Chapter 1 Historical Development
Constitutional Development under British Rule
▸ The Indian Constitution was framed by the Constituent Assembly set-up for this purpose in 1946 and the Constitution came into being on 26th January, 1950. However, the various provisions and features of Constitution have their roots in the British administration, which introduced modern governance structure in India.
▸ Beginning from 1765, when the East India Company obtained the ‘diwani’ (i.e. rights over revenue and civil justice of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa) till 1947, the British rule during the various periods laid down the legal framework for the organisation and functioning of government and administration in India.
Regulating Act, 1773
▸ This was the first step taken by the British Government to control and regulate the affairs of the East India Company in India. It designated the Governor of Bengal as the Governor-General of Bengal.
▸ The first Governor-General was Lord Warren Hastings.
▸ It subordinated the Governors of Bombay and Madras to the Governor-General of Bengal. This led to concentration of powers under the Governor-General and his subordinates resulting in rampant corruption and weakening of command structure at lower levels.
▸ The Supreme Court was established at Fort Williams in Calcutta, 1774. Comprising one Chief Justice and three other judges. Sir Elijah Impey was the first Chief Justice.
▸ It prohibited the servant of the company from engaging in any private trade or accepting presents or bribes from the native Indian.
Pitt’s India Act, 1784
▸ It was introduced to remove the drawbacks of the Regulating Act and was named after the British Prime Minister William Pitt.
▸ The Act placed the Indian affairs under the direct control of the British Government. The act clearly distinguished the commercial and political function of the company.
▸ It established a Board of Control over the Board of Directors of the Company. The board were to report to the British Parliament. The Board of Control were to manage the political affairs in India.
▸ The Governor-General’s additional powers were curtailed and restored back to the provincial Governors.
▸ It was in the Pitt’s India Act 1784 that the company’s territories in India were called the British Possessions in India for the first time.
Charter Act, 1813
▸ This Act renewed the Company’s Charter for a further 20 years. It however deprived the company of its monopoly of trade with India.
▸ It subjected the three Councils of the Governors to greater control of Parliament by requiring them to place all their regulations before the British Parliament.
▸ The Christian Missionaries were allowed to spread their religion in India.
Charter Act, 1833
▸ It made the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India and his council as the Indian Council. First Governor-General of India was Lord William Bentick.
▸ Governor-General’s Council were separated into executive and legislative functions.
▸ This Act for the first time created a Government of India with the Governor-General or the head, having authority over the entire territorial area possessed by the British in India.
▸ The East India Company was reduced to an administrative and political entity.
Charter Act, 1853
▸ It provided for a new Legislative Council of Governor-General comprising of 6 new members called Legislative Councillors. This council came to be known as Indian (central) Legislative Council.
▸ It introduced a system of open competition on the basic for the recruitment civil servants.
▸ A separate Governor for Bengal was to be appointed.
▸ British Parliament was empowered to put company’s governance in India to an end at any suitable time.
Government of India Act, 1858
▸ The act was enacted in the wake of the Revolt of 1857. This act transferred the government territories and revenues of India from the East India Company to the British Crown. In other words, the rule of company was replaced by the rule of the crown in India.
▸ India was, for the purpose of administration, classified to British India and Princely States. The Princely States were to show allegiance to the Crown. The powers of the British Crown were to be exercised by new office the Secretary of State for India.
▸ The Secretary of State was a member of the British Cabinet. He was assisted by the Council of India, having 15 members. He was vested with complete authority and control over the Indian administration through the Governor-General as his agent. He was responsible ultimately to the British Parliament. The Governor-General was made the Viceroy of India. Lord Canning was the first Viceroy of India.
Indian Councils Act, 1861
▸ It introduced first time, the representative institutions in India. It provided that the Governor-General’s Executive Council should have some Indians as the non-official members while transacting the legislative businesses. However, the non-official members appointed were traders, zamindars and British loyalists.
▸ It resolved the legislative power to Bombay and Madras Presidencies. It thus reversed the centralising tendencies that started from the Regulating Act of 1773.
Indian Councils Act, 1892
▸ The Act provided for the first time, the establishment of an elected Legislative Council at the provinces. The members were to be elected by a municipalities, merchant bodies, universities etc.
▸ A Legislative Council at the centre was to be constituted by members elected by the Provincial Councils. However, they had no right to vote and raise questions in Councils.
▸ Official member remained as majority both at the provincial and Central Legislative Councils.
Indian Councils Act, 1909
▸ The Act of 1909 is commonly known as the Morley-Minto Reforms. The following were the main features of the Act of 1909 :
— The number of members of the Legislative Council at the centre was increased from 16 to 60.
— The right of separate electorate was given to the Muslims.
— Official members were to form the majority, but in provinces, non-official members would be in majority.
— The members of the Legislative Councils were permitted to discuss the budgets, suggest the amendments and even to vote on them; excluding those items that were included as non-vote items. They were also entitled to ask supplementary questions during the legislative proceedings.`
— Two Indians were nominated to the Council of the Secretary of State for Indian affairs. The viceroy was empowered to nominate one Indian member to his Executive Council. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first indian to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council.
— The member of the Legislative Councils, both at the centre and in the provinces, were to be of four categories i.e. ex-officio members (Governor-General and the members of their Executive Councils), nominated official members (those nominated by the Governor-General and were government officials), nominated non-official members (nominated by the Governor-General, but were not government officials) and elected members (elected by different categories of Indian people).
The Government of India Act, 1919
▸ The Act of 1919 embodied the reforms recommended in the report of the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montague and the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford.
▸ Following were the main features of the act of 1919 :
— The Act provided a dual form of government (dyarchy) for the provinces. In each such province, control of some areas of government, the ‘transferred list’, were given to a Government of Indian ministers nominated by the Governor and answerable to the Provincial Council. The ‘transferred list’ included agriculture, health and education.
— At the same time, all other areas of government (reserved list) remained under the control of the viceroy. The ‘reserved list’ included defence (the military), foreign affairs and communications.
— The Imperial Legislative Council was enlarged and reformed. It became a bicameral legislature for all India. The Lower House was the Legislative Assembly of 144 members, of which 104 were elected and 40 were nominated and tenure of 3 years. The Upper House was the Council of States consisting of official member remained or majority both at the provincial and central legislative council. 34 elected and 26 nominated members and tenure of 5 years.
— The act also provided for a High Commissioner for India who resided in London, representing India in Great Britain.
— Three of the six members of Viceroy’s Executive Council were to be Indian.
— It extended the separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans.
Simon Commission, 1927
▸ The Act of 1919, had provided for the appointment of a Commission to review the provisions of the act. The British Government announced the appointment of a Seven-Member Statutory Commission under the Chairmanship of Sir John Simon. All the members of the commission were British and hence, all the parties of India 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.
Nehru Report, 1928
▸ The Nehru Report was memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status Constitution for India. It was prepared by a committee of the All Parties Conference chaired by Motilal Nehru in Delhi. (February, 1928)
▸ The Constitution outlined by the Nehru report was for India enjoying dominion status within the British Commonwealth.
Some of the Important elements of the report were as follows :
— It contained a Bill of Rights.
— All power of government and all authority legislative, executive and judicial are derived from the people and the same shall be exercised through organisations established by, or under, and in accord with, this Constitution.
— There shall be no state religion; men and women shall have equal rights as citizens.
— There should be federal form of government with residuary powers vested in the center.
— It included a suggestion that the provinces should be linguistically determined.
— It did not provide for separate electorates for any community or weight age for minorities.
Government of India Act, 1935
▸ This act was passed after three Round Table Conferences held in London.
▸ The provisions of this Act were as follows :
— The Act provided for the establishment of an All India Federation consisting of the provinces and the Princely States as the units. The federation never came into being as the Princely States did not gain.
— The Act divided the powers between the centre and the provinces in terms of three lists, namely the Federal List, the Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
— The Federal List for the centre consisted of 59 items, the Provincial List for the provinces consisted of 54 items and the Concurrent List for both consisted of 36 items. The residuary powers were vested with the Governor-General.
— The Act abolished the diarchy in the provinces and introduced Provincial Autonomy.
— It provided for the adoption of dyarchy at the centre.
— Introduced bicameralism is 6 out of 11 provinces. These 6 provinces were Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras and the United Province.
— It provided for the establishment of Reserve Bank of India. It also provided for the establishment of Federal Public Service Commission and Provincial Public Service Commission.
▸ On 8th August, 1940 the Viceroy of India Lord Linlithgow made the Offer which is generally called August Offer.
▸ The following proposals were put in :
— After the war a representative Indian body would be set-up to frame a Constitution for India. Viceroy’s Executive Council would be expanded without delay.
— The minorities were assured that the government would not transfer power ‘‘to any system of government whose authority is directly denied by large and powerful elements in Indian national life.’’
Cripps Mission, 1942
▸ In March, 1942 Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of the British Cabinet came with a draft declaration on the proposals of the British Government.These proposals were to be adopted at the end of the 2nd World War, provided Congress and the Muslim League could accept them.
▸ The proposals of Cripps Mission were as follows :
— The Constitution of India was to be framed by an elected Constituent Assembly by the Indian people. The Constitution should give India Dominion Status. There should be one Indian Union comprising all the Provinces and Indian States.
— Any Province (or Indian State) not accepting the Constitution would be free to retain its constitutional position existing at that time and with such non-acceding Province British Government could enter into separate constitutional arrangements.
The Cabinet Mission, 1946
▸ British Prime Minister Clement Attlee formulated a Cabinet Mission to India to discuss and finalise plans for the transfer of power from the British Raj to Indian leadership as well as provide India with independence under dominion status in the commonwealth of the nations.
▸ In March, 1946, Lord Attlee sent a Cabinet Mission to India consisting of three Cabinet Ministers, namely Lord Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr AV Alexander. The Mission discussed the framework of the Constitution and laid down in some detail, the procedure to be followed by the Constitution drafting body. Cabinet Mission proposal were as follows :
— The Cabinet Mission rejected the claim for a separate Constituent Assembly and a separate electorate for the Muslim.
— According to Cabinet Mission Plan there was to be a Union of India, comprising both British India and the States, having jurisdiction over the subjects of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Communication. All residuary powers were to be vested in the Provinces and the States.
— The Union was to have an Executive and a Legislature consisting of representatives of the Provinces and the States.
— Any decision involving a major communal issue in the legislature was to require a majority support of representatives of each of the two major communities present and voting.
— The provinces could form groups with executives and legislatures, and each group could be competent to determine the provincial subjects.
Mountbatten Plan, 1947
▸ This was also known as the Mountbatten Plan. The British government proposed a plan announced on 3rd June, 1947 that included following principles :
— Principle of Partition of India was accepted by the British Government.
— Successor governments would be given dominion status.
— Implicit right to secede from the British Commonwealth.
— The Indian Independence Act, 1947 was the implementation of 3rd June, Plan.
Indian Independence Act, 1947
▸ The Indian Independence Act which came into force on 18th July, 1947, divided British Indian territory into two new states: India and Pakistan, which were to be dominions under the Commonwealth of Nations until their constitutions came into effect. The Constituent Assembly was divided into two separate states.
▸ To demarcate boundary line between India and Pakistan a commission was constituted under the chairmanship of Sir Cyril Radcliffe.
▸ The Act abolished the office of viceroy and provided for each dominion, a Governor-General.
▸ Lord Mountbatten became the first Governor-General of dominion India. Later, the Constituent Assembly elected C Rajagopalachari as the Governor-General of independent India.
Framing of the Constitution of India
▸ The idea of Constituent Assembly for India was put forward for the first time by MN Roy in 1934.
▸ The demand for the Constituent Assembly was first accepted by the British in August Offer. However, it was in Cripps Mission, that the British accepted for the Constituent Assembly consisting entirely of Indians. The Constituent Assembly was set-up in November, 1946 as per the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946. The elections to the Constituent Assembly was indirect.
▸ There were a total of 389 members in the Constituent Assembly of which 296 were elected by the members of the provincial assemblies and the rest were nominated by the Princely States.
▸ After the partition, the strength of Constituent Assembly war reduced to 299. Its first meeting was held on 9th December, 1946 with Sachidanand Sinha as the interim President.
▸ On 11th December, 1946, Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the Constituent Assembly. Objective Resolution was moved by Jawaharlal Nehru.
▸ The Drafting Committee was appointed on 29th August, 1947, with Dr BR Ambedkar as the Chairman.
▸ The Constituent Assembly took almost 3 years (2 years, 11months and 18 days to be precise) to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India.
▸ On 26th November, 1949, the people of India through the Constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave themselves the Constitution of India.
▸ The Constitution was finally signed by the members of the Constituent Assembly on 24th January, 1950, which was the last day of the Assembly. The Constitution came into full operation with effect from 26th January, 1950.
▸ When the Constitution of India came into force on 26th January, 1950, it repealed the Indian Independence Act. India ceased to be a dominion of the British Crown and became a sovereign, democratic and republic. According to Article 394, provisions relating to the citizenship, elections, provisional Parliament and temporary and transitional provisions contained in Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392 and 393 came into force on the day of adoption (i.e. 26th November, 1949) of the Constitution and the remaining provisions of the Constitution came into being on the day of the commencement (i.e. 26th January, 1950) of the Constitution.
Phases of the Constituent Assembly
▸ First Phase As Constituent Assembly, under the limitations of Cabinet Mission Plan from 6th September, 1946 to 14th August, 1947.
▸ Second Phase As Constituent Assembly, a sovereign body provisional Parliament from 15th August, 1947 to 26th November, 1949.
▸ Third Phase As a provisional Parliament from 27th November, 1949 to March, 1952.
Other Functions Performed by the Constituent Assembly
▸ It adopted the National flag on 22nd July, 1947.
▸ It ratified India’s, membership of Commonwealth in May, 1949.
▸ It adopted the National Anthem and National Song on 24th January, 1950.
▸ It ratified the India’s membership of the Commonwealth in May, 1949.
▸ It elected Dr Rajendra Prasad as the first President of India on 24th January, 1950.
Committees of Constituent Assembly
Chairman – Dr BR Ambedkar
▸ N Gopalaswami Ayyangar
▸ Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
▸ KM Munshi
▸ Mohammad Saadullah
▸ N Madhav Rau (replaced BL Mitter)
▸ TT Krishnamachari ( replaced DP Khaitan)
▸ Committee for Negotiating with States (Chairman: Dr Rajendra Prasad)
▸ Union Constitution Committee (Chairman: Jawaharlal Nehru)
▸ Provincial Constitution Committee (Chairman: Sardar Patel)
▸ Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution (Chairman: Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar)
▸ Union Powers Committee (Chairman: Jawaharlal Nehru)
▸ Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities (Chairman: Sardar Patel)
▸ Steering Committee (Chairman: Dr Rajendra Prasad)
▸ Rules of Procedure Committee (Chairman: Dr Rajendra Prasad)
Interim Government (1946)
|Pt Jawaharlal Nehru||External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations|
|Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel||Home, Information and Broadcasting|
|Dr Rajendra Prasad||Food and Agriculture|
|Dr John Mathai||Industries and Supplies|
|Sardar Baldev Singh||Defence|
|CH Bhabha||Works, Mines and Power|
|Liaquat Ali Khan||Finance|
|Abdur Rab Nishtar||Posts and Air|
|Asaf Ali||Railways and Transport|
|C Rajagopalachari||Education and Arts|
* 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.
First Cabinet of Free India (1947)
|Pt Jawaharlal Nehru||Prime Minister, External Affairs and Commonwealth Relation; Scientific Research|
|Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel||Home, Information and Broadcasting; States|
|Dr Rajendra Prasad||Food and Agriculture|
|MaulanaAbul Kalam Azad||Education|
|Dr John Mathai||Railways and Transport|
|R K Shanmugham Chetty||Finance|
|Dr BR Ambedkar||Law|
|Sardar Baldev Singh||Defence|
|Rajkumari Amrit Kaur||Health|
|Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherji||Industries and Mines|
Note Part-VII (Article 238) deals with states was repealed in 1956 by the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act. Part IV-A and part-XIV-A were added
Schedules of the Constitution
|* First Schedule||The States and the Union Territories of India|
|* Second Schedule||Salaries and emoluments|
|* Third Schedule||Oath and affirmation|
|* Fourth Schedule||Allocation of seats in the Council of States|
|* Fifth Schedule||Scheduled areas|
|* Sixth Schedule||Tribal areas|
|* Seventh Schedule||Distribution of powers between Union and States|
|* Eighth Schedule||Languages|
|* Ninth Schedule||Special laws beyond the jurisdiction of courts but now under IInd Review.|
|* Tenth Schedule||Anti-defection Law|
|* Eleventh Schedule||Panchayats|
|* Twelfth Schedule||Municipalities|
Note Under Fifth Schedule the transfer of tribal land to private parties for mining can be declared null and void. by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, part IX-A was added by the 74th Amendment Act, 1992 and IX-B was added by the 97th Amendment Act, 2011.
Constitution at a Glance
|Part Subject Matter||Articles Covered|
|I The Union and its Territory||1 to 4|
|II Citizenship||5 to 11|
|III Fundamental Rights||12 to 35|
|IV Directive Principles of State Policy||36 to 51|
|IV A Fundamental Duties||51 A|
|V The Union||52 to 151|
|Chapter I The Executive||52 to 78|
|Parliament||79 to 122|
|Legislative Powers of the President||123|
|The Union Judiciary||124 to 147|
|Chapter V Comptroller and Auditor General of India||148 to 151|
|VI The States||152 to 237|
|Chapter I General||152|
|The Executive||153 to 167|
|The State Legislature||168 to 212|
|Legislative Powers of the Governors||213|
|Chapter V The High Courts||214 to 232|
|Subordinate Courts||233 to 237|
|VIII The Union Territories||239 to 242|
|IX The Panchayats||243 to 243-0|
|IX A The Municipalities||243 P to 243 ZG|
|IX B Cooperatives||243 ZG to 243ZT|
|X The Scheduled and the Tribal Areas||244 to 244 A|
|XI Relations between the Union and the States||245 to 263|
|Chapter I Legislative Relations||245 to 255|
|Administrative Relations||256 to 263|
|XII Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits||264 to 300 A|
|Chapter I Finance||264 to 291|
|Borrowing||292 to 293|
|Property, Contracts, Rights Liabilities, Obligations and Suits||294 to 300|
|Right to Property||300 A|
|XIII Trade, Commerce and Intercourse within the Territory of India||301 to 307|
|XIV Services under the Union and the States||308 to 323|
|Chapter I Services||308 to 314|
|Public Service Commission||315 to 323|
|XIVA Tribunals||323 A to 323 B|
|XV Elections||324 to 329 A|
|XVI Special Provisions Relating to Certain 330 to 342 Classes|
|XVII Official Language||343 to 351|
|Chapter I Language of the Union||343 and 344|
|Regional Languages||345 to 347|
|XVIII Emergency Provisions||352 to 360|
|XIX Miscellaneous||361 to 367|
|XX Amendments of the Constitution||368|
|XXI Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions||369 to 392|
|XXII Short Title, Commencement, Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals||393 to 395|
Sources of Indian Constitution
▸ UK Constitution Law-making procedures, parliamentary government, rule of law, single citizenship, cabinet system.
▸ US Constitution Fundamental Rights, independent judiciary, judicial review, procedure for the removal of the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
▸ Canadian Constitution Federation with strong centre, residuary powers in the centre. Appointment of State Governors by centre, and advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
▸ Irish Constitution Directive Principles of State Policy, The method of the presidential election, nominating members of Rajya Sabha.
▸ Weimar Constitution of Germany Emergency powers to be enjoyed by the union, suspension of Fundamental Rights during emergency.
▸ Australian Constitution Principle of cooperative federalism, freedom of inter-state trade, commerce and intercourse, Concurrent list.
▸ Constitution of South Africa Procedure for amendment of the Constitution and election of members of Rajya Sabha.
▸ Constitution of France Ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity.
▸ Japanese Constitution Procedure established by law.