The constitution of lays down guidelines related to main political principles, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of various government institutions and agencies. The constitution also highlights fundamental rights, fundamental duties and directive principles.
The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. The Constituent Assembly was the main body responsible for drafting the constitution of India that would lay the basis of governance. The Indian Constitution was one of the first steps taken by an Independent India to form the base for a democratic nation. The Constitution lays down the foundations of the government under which the people of the country are to be governed. The constitution clearly establishes three main structures of the government - the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Executive, their structure and functioning. The structure of the constitution also delineates the accountabilities of each utility. The Constitution, thus, outlines the functions of all these three structures with the government for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Made with democratic ideals and a vision of autonomy, the Indian Constitution is the first and last word in Indian law and governance and lays down the national goals of democracy, socialism, secularism and national integration while spelling out the rights, duties and obligations of the Indian Citizen.
The Preamble is one of the most significant aspects of the Indian Constitution. Focusing on the chief objectives of the Indian constitution the Preamble states the following.
“We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure all of its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political
LIBERTY, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and 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.
Being the heart of the Indian Constitution, the Preamble focuses on the spirit of the country which is made especially for and by the people of India without the influence of outer powers or governments.
Elements of the Constitution
It is the longest constitution ever drafted in the history of mankind. The Indian constitution has 22 parts, 13 schedules and 444 articles. The articles and the structures of the Indian constitution, provide the citizens with the rights and liberties that are entitled to them on being a citizen of the country. There are also long lists of duties that the Indian citizen has to follow as per the constitution of the country. It is a written constitution that promises the citizens of the country their sovereignty, and describes the fundamental rights, directive principles and fundamental duties of the inhabitants. It follows a rigid and flexible system and is centrally governed by the Government of the country, allowing for amendments and additions to the original draft of the constitution.
Functions of the Constitution
- One of the main functions of the Indian constitution is to ensure that the citizens of India will be entitled to rights pertaining to Equality, Educational rights, Freedom rights, Constitutional Remedies, Religion rights, and a right against exploitation. The Fundamental rights are deliberately one of the most important functions of the Indian Constitution.
- The constitution also plays a central role in defining the duties of the citizens of the country under Article 51A known as “Fundamental Duties”.
- Being framed by the ‘people of India’, it functions as an equal representative body to all sections of society and provides a secular environment for all the citizens of the country. The constitution will not allow for any sort of discrimination on the basis of religion or race, and therefore, secularism is implied in all parts of India.
- The constitution functions as a foundation to establish the four main elements of the constitution; sovereignty, socialist, republic and democratic.
- As a sovereign country, the people of the realm are free from any sort of external control and have the individual power to elect their own representatives for the Parliament and all other local bodies.
- As a socialist nation, all individuals will be citizens of equality. There will be no discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, language and creed.
- As a republic nation, the constitution states that there will be a President of the country rather than a monarchy establishment, and that the country will function democratically under the choices and preferences of the people.
- ‘We , the people of India’, happens to be the first part of the Preamble, that clearly depicts the democratic spirit of the country, with every citizen entitled to rights, and who are bound to follow duties and obligations as responsible people of the country.
- The Directive Principles included in the Constitution function as a set of ‘instructions’ that regulate the operation of the government. These principles are not legally enforceable.
- The constitution functions as a written law manuscript encompassing the essence of the country along with dispensing the judicial controls between the Parliament and other structures within the constitution.
- As the lone foundation of the operation of the country, the constitution fundamentally represents the people of the country and what effectively belongs to each one of them.
- The Preamble functions on the visions of Mahatma Gandhi that he had painstakingly described in the ‘The India of my dreams’.
Although the constitution has had various amendments, additions and deletions, it has been the backbone of the functioning of the country from the time it was drafted in the year 1949. Being a federal, democratic republic, India has incessantly been administered by the functions of the Indian constitution, which will always remain as the mainstay for the development and the running of the country.