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Indian Polity / Making of the Constitution

Formation of Constituent Assembly of India

The present Constitution of India was prepared after the formation of Constituent Assembly of India. The history of making of Indian Constitution dates back to 1773, in which Regulating Act, 1773 was brought in by the British. The Act is regarded as the first written Constitution in India.

In 1946, the British Government sent a delegation or a mission to India called Cabinet Mission Plan consisting of Sir Pethick Lawrence as its chairman and Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander as its other members. The delegation visited India on 24th March, 1946 and it recommended for the formation of Constituent Assembly of India. Accordingly, elections were held to elect members of the Constituent Assembly in the month of July, 1946.

Constituent Assembly and Making of the Constitution

  • The Constituent Assembly was established under the proposals of Cabinet Mission Plan.

  • There were in total 389 members in Constituent Assembly. As a result of establishment of separate Constituent Assembly for Pakistan in June, 1947, the number got reduced to 299.

  • The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on 9th December, 1946 in the Central Hall of the Parliament in New Delhi.

  • Sri Sachidananda Sinha was elected as ad hoc or temporary chairman of the Constituent Assembly as he was the senior most member.

  • On 11th December, 1946, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected unanimously as the President of Constituent Assembly and H.C. Mookerjee was elected as the vice President.

    B.N. Rao was appointed as chief advisor to the Constituent Assembly. Sometime later, V.T. Krishnamachari was elected as a second vice President in addition to H.C. Mookerjee.

  • On 13th December, 1946, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru moved 'Objective Resolution' in Constituent Assembly of India. This Resolution is the basis for the Preamble of the Constitution, which was unanimously accepted on 22nd January, 1947.

  • There were in total 11 sessions of the Constituent Assembly held of which the first session took place from 9th to 23rd December, 1946 and the 11th session took place from 14th to 26th November, 1949. During this period, the Constituent Assembly consulted constituional sources of many other countries.

    The Constituent Assembly met once again on 24th January, 1950, to append signatures of the members to the Constitution of India.

  • Constitution was adopted on 26th November, 1949 by Constituent Assembly and the Constitution of India came into being effective from 26th January, 1950. In total, the Constituent Assembly did sit for 166 days.

  • 'Jana Gana Mana' was adopted as National Anthem by Constituent Assembly on 24th January, 1950.

  • In total, there held three readings of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly.

  • The time taken by the Constituent Assembly in preparation of the Constitution is 2 years 11 months 18 days.

  • The emblem of Constituent Assembly of India is Elephant.

Extra Information

  • Out of 389 members, 292 were elected indirectly from British Provinces in the system of Proportional Representation, by elected members of the Assemblies of Provinces.

    93 members were nominated from the 552 Princely States. The remaining 4 were taken from Chief Commissioner Provinces namely Coorg, Ajmer-Merwara, Delhi and Balochistan.

    In this elections, Congress secured 208 seats and Muslim League secured 73 seats. But Muslim League boycotted Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly demanding for a separate Constituent Assembly for Pakistan.

  • Criticism or comments on the composition of the Constituent Assembly of India -

    • Constituent Assembly represented one major section of the society - Winston Churchill

    • Constituent Assembly represented a Hindu community - V.A. Simon

    • Constituent Assembly represented Congress, Congress means India - Granville Austin

  • The 292 members, who were elected from the British Provinces on the basis of proportional representation, represented 1 million people. That is each member represented 1 million people.