Chapters :
  • REGULATING ACT -1773
  • PITT’S INDIA ACT -1784
  • CHARTER ACT, 1833
  • CHARTER ACT, 1853
  • Key Features Of The Act
  • GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1858
  • INDIAN COUNCILS ACT- 1892
  • MORLEY-MINTO REFORMS, 1909
  • GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1919
  • GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1935
  • INDIAN INDEPENDENCE ACT, 1947
  • THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
  • COMMITTEES OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
  • DRAFTING COMMITTEE
  • SALIENT FEATURES OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION
  • LENGTHIEST WRITTEN CONSTITUTION
  • SOURCES OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

THE CONSTITUTION & HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

PRECURSORS OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

British traders landed on the shores of India in 1600In 1765, with the acquisition of diwani rights over Bihar, Bengal and Odisha, the British emerged as a political entity in India. The administration of British territories in India was carried out by the British East India Company till 1857.

 In 1858, the administration was taken over by the British government in the wake of the Great Revolt of 1857. For the purpose of efficient administration, both the company and the British government had passed numerous regulations and acts that shaped the constitution of independent India. 

REGULATING ACT -1773

The significance of this act is that it paved way for the political unification of India with the introduction of central administration. 

Key Features of the act:

  1. The Governor of Bengal was made as the Governor-General of Bengal.
  2. To assist the Governor-General in the administration, an executive council consisting of four members was constituted.
  3. The Governors of Madras and Bombay presidencies were made as subordinates to the Governor-General of Bengal. 
  4. It provided for the establishment of a Supreme Court at Calcutta with one Chief Justice and three other judges.
  5. The company employees were prohibited from engaging in private trade
  6. The Court of Directors, who were running the management of the company were required to submit reports on the Revenue, Military And Civil Administration of India to the British government.( Govt Emblem or British Parliament image)

PITT’S INDIA ACT -1784

The significance of this act is that the administration of India was brought under the control of the British government with the introduction of the system of ‘Double Government’.

Key Features Of The Act:

    1. The territories of the company in India were called as ‘British Possessions’.
    2. A Board of Control was instituted to look after the civil and military administration in India. ( Tree Diagram – Under Board Civil and Military show Image of People under Civil and Military u can show milirary image) 
    3. The Court of Directors of the company were restricted to administering only the commercial activities in India. 

CHARTER ACT, 1833

The significance of this act is that with the enactment of this act, the centralisation of administration in India reached its peak. 

Key Features Of The Act:

        1.The Governor-General of Bengal was made as the Governor-General of India.

        2.The legislative powers of governors of Madras and Bombay were terminated. 

        3.The commercial monopoly of British East India Company in India came to an end.

         4.For the selection of civil servants, open competition was introduced. Thus, the company lost its power to appoint civil servants to carry out the administration of India. 

CHARTER ACT, 1853

The significance of this act is that it introduced the principle of ‘Separation of Powers’ for the first time in India. 

Key Features Of The Act:

  1. It provided for the addition of six members to the Governor-General’s executive council for the purpose of law-making. Thus, the system of Parliamentary government was introduced in India.
  2. Indians were also allowed to compete along with the Britishers for the offices of civil servants. 
  3. The system of ‘Local Government’ was introduced.

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1858

The significance of this act is that the administration of British possessions in India was transferred to the Crown. The British East India Company lost its political and administrative role in India. 

Key Features of the act:

       1.The office of Governor-General of India was replaced with the office of Viceroy.

       2.The system of ‘Double Government’ was abolished.

       3.The Board of Control was replaced with the Secretary of State, who was a member of the cabinet and was responsible for British administration in India.

        4.To assist the Secretary of State in the administration of India, a council consisting of fifteen members war instituted.

INDIAN COUNCILS ACT, 1861

The significance of this act is that it provided for the association of Indians in the administration for the first time. 

Key Features of this act:

      1.The legislative council at the centre was expanded and some Indians were added to the council as non-officials.

       2.The process of decentralisation of administration started with this act.

       3.The legislative powers of governors of Madras and Bombay were restored.

       4.The Viceroy was authorised to issue ordinances.

       5.‘Portfolio System’ was introduced and the members of the council were made in-charge of various ministries and departments.

INDIAN COUNCILS ACT- 1892

The significance of this act is that it introduced an indirect and extremely limited form of election.

Key Features Of The Act:

  1. The number of non-officials in the council was increased. However, the officials majority was maintained. 
  2. The legislative councils were allowed to discuss budgets and ask questions to the executives.
  3. The Viceroy was authorised to nominate some members who were recommended by the provincial legislative councils to the central legislative council. 

MORLEY-MINTO REFORMS, 1909

The significance of this act is that for the first time Indians were associated with the executive councils of Viceroy and Governors. 

Key Features of the act:

  • The act provided for the expansion of both the central and the provincial legislative councils.
  1. The legislative councils were allowed to move resolutions on budgets and also to ask supplementary questions to the executives.
  2. The system of ‘Separate Electorate’ was introduced to Muslims. 

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1919

The significance of this act is that it promised the gradual introduction of responsible government in India.

Key Features Of The Act:

    1. The subjects of legislation were divided between the central and the provincial legislative councils.
    2. In the provinces, the subjects of legislation were further divided into Transferred And Reserved Subjects. This system was known as ‘Dyarchy’.
    3. The subjects in the Transferred list were administered by ministers from the legislative councils. They were responsible to the legislative councils.
    4. The subjects in the Reserved List were administered by ministers from the executive councils. They were not responsible to the legislative councils.
    5. Bicameralism was introduced in the central legislature.
    6. Direct election was introduced for the first time.
    7. Separate electorates were extended to Sikhs, Indian Christians, Europeans and Anglo-Indians.
    8. For the recruitment of personnel to central public services, a central public service commission was established.
    9. The provincial legislative councils were authorised to enact provincial budgets.

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1935

The significance of this act is that it provided for complete decentralisation of administration. 

Key Features Of The Act:

        1.The subjects of legislation were divided into three lists such as the Federal List, Provincial List And Concurrent List.

        2.Dyarchy was abolished in the provinces and introduced in the central legislature.

        3.Separate electorates were extended to Women, Working Class And Depressed Classes.

        4.It provided for the establishment of Federal Public Service Commission, Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission.

         5.The Governors of the provinces were required to act on the advice of the ministers and the ministers were made responsible to the legislative councils. 

INDIAN INDEPENDENCE ACT, 1947

        1.It declared India to be an independent and sovereign country.

         2.Two dominions, India and Pakistan were created.

        3.The office of Viceroy was replaced with the office of Governor-General.

        4.The British paramountcy over the princely states came to an end.

        5.The Governor-General of India and the British governors of the provinces were required to act on the advice of council of ministers.

         6.A constituent assembly was formed to frame the constitution of independent India.

THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

The First meeting of Constituent Assembly held on December 9, 1946. Dr Sachchidan Sinha elected as temporary President of Constituent Assembly . On Dec 11th 1946 , Dr Rajendra Prasad & H C Mukherjee were elected as President &  Vice –President of the Assembly respectively.

COMMITTEES OF CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

  1. Drafting Committee – Dr B.R Ambedkar
  2. Rules of Procedure Committee – Dr Rajendra Prasad 
  3. Provincial Constitution Committee – Sardar Patel 
  4. Union Powers Committee – Jawaharlal Nehru 
  5. Order of Business Committee – Dr K.M Munsi.
  6. House Committee – B.Pattabhi Sitaramayya .

DRAFTING COMMITTEE 

The Drafting Committee set up on Aug 29th, 1947.  It Consisted of Seven Members.

  1.  Dr B.R Ambedkar.
  2.  N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar
  3.  Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar
  4.  Syed Mohammad Saadullah
  5. Dr. K.M Munshi 
  6. T.T. Krishnamachari .
  7. D.P Khaitan. 

SALIENT FEATURES OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

The members of the constituent assembly were aware of the uniqueness of Indian society and thus meticulously crafted a constitution that accommodates the interests of every section of the Indian society. The following are the salient features of Indian constitution.

1.LENGTHIEST WRITTEN CONSTITUTION:

The Indian constitution, unlike the British constitution does not contain only the basic principles of governance. It provides elaborate provisions detailing the administrative procedures as well.

Reasons for being the lengthiest constitution:

       A)Geographical Factors: The vastness of the territory of India creates geographical, social and cultural diversities between different regions of the country.

       B)Historical Factors: The Government of India Act, 1935, which was a bulky document had a considerable influence on the Constitution of India.

       C)Composition of Constituent Assembly: The constituent assembly was dominated by members from legal background. 

        D)Single Constitution: A single constitution was made for the entire country that accommodates the wide range of regional and socio-cultural diversities.

2.SOURCES OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Many principles and ideals incorporated in the Indian constitution were inspired from the constitutions of various countries. Such principles were modified according to the needs of Indian society and then incorporated in the constitution. 

S.NoCountryInspired Concepts 
1Australia Concurrent list, Language of Preamble and Provisions related to trade, commerce and intercourse.
2CanadaFederal with unitary bias, Distribution of powers between centre and states and Residuary powers with the centre.
3IrelandDirective Principle of State Policy (DPSP), Election of President, Nomination of MPs to Rajya Sabha.
4JapanProcedure established by law.
5USSR (erstwhile)Fundamental Duties and Five year plans.
6UKNominal head of the State, Parliamentary system, Cabinet system, Bicameralism, Speaker to Lok Sabha, Council of Ministers and More powerful Lok Sabha.
7USAPreamble, Fundamental Rights, Independence of judiciary, Removal of Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court ,Judicial Review, Functions of President and Vice-President and Written constitution.
8GermanySuspension of FRs during emergency.
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