Opinions on Constitution of India

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The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It is a living document, an instrument which makes the government system work. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 448 articles in 25 parts, 12 schedules, 5 appendices and 98 amendments (out of 120 Constitution Amendment Bills). Besides the English version, there is an official Hindi translation. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is widely regarded as the architect of the Indian Constitution.

The Constitution follows parliamentary system of government and the executive is directly accountable to the legislature. Article 74 provides that there shall be a Prime Minister of India as the head of government. It also states that there shall be a President of India and a Vice-President of India under Articles 52 and 63. Unlike the Prime Minister, the President largely performs ceremonial roles.

The Constitution of India is federal in nature but unitary in spirit. The common features of a federation such as written Constitution, supremacy of Constitution, rigidity of Constitution, two government, division of powers, bicameralism and independent judiciary as well as unitary features like single Constitution, single citizenship, integrated judiciary, flexible Constitution, a strong Centre, appointment of state governor by the Centre, All-India Services, Emergency Provisions etc can be seen in Indian Constitution. This unique combination makes it Quasi-Federal in form. Each state and each Union territory of India has its own government. Analogous to President and Prime Minister, each has a Governor (in case of states) or Lieutenant Governor (in the case of Union territories) and a Chief Minister. The 73rd and 74th Amendment Act also introduced the system of Panchayati Raj in rural areas and Municipality in urban areas. Also, Article 370 of the Constitution gives special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Constitution was adopted by the India Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392, 393 and 394 came into force on 26 Nov 1949 and remaining articles on 26 Jan 1950. The date of 26 January was chosen to commemorate the Purna Swaraj declaration of independence of 1930. With its adoption, the Union of India officially became the modern and contemporary Republic of India and it replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the country's fundamental governing document. To ensure constitutional autochthony, the framers of constitution inserted Article 395 in the constitution and by this Article the Indian Independence Act, 1947 was repealed. The Constitution declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty, and endeavors to promote fraternity among them. The words "socialist" and "secular" were added to the definition in 1976 by the 42nd constitutional amendment (mini constitution). India celebrates the adoption of the constitution on 26 January each year as Republic Day.



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