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Polity NCERT

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Lesson 4, Topic 1
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Chapter- 1 The Indian Constitution

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  • For the proper functioning of a country, laws are necessary.
    A Constitution consists of a set of rules and principles to govern the
    country. The Indian Constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly which was formed in December 1946.

  • The Constituent Assembly consisted of 300 members in 1946. It
    was headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad. The Constituent Assembly completed the work in two years, eleven months and eighteen days. The Constitution of India was adopted on 26th November 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950

  • The main features of the Indian Constitution are Federalism, parliamentary form of government, separation of powers, fundamental rights, an independent judiciary, and secularism. Six fundamental rights have been granted to the citizens of India. A secular state is that which does not officially promote any particular religion as the state religion.

  • Society is bound to a certain set of rules which makes it what it is
    and differentiates it from other kinds of society. These rules, in large societies in which different communities of people live together, are
    formulated through consensus. In modern countries, this consensus
    is usually available in written form. A written document in which we
    find such rules is known as a Constitution.

  • Constitution lays certain ideals that form the basis of the kind of
    country that we as citizens aspire to live in. A Constitution helps serve as a set of rules and principles that all persons in a country can agree upon as the basis of the way in which they want the country to be governed. This includes the typeof government and also an agreement on certain ideals that they all believe the country should uphold.

  • Principles and ideals of a monarchy are quite different from those of
    a democracy. Therefore soon after the transition in the governing
    system in Nepal, the government started the process of making a
    new Constitution of Nepal because the earlier one did not suit their
    new setup.

  • The country of Nepal needs to change all its constitutive rules in
    order to usher in a new democratic society for which people had
    struggled for a long period. The Constitution defines the nature of a country’s political system. In a monarchy, king is the supreme power whereas in a democracy people rule the country. The government is run by the representatives elected by people at large.

  • The Constitution also describes rules that guard against misuse of
    power by the leaders. In India such provisions have been made in
    the section of Fundamental Rights. The Indian Constitution guarantees the Right to Equality. In one of the Fundamental Rights to all persons and says that no citizen can be discriminated against on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender, and place of birth.

  • The Constitution ensures that a dominant group does not use its
    power against other, less powerful people or groups. The Constitution also contains rules that ensure that minorities are not excluded from anything that is normally available to the majority. Thus the Constitution prevents the tyranny or domination by the majority of a minority.

  • The Constitution helps to protect us against certain decisions that
    we might take that could have an adverse effect on the larger
    principles that the country believes in. After independence, it was unanimously agreed that India should be a democratic state where everyone must avail equal opportunity.

  • For this, there was a need for Constitution which could ensure a
    perfect democracy. A group of around three hundred people who
    became members of the Constituent Assembly in 1949 and who
    met periodically for the next three years to write Indian Constitution.

  • There were so many factors, most of them quite contrary to each of
    them, to be assimilated with clear cut explanations that made the
    task very difficult. However, the Constitution was finalised with a lot
    of unique features.

  • Federalism is the prime feature of our Constitution which refers to
    the existence of more than one level of government in the country. In India there are governments at the state and the centre. Panchayati Raj is the third tier of the government.

  • While each state in India enjoys autonomy in exercising powers on
    certain issues, they are bound to follow the laws of the central
    government as a matter of national concern. The Constitution
    clearly defines the jurisdictions of powers of the government at state
    and that at center.

  • Parliamentary form of Government is the other feature of Indian
    Constitution which provides that the different tiers of governments
    shall constitute of the representatives elected by the people. It also
    guarantees universal adult suffrage for all citizens.

  • The provision for separation of powers in the Constitution of India
    recommends for three organs of the State: the legislature, the
    executive and the judiciary. The legislature refers to our elected
    representatives whereas the executive refers to a smaller group of
    people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the
    government and the judiciary refers td the system of courts in the
    country for preventing the misuse of power by any branch of the
    State. It also ensures the balance of power between all three
    organs.

  • The feature of Fundamental Rights is the ‘conscience’ of the Indian
    Constitution. These Rights protect citizens against the arbitrary and
    absolute exercise of power by the State. The Constitution, thus,
    guarantees the rights of individuals against the State as well as
    against other individuals.

The Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution include:

  1. Right to Equality,
  2. Right to Freedom,
  3. Right against Exploitation,
  4. Right to Freedom of Religion,
  5. Cultural and Educational Rights,
  6. Right to Constitutional Remedies.
  • In addition to the Fundamental Rights there is the provision of
    Directive Principles of State Policy which ensure greater social and
    economic reform, and serve as a guide to the independent Indian
    State to institute laws and policies that help reduce the poverty of
    the masses.

  • Secularism, a key feature of the Indian Constitution, defines that a
    secular state is one in which the state does not officially promote
    any one religion as the state religion.

  • The Constitution, thus, plays a crucial role in laying out the ideals
    that we would like all citizens of the country to adhere to, including the representatives that we elect to
    rule us.

Constitution: Usually a written document which contains the rules
of governing a sovereign state.

Consensus: Agreement of all the people on an issue.

Democracy: A form of government in which people at large hold
the ultimate power of governance. The representatives of people
constitute the government and undertake the Constitutional
responsibilities in order to achieve the ideals of the Constitution.

Fundamental Rights: The set of Rights which ensures the life of
dignity and honor to all who live in its jurisdiction.

Equality: State of being equal in all respects.

Majority: Maximum in number.

Minority: Minimum in number.

Federalism: The existence of more than one levels of government
in the country.

Representative: The person who is elected by people through a
general election to represent a constituency in the government.

Secularism: A system under which a state does not officially
promote any one religion as a state religion.

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