Constitutional Developments

The Indian Administrative structure is largely a legacy of the British rule. The various functional aspects such as public services, education system, political set up, recruitment, training, office procedures, district administration, local administration, police system, revenue administration, budgeting, auditing, and so on, have their roots in the British rule.

The British rule in India can be divided into two phases- the Company rule till 1858 and the Crown's rale from 1858 to 1947.


The landmarks in the development of the Constitution are:

Regulating Act of 1773
This was the first step taken by the British Government to control and regulate the affairs of the East India Company in India.
• It designated the Governor of Bengal as the Governor-General of India.
• The first Governor-General was Lord Warren Hastings.
• It subordinated the Governors of Bombay and Madras to the Governor-General of Bengal. The Supreme Court was established at Fort Williams as the Apex Court in 1774.

Pitt's India Act of 1784
It was introduced to remove the drawbacks of the Regulating Act.
Was named after the then British Prime Minister.
Placed the Indian affairs under the direct control of the British Government.
Established a Board of Control over the of Directors.

Charter Act of 1833
It made the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India.
First Governor-General of India was Lord William Bentick.
Governor-General's Council were separated.
It introduced a system of open competition as the basis for the recruitment of civil servants of the Company.

Government of India Act of 1858
This Act transferred the Government, territories and revenues of India from the East India Company to the British Crown.
In other words, the rule of Company was replaced by the rule of the Crown in India.
The powers of the British Crown were to be exercised by the Secretary of State for India.
• The Secretary of State was a member of the British Cabinet.
• He was assisted by the Council of India, having 15 members.
• He was vesterlwith complete authority and control over the Indian administration through the Governor-General as his agent.
• He was responsible ultimately to the British Parliament.
• The Governor-General was made the Viceroy of India.
Lord Canning was the first Viceroy of India.

Indian Councils Act of 1861 It introduced for the first time the representative institutions in India.
• It provided that the Governor-General's Executive Council should have some Indians as the non-official members while transacting the legislative businesses.

Government of India Act of 1935
• The Act provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of the Provinces and the Princely States as the units.
• The Act divided the powers between the Centre and the units in terms of three lists, namely the Federal List, the Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
• The Federal List for the Centre consisted of 59 items, the Provincial List for the Provinces consisted of 54 items and the Concurrent List for both consisted of 36 items.
• The residuary powers were vested with the Governor-General.
• The Act abolished the Dyarchy in the Provinces and introduced 'Provincial Autonomy'.
• It provided for the adoption of Dyarchy at the Centre.
• Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 Provinces.
• These six Provinces were Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras and the United Province.

Indian Independence Act of 1947
• Till 1947, the Government of India functioned under the provisions of the 1919 Act only, the provisions of 1935 Act relating to Federation and Dyarchy were never implemented.
• The Executive Council provided by the 1919 Act continued to advice the Governor-General till 1947.
• It declared India as an Independent and Sovereign State.
• Established responsible Governments at both the Centre and the Provinces.
• Designated the Governor-General of India and the Provincial Governors as the Constitutional Heads (nominal heads).
• It assigned dual functions (Constituent and Legislative) to the Constituent Assembly and declared this dominion legislature as a sovereign body.

Framing of The Constitution of India

• The Constitution of India was framed and adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India.
• The Constituent Assembly was set up in November 1946 as per the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946.
• The members were elected indirectly by the Provincial Assemblies in the ratio of one member per one million population.
• There were a total of 389 members in the Constituent Assembly of which 296 were elected by the members of the Provincial Assemblies and the rest were nominated by thejMncely States.
• Its first meeting was held on 9th December 1946, with Sachidanand Sinha as the interim President.
• On 11th December 1946, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the Constituent Assembly.
• The historic 'Objective Resolution' was moved in the Constituent Assembly by Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru on 13th December 1946.
• The Constituent Assembly formed 13 important committees for framing the Constitution.
• The Drafting Committee was appointed on 29 August 1947, with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairman.
• The first draft of the Constitution was prepared in October 1947.
• The Draft Constitution of India prepared by the Drafting Committee was submitted to the

Phases of Indian Constitution
i) 1 st Phase: As Constituent Assembly under the limitations of Cabinet Mission Plan from 6th September 1946 to 14th August 1947.
ii) 2nd Phase: As Constituent Assembly, a sovereign body. Provisional Parliament from 15th August 1947 to 26th November 1949,
iii) 3rd Phase: As a Provisional Parliament from 27th November 1949 to March 1952. President of the Assembly on 21 February l948.
• The clause-by-clause consideration of the Draft Constitution was taken up between 15 NovemberT948 and 17 October 1949.
• On 26 November 1949, the people of India through the Constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave to themselves the Constitution of India.
• The Constitution was finally signed in by the members of the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1950, which was the last day of the Assembly.
• The Constitution came into full operation with effect from 26 January 1950.
• During this period the Constituent Assembly acted as a 'temporary Parliament' [15 August 1947- 26 November 1949].
• The Constitution was approved by the members and was signed in by 284 members of the Constituent Assembly.
• It is considered to be the second lengthiest Constitution in the world after the Constitution of Yugoslavia.
• Originally, it had 22 parts, 395 articles and 8 schedules.
• The Constituent Assembly toijk 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to frame the Constitution.
The demand for the Constituent Assembly to draft the Constitution of India was, for the first time, raised by the Congress in 1935. The British Government accepted this demand, for the first time, in the 'August Offer' of 1940.
The seats were allocated to three communities-Muslims, Sikhs and General-in proportion to their population. The Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 announced the partition of the country and a separate Constituent Assembly for the proposed State of Pakistan. Consequently the members of the Constituent Assembly representing those areas which were to be included in Pakistan, East Bengal, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), West Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Sylhet district of Assam, were no more members of the Constituent Assembly of India. North-West Frontier Province and Sylhet decided through a referendum to remain with Pakistan.
Therefore, the membership of the Constituent Assembly for India was reduced to 299 after partition.
The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was boycotted by the Muslim League. Shri. B.N. Rau was appointed as the Legal Advisor of the Constituent Assembly.

Drafting Committee of Constitution
Chairman: Dr BR Ambedkar Members
1. N Gopalswami Ayyangar
2. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
3. KM Munshi
4. Mohammed Sadullah
5. BL Mittar (replaced by N Madhav Rao)
6. DP Khaitan (who died in 1948 and was replaced by TT Krishnamochari)

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar is rightly regarded as the 'Father of the Constitution of India'. According to Article 394, provisions relating to the citizenship elections, provisional Parliament and temporary and transitional provisions contained in Articles 5, 6, 7, 8,9, 60,324,366,367,379,380,388,391, 392 and 393 came into force on the day of adoption (i.e. 26 November 1949) of the Constitution and the remaining provisions of the Constitution came into being on the day of the commencement (i.e. 26 January 1950) of the Constitution.
According to Article 395, the Government of India Act of 1935 and the Indian Independence Act of 1947 got replaced with the commencement of the Constitution of India.

Committees of the Constituent Assembly
The Constituent Assembly appointed 22 committees to deal with different tasks of Constitution-making. Out of these, 10 were on procedural affairs and 12 on substantive affairs. These were as follows: Committees on Procedural Affairs
1. Steering Committee (Chairman: Dr K M Munshi)
2. Rules of Procedure Committee (Chairman: Dr Rajendra Prasad)
3. House Committee
4. Hindi Translation Committee
5. Urdu Translation Committee
6. Finance and Staff Committee
7. Press Gallery Committee
8. Committee on the effect of Indian Independence Act of 1947
9. Orders of Business Committee
10. Credentials Committee

Committees on Substantive Affairs
1. Drafting Committee (Chairman: Dr B R Ambedkar)
2. Committee for Negotiating with States (Chairman: Dr Rajendra Prasad)
3. Committee on Chief Commissioners' Provinces
4. Union Constitution Committee (.Chairman: Jawaharlal Nehru)
5. Provincial Constitution Committee (Chairman: Sardar Patel)
6. Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution (Chairman: Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer)
7. Commission on Linguistic Provinces
8. Expert Committee on Financial Provisions
9. Ad-hoc Committee on National Flag
10. Union Powers Committee (Chairman: Jawaharlal Nehru)
11. Ad-hoc Committee on the Supreme Court
12. Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities (Chairman: Sardar Patel)

Different Sources of Our Constitution

January 26 was selected as the date of commencement of the Constitution of India because on this date in 1930, Indian people observed 'Independence day', following the resolution of 'Purna Swaraj' of the Congress session held in the midnight of December 31, 1929 at Lahore.
• The founding fathers of our Constitution had before them the accumulated experience from the working of all the known constitutions of the world, and were aware of the difficulties faced in the working of those constitutions.
• Hence, besides incorporating some provisions from the other constitutions, a number of provisions were included to avoid some of the difficulties experienced in the working of these constitutions.
• This is an important reason for making our Constitution the lengthiest and the most comprehensive of all the written constitutions of the world.
• The most profound influence was exercised by the Government of India Act of 1935, the federal scheme, office of governor, power of federal judiciary, emergency powers etc were drawn from this Act. The British practice influenced the lawmaking procedures, rule of law, system of single citizenship, besides, of course, the model of a parliamentary government. The US Constitution inspired details on the independence of judiciary, judicial review, fundamental rights, and the removal of Supreme Court and High Court judges. The Irish Constitution was the source of the Directive Principles, method of Presidential elections, and the nomination of members of Rajya Sabha by the President. From the Canadian Constitution was taken the idea of a federation with a strong Centre, and placing residuary powers with the Centre. The Weimar Constitution of Germany was the source of provisions concerning the suspension of fundamental rights during emergency. The idea of a Concurrent List was taken from the Australian Constitution.


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