In this article – Features of Indian Constitution, you will come to know all salient features of Indian constitution and about the working structure of the Indian constitution.
Features of Indian Constitution -The Constitution of India is a unique constitution. It is the largest written democratic constitution of the world. It provides for a bond of federalism and Unitarianism with flexibility and rigidity. Since its inauguration on 26th January 1950, the Constitution of India has been successfully influenced the direction and progress of India.
Salient Features of the Indian Constitution are as Follows –
1) Written constitution –
Like the constitution of the various other constitutions of the world, the constitution of India is also written one. There are 448 articles in 25 parts and 12 schedules in the Indian constitution. The written constitution brings certainty and definiteness and it is easy to understand for a common man.
2) Unwritten conventions –
Though the Indian constitution is written and there is no place for the convention in it, yet these have made their place in it. The conventions and traditions grow automatically and make their special place in the constitutional system. Though these are not recognized by courts, yet, these are not violated.
The important convention of the Indian Constitution are –
- The PM in Lok Sabha and CM in the state legislature is the leader of the majority party
- Generally, the speaker of Lok Sabha belongs to the majority and deputy speaker is taken from the opposition.
- The President dissolves the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of prime minister..etc.
3) Constitution starts with the Preamble –
The constitution of India starts with the Preamble. Although the Preamble is not part of the Constitution, yet through the 42nd Amendment, the Parliament made an amendment in it considering it a part of the constitution.
The Preamble has its own importance, that is why it is known as the “mirror of the Constitution”, “soul of the Constitution” or the “key of the constitution”. It includes the objective of the Constitution such as to provide Liberty, Equality, and justice to the citizen, in this way Preamble is very important and included in the constitution.
4) Constitution was drawn from Various Sources –
Another Features of Indian Constitution is that the constitution of India has been drawn from various sources as our objective was not to enact an original constitution rather enact a good and workable constitution. The following basic principles were taken from other constitutions such as –
- Parliamentary Government and the Rule of Law (British constitution)
- Fundamental Rights (USA)
- Directive Principles of State Policy (Ireland)
- Federal system of India (Canadian constitution)
- Emergency power of President (Constitution of Germany)…etc.
- The method of the amendment of the constitution and the method of the election of the members of Rajya Sabha has been borrowed from the constitution of South Africa.
5) Rigid as well as a flexible constitution –
The unique feature of the Indian Constitution is that it is a mixture of rigidity and flexibility. It is neither as rigid as the constitution of the USA nor as flexible as the constitution of Great Britain.
Under Article 368 of the constitution
Some of the Articles of the Constitution can be amended by the Union Parliament by passing a resolution with 2/3rd majority of the members present voting and the absolute majority of the total members.
The method written above is proof of the rigidity of the constitution. Besides this there are certain articles which can be amended by the Parliament with a simple majority, example – change the boundary of the old state, to change the name of the state, etc.
All the provision are proof of the flexibility of the Constitution. So, the constitution of India is a mixture of rigidity and flexibility. (Features of Indian Constitution)
6) Universal Adult Franchise –
India is a democratic state, therefore the constitution of India Under article 326 provides for Universal adult franchise, and every citizen, male or female, who is 18 years of age is given the right to vote without making any discrimination on the basis of sex caste color religion, etc.
7) Single Integrated Judicial system –
The constitution of India provides for the single integrated judicial system. Opposite to other federal countries of the world, in India, there are no separate courts for the states and the union government.
The entire judicial system of India is organized into hierarchical order.
Supreme Court is at the top of judicial administration. Below that there are high courts at the state level and district courts at the district level. All the courts of India are bound to accept the decision of the Supreme Court.
8) Rule of Law –
The next salient feature of Indian Constitution is that the constitution of India provides for Rule of Law for which our constitution is indebted to the constitution of British. The rule of law means that the law is supreme over a person and the constitution is equal for all.
9) Single Citizenship –
In the Federal States generally, the people are granted double citizenship. First, they get the citizenship of the state in which they live and after that, they get the citizenship of the country. This principle of double citizenship has been adopted in Federal states like the USA, Canada, etc.
But opposite to it, there is a provision of single citizenship in India. A person may be living in any state but he is a citizen of India alone.
10) Hindi to be the official language of the Union Government –
The constitution of India has given recognition to 23 regional languages and to promote mutual cooperation among the people speaking different regional languages, it is said Under-Article 343 “The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devnagri Script”. (Features of Indian Constitution)
11) Independent Judiciary –
The constitution of India makes provision for the independence of the Judiciary because only an independent Judiciary can safeguard the rights and liberty of the people, and can protect the Supremacy of the Constitution, etc. To make the Judiciary independent the following arrangements have been made-
- An impartial method has been adopted for the appointment of the judges
- Provisions are made for the long tenure of the judges
- Difficult methods have been adopted for the removal of the judges as they can be removed only through impeachment by the union parliament.
- The high qualification has been fixed for the judges…etc.
12) Secular State –
The constitution of India declared India to be a secular state and the word secular was inserted into the Preamble of the Constitution through 42nd amendment of the Constitution made in 1976. But this does not mean that India was not secular before 1976. India was secular even before 1976 because the right to religious freedom is provided in the list of fundamental rights.
Every person is free to profess, practice and propagate the religion of his or her choice.
But it is also said that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out-of-state funds. Also, no tax can be imposed by the state in the name of religion. No discrimination is made while making an appointment on higher offices rather appointments are made on the basis of qualification. This is the most important features of Indian Constitution.
13) Special provision for the protection of the interest of scheduled caste Scheduled Tribes backward class and minority –
The constitution of India makes special provision for the protection of the interest of scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, backward class, and minorities. According to the constitution, everybody is given the right to equality. Untouchability has been prohibited and practice of it in any form is declared a crime.
Besides these provisions are made of the reservation of seats for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes and for backward classes in public services, Lok Sabha, state legislative assembly, local self-government, etc.
Special provisions have been made for the protection of the interest of minority in Article 29 and 30 of the constitution.
14) Fundamental Rights –
Rights are essential for the development of an individual and to achieve this purpose fundamental rights have been included in Chapter-3 of the constitution from Article 12 to 35.
- Right to equality
- Right to freedom
- Right against exploitation
- Right to religious freedom
- Cultural and educational rights
- Right to constitutional remedies
15) Directive Principles of State Policy –
From Articles 36 to 51 of the Constitution Directive Principles of State Policy have been included and for this, we are thankful to the constitution of Ireland. These principles are accepted as guide directive and indicator for the state and with their proper implementation, India will become a truly a welfare state
But we must remember that provision contained in this part shall not be enforceable by any Court, but the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the Governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the state to apply this principle in making laws. So, these are moral promises made by the state and the state is morally bound to fulfill these principles.
16) Federal in form unitary in Spirit –
Indian Constitution is regarded as a mixture of both federalism and Unitarianism.
Though the word Federal has not been used in the constitution, yet there are many federal features of it such as-
- Written Constitution, Rigid Constitution, Supremacy of the Constitution, Division of Subjects, Double Polity, Bicameral Legislature, Independent Judiciary,.. etc.
There are certain features which are an indicator of its unitary nature such as –
- More powers with Centre, Single Citizenship, Single Judicial System, Emergency Powers of the President, Financial Supremacy of the centre, over the state… etc.
So the constitution of India is regarded as both the mixture of Federal and unitary system.
17) Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic –
Through the preamble of the constitution of India, India has been declared a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic and Republic.
A detailed description of all these is given below –
a) Sovereign State – India is a sovereign state which means that it is free from internal as well as external control. India is free to formulate its internal and foreign policies, and it is free to maintain relations with any foreign state.
b) Socialist State – The word ‘Socialist’ has been added to the preamble by the 42nd amendment of the constitution. It means a society in which the wide disparity between the rich and the poor not exist, which is free from exploitation, economic and political justice is provided to all, without discrimination.
c) Secular State – The term ‘Secular’ has also been added to the preamble by the 42nd amendment. The inclusion of the word ‘Secular’ signifies that state has no religion of its own.
The state does not discriminate against any religion by imposing restrictions upon it, and its propagation, nor does it propagate a particular religion.
d) Democratic State – The preamble also declares India to be a democratic state in which the supreme power rests in the hands of the people. The government is also responsible to the people.
The citizens make or unmake the government and every one is given the right to vote on the basis of the principle of universal adult franchise.
e) Republic – India is declared to a republic. In a republic, the executive head is directly or indirectly elected by the people. The president of India is elected for a fixed term by the indirect vote of the people.
18) Fundamental Duties –
There was no mention of duties in the original constitution. But through the 42nd constitutional amendment made in 1976, 10 Fundamental Duties were included in the constitution by adding Chapter-IV and Article-51 A to the constitution.
19) Provision of Emergency Powers –
To deal with special circumstances, special powers have been given to the President of India from Article-352 to Article-360 of the constitution and these are known as Emergency Powers.
The constitution provides for three types of emergency such as –
a) Emergency due to war, External Threat or Armed Rebellion within the country or due to the possibility of the threat of any of these.
b) Emergency due to the failure of the constitutional machinery in a state.
c) Emergency due to the threat to the financial credibility or financial stability of the country.
20) Provision of Administrative Tribunals –
The provision to constitute Administrative Tribunals have been made under the 42nd Amendment of the constitution. Under this amendment, the union parliament has been authorized to pass the law and establish Administrative Tribunals for the disposal of the matters related to the appointment and condition of service of the employees of Union govt and State government and of the local bodies.
21) Right to Property, an ordinary Right –
Till 1979, Right to Property was included in the list of Fundamental Rights. But through the 44th Amendment of the constitution, this right has been deleted from the list of Fundamental Rights and has been made an ordinary right and for this purpose, Article-300A has been included in the constitution.
22) Non-political Civil Services –
Civil services are known as the backbone of administration as these run the administration of the country in real sense. Political executives keep on changing whereas the civil services hold their offices till their fixed tenure and run administration keeping themselves neutral.
Looking at their special importance, special provisions have been made in India to maintain their neutral character. These officials are chosen by an independent constitutional commission for a fixed period on the basis of their qualification and they are not allowed to take part in the politics of the country.
23) Provision of some independent Institutions –
For the fulfillment of some specific programs, provision is made of some independent institutions in the constitution of India. Union Public Service Commission State Public Service Commission, Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, etc.
UPSC and SPSC prepare the list for appointment of civil servants to be appointed both in the centre and the states.
The election commission makes arrangements for the free and fair conduct of elections of the president, vice president, union parliament and state legislature. Independent institution is another good Features of Indian Constitution.
24) Parliamentary form of Government –
After a long discussion in the constituent assembly, it was decided to adopt parliamentary form of government, both for the centre and the states.
The main characteristics of the parliamentary system are given below –
a) A distinction is made between the nominal and real executive head. The President who is the head of the state is a nominal head whereas the Prime minister who is the leader of the council of ministers is the real executive head.
b) The Council of Ministers is responsible before the Lok Sabha, the lower house of union parliament. By, passing a vote of no confidence against the Council of Ministers, the Lok Sabha can remove it from office.
Conclusion – Features of Indian Constitution
After going through the above written salient features of the Indian Constitution, we came to the conclusion that it is a unique constitution. It includes all the good provisions of the Constitution of the world and proof of foresightedness of the makers of the Constitution. Because of this reason, it is working successfully till, date. (Features of Indian Constitution)
What are the main features of the Constitution?
The Constitution of India is a unique constitution. It is the largest written democratic constitution of the world. It provides for a bond of federalism and Unitarianism with flexibility and rigidity. Since its inauguration on 26th January 1950, the Constitution of India has been successfully influenced the direction and progress of India.
What is Constitution and what are its features?
A constitution is a written document carrying all rules and regulations.
It’s main features are – Written constitution – Like the constitution of the various other constitutions of the world, the constitution of India is also written one. There are 448 articles in 25 parts and 12 schedules in the Indian constitution…. continue reading
What are the functions of the Constitution?
The constitution of India provides for Rule of Law for which our constitution is indebted to the constitution of British. The rule of law means that the law is supreme over a person and the constitution is equal for all.