Transcript Constitution and the Coming of Democracy
Constitution and Coming of Democracy
The 1861 Council of India Act Nehru Committee of 1928 and the Demand for Dominion Status Communal Award of 1932 and the Government of India Act in 1935 Cabinet Mission and The formation of Constituent Assembly in 1946
Social and political Context of India’s Constituent Assembly Members Indirectly Elected by the Provincial Assemblies which were elected directly by an Electorate formed on the basis of Property Qualification After excluding provinces that fell under Pakistan, the Assembly included 207 Members but 93 members were nominated from the Princely States and thus increased the number to 300 There were 15 women members of the Constituent Assembly and 28 Muslim League Members joined it when Partition became final. There were Muslim Members of the Congress too. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected the President of the Constituent Assembly and was assisted by Nehru and Patel . On Agust 29 1947, Ambedkar was appointed chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write free India's new Constitution. He was assisted by KM Munshi of Gujerat, Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyer, the Advocate General from Madras Presidency and B. N. Rau the Constitutional Advisor and S. N Mukherjee Chief Draughtsman. Moulana Abul Kalam Azad, a Muslim Congressman represented Muslim interests and Harendra Coomar Mukherjee, a Bengali Christian was the Chairman of Minority’s Board.
Congress Party had a 82% majority of the Constituent Assembly but was a very broad Church including socialists, Hindu nationalists and defenders of landed interests.
9 December 1946 was the inaugural ceremony and 13 December 1946 the Constituent Assembly passed Objectives Resolution National Revolution and Social Revolution Debates over Panchayati Raj Individuals and Community Principles of Affirmative Action and Guarantee of Protection of Minority Rights
Parliamentary System of Governance based on the Directly Elected Lower House of the Parliament namely Lok Sabha Principle of Universal Adult Franchise and First Past Post System Upper House of the Parliament elected by the Provincial Assemblies President as the Head of the state and Commander in Chief of Army Elected by and Electoral College Composed of Provincial Assemblies and Two Houses of Parliament Prime Minister as the Head of the Government composed of Cabinet of Ministers Chief Minister Head of the Government of Federating States Responsible to the Directly Elected State Assemblies and the Governor Appointed by the President as the Constitutional Head of the States Government The Independent Election Commission, Judiciary and Comptroller General of Accounts.
Complex Fiscal Federalism but more money would go into the Coffer of the state Article 356 allowing the Central Government to Dismantle the State Government through unelected Governors Concurrent List of State and Federal governments Central Government’s Monopoly over Public Broadcasting.
Fear of Anarchy and Chaos Need for Economic Growth and Centralized Planning
Principle of Affirmative Action: Former Untouchables and Adivasis No Separate Representations for Muslims but there was a Guarantee of Muslim Personal Law No Reservations for Women but right to Equality Provisions for Reform of Hindu Personal Law Limits of Legal Reforms State Language English/ Hindi/ Hindustani/ Languages of the State
Fundamental Rigths: 1. Right to Equality 2. Right to Particular Freedom 3. Cultural and Educational Rights 4. Right to Freedom of Religion 5. Right Against Exploitation and 6. Right to Constitutional Remedies Directive Principles: Gandhian , Social and economic Political and administrative, legal, environmental, protection of monuments, peace and security
With 395 articles and twelve schedules India enacted the longest constitution of the world on 26 January 1950.
This led to the Birth of First Pluralist Democracy in the Asian Subcontinent It took three years to draft this constitution which was enacted in the most transparent manner possible in those days.
One of the Most Grand and Novel Experiment in History