Sources of Indian Constitution – Features Borrowed

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Welcome to DataFlair General Knowledge Series. In this article, we will seethe various Sources of Indian Constitution and features borrowed from different countries.

In 1934, M.N. Roy put forward the idea of a Constituent Assembly. The Indian National Congress demanded the constituent assembly to frame the Indian Constitution in 1935. The first session of the constituent assembly took place in December 1946. There were a total of 389 members, out of which British India had 296 seats and 93 were princely states. The first president of the assembly was Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

The Indian Independence act 1947 made the assembly fully sovereign and the first parliament of free India. The constitution came into being on 26 November 1949. It had 395 articles and 8 schedules. Dr. BR Ambedkar was head of the drafting committee. He is the “Architect of the Constitution”. Various important features and events of the Indian Constitution and polity have their roots in the legal framework and administration laid down in different countries. They are the British Constitution, the US Constitution, the French Constitution, the Irish Constitution, and GOI ( 1935 ).

Sources of Indian Constitution

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The Government of India Act 1935

Federal Structure

Federalism refers to the relation between the Union Government and the States of India. A federal system consists of 2 tiers of government each with well defined and delimited powers and functions. Part 11 of the Indian Constitution mentions the legislative, administrative, and executive power distribution between the center and the state.

Provincial Autonomy led to a clear division of power based on the union list, state list, and concurrent list. Union list deals with 97 subjects of national importance like railways, defense, and more. The state list deals with 66 subjects of local importance like public health, police, and more. And the concurrent deals with 47 subjects like trade unions, education on which both center and state can legislate. The supreme court has the power of judicial review to settle state-union disputes. The judiciary is a system to enforce laws and solve disputes. This is again from the GOI 1935 or the British Government.

Emergency Provisions and Public Service Commission

Article 352, Article 356, and Article 360 gives the president the authority to declare an emergency. It can be a national, state, or financial emergency. Articles 315 to 323 are about the public service commission of India. There are two types – Central and state public service commission. They maintain accountability and integrity in all government sectors. The establishment of the Reserve Bank of India took place during this time.

British Constitution

A Parliamentary System of Government

India adopted the parliamentary form of government based on the British legacy. There is a mix of legislative and executive control. The real executive is the prime minister and his ministry. The Union Council of Ministers is the executive authority of India. The senior ministers are called the cabinet ministers and the junior ministers are ministers of state. This cabinet system is also borrowed from the British Government. Parliament consists of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The party with the majority of votes rules in this system.

Rule of Law

It is a principle that makes everyone equally accountable to the law. All institutions, entities, and persons’ are equal before the law. It prevents anarchy and people face legal consequences of their actions. It says that the constitution is supreme power and executives and legislatures derive authority from it.

Bicameralism

It means the division of legislation in 2 houses. The British Government has a House of Commons and the House of Lords. Similarly, the Indian parliament has Lok Sabha ( Lower House )and Rajya Sabha ( Upper House ). The president is the head of these houses but can exercise power only with the advice of the prime minister. Members of Lok Sabha elect the member of Rajya Sabha and the citizens to elect the members of Lok sabha. All these members also enjoy certain parliamentary privileges. This too is from the British Government. These privileges act as a legal immunity to safeguard the freedom of parliament. The most important one is freedom of speech in parliament.

Law Making Process / Legislative Process

It begins with the introduction of the bill in either of the houses. Ministers or any member can initiate the bill. It goes through 3 stages to become an Act. The first is the introduction and discussion of the bill in one of the houses. Then it enters the consideration state where the joint committee goes through every clause and schedule. Lastly, it enters the passing stage where members debate supporting or rejecting the bill and cast their votes. If the majority is in the favor, then the bill goes to the other house. Once the other house is done making the amendments, it reaches the president for approval. After approval from all the stages, a bill becomes an act.

Single Citizenship

It provides senior citizenship to all the citizens of the country. This means anyone born in this country or whose parents are Indian enjoys the citizenship of India. They have national citizenship and not according to the states and territories they are born in.

Writs

Writs mean an order. The supreme court and the high court have the power to issue a directive for enforcement of any fundamental rights. There are 5 types of writs. Habeas Corpus is the writ to safeguard the personal liberty of the person detained. Mandamus is a command to the public authority to discharge some duty. Prohibition is to restrain an inferior court from exceeding the jurisdictional limits. Certiorari is an order to avoid the violation of the principles of natural justice. Lastly, Quo Warranto is an order to prevent the unlawful holding of public office by a person.

The U.S. Constitution

Fundamental Rights

They are in part III of the Indian Constitution. The American bill of rights inspired the frames of the constitution. Article 12 to 32 are all fundamental rights. The articles are divided under 6 main subheads. They are –

  • Right to Equality
  • Right to Freedom
  • Right against Exploitation
  • Right to Freedom of Religion
  • Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Right to Constitutional remedies

These rights are essential for individual development and to establish political democracy.

Independent Judiciary and Judicial Review

The supreme court is the apex of the single and integrated judiciary. It is the custodian of the constitution and the protector of fundamental rights. This is independent of other branches of government. It also has the power of judicial review. It is a process in which executive or legislative decisions are accountable and answerable to the judiciary.

Impeachment of the President and Removal of Judges

If the president violates the constitution, he can lose his post before the term expires. Article 61 states both the house of parliament have to vote on this matter. Similarly, Article 124 states the judge can be removed by the president with the approval of both the houses. The function of the president and vice president are also from the US constitution.

The Preamble

The preamble of the constitution states the objective which the constitution seeks to establish and promote. These objectives include a description of the Indian state and the ideals they aim to achieve. The Indian state, according to the preamble is Sovereign, Democratic, Socialist, Secular, and Republic.

French Constitution

Ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity
The preamble of the constitution states the objective which the constitution seeks to establish and promote. These objectives include a description of the Indian state and the ideals they aim to achieve. The state aims to achieve 4 ideals –

  1. Justice – Social, economical, and political justice.
  2. Liberty – personal liberty of thoughts, beliefs, and expression.
  3. Equality – Equal opportunity and treatment.
  4. Fraternity – Mutual dignity with unity and integrity.

The Idea of the Republic

India is a form of government in which it represents people. Voting and election system are part of this government. People have the power to choose their representatives.

Irish Constitution

Directive Principles of State Policy – DPSP

They are in part IV of the constitution. It follows a socio-economic format. DPSP are not judicially enforceable but are fundamental in state governance. There are 4 categories – Economic and Social Principle, Gandhian Principles, International peace and Security Principles, and miscellaneous. There are a total of 21 DPSP starting from Article 30 till Article 51. They are important for socio-economic justice.

The Nomination of Rajya Sabha Members and President Election

There are 250 members in Rajya Sabha. The president nominates 12 members and this from the Irish constitution. The members of Lok Sabha elect the rest 238 members who represent the state and union territories. The election process of Rajya Sabha is from the South Africa Government. The members of both the houses, state legislature, and assemblies elect the president of India.

Australian Constitution

Concurrent List

The concurrent list deals with 47 subjects like trade unions, education on which both center and state can legislate. It is in the 7th schedule of the constitution of India. Both the tiers can make decisions about the matters mentioned in the list.

Freedom of Trade and Commerce and Parliament Session

Article 301 of the constitution says that trade and commerce of goods and services should be free across the country. The idea of a joint sitting in parliament is from Australia. Members of both Lok and Rajya Sabha sit together for a joint session in parliament. It is called by the President according to Article 108.

The Constitution of Canada

The Strong Center

The center enjoys much power in India. Article 248 states that parliament can make laws regarding residuary matter even if not present on the union list. India follows a federal system with a strong unitary. Article 143 allows the president to get advisory jurisdiction from the Supreme court.

Soviet Union

Fundamental Duties

The 42 Amendment act added fundamental duties to the constitution. They are in chapter IV of the constitution. They are to make citizens follow the basic norms of democratic conduct. There 11 fundamental duties of India. The idea of justice in the preamble is also from the Soviet Union.

Germany

Emergency and Fundamental Rights

During the national emergency, the federal structure becomes a unitary one. Article 356 deals with the state emergency. Rights guaranteed under the constitution don’t act during emergencies and people cannot go to court for redressal.

Japan

Procedure Established by law

This is from the Japanese Constitution. It means that the law is valid only when it meets the criteria of equity and justice. It is to avoid the risk of life and personal liberty of individuals because of invalid law.

South Africa

The procedure of Amendment in the Indian Constitution

Article 388 says that any part of the constitution can be amended by the parliament. It is the process of changing laws, duties, rights, etc. in the constitution. The process includes the introduction of the bill followed by approval of both the house and then the president.

S. No. Sources of Indian Constitution Provision / Idea 
1 The GOI Act 1935
  • Federal Structure
  • Provincial Autonomy
  • Idea of Judiciary
  • Emergency Provision
  • Public Commission Service
  • Office of Governor
2 British Constitution
  • Parliamentary System
  • Rule of Law
  • Bicameralism
  • Law Making Process
  • Writs
  • Single Citizenship
  • Cabinet Ministers
  • Parliamentary Privileges
3 The US Constitution
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Independent Judiciary
  • Judicial Review 
  • Impeachment of President 
  • Removal of Judges
  • The idea of President and Vice President 
  • Preamble
4 French Constitution
  • Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity
  • Idea of Republic
5 Irish Constitution
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • President Election
  • The nomination of Rajya sabha members 
6 Australian Constitution
  • Concurrent List
  • Freedom of Trade and Commerce
  • Joint Parliament Session
7 The Constitution of Canada
  • Federal System with strong Unitary
  • Advisory Jurisdiction
  • Strong Center
  • Power over Residuary matters
8 Soviet Union
  • Fundamental Duties
  • Idea of Justice 
9 South Africa
  • The procedure of Amendment in Indian Constitution
  • Rajya Sabha Election Process
1o Germany
  • The relation between Emergency and Fundamental Rights
11 Japan
  • Procedure Established by Law

Conclusion

Indian Constitution is the supreme law of India. The inspiration to draft the constitution is from many sources across the globe. They are all important to remember for competitive exam aspirants. All the important information related to the sources are mentioned above. Exams like UPSC, RRB, Banking, etc. always have questions surrounding the constitution. Aspirants should read this article carefully to learn new things and increase their knowledge. This will help students score well in the politics section.

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