account of several amendments,
particularly 7th, 42nd, 44th, 73rd, 74th, 97th and 101st
Amendments. In fact, the 42nd Amendment Act (1976) is known
as ‘Mini-Constitution’ due to the important and large number of
changes made by it in various parts of the Constitution. However,
in the Kesavananda Bharati case1 (1973), the Supreme Court
ruled that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368
does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION
The salient features of the Constitution, as it stands today, are as
follows:

1. Lengthiest Written Constitution
Constitutions are classified into written, like the American
Constitution, or unwritten, like the British Constitution. The
Constitution of India is the lengthiest of all the written
Constitutions of the world. It is a very comprehensive, elaborate
and detailed document.
Originally (1949), the Constitution contained a Preamble, 395
Articles (divided into 22 Parts) and 8 Schedules. Presently (2019),
it consists of a Preamble, about 470 Articles (divided into 25
Parts) and 12 Schedules2. The various amendments carried out
since 1951 have deleted about 20 Articles and one Part (VII) and
added about 95 Articles, four Parts (IVA, IXA, IXB and XIVA) and
four Schedules (9, 10, 11 and 12). No other Constitution in the
world has so many Articles and Schedules3 .
Four factors have contributed to the elephantine size of our
Constitution. They are:
(a) Geographical factors, that is, the vastness of the country and
its diversity.
(b) Historical factors, e.g., the influence of the Government of
India Act of 1935, which was bulky.
(c) Single Constitution for both the Centre and the states4 .
(d) Dominance of legal luminaries in the Constituent Assembly.
The Constitution contains not only the fundamental principles of
governance, but also detailed administrative provisions. Further,
those matters which in other modern democratic countries have
been left to the ordinary legislation or established political
conventions have also been included in the constitutional
document itself in India.

2. Drawn From Various Sources

The Constitution of India has borrowed most of its provisions from
the Constitutions of various other countries as well as from the
Government of India Act5 of 1935. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar proudly
acclaimed that the Constitution of India has been framed after
‘ransacking all the known Constitutions of the World6 ’.
The structural part of the Constitution is, to a large extent,
derived from the Government of India Act of 1935. The
philosophical part of the Constitution (the Fundamental Rights and
the Directive Principles of State Policy) derive their inspiration
from the American and Irish Constitutions, respectively. The
political part of the Constitution (the principle of Cabinet
Government and the relations between the Executive and the
Legislature) have been largely drawn from the British Constitution7
.
The other provisions of the Constitution have been drawn from
the Constitutions of Canada, Australia, Germany, USSR (now
Russia), France, South Africa, Japan and so on8 .
The most profound influence and material source of the
Constitution is the Government of India Act, 1935. The Federal
Scheme, Judiciary, Governors, Emergency Powers, the Public
Service Commissions and most of the administrative details are
drawn from this Act. More than half of the provisions of
Constitution are identical to or bear a close resemblance to the
Act of 19359 .

3. Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility
Constitutions are also classified into rigid and flexible. A rigid
Constitution is one that requires a special procedure for its
amendment, as for example, the American Constitution. A flexible
constitution, on the other hand, is one that can be amended in the
same manner as the ordinary laws are made, as for example, the
British Constitution.
The Constitution of India is neither rigid nor flexible, but a
synthesis of both. Article 368 provides for two types of
amendments:
(a) Some provisions can be amended by a special majority of
the Parliament, i.e., a two-third majority of the members of

each House present and voting, and a majority of the total
membership of each House.
(b) Some other provisions can be amended by a special majority
of the Parliament and with the ratification by half of the total
states.
At the same time, some provisions of the Constitution can be
amended by a simple majority of the Parliament in the manner of
ordinary legislative process. Notably, these amendments do not
come under Article 368.

4. Federal System with Unitary Bias
The Constitution of India establishes a federal system of
Government. It contains all the usual features of a federation, viz.,
two Government, division of powers, written Constitution,
supremacy of Constitution, rigidity of Constitution, independent
judiciary and bicameralism.
However, the Indian Constitution also contains a large number
of unitary or non-federal features, viz., a strong Centre, single
Constitution, single citizenship, flexibility of Constitution,
integrated judiciary, appointment of state governor by the Centre,
all-India services, emergency provisions and so on.
Moreover, the term ‘Federation’ has nowhere been used in the
Constitution. Article 1, on the other hand, describes India as a
‘Union of States’ which implies two things: one, Indian Federation
is not the result of an agreement by the states; and two, no state
has the right to secede from the federation.
Hence, the Indian Constitution has been variously described as
‘federal in form but, unitary in spirit’, ‘quasi-federal’ by K.C.
Wheare, ‘bargaining federalism’ by Morris Jones, ‘co-operative
federalism’ by Granville
Austin, ‘federation with a centralising tendency’ by Ivor
Jennings and so on.

5. Parliamentary Form of Government
The Constitution of India has opted for the British Parliamentary
System of Government rather than American Presidential System
of Government. The parliamentary system is based on the

principle of co-operation and co-ordination between the legislative
and executive organs while the presidential system is based on
the doctrine of separation of powers between the two organs.
The parliamentary system is also known as the ‘Westminster’10
Model of Government, responsible Government and Cabinet
Government. The Constitution establishes the parliamentary
system not only at the Centre, but also in the states.
The features of parliamentary government in India are:
(a) Presence of nominal and real executives;
(b) Majority party rule,
(c) Collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature,
(d) Membership of the ministers in the legislature,
(e) Leadership of the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister,
(f) Dissolution of the lower House (Lok Sabha or Assembly).
Even though the Indian parliamentary system is largely based
on the British pattern, there are some fundamental differences
between the two. For example, the Indian Parliament is not a
sovereign body like the British Parliament. Further, the Indian
State has an elected head (republic) while the British State has
hereditary head (monarchy).
In a parliamentary s