India was split into two main entities before 1947: the 11-province British India and the princely kingdoms, under a subsidiary alliance strategy. Although the two organizations combined Indian princes governed from the Indian Union, many legacy British Indian systems are still used today. Many laws and regulations issued before Indian Independence can be linked to the historical foundations and evolution of the Indian Constitution.
In the parliament-based democracy of India, the executive is answerable to the legislature. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are the two houses of the Parliament. Additionally, there are separate executive and legislative branches at the Centre and States because it is a federal form of government. Local government levels also have self-governance. The British government left behind all of these mechanisms. These have contributed to the Indian Constitution’s historical context and evolution.
Regulating Act of 1773
• The British Parliament took the initial action to oversee and manage the East India Company’s operations in India.
• It named Fort William, the Governor of Bengal, as the Governor-General of Bengal.
• The first Governor-General of Bengal was Warren Hastings.
• The four-member Executive Council of the Governor-General was constituted. No distinct legislative council existed.
• The Governor-General of Bengal became the superior authority to the Governors of Bombay and Madras.
• In 1774, Fort William (Calcutta) created the Supreme Court as the supreme court.
• It forbade firm employees from engaging in any private business or receiving bribes from locals.
• The company’s governing body, the Court of Directors, looked after the revenue.
Pitt’s India Act of 1784
• Differentiate between the company’s commercial and political functions.
• Board of Control for political matters and Court of Directors for commercial responsibilities.
• Lowered the number of council members for the governor general to three.
• Gave the British Government direct control over Indian affairs.
• “The British possession in India” was the name given to the company’s possessions in India.
Charter Act of 1813
• Trade with India is now accessible to all British subjects, ending the Company’s monopoly.
• The Governor-General (of Bengal) became the Governor-General of India thanks to the Charter Act of 1833.
• Lord William Bentick served as India’s first governor-general.
• This was the last stage in British India’s centralization.
• The act also abolished the legislative authority of the provinces of Bombay and Madras, signaling the start of an Indian federal government.
• The East India Company’s commercial operations were abolished by the Act, which transformed it into a purely administrative organization.
Charter Act of 1853
• The Governor-General’s Council had independent legislative and executive branches.
• The Central Legislative Council had six members.
• It established an open competition system (the Indian Civil Service was made available to everyone) as the foundation for hiring company civil officers.
Government of India Act of 1858
• In India, the Crown’s rule replaced the Company’s.
• The Secretary of State for India was to wield the royal prerogatives of the British Crown.
• The 15-member Council of India provided him with assistance.
• He was given complete control and authority over the Indian government through the Viceroy, who served as his agent.
• The Viceroy of India was appointed to be the Governor-General.
• The very first Viceroy of India was Lord Canning.
• The act also abolished the Board of Control and Court of Directors.
Indian Councils Act of 1861
• It allowed Indian inclusion in institutions like the Viceroy’s non-official executive and legislative council for the first time. 3 Indians entered the Legislative Council.
• Provinces and the Centre both created legislative councils.
• It stipulated that when conducting legislative work, the Viceroy’s Executive Council should include a few Indians as non-official members.
• It gave the portfolio system statutory status.
• They started the decentralization process by giving the provinces of Bombay and Madras their legislative authority back.
India Council Act of 1892
• Introduced nominations for indirect elections.
• The size of the legislative councils was increased.
• Expanded the role of the legislative councils and gave them the authority to question the executive and review the budget.
Indian Councils Act of 1909
• The Morley-Minto Reforms is another name for this Act.
• The first attempt to include a representative and popular element was through direct elections to legislative councils.
• The Central Legislative Council was renamed the Imperial Legislative Council.
• The number of Central Legislative Council members rose from 16 to 60.
• She embraced the idea of a “separate electorate,” introducing a system of communal representation for Muslims.
• Satyendra Prasanna Sinha, as the law member in the Viceroy’s executive council.
Government of India Act of 1919
• Montague-Chelmsford Reforms is another name for this Act.
• The boundaries between the Central subjects and the Provincial subjects were drawn.
• Dyarchy, a system of dual rule, was first implemented in the Provincial subjects.
• The provincial topics were split into two categories under the dyarchy system: transferred and reserved. The Governor was not answerable to the Legislative Council on reserved matters.
• Bicameralism in the center was first established under the Act.
• One hundred forty members made up the Legislative Assembly, and 60 people made up the Legislative Council.
• Members were directly elected.
• Apart from the Commander-in-Chief, the Act mandated that three of the six members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council be Indians.
• We have made provisions for the Public Service Commission’s formation.
Government of India Act of 1935
• The Act called for creating an All-India Federation with the Provinces and Princely States serving as its constituent parts; however, the envisioned federation was never realized.
• A trio of lists: The Federal List, the Provincial List, and the Concurrent List are the three lists into which the Act divided the powers between the Centre and the units.
• The Provincial List for the provinces had 54 things, the Federal List for the Centre had 59 items, and the Concurrent List for both had 36 items.
• The Governor-General was given the remaining authority.
• The Act established “Provincial Autonomy” and ended the Dyarchy in the Provinces.
• It allowed for the Centre to adopt a monarchical system.
• She enacted bicameralism in six out of the eleven provinces.
• Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras, and the United Province were the six provinces in question.
• We have made provisions for the creation of the Federal Court.
• The Council of India was disbanded.
Indian Independence Act of 1947
• The Act declared India to be a sovereign and independent nation.
• Both at the national level and in the provinces, responsible governments were established.
• As the constitutional (standard heads), the Viceroy of India and the provincial governors were designated.
• It defined this dominion legislature as a sovereign body and gave the Constituent Assembly dual roles (Constituent and Legislative).
The Constitution of India results from complex historical, intellectual, and political forces that molded the document and the country it represented. The foundation for the democratic, social justice, and fundamental rights values embodied in the Constitution was set by this complex historical backdrop.
1. Colonial Rule: The socio-political environment in India has been significantly impacted by the 200-year British colonial rule. To lay the groundwork for India’s constitution, the Government of India Acts of 1919 and 1935 incorporated aspects of self-governance and provincial autonomy.
2. Indian National Movement: The national struggle movements for independence made the makers of the Constitution understand the importance of self-governance and a constitution that upholds the rights and aspirations of Indians.
3. Partition: A great deal of life was lost during the tragic partition of India in 1947. It also resulted in the split of the country along religious lines. This emphasized the value of a secular constitution protecting minority and individual rights while respecting religious diversity.
1. Gandhian Philosophy: The principles advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, namely nonviolence and self-reliance, have been influential in the making of the Constitution. His emphasis on village-centric government and decentralization has been reflected in the constitution's provisions.
2. Ambedkar’s Vision: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had a different experience than others. He was a Dalit and hence was deprived of many opportunities. However, it didn’t discourage him, and instead, he laid down the foundation for social justice in the Constitution. He focused on eliminating discrimination and protecting the marginalized sections of the society.
3. Liberal Thought: The framers also drew inspiration from liberal thought, emphasizing individual rights and freedoms. It has been to protect citizens and ensure their liberty and equality.
1. Demand for Self-Governance: The Indian National Congress, established in 1885, initially ruled alongside the British Raj. However, due to the injustices committed by the Company, by the early 20th century, there was a growing demand for a constitution to cater to the needs of the people.
2. Cabinet Mission Plan: A united India with independent provinces and groupings was outlined in the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946. Although the proposal wasn’t thoroughly carried out, it impacted the discussions and talks surrounding the federal structure of the Constitution.
3. Objective Resolution: The constitutional guiding ideas were established by the Constituent Assembly’s approval of the Objective Resolution in 1946. It reaffirmed the assembly’s dedication to social justice, liberty, equality, and democracy.
Various other constitutions of other countries have influenced the making of the Indian constitution. The most important ones are the US Constitution, the UK Constitution, and the Irish Constitution. India adopted from the UK the ideas of parliamentary democracy, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Council of Ministers. Similar to the British monarch, the President of India holds mostly ceremonial offices; the Prime Minister is the one with actual executive authority. In various aspects, the Indian Constitution was influenced by the US Constitution. The Indian constitution has fundamental rights from the US Bill of Rights. The US model also inspired the idea of an independent judiciary with the authority to conduct judicial reviews and uphold the supremacy of the Constitution. The US federal system also impacted the federal structure of the Indian constitution, which divided authority between the national and state governments. The Irish Constitution served as a model for the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Indian Constitution.
The formation of the Indian constitution began with the establishment of the Constituent Assembly. It consisted of 389 members, headed by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. Conciliating divergent viewpoints and coming to an understanding of divisive matters were steps in the process. The final version of the constitution was adopted on January 26, 1950. The Indian constitution comprises a preamble and 448 articles divided into 25 parts. The secularism, social justice, and individual liberties commitments of India are reflected in its constitution. It includes ideas like essential obligations, Directive Principles of State Policy, and protections for minority rights. The Constitution was intended to be a dynamic text that could change with time. Numerous changes have been made over time to address new issues and improve the provisions as necessary.
In conclusion, various members of the Constituent Assembly worked together in a collaborative process to develop the Indian constitution. This process entailed discussions, disagreements, and compromises. The method was inspired by both Indian and foreign sources, expressing the goals of a newly independent country. As a result, India now has a constitution that has withstood the test of time and has guided its democratic party transition for more than seven decades.
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in