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INDIAN CONSTITUTION. Brief History Salient Features & Philosophy Fundamental Philosophy. The importance of our constitution lies in the fact it was made by the people themselves. GOVERNMENT OF ACT, 1858.

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indian constitution

INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Brief History

Salient Features & Philosophy

Fundamental Philosophy

government of act 1858
GOVERNMENT OF ACT, 1858
  • This act signifies the sovereignty assumed by the British Crown from the East India Company.
  • Enacted the first statute for the governance of India under the direct rule of the British Government.
  • This act is marked by absolute imperial control without any popular participation in the administration of the country.
  • The council was composed exclusively of people from England, some of whom were nominees of the Crown while others were the representatives of the Directors of the East India Co.
  • The entire machinery of administration was bureaucratic, totally unconcerned about public opinion in India.
indian councils act 1861
INDIAN COUNCILS ACT, 1861
  • Introduced a grain of popular element insofar as it provided that the Governor-General’s Executive Council, which was so long composed exclusively of officials, should include certain additional non-official members, while transacting legislative business as a Legislative Council.
  • BUT THIS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL WAS NEITHER REPRESENTATIVE NOR DELIBERATIVE IN ANY SENSE.
  • IT COULD NOT IN ANY MANNER CRITICIZE THE ACTS OF THE ADMINISTRATION OR THE CONDUCT OF THE AUTHORITIES.
indian councils act 1862
INDIAN COUNCILS ACT 1862

Two improvements were introduced:

  • Though the majority of the official members were retained, the non-official members of the Indian Legislative Council were henceforth to be nominated by Provincial Councils which were nominated by certain local bodies such as universities, district boards, municipalities
  • The Councils were to have the power of discussing the annual statement of revenue and expenditure, i.e., the Budget and of addressing questions to the Executive.

The Act’s object was “to widen the basis and expand the functions of the Government of India, and to give further opportunities to the non-official and native elements in Indian society to take part in the work of the Government.”

morley minto reforms of 1909
MORLEY-MINTO REFORMS OF 1909
  • First attempt at introducing a representative and popular element was made.
  • Element of election was introduced in the Legislative Council.
  • Size of the provincial legislative councils was increased so that official majority was gone. Powers of the councils as they could influence the policy of the administration.
  • Also introduced the separate electorate for Muslims sowing the seeds of separatism.
the government of india act 1919
THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1919
  • Dyarchy in the process: means dual government. Responsible government in the provinces was sought to be introduced. The subjects of administration were to be divided as Central and Provincial.
  • Relaxation of Central control over the Provinces: A relaxation of Central control not only over administrative but also in legislative and financial matters. Even the sources of revenue were divided. NOT A FEDERAL DELEGATION.
  • Indian Legislature made more representative: Indian Legislature was made for the first time, bi-cameral. Consisted of two houses – Upper House and Lower House
simon commission
SIMON COMMISSION
  • Motivated by the Non-cooperation movement, a statutory commission was set up to investigate the working of the 1919 act.
  • Federation and Provincial autonomy: It was with the act of 1935, that prescribed a federation, taking the Provinces and the Indian States as units.
  • Legislature: The Central Legislature was bi-cameral, comprising a Legislative Assembly and a Legislative Council.
indian independence act 1947
INDIAN INDEPENDENCE ACT, 1947
  • The Government of India Act, 1935, was amended both in India and Pakistan, in order to provide an interim Constitution to each of the two Dominions until the Constituent Assembly could draw up the future Constitution.

MAIN RESULTS:

  • Abolition of the Sovereignty and Responsibility of the British Parliament.
  • The Crown no longer the source of authority.
contd
Contd.

3. The Governor General and Provincial Governors to act as Constitutional Heads.

4. Sovereignty of the Dominion Legislature: The Central Legislature of India, composed of the Legislative Assembly and the Council of States, ceased to exist on August 14, 1947. From the ‘appointed day’ and until the Constituent Assemblies of the two Dominions were able to frame their new Constitutions and new Legislatures were constituted thereunder, - it was the Constituent Assembly itself, which was to function as the Central Legislature.

philosophy of the constitution the preamble
PHILOSOPHY OF THE CONSTITUTION – the preamble
  • “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens.
  • JUSTICE, social, economic and political.
  • LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.
  • EQUALITY of status and of opportunity, and to promote among them all;
  • FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.
contd1
Contd.
  • IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”
importance of the preamble
Importance of the preamble
  • Pointed out in several decisions of our Supreme Court.
  • Though, by itself IT IS NOT ENFORCABLE IN A COURT OF LAW.
  • The preamble to a written Constitution states the objects which the constitution seeks to establish and promote and also aids the legal interpretation of the Constitution where the language is found to be ambiguous.
purposes of the preamble
PURPOSES OF THE PREAMBLE
  • It indicates the source from which the Constitution derives its authority.
  • It also states the objects which the Constitution seeks to establish and promote.
features
FEATURES
  • Independent and sovereign
  • Republic
  • Sovereignty not inconsistent with membership of the Commonwealth.
  • Promotion of International Peace
democracy
DEMOCRACY
  • a representative democracy
  • government of the people, by the people and for the people.
  • Political Justice
  • A Democratic Society
slide17

Economic Justice

  • Social Justice
  • Liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • From a socialistic pattern of society to socialism
  • 42nd Amendment, 1976
  • Need for Unity and Integrity of the Nation.
  • A Secular State, guaranteeing Freedom of Religion to all.
  • Dignity of the individual.
  • Fundamental Duties
features of the constitution
FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION
  • Drawn from different sources: Our constitution may be said to be a ‘borrowed’ Constitution, the credit of its framers lies in gathering the best features of each of the existing Constitutions and in modifying them with a view to avoiding the faults that have been disclosed in their working and to adapting them to the existing conditions and needs of this country.
  • There were members in the Constituent Assembly who criticized the Constitution as a ‘slavish imitation of the West’. Many apprehended that it would be ‘unworkable’.
slide19

Supplemented by multiple amendments, and practically recast by the 42nd, 43rd and 44th Amendments, 1976-78: 78 amendments have been made up to 1996.

    • 42nd amendment Act, 1976 has practically recast the Constitution in vital respects.
    • The 73rd Amendment Act which added 16 articles which provided for establishment of and elections to Panchayats.
  • Longest known constitution: Most lengthy and detailed constitutional document the world has so far produced.
    • Contains 444 articles and 12 schedules.
slide20

Incorporates the accumulated experience of different Constitutions:

    • Fundamental Rights modeled upon the American Constitution.
    • Adopted the Parliamentary system of Government from the United Kingdom.
    • Took the idea of the Directive Principles of State Policy from the constitution of Eire.
    • Added elaborate provisions relating to Emergencies in the light of the Constitution of the German Reich and the Government of India Act, 1935.

Our constitution is more full of words than other Constitutions because it has embodied the modified results of judicial decisions made elsewhere interpreting comparable provisions in order to minimize uncertainty.

slide21

Detailed administrative provisions included: The Government of India Act, 1935 was reproduced in providing matters of administrative detail, not only because the people were accustomed but alsobecause the author had apprehension that in the present conditions of the country, the Constitution might be perverted unless the form of administration was also included in it.

  • Peculiarity of the problems to be solved: The vastness of the country and the unique nature of the problems contributed to the bulk of the Constitution. There is one Part related to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and other backward classes; one Part relating to Official Language and another relating to Emergency Provisions.
slide22

Constitutions of the Units included: Unlike the constitution of the United States that deals only with the Federal Government and leaves the States to draw up their own constitutions, the Indian constitution provides the constitution of both the Units (States) and the Union.

Special Provisions for J &K: State of Jammu and Kashmir was accorded a special status and was allowed to make its own state constitution. Even all the other provisions of the Constitution of India did not directly apply to J & K but depended upon an Order made for the President in Constitution with the Government of State,-for which provision had to be made in Article 370.

Nagaland, Sikkim etc.: Even after the inauguration of the Constitution special provisions have been inserted to meet the regional problems and demands in certain States such as Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Sikkim, Mizoram etc.

slide23

Federal Relations elaborately dealt with: The relations between the Federation and the Units and the Units inter se, whether legislative or administrative are also exhaustively codified.

  • More flexible than Rigid: Parliament has been given power to alter or modify many of the provisions of the Constitutions by a simple majority; Legislation as supplementing the Constitution; reconciliation of a written constitution with parliamentary sovereignty.
  • Fundamental Rights: While Directive Principles are not enforceable in the Courts, the Fundamental Rights can be instantaneously upheld in the court.
  • Social Equality also guaranteed by the Constitution: Another unique feature of the constitution is that not only ensures legal and political equality but social equality as well.
slide24

Universal Franchise without Communal Representation: The adoption of universal adult suffrage, without any qualification either of sex, property, taxation or the like, is a ‘bold experiment’ in India, having regard to the vast extent of the country and its population, with an overwhelming illiteracy. The suffrage in India, it should be noted, is wider than that in England or the United States.

  • Integration of Indian States: No less an outstanding feature of the Constitution is the union of some 552 states with rest of India under the Constitution. Thus, entire subcontinent of India has been unified and consolidates into a compact state into a manner which is unprecedented in the history of this country.