Idea for a Constituent Assembly for drafting a constitution for India was first provided by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1895.
The elections for the first Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. Initially it had 389 members, but later the reformed Assembly had 324 members.
The State of Hydrabad did not participate in elections to the Constituent Assembly.
The first meeting of Constituent Assembly was held on December 9, 1946— its president was Dr Sacchidanand Sinha.
The second meeting was held on December 11, 1946. Its president was Dr Rajendra Prasad.
The Objectives Resolution was passed under chairmanship of J.L. Nehru.
The Draft of Indian Constitution was presented in October 1947. President of the Drafting Committee was Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
The Flag Committee worked under J.B. Kripalani.
The total time consumed to prepare the draft was 2 years, 11 months, 18 days. Total 11 meetings were held for this.
The Indian Constitution was enacted on November 26, 1946 and put into force on January 26, 1950.
The Constitution today has 444 Articles and 12 schedules. Originally there were 395 Articles and 8 schedules.
SOCIALIST, SECULAR, INTEGRITY—these words were added to the Preamble later, through the 42nd Amendment, 1976.
The Preamble contains aims and objectives of our Constitution.
Fundament Rights are contained in Part III— called "Magna Carta" of the Constitution. The idea was borrowed from USA. Initially there were 7 fundamental rights, now there are only 6. (The Right to Property was deleted by the 44th amendment in 1978. It is now a judicial right—it has been moved to Article 300(A).)
The Supreme Court judgement in Keshwanand Bharti vs Kerala case provided that Fundamental Rights can be altered by the Parliament as long as the basic structure of the Constitution remains intact.
The Minerva Mills case ruling of the Supreme Court, however, ruled that Fundamental rights are basic part of the Constitution. The power to alter them was snatched away.
Fundamental Right of Equality provides for:
—Equality in government jobs (Article 16).
—No discriminations (Article 15).
—No untouchability (Article 17).
—Abolition of titles (Article 18).
The important freedoms granted are:
—Against exploitation (Article 23).
—Against child labour (Article 24).
The Right to Constitutional Remedies is provided under Article 32.
The Constitution provides that High Courts and the Supreme Court can issue various writs (written orders) to safeguard freedom of an individual. There are five types of writs:
Habeas Corpus—"may I have the body"—it orders to present reasons as well as physical presence of a body in court, within 24 hours of arrest.
Mandamus—issued to person, office or court—to enforce duties—also called "Param Aadesh".
Prohibition—issued to inferior courts, by superior courts—it prohibits (stops) action of acts outside their jurisdiction.
Quo Warranto—it asks how one has gained unauthorised office.
Certiorari —Higher Court takes over case from lower courts.
Dr Ambedkar has called this article as "soul" of the Constitution.
Directive Principles of State Policy act as guidelines or morals for the government. They are contained in Part IV of the Constitution. They were borrowed from Ireland. Some important directive principles are:
—Gram Panchayats (Article 40).
—Uniform civil code (Article 44).
—Free and compulsory education (Article 45).
Fundamental duties are contained in part IV(A). There are ten fundamental duties listed in the Constitution. This idea was borrowed from Russia.
The Vice President is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. However, he is not a member of any House.
If a member is found sitting in another House of Parliament, of which he is not a member, he has to pay a fine of Rs 5000.
Rajya Sabha has 250 members—238 elected and 12 nominated by the President. Uttar Pradesh elects maximum number of members for the Rajya Sabha (34), followed by Bihar (22) and Maharashtra (19).
In one year time, the President must hold at least two meetings of the Rajya Sabha.
If a state of Emergency is declared, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, but not the Rajya Sabha (It is a permanent House).
Lok Sabha has 547 members—545 elected and 2 nominated from the Anglo-Indian Community.
During a state of emergency, the tenure of Lok Sabha can be extended by a maximum of one year.
Maximum number of members of Lok Sabha are elected from Uttar Pradesh (80 members), followed by Bihar (54) and Maharashtra (48).
Minimum age for becoming member of Lok Sabha is 25 years and Rajya Sabha is 30 years.
Minimum age to be eligible for the post of the President is 35 years.