A constitution is a collection of core principles or established norms that serve as the legal foundation for a polity, organisation, or other forms of body, determining how that entity will be governed. There are 2 types of constitution
- written constitution -is the type of constitution in which all the above-said ideologies are written down into a single understandable document. It is properly framed and enacted ceremoniously. Here constitution is more powerful than the parliament.
e.g. USA, India, Canada, Sri Lanka
- unwritten constitution. – instead of a single document, it is written in numerous fundamental Acts of a legislature, court cases or treaties. This is also known as the codified constitution. They evolved into the present being by the accumulation of the pacts, bills and treaties. Here parliament is more powerful than the constitution
e.g. UK, New Zealand, Israel
What are salient features of the Indian Constitution
Many nationwide and state-wise government exams have Indian Polity and governance in their list of essential subjects. The salient features of the Indian Constitution are one of the important topics. Read the article below to know more on the topic of salient features of the Indian constitution.
Lengthiest Written Constitution
Our nation has one of the world’s longest and most comprehensive constitutions. The constitution originally had 395 articles divided into 22 parts and eight schedules. There are now 448 articles in 25 parts, with 12 schedules. The Indian Constitution was influenced by a variety of international constitutions.
Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility
The Constitution of our nation is neither too rigid nor too flexible. Article 368 presents 2 types of amendments.
- Amendment through a special majority (two-thirds majority of the members of each House present and voting), and a majority (50%) of the total membership of each House.
- Some other articles can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and with the sanction of half of the states.
Federal System with A Unitary Bias
Indian Constitution is that it is a federation with a strong centralizing tendency.
|Unitary Features||Federal Features|
|The centre possesses more authority and powers than the state
e.g. the Union list contains more subjects than the State list.
|a written Constitution is an indispensable feature of every nation following the federal system.|
|The individual states of federations like the U.S.A have the power to form their constitution, which is not possible in India||The authority of the constitution is always upheld.|
|a single system of Courts that administers the Central as well as State laws.|
|There is no equal representation of States in the houses of Parliament which is not the same in federations like the U.S.A.|
Parliamentary v. Presidential System
In the Presidential form of Government, the President is the head of the State. The Parliamentary system is favoured more than the Presidential system. This is because it guarantees the equal distribution of power. It ensures that power is not concentrated in the hands of an individual. The drafters of our constitution did not choose the presidential system because it would make the executive and legislatures independent of each other, which they considered a bad move.
Universal Adult Franchise
Every Indian citizen who is above 18 years of age can cast their vote in elections to both state and central assemblies. But they have to ensure before each election that they have their names on voters’ lists.
Indian Constitution has only Single Citizenship. Some countries have dual citizenship in which the person will be a citizen of the country as well as the state he resides in.
Integrated and Independent Judiciary
The Judiciary ensures that the government is running the country according to the constitution. The makers of our Constitution made sure that the Judiciary had to be independent and unbiased. Given below are provisions in the Constitution that ensure the independence of the judiciary:
- The appointment of Judges is autonomous and there is no participation of anyone from the executive.
- The term Judges is secured.
- The constitutional provisions for the removal of judges from their position are treated with the utmost care by drafters so that they won’t be misused
The preamble is an introduction to our constitution and it briefly explains the ideologies that our constitution stands for. The Preamble indicates that the source of authority of the Constitution is with the people of India. Preamble announces India as a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. The purposes affirmed by the Preamble are to secure justice, liberty, equality for all citizens and endorse fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation.
They are discussed in part III of the Indian Constitution. The Indian Constitution pledges six Rights in the list of fundamental rights. They are as follows
- Right to Equality (Article 14-18)
- Right to Freedom (Article 19-22)
- Right against Exploitation (Article 23-24)
- Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28)
- Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29-30)
- Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
Directive Principles of State Policy
It is discussed in part 4 of the Indian constitution. The State must apply these principles while making any new legislation. The Directive Principles of State Policy is comparable to the ‘Instrument of Instructions’ that was present in the Government of India Act 1935.
Initially, they were not a part of the original Constitution. They were added later added by the 42nd Constitutional amendment in the year 1976. India was inspired by the ideal in the constitution of the USSR and decided to add 11 fundamental duties in the form of article 51A
Writs, like habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for the enforcement of the rights.
- Habeascorpus is issued for the detention or imprisonment of an individual by a private person or the government.
- Mandamus means to command. This writ commands the individual to do some public or quasi-public legal duty that he has declined to perform.
- Prohibitionis issued by the Supreme Court or High Court to lower court forbidding its proceeding in a case that is outside its jurisdiction.
- Certiorariis issued against the decision of a lower court quashing its decision where it is acting beyond its jurisdiction.
- Quo Warranto is issued by the court when it enquires into the legality of the claim of a person to public office and if the office is found in wrong possession then that person is removed.
All the above-discussed features were subjects of frequently asked questions in competitive exams. We have to remember to study all the important Indian Constitution articles to attain a better score. Download the Entri app for getting more updates on the syllabus of SSC, TNPSC, RRB etc