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Important Topics: Indian Polity and Constitution - (Source of Our Constitution)

Indian Polity and Constitution

A Brief Introduction and Historical Background
(
Source of Our Constitution)

Most of the provision of the Indian constitution have been borrowed from the constitution of several other countries as well as from the government of India Act 1935. Though sometimes this borrowing become a matter of criticism but no doubt the framers of our constitution deserve our gratitude for collecting the best features of other constitutions and modifying then in order to avoid the problems faced by them and making them suitable to the Indian Politico-Administrative system.

The major sources from which the constitution has been drawn are a follows:

A) The Government of India Act 1935: The Government of India Act 1935 provided the structure post of the constitution, and the federal scheme, judiciary, governors, emergency powers the Public Service Commissions have been borrowed from it.

B) The British Constitution: The political parts of the constitution i.e. the system of parliamentary government, cabinet system, single citizenship. Rule of law have been drawn from it.

C) The United States Constitution: The U.S. constitution became the source of the charter of Fundamental Rights, federal structure of the government, electoral college, judicial review and independence of judiciary.

D) The Irish Constitution: It provided the philosophical part i.e. the Directive Principles of State Policy method of Presidential election and the nomination of members to Rajya Sabha.

E) The Canadian Constitution: The concept of a quasi-federal form of government a federal system with a strong central government and the idea of residuary power of legislation with the centre has been borrowed from it.

F) The Australian Constitution: The various provisions regarding freedom of trade & commerce, the concurrent list of legislative subjects and the provisions for the joint sitting of the Parliament have been borrowed from the constitution of Australia.

G) The Weimar Constitution of Germany: The provision of suspension of fundamental rights during emergency has been borrowed from this constitution.

H) Constitution of the Soviet Union: On the recommendation of Sardar Swaran Singh Committee (1976), fundamental duties were incorporated into our constitution from the Soviet union Constitution.

I) Other: South Africa: Amendment of Constitution. Japan : Procedure established by Law.


The Constitution of India is the product not of a political revolution but of the research and deliberation of the body of eminent representative of the people.

Constitutional Development

  • Regulating Act 1773: The Act remodeled the Constitution of the Company, provided that Court of Directors elected every year for 4 years term. The number of Directors was fixed at 24, 1/4th retiring every year. Government of Bengal was made Governor general of Bengal and a Council of 4 members was set up. The Act empowered the crown to establish by Charter a Supreme Court for justice of all subjects in Bengal (1st Supreme Court was constituted in 1774 with Elijah Impey as Chief Justice).
  • Pitt's India Act 1784: It extends the control of state over the company's affairs. Board of Control of 6 commissioners (2 cabinet ministers, secretary of state and chancellor of exchequer) was established to guide and control the work of court of directors and India's civil, military and revenue affairs.
  • Charter Act 1813: Monopoly of trade with India was ended but monopoly of tea trade with China was allowed.
  • Charter Act 1833: Monopoly of tea with China was abolished. A low member without power to vote was added to the Executive Council of Governor general (Lord Macaulay was 1st law member). It made the Governor-General of Bengal as the Bentick was the first Governor-General of India.
  • Charter Act 1853: Law member was made a full member of the executive council of Governor General. Central legislative council formed with one representative from each province, Chief Justice of Supreme Court, an ex-officio member, 2 civilian could be nominated by Governor-General.
  • Government of India Act 1858: It transferred the government, territories and revenues of India from the East India Company to the British Crown.

Courtesy: BP

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