The Indian Constitution is a very unique constitution in the world. It does not only contain various provisions but it is also provided that it can change itself with time. So our constitution is a living constitution that adjusts itself with the needs of its people and the country.
For example in 1976 our constitution was amended which is known as the 42nd Amendment Act 1976, this amendment is known as the Mini constitution due to a large number of changes made in our constitution after 30 years of independence.
In this article, we will discuss the 15 salient features of the Indian constitution.
1. Largest and lengthiest:-
Our constitution provided the provisions in a written form and it is a very comprehensive, detailed, and elaborated document. In the original constitution, there were only 395 articles consisting of 22 parts with its schedules but now there are more than 468 articles in 25 parts with 12 schedules which are still evolving.
2. Blending of Rigidity and flexibility:-
Our constitution is a rigid constitution as well as a flexible constitution where one-sided some special procedure for its amendment is given in article 368 which provided that amendment can be done by two way i.e either amendment can be done by the special majority of the Parliament or it can be done by a special majority of the Parliament with the ratification of the half of the total states of India which shows the concern of States where the states will participate in amendment procedure and make their concern count too.
3. Blending of various sources:-
Our constitution is a mix of various sources. We have taken various provisions from the Government of India Act 1935.
The cabinet form of Government and the relation between the executive and legislative has been taken from the British constitution.
Our constitution is known as the borrowed constitution as fundamental rights are taken from the American state and the directive principle of State Policy is taken from the Irish constitution.
4. Federalism with unitary features:-
In our constitution, there are some provisions which show that we have federalism like the rigidity of the constitution, independent Judiciary, and bicameralism,
Supremacy of the Constitution is provided in a written form as well as there is a division of power between the centre and state government. But there are some unitary features like the integrated judiciary, emergency provisions with single citizenship in a single constitution for every state. Provisions of selecting the Governor and all India services are showing the India constitution provided a strong centre which shows that federalism exists with the unitary bias.
5. Parliament form of government:-
India adopted this form of government to bring cooperation and coordination between the legislative and executive organs as well as between the centre and the states.
This system is also known as the Westminster model of government in which a responsible government is formed.
One of the features of parliamentary government is the collective responsibility of the Executive towards the Legislature as well as the membership of ministers in the legislature given. Leadership of the prime minister and the majority party rule in Parliament form of government.
Here the presence of a nominal as well as a real executive is provided with the dissolution of the lower house which is called as Lok Sabha Provided.
6. Integrated and independent judiciary
Indian constitution provides an integrated and independent judiciary system in which hierarchy is created from the supreme court to High court then district court.
Supreme Court is called as the guarantor of the fundamental rights of the citizen and it is also Guardian of the constitution Supreme Court is known as the federal court of India and in our constitution, there are various provisions which provide Independence to the judiciary
some examples are like expenses of the supreme court charged from the consolidated fund of India there is also provision in which legislator cannot discuss the conduct of the judges in the Legislature for impartiality and Independence there is ban on practice after retirement to the judges and they have the power to punish for its contempt.
7. Directive principles of state policy
Directive principle is given in part 4 of our constitution which is taken from the Irish constitution.
“Dr Ambedkar said that these are the novel features of our constitution.”
DPSP can be classified into three categories which are Gandhian socialist and liberal intellectuals.
It provides the state with a moral obligation and duty to apply this principle in the law-making process to provide a welfare state.
8. Fundamental rights:-
the fundamental right is given in part third of our constitution which is taken from the USA and it provide the political democracy idea to its citizen IT Act against state arbitrariness and provide the power its people through fundamental rights although fundamental rights is not absolute but sometime it can be curtail or repealed or reasonable restriction can be imposed.
It is provided in articles 12 to 35.
9. Balance between pillars of democracy:-
Our constitution provides parliamentary sovereignty and judicial Supremacy in a balanced manner. For example, in India Judicial review power is given to the Supreme Court which can scrutinize the law made by parliament in the constitution.
Secularism is one of the important feature of our democracy in our constitution it is provided that India is a secular state and with the time to time there is a debate that which type of secularism be followed in our preamble secularism word added through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act 1976 and with the time it become a debatable issue.
Our secularism is different from the Western secularism where the state does not deal with religious matters. This is known as the negative secularism concept but in India we have positive secularism where the state helps every religion in an equitable manner.
Our state do not have any official religion and it provides Liberty of belief, faith and worship to every citizen even in our fundamental rights. There are articles 25 to 30 which deal with the religious matters of individuals as well as for the community in our directive principle of State Policy article 44 Deal with the Uniform Civil Code.
11. Rule of law:-
India has a rule of law which means that no person is above the law in the same circumstances.
We had bad experiences at the time of colonial rule where the law discriminated against itself.
Our fundamental right also provided that no one can discriminate any person on the basis of their sex religion caste gender etc.
12. Single citizens:-
Our country has huge diversity related to religion and caste, race. To make everyone equal and provide equal political and civil rights without discrimination the single citizenship act as a bonding towards citizens of our country it bring fraternity and brotherhood and try to to bring uniformity in in the rights of every citizen India already witnessed various communal riots, linguistic classes, class conflict, ethnic dispute
In the past or before independence our forefathers decided to keep India as one through bringing a single citizenship.
13. Universal adult franchise:-
At the time of Britishers the voting power of individual given with some conditions light if they are literate and have land power then they can vote and choose there representative but after independent the power to give vote to every citizen who is not less than 18 years of age have right to vote without any discrimination related to caste religion race sex it is to make more inclusiveness in election 61 Constitutional Amendment Act of 1988 brought the voting age from 21 to 18.
14. Various constitutional bodies:-
In our constitution there are various constitutional bodies as well as constitutional bodies which are independent bodies including our constitution because this body works to remove extra burden of workload on the three pillars of our democracy.
As well as provide the impartial and independent suggestion to the government they also work as watchmen in our democracy solve the examples are Election Commission of India
Comptroller and Auditor General
Union Public Service Commission etc.
15. Three-tier government:-
Gandhiji always want to create grassroot governance but the time of independence it was not possible so in 1992 the amendment made in our constitution which was 73rd and 74 constitutional amendment with created third tier of government in which the local power given to the local government the new part IX and IX-A was added in our constitution for rural local government and urban local government respectively.
This article is written by;
Mr. Pankaj Kumar Gupta
(Email ID: [email protected])