Const India

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Transcript of Const India

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    Prof. Shivashankar

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    Our Constitution is written, lengthy anddetailed.

    Written constitution is based on written laws

    du

    ly passed by a representative bodyelected for this very purpose. In other words, a written constitution is an

    enacted constitution.An unwritten constitution, on the other hand,

    is an evolved constitution. It is primarily based on unwritten

    conventions, traditions and practices.

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    The Constitution of the U.S.A. is anotherexample of a written constitution and that ofEngland of an unwritten one.

    The Constit

    ution of India is an elaboratedocument and is the most voluminous

    Constitution in the world.Our Constitution originally consisted of 395

    Articles and eight Schedules.

    During the last fifty-three years of itsoperation, seventy-six Amendments havebeen made to the Constitution.

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    Two new Schedules have also been added, resulting in

    a further increase in its size and volume.

    An important reason for the extraordinary volume of

    the Constitu

    tion is that it contains detailed provisionsregarding numerous aspects of governance.

    This was done to minimize confusion and ambiguity in

    the interpretation of the Constitution, another reason

    for its unusual lengthy is the incorporation of the good

    points of various constitutions of the world. The vastness of our country and its peculiar problems

    has also added to the bulk of the Constitution.

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    For example, the Indian Constitution envisages laws for

    the governance of the States too.

    Detailed provisions regarding the working of the Union

    Government and the State Governments have beengiven with a view to avoiding any constitutional

    problem which the newly-born Democratic Republic

    might experience in the working of the Constitution.

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    A flexible constitution is that which can beamended like an ordinary law of the country, i.e.by a simple majority of Parliament.

    On the other hand, a rigid constitution is the one

    which prescribes a difficult procedure for its ownamendment.

    The Constitution of the U.S.A. is the best exampleof rigid constitution because it can be amendedonly if a proposal for constitutional amendment is

    passed by a two-third majority in each House ofthe Congress (the US Parliament) and ratified byat least three-fourths of the federating states.

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    The Constitution of Great Britain, on the other hand, is highlyflexible.

    It can be amended by a simple majority of its Parliament,much like the ordinary laws of the country.

    The Indian Constitution is neither very flexible nor very

    rigid. Some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by a

    simple majority of Parliament, like ordinary laws of the landwhile most of the provisions can only be amended by a two-thirds majority of Parliament

    For very important provisions of the Constitution, such as the

    manner of election of the President and the extent of thelegislative powers of the Union and the States, anamendment passed by a two-thirds majority of Parliamentshould also be ratified by at least one-half of the Statelegislatures.

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    The Indian Constitution thus combines theflexibility of the British Constitution and therigidity of the American Constitution.

    Jawaharlal Nehru

    , while ju

    stifying this natu

    reof the Constitution, said, "0ur Constitution is to be as solid and

    permanent as we can make it, yet there is nopermanence in a constitution. There should

    be a certain amount of flexibility. If you makeanything rigid and permanent, you stop the

    nations growth, the growth of a living vitalorganic people."

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    Our Constitution declares India a Union of States(federation).

    It prescribes dual set of governments-the UnionGovernment and the State Governments.The subjects ofadministration have also been classified into three lists-the

    Union List, the State List and the Concurrent List. Whereassubjects of national importance like currency, defense,railways, post and telegraph, foreign affairs, citizenship,survey and census have been assigned to the UnionGovernment and placed under the Union List, subjects oflocal importance like agriculture, law and order, health and

    entertainment have been assigned to the States and form apart of the State List.

    Both the Union Government and the State Governmentsoperate within the spheres of their authority.

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    The Union Parliament and the State Legislatures enjoy co-equal powers to make laws in regard to the Concurrentsubjects.

    These subjects are of common importance such as marriageand divorce, adoption, succession, transfer of property,

    preventive detention, education, civil and criminal law, etc. However, if there is a conflict between a Union law and a law

    passed by one or many State Legislatures, the law made bythe Union Parliament would prevail over the State law.TheIndian Constitution possesses other features of a federationtoo, for example, supremacy of the constitution.

    This means that the Union and the State Governments bothoperate within the limits set by the Constitution. Both thegovernments derive authority from the Constitution itself.

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    Similarly, in all federal countries, the authority of the Court isa well established fact.

    This means that in case of a dispute between the UnionGovernment and State Governments or between two or

    more State Governments, the verdict of the Court will befinal.

    Not only this, the Supreme Court is given the responsibilityof interpreting the Constitution in case of dispute orconfusion.

    The Supreme Court of India is the guardian of the

    Constitution and fulfils its role as a Federal Court too. The Indian Constitution, though federal in form, has a strongunitary bias.The Central Government possesses extensivepowers compared to the State Governments.

    The exercise of these powers by the Centre gives the

    Constitu

    tion the strength of au

    nitary government.

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    The Union Government can supersede the authorityof the States both in the normal and abnormal times.

    The President of India can declare three differenttypes of emergency.

    During the operation of an emergency, the powers of the StateGovernments are greatly curtailed and the Union Governmentbecomes all in all.

    Even in normal times, the Union Parliament can legislate upon asubject given in the State List, if the Rajya Sabha passes aresolution by a two-thirds vote that such legislation is necessaryin the national interest.

    Moreover, the Indian Constitution,unlike the US Constitution,does not provide for double citizenship, division of publicservices or of the judiciary. Similarly, the States in India do notenjoy the right to secede from the Union nor do they enjoyequality of representation in the Council of States (RajyaSabha).

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    Another unitary feature of our

    Constitution is that it gives Union

    Parliament the power to alter theboundaries of the existing States or to

    carve out new States out of the existing

    ones.

    It is on account of these features that theIndian Constitution is said to be federal

    in form but unitary in spirit.

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    The Constitution of India adopts Parliamentary system of

    government at the Centre and in the States.

    The executive power is wielded by the Council of Ministers which

    is collectively responsible to the legislature.

    The Ministers continue in office so long as they enjoy theconfidence of a majority of Members in the legislature. The

    moment they lose this confidence, a vote of no-confidence is

    passed against them and they have to resign forthwith.

    The responsibility of the executive to the legislature is also

    ensured by the right of the Members of the legislature to put

    questions to the Ministers. The Members may table adjournmentmotions and call attention motions against the policies pursued

    by the Government.

    The Ministers are duty-bound to answer all such questions and

    satisfy the Members of the legislature.

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    Certain rights are considered basic orfundamental as they provide suitable conditionsfor the material and moral uplift of the people.T

    he Indian Constitu

    tion gu

    arantees a nu

    mber ofsuch rights to the citizens of India. TheFundamental Rights of India conferred by theConstitution are: The Right to Equality;

    The Right to Freedom; The Right against Exploitation;

    The Right to Freedom of Religion;

    Cultural and Educational Rights; and

    The Right to Constitutional Remedies.

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    The Right to Property was deleted from

    the list ofFundamental Rights by the

    Forty-fo

    urth Constit

    ution AmendmentAct, 1978.

    The fundamental rights as envisaged in

    the Constitution of India are justiciable.

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    The Directive Principles of State Policy constitute anotherdistinctive feature of our Constitution, These Principlesembody cert