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The Constitution of India was enacted on 26th of January, 1950. Drafted on 26th of November, 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India, the Indian Constitution laid the foundations for establishment of a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic of India. Today, there are 12 Schedules and 395 Articles in the Constitution of India. Amendments have been made to the Constitution time and again as per the need of the hour. Till 2006, there have been 94 Amendments made to the constitution.

The Preamble is one of the most significant parts of the Constitution of India. Focusing on the core objective of the Indian Constitution, the Preamble includes the following:

  • Equality - which connotes equal opportunity for one and all
  • Justice - which means fair judgment in the fields of politics, society and economy
  • Fraternity - which works towards keeping the integrity and strength of the country intact along with special stress on individual dignity
  • Liberty - which assures every citizen of India the freedom of speech and expression, religious independence and choice of going by one's own belief

The Preamble, as it is presented in the Constitution of India, is mentioned below:

"WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION."

The Constitution of India covers a total of 395 Articles in 22 parts.

The parts of the Indian Constitution are mentioned below:

  • Part I - The Union and its Territory
  • Part II - Citizenship
  • Part III - Fundamental Rights
  • Part IV - Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Part IVA - Fundamental Duties
  • Part V - The Union
  • Part VI - The States
  • Part VII - The States in Part B of the First Schedule
  • Part VIII - The Union Territories
  • Part IX - Panchayats
  • Part IXA - Municipalities
  • Part X - The Scheduled and Tribal Areas
  • Part XI - Relations Between The Union and The States
  • Part XII - Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits
  • Part XIII - Trade, Commerce and Intercourse within The Territory of India
  • Part XIV - Services Under The Union and The States
  • Part XIVA - Tribunals
  • Part XV- Elections
  • Part XVI - Special Provisions Relating to Certain Classes
  • Part XVII - Official Language
  • Part XVIII - Emergency Provisions
  • Part XIX - Miscellaneous
  • Part XX - Amendment of the Constitution
  • Part XXI - Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions
  • Part XXII - Short Title, Commencement, Authoritative Text in Hindi and Repeals

There are twelve schedules to Constitution of India, which are effective at present, are given below:

  • First Schedule: This schedule is about the States and Union Territories of India.
  • Second Schedule: In this Schedule, provisions made to the President and the Governors of States, Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of the People, the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Council of States, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council of a State, the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts and the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India
  • Third Schedule: Forms of Oaths or Affirmations are mentioned in this Schedule.
  • Fourth Schedule: This Schedule specifies the allocation of seats in the Council of States.
  • Fifth Schedule: Provisions as to the Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes are mentioned in this Schedule. The amendment of the schedule is also included in the Part D of the Schedule.
  • Sixth Schedule: This Schedule deals with the provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • Seventh Schedule: The List I or the Union List, List II or the State List and List III or the Concurrent List are included in this Schedule.
  • Eighth Schedule: The 22 languages selected as the official languages of India are mentioned in this Schedule.
  • Ninth Schedule: Validation of certain Acts and Regulations is dealt with in this Schedule
  • Tenth Schedule: Provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection for the Members of Parliament and Members of the State Legislatures are mentioned in this Schedule.
  • Eleventh Schedule: This Schedule talks about the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats
  • Twelfth Schedule: Powers, authority and responsibilities of Municipalities are defined in this Schedule.

Important features of the Constitution:

Citizenship

The Constitution of India provides for a single citizenship for the whole of India. Every person who was at the commencement of the Constitution (26 January 1950) domiciled in the territory of India, and (a) who was born in India, or (b) either of whose parents was born in India, or (c) who has been ordinarily resident in India for not less than five years, became a citizen of India. The Citizenship Act, 1955 deals with matters relating to acquisition, determination and termination of Indian citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution. 

Fundamental Rights

The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These are guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of six broad categories of Fundamental Rights, which are justiciable. Article 12 to 35 contained in Part III of the Constitution deal with Fundamental Rights. These are: 

(i)  right to equality, including equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment; 
(ii) right to freedom of speech and expression, assembly, association or union, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality); 
(iii) right against exploitation, prohibiting all forms of forced labour, child labour and traffic in human beings; 
(iv) right to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion; 
(v) right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice; and 
(vi) right to constitutional remedies for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. 

Fundamental Duties

By the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution, adopted in 1976, Fundamental Duties of the citizens have also been enumerated. Article 51 'A', contained in Part IV A of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Duties. These enjoin upon a citizen among other things, to abide by the Constitution, to cherish and follow noble ideals, which inspired India's struggle for freedom, to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so, and to promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. 

Directive Principles Of State Policy

The Constitution lays down certain Directive Principles of State Policy, which though not justiciable, are 'fundamental in governance of the country', and it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. These lay down that the State shall strive to promote the welfare of people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order, in which justice-social, economic and political-shall form in all institutions of national life. The State shall direct its policy in such a manner as to secure the right of all men and women to an adequate means of livelihood, equal pay for equal work and within limits of its economic capacity and development, to make effective provision for securing the right to work, education and to public assistance in the event of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement or other cases of undeserved want. The State shall also endeavour to secure to workers a living wage, humane conditions of work, a decent standard of life, and full involvement of workers in management of industries. 

In the economic sphere, the State is to direct its policy in such a manner as to secure distribution of ownership and control of material resources of community to subserve the common good, and to ensure that operation of economic system does not result in concentration of wealth and means of production to common detriment.  

Some of the other important directives relate to provision of opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner; free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14; promotion of education and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other weaker sections; organisation of village panchayats ; separation of judiciary from executive; promulgation of a uniform civil code for whole country; protection of national monuments; promotion of justice on a basis of equal opportunity; provision of free legal aid; protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife of the country; promotion of international peace and security; just and honourable relations between nations; respect for international law; treaty obligations; and settlement of international disputes by arbitration. 

Additional information about the Constitution of India can be accessed at:
http://indiacode.nic.in/coiweb/welcome.html

The complete text of the Constitution, as revised till date, can be viewed : Click here to view

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