The story of a country whose constitution is so big and it takes about 3 years to make it will be interesting. In this article, we will know the story of constitution making and through this we will also explore its important aspects.

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Constitution Making
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| Constitution Making: Introduction

The story of Indian Constitution and constitution making is unique in itself; While many countries had to make their constitution many times, many countries had to conduct a referendum after making the constitution to see whether the people were accepting it or not. 

But nothing like this happened with the Indian Constitution, because first of all, the people who made the Indian Constitution already had unwavering faith in the society.

Secondly, at the time of constitution making, voting was not resorted to to make any provision a part of the constitution, but such problems were resolved by mutual consent. And how difficult it must have been to make mutual consent, you can understand from this that some important members of the Constituent Assembly were not even agreed among themselves.

As Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar did not like Congress, Pandit Nehru and Dr. Rajendra Prasad did not get along with each other. But it was commendable that in spite of all this, an agreement was made. Anyway, the constitution which has taken almost 3 years to be made, the story of the formation of that constitution will be interesting; yes or no?

Before understanding the story of constitution making, it is important to know that what is a constitution? What is its purpose after all? Why is a constitution necessary for a country? Let us first understand the basics of the constitution so that the importance and relevance of the constitution can be clear in our mind.

| What is constitution?

Constitution means the best legislation; It is a document that clarifies the relationship between the individual and the state.

In other words, in a democratic country the individual is a symbol of freedom or rather, the very concept of democracy rests on the fact that individuals should be free.

On the other hand, the state is a symbol of power, that is, all the necessary powers are with the state to run the country.

In such a situation, the state should not misuse its powers and individuals should not misuse their freedom, the document which is made to establish a balance between these two is the constitution.

| Purpose of constitution

We can understand the purpose of the constitution through some basic questions, such as – what will be the structure of the state, what will be the nature of the government, how will the distribution of powers, rights and functions of the government. And what will be the rights and freedoms of the person, And what will be the relationship between the government, what kind of state we want to establish etc. Establishing a universal and systematic answer to these questions is the main objective of the constitution.

Now coming to the constitution making, how did the constitution come into existence? From the point of view of understanding the constitution making can be divided into five parts. 

| Five Parts of making of Constitution

1.Situation before the formation of the Constituent Assembly
2.Formation of the initial Constituent Assembly 
3. First Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly of India 
4. Constitution making and Objective Resolution of Pandit Nehru
5.Constituent Assembly of Independent India

1. Status before the formation of the Constituent Assembly

A Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946 for constitution making. This Constituent Assembly had taken the constitution making to its culmination. But in order to understand how the Constituent Assembly was formed, it is necessary to understand the important events of the past, as a result of which the Constituent Assembly came into existence. So let’s see what they are. 

If you look at the company rule of about 100 years from 1764 to 1857 or the rule of the Taj from 1858 to 1947, then many laws were made during this period. Although all of them were ultimately in favor of British interests, but this tradition of law and order prepared Indians in a way which was very useful at the time of constitution making. Let us understand this with an example –

Like today our Parliament has two houses, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha . But this concept is not new, but this arrangement was made for the first time in the Government of India Act of 1919. Even the system of direct election was made in this Act. Similarly, if we talk about federal system , federal court etc., then its provision was made in the Government of India Act of 1935.

But these Acts were boycotted in british India, the reason for this was that these Acts served less Indian interest while British interest was more. Perhaps that is why in 1922, Mahatma Gandhi had put forward the idea that there should be a constitution for Indians. Gandhiji had to say in this matter that – “Swaraj is not a gift of the British Parliament, it will be a declaration of full self-expression of India.”

  • In the year 1922, with the efforts of Annibesant, a joint meeting of both the houses of the Central Legislatures was organized in Shimla, in which the demand for a Constituent Assembly was made.
  • Then in February 1923, another conference was held in Delhi, in which members of the Central and Provincial Legislatures prepared an outline of the essential elements of the Constitution, under which India was given equal status to other self-governing states.
  • In April 1924, a national conference was organized under the chairmanship of Tej Bahadur Sapoor, in which the Commonwealth of India Bill was drafted. With necessary modifications, it was again placed in the All Party Conference held in Delhi in 1925. Mahatma Gandhi was the president of this conference. After passing from here, the bill was introduced in the British Parliament. At that time there was a Labor government in Britain. The Labor Party government was defeated in the general election and this bill also ended with that.

Then later in May 1927, during the Bombay session of Congress, Pandit Motilal Nehru proposed to prepare a constitution for India in consultation with the elected members of the Central and Provincial Legislatures and other leaders, which was also accepted.

In this resolution, Nehru introduced some amendments in December 1927 and it was passed again. Then in May 1928 an all-party conference was held in Bombay, in which a committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Pandit Motilal Nehru to determine the principles of the Indian Constitution. Which submitted its report in August 1928. This is known as the “Nehru Report”.

The Nehru Report included the complete outline of the Constitution of India, but even at that time the Constitution did not come into existence. A communist leader in the year 1934 M.N. Roy For the first time , for the formation of a constitution, he talked about the formation of a Constituent Assembly .

However, in 1935, the British Government introduced such a detailed document under the Government of India Act, which was exactly like the Constitution. It had 321 sections and 10 schedules. But at the same time, it was not a constitution of an independent India. That is why this act was completely rejected by the Congress by passing a resolution in the Lucknow session of April 1936 and the Faizpur session of December 1936.

After this, on 19-20 March, the members of the Congress Legislature reiterated the demand for the Constituent Assembly in the National Conference and on 14 September 1939 in their historic resolution. In November 1939, the Congress Working Committee again passed a resolution insisting on the establishment of a Constituent Assembly for India.

August offer –At this time the Second World War was going on and the extraordinary success of Germany in Britain had made Britain’s position very fragile. In such a situation, Britain adopted a policy of compromise approach to get the cooperation of Indians. And keeping in mind the demand of the Congress, on 8 August 1940, Viceroy Linlithgow announced a resolution for the Indians, which is known as the ‘August Resolution’ .

Some of the main provisions of this resolution were, (i) a proposal to give dominion status to India, (ii) a proposal to constitute a Constituent Assembly after the Second World War,

Although this August resolution talked about the formation of the Constituent Assembly, but still this proposal was rejected by the Congress, because it was said to give Dominion status instead of a free-sovereign country and secondly that It said that the government cannot implement any constitutional change without the approval of the minorities. That is, in a way the Muslim League was getting veto power.

Cripps Mission –After the failure of the above proposal, the British government prepared a draft of the constitution and sent it to India in 1942 at the hands of Stafford Cripps. Actually the Cripps Mission  was a failed attempt by the British government to get the cooperation of Indians in World War II.

In return for cooperation in the war, this mission talked about holding elections after the war, granting dominion status and making a constitution. This was rejected by both the Congress and the Muslim League. And the Congress started the Quit India Movement. the British government imprisoned all the prominent Congress leaders. This triggered a widespread standoff and the situation gradually worsened.

Wavell Scheme –To overcome this impasse, the then Viceroy Lord Wavell presented a plan in June 1945 which was called Wavell Plan . The main points of this plan were something like this – (1) The number of Muslim members in the Viceroy’s executive council would be equal to that of the upper caste Hindus. (2) After the war is over, the Indians themselves will make the constitution. (3) Congress leaders will be released and soon an all-party conference will be called in Shimla. A conference was also called in Shimla but due to the insistence of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, this plan was also canceled.

The Muslim League wanted the partition of India and was adamant on its point that India should be divided into two autonomous parts which would have its own Constituent Assembly.

Cabinet Mission –The situation got so bad that in the end the British had to bow down and were forced to transfer power. For this, in the year 1946, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced the sending of a three-member high-level delegation to India. This mission was given specific powers and its task was to find ways and possibilities for peaceful transfer of power to India. It was called the Cabinet Mission which reached Delhi on 24 March 1946. After much debate and struggle, he somehow understood and extinguished the Muslim League, thus paving the way for the formation of a Constituent Assembly for an undivided India. 

2. Constitution of the initial Constituent Assembly 

For constitution making, a Constituent Assembly was necessary. And this Constituent Assembly was to be formed on the basis of the methods suggested by the Cabinet Mission. which was something like –

The total number of members in the Constituent Assembly was allotted 389. Out of which 93 seats were allocated to the princely states and 296 to the territories of British India.

These seats were to be allotted in proportion to the population, roughly 1 seat was arranged for every 10 lakh people. 

For the Constituent Assembly, the members from the British Indian territories were to be elected by their own community in their own provincial assembly and the representatives of the princely states were to be elected by the princely heads. 

So overall this assembly was going to be a partly elected and partly nominated body.

Elections to the Constituent Assembly Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July-August 1946. And out of 296 seats allotted for British Indian territories, 208 seats went to the Indian National Congress, 73 to the Muslim League and the remaining seats to independent candidates.

But the princely states who got the 93 seats boycotted it and did not participate in it, that is, they did not send their representative to the Constituent Assembly. 

3. First Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly of India 

It is called the Constituent Assembly of british India because the country was not independent at that time. So overall the princely states had already boycotted the Constituent Assembly and now the Muslim League has boycotted it even after getting 73 seats. It was now clear that there was no other way but partition and the same thing happened.

This was the reason that when the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on 9 December 1946, only 211 members participated in it. Despite this, the Constituent Assembly held a meeting with the same members and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was made the President of the Constituent Assembly. In this way the foundation stone for the making of the constitution was laid.

4. Constitution making and Pandit Nehru’s objective proposal

Exactly four days after this, on 13 December 1946, Pandit Nehru read out the historic Objectives Resolution . It was like a preamble. It is worth noting that in today’s preambl many things have been taken from it. In this objective resolution, it was outlined that what will be our future constitution and how will be the country governed by it.  

Some of the things said in this are very important. such as –  

This Constituent Assembly declares India to be an independent, sovereign republic and announces the formulation of a constitution for its future administration. (Though India had not become independent by that time.) 

All territories included in British India and any territories outside India that would like to be included in it will be part of this federation. All the powers would be vested in the states except those vested in the Union.

The source of all the powers of this independent and sovereign India will be its people. That means the people will be paramount.

Justice, socio-economic and political freedom for all the people of India; Freedom of thought, expression, belief and religion will be ensured. (You will read this in the Fundamental Rights and also in the Preamble )

Adequate security will be provided to minorities and backward classes and tribes. 
All work will be done according to the law and India will be given its rightful place and right in the world.

These were some of the basics of the Objectives Resolution, which was adopted unanimously on 26 January 1947. 

Shortly thereafter, Mountbatten declared independence on 3 June 1947. After such a declaration, gradually almost all the princely states (which had till now boycotted the Constituent Assembly) joined this assembly.

(Except a few such as – Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad, and Junagadh which were included later. Read this article  for how this was done )

5. Constituent Assembly of Independent India

As we know, India became independent on 15 August 1947 and the Constituent Assembly became an independent body which no longer needed permission from anyone. It happened that now the Constituent Assembly started working with its full capacity and speed. 

[Since now the country was also to be run, therefore the Sabha started functioning in two forms. One is the work of making a constitution and the other is the work of making common laws so that the administration of the time can be run.]

[Since the Muslim League had now separated and formed a new state of Pakistan, the number of seats in the Constituent Assembly was reduced and now only 299 seats were left, out of which 70 for the princely states and the rest for the British provinces.]

Various big and small committees were formed for the constitution making, systematic and orderly and all the committees were assigned work according to their expertise and capability. 

Let us know what those committees were. 

Large committees formed for constitution making 

1.Union Powers Committee – Jawaharlal Nehru 
2.Union Constitutional Committee – Jawaharlal Nehru 
3.Provincial Constitutional Committee – Sardar Patel 
4.Drafting Committee – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar 
5.Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities, Tribals and Marginal Areas – Sardar Patel
6.Procedure Rules Committee – Dr. Rajendra Prasad 
7.Committee for States – Jawaharlal Nehru 
8.Steering Committee – Dr. Rajendra Prasad
9.Flag Committee – JB Kriplani
10.Consultative Committee – Sardar Patel

The most important of these are the drafting committee. This is important because it was the responsibility of preparing the draft of the Constitution. Everything depended on the draft because only after the draft was prepared, it would be debated, amended and finally the constitution would come into existence. 

|drafting committee

There were a total of 7 members in the Drafting Committee, headed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
N Gopalaswami Iyengar 
Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer 
K M Munshi 
Syed Mohammed Sadullah 
Madhava Rao (He later replaced B L Mitra.) 
TT Krishnamachari (He replaced D P Khaitan.)  

| Constitution comes into effect

The first draft of the constitution was presented by the Drafting Committee in February 1948. And people were given 8 months to get the amendment done. 

All the amendments demanded. It was republished eight months later in October 1948, after amending it as necessary. 

The final draft of the constitution was presented on 4 November 1948. It was discussed for five days and from 15 November 1948, it was discussed and debated in the Constituent Assembly. Such was the debate that it is said that universal suffrage was the only provision that could be passed without debate.

It was discussed and debated till 17 October 1949 and after that from 14 November 1949 the third round of consideration started on it.

Dr. Ambedkar introduced a resolution titled ‘The Constitution Age Settled by the Assembly be Passed’ and it was declared passed on 26 November 1949.

When it was ready, this constitution had a total of 395 articles, 8 schedules and a preamble. 

However, on the day it was passed, all the members did not come, only 284 members were available, so they signed it.

And one more thing to remember is that on 26 November 1949, only a few provisions of the constitution were implemented such as citizenship , elections etc. Whereas the entire constitution was implemented on 26 January 1950. The day we celebrate Republic Day .

The reason behind this day is that on this day Purna Swaraj Day was celebrated on the basis of a resolution passed in the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress in 1930.

Due to his important role in the making of the constitution, Dr. Ambedkar is addressed as  the father of the Indian Constitution .

The last meeting of the Constituent Assembly took place on 24 January 1950 and from 26 January 1950, this Constituent Assembly acted as the interim Parliament until the general elections were held in 1951-52.

| Facts of making of Constitution

Before the first draft of the Indian Constitution was prepared, a thorough study of the constitution of 60 countries was done under the guidance of BN Rao, Consultant of the Constituent Assembly.

It took 2 years 11 months and 18 days to make a constitution. During this, a total of 11 meetings of the Constituent Assembly were held, the constitutions of about 60 countries were reconstructed. It is said that at that time it cost about 64 lakh rupees. This was a huge amount for that time.

The national flag was adopted on 22 July 1947. The national anthem and national anthem were adopted on 24 January 1950.

The original constitution was written by Prem Bihari Narayan Raizada in italic style, and was beautified by the artist of Shantiniketan. (These artists included Nandlal Bose and Beuhar Ram Manohar Sinha)

Original Preamble, written by Prem Bihari Narayan Raizada and beautified by Ram Manohar Sinha.

The Hindi version of the original constitution was calligraphically done by Vasant Krishna Vaidya, which was beautified by Nandalal Bose.

It took 9 years for Australia to create only 127 articles of the constitution, in comparison, the constitution of India was prepared very quickly.

Q. From which countries has our constitution borrowed what?

First of all, understand that 75% of the provisions of the Indian Constitution have been taken from the Government of India Act 1935.

USA – Fundamental Rights, Judicial Review, Supremacy of Constitution, Independence of Judiciary, Doctrine of Vice President, Doctrine of Financial Emergency etc.

Britain – Parliamentary system, single citizenship, legal process, etc.

Ireland – Directive Principles of State Policy, the system of the President’s electoral college and the President’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha.

Australia – Concurrent list, relations between center and states etc.

Germany – Fundamental rights related to the President during the enforcement of emergency.

Canada – federal system, governor, division of powers between union and state.

South Africa – Constitution amendment process and we have taken fundamental duty from Russia.

Hope you understand Constitution Making process of india. For now Hindi quiz is available on this topic. If you wish, do try…

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