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Polity NCERT

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Lesson 5, Topic 2
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Chapter – 2 Constitutional Design

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In this chapter:

  1. Democratic Constitution in South Africa.
  2. Making of the Indian Constitution.

Democratic Constitution in South Africa

  • Nelson Mandela, the South African leader of African National Congress, fought a long battle against Apartheid.

  • Imprisoned for 28 years (1964-1992) emerged as the first President of the Republic of South Africa.

  • People struggled against the horrible discrimination practised against them by the white minority rulers.

  • Apartheid system began to fall apart in the 1980s. Finally; in 1994, the first free multiracial elections were held.

  • Remarkable constitution, forgot past sufferings, sought co-operation of all the races which made South Africa based on equality, democratic values and social justice.

Do We Need A Constitution?

  • Yes. A constitution has written laws accepted by people living together in a country.

  • It generates trust and coordination.

  • It specifies how a government should be constituted.

  • It lays down limits on the powers of the government.

  • It expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.

Making of the Institution

  • From 1858 onwards, the British Government passed many Acts for the government of India but could not satisfy Indian aspiration.

  • The demand for a Constitution was first raised in 1934 by the Indian National Congress.

  • In 1938, Jawaharlal Nehru formulated the demand for a Constituen Assembly.

  • In 1942, the British Government recognized that Indians should frame a new Constitution by themselves.

  • Participation in Provincial Legislatures helped Indians in framing their Constitution.

  • The Leaders were inspired by the French Revolution, British Parliamentary System and the Bill of Rights of the US.

  • They also learnt what the British were denying Indian citizens.

The Constituent Assembly

  • Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946.

  • Dr B.R. Ambedkar was appointed Chairman of the Drafting Committee.

  • The Constitution was adopted on 26th November 1949, and enacted on 26th January 1950, when India became a Republic state.

  • The Constitution reflects the best minds of the country. The Constituent Assembly was called Mini- India.

  • Every law was debated clause by clause and a consensus arrived at. It is the longest written Constitution in the world.