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Indian Polity / Making of the Constitution

Features of Indian Constitution

One of the key features of Indian Constitution is that it is the longest written Constitution in the world. The reason for bulkiness of Indian Constitution is due to inclusion of Articles on the basis of religion, region, caste, sex, etc., inclusion of administrative aspects like Election Commission, Public Service Commission, etc., exhaustive enumeration of rights and non-rights (Directive Principles of State Policy), inclusion of temporary and transitional provisions like Articles 371A to 371I, etc.

Salient Features of Indian Constitution

The salient features of Indian Constitution include Largest written Constitution, Combination of rigidity and flexibility, Federal system, Single citizenship, Fundamental rights, Directive principles of state policy, Independent and integrated judiciary, Parliamentary form of Government, etc.

    Longest written Constitution in the World

    Bulkiness of Indian Constitution is explained in terms of Articles, PARTs and Schedules. On 26th January, 1950, the Constitution contained 395 Articles, 22 PARTs and 8 Schedules. Now, it contains 448 Articles, 25 PARTS and 12 Schedules.

    New Articles that are being added, will not be given the number as 396 but should be added like 1A, 1B, 24A, etc. When an Article gets deleted, it should be kept vacant.

    For example, Article 31 was deleted in 1978 in the 44th Amendment ofthe Constitution. The Article was kept vacant and new Articles to the same number were added as 31A, 31B, etc.

    PART is the partition of Articles into different sections. This is made for easy access. Schedule is an explanatory part of an Article. It is an annexure to the Constitution.

    Rigidity and Flexibility of Indian Constitution

    Indian Constitution is partially flexible and partially rigid. It is flexible because some of the Articles in the Constitution can be amended with simple majority in the Parliament, while some other Articles can be amended with a special majority of the Parliament. The flexibility is one of the unitary features of Indian Constitution because Parliament alone can amend certain Articles.

    The Constitution is said to be rigid because some of the crucial Articles need to be amended by special majority of the Parliament and consent of the states. So, rigidity is one of the federal features of Indian Constitution.

    Federal System with Unitary Bias

    Though the word Federation is not incorporated into the Indian Constitution, India is a federation of states with maximum power given to the Central government.

    The Constitution of India says it as "Union of States". That means Indian federation has an undestroyable Union of destroyable states which implies that the states can be merged or divided, but they cannot go away from the Union.

    Salient Features of Indian Constitution

    Single Citizenship

    According to the Constitution of India, all the citizens residing in the 28 States and 8 Union Territories will have a single citizenship in the country.

    Fundamental Rights and Duties

    Fundamental Rights are included in our Constitution so that the State cannot exercise arbitrary and absolute power against its citizens. They protect the rights of individuals against the other individuals and against the Government itself.

    The fundamental duties reminds the citizens about their responsibility towards the State and the fellow citizens.

    Directive Principles of State Policy

    The Directive Principles of State Policy that are included into the Constitution, are a kind of guidelines to the State so that it will strive to push for the wellbeing of its people.

    Independent and Integrated Judiciary

    The Judiciary is the final resort for the citizens of the country to protect their rights. So, its independence is utmost important. The makers of the Constitution envisaged this and kept the Judiciary completely independent of both Executive and the Legislature. Independence of Judiciary is one of the main features of Indian Constitution.

    Ours is a an Integrated Judiciary as we have single hierarchy of Courts and no separate courts for Central as well as State laws.

    Universal Adult Franchise

    Indian Constitution guarantees that without any discrimination, every adult above the age of 18 years has the right to exercise his vote to elect the people's representatives.

    Parliamentary Form of Government

    Parliamentary form of government is nothing but responsibility of the Executive towards the Legislature, which has the people's representatives.

    Unlike the Presidential form of government, in parliamentary form of government the Executive and Legislature are clubbed together, making the Executive more accountable towards the Legislature.

    Emergency Provisions

    Though the Indian Government operates in a federal structure, during the proclamation of emergency, all the powers will be vested with the Union government and the Constitution acquires a kind of unitary character.

    Local Self Governments

    In order to enhance the democratic decentralization, Indian Constitution renders power to the rural and urban populace to manage their developmental activities on their own with the assistance of local self governments.

    Affirmative Provisions

    Indian Constitution incorporated some affirmative provisions for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in government jobs and made provisions for their upliftment by reserving some seats in Legislatures as well as educational institutions.

Extra Information

Brief description of Articles

PART No. Articles Contents of the PART
PART I 1 - 4 Creation, Abolition, Alteration, Reorganization of states
PART II 5 - 11 Citizenship
PART III 12 - 35 Fundamental Rights
PART IV 36 - 51 Directive Principles of State Policy
PART IVA 51A Fundamental Duties
PART V 52 - 151 Union Government (it is the largest PART of the Constitution)
PART VI 152 - 237 State Government
PART VII 238 Deleted
PART VIII 239 - 242 Union Territories
PART IX 243 - 243O Structure of Panchayats
PART IXA 243P - 243ZG Structure of Nagar Palikas
PART X 244 - 244A Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes
PART XI 245 - 263 Center - state relations (especially legislative and administrative)
PART XII 264 - 300A Property, Finance and other related matters
PART XIII 301 - 307 Trade, Commerce and Intercourse
PART XIV 308 - 323 Services of Central Government and State Governments
PART XIVA 323 - 323A Tribunals
PART XV 324 - 329A Elections
PART XVI 330 - 342 Special protection and measures for SC, ST and Anglo-Indians
PART XVII 343 - 351 Languages
PART XVIII 352 - 360 Emergency Provisions
PART XIX 361 - 367 Certain Exceptions under Constitution
PART XX 368 Amendment of the Constitution
PART XXI 369 - 392 Temporary and transitional provisions for certain states including Jammu and Kashmir
PART XXII 393 - 395 Deletions and Translation of Constitution into Hindi

Brief description of Schedules

Schedule No. Contents of the Schedule
1 Names of the states and union territories
2 Salaries of the President, Vice-President and other Constitutional officers
3 Different Forms of Oath
4 Representation to the states in Rajya Sabha
5 Special protection for Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Areas
6 Special protection for Tribal people and Tribal Areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram
7 Division of powers between the Center and states
8 Official Languages
9 Land reforms laws made by various states (added in 1951 by 1st Amendment of Indian constitution)
10 Anti-defections (added in 1985 by 52nd Amendment of Indian constitution)
11 Functions of Panchayats (added in 1992 by 73rd Amendment of Indian constitution)
12 Functions of Nagar Palikas (added in 1992 by 74th Amendment of Indian constitution)

  • Any minister should take oath twice. Once as a member of the House and second as a minister.
  • Originally, there were 14 official languages and now 22.
  • If any Amendment is made to Article 3, then Schedules 1 and 4 have to be amended.