UPPSC Target PT 90 days Planner

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Day 1: Polity - Constitutional Framework

Constitutional Framework & Preamble

Introduction

“Constitution is not a mere lawyers’ document, it is a vehicle of Life, and its spirit is always the spirit of Age.”- B.R. Ambedkar.

The Constitution of any country is the fundamental law of the land with greater authority and sanctity. It not only describes the basic principles of the State, the structures and processes of governance and the fundamental rights of citizens but also envisions a path of growth and development for a nation.

After India attained freedom, the dream of the Constitution makers was to evolve such a viable model of governance that would best serve the nation keeping the primacy of the people as central. It is the farsightedness and visionary leadership of the Founding Fathers of the Constitution which has bestowed the country with an outstanding Constitution that has worked as a beacon for the nation over the last seven decades. The country greatly owes the success of the democratic system to the robust edifice and institutional framework that the Constitution of India has laid down.

The Constitution of India lays down a structure for political, economic and social democracy. It underlines the commitment of the people of India for asserting, ensuring and achieving the various national goals through peaceful and democratic ways. It is not merely a legal manuscript; rather, it is a vehicle that steers the nation to realise the dreams and aspirations of the people by accommodating and adapting to the changing needs and realities of the times.

Constitutional evolution

The evolution of representative institutions in the country began many decades before 26 January 1950 and continued unabated since. Its origins lie deeply embedded in the struggle for independence from Britain and in the movements for responsible and constitutional government in the princely States.

  • The Charter Act of 1853 provided some sort of a separate ‘Legislature’ in the form of a 12-member Legislative Council. The Indian Councils Act, 1861, which is described as the “prime Charter of the Indian Legislature” inaugurating the “system of legislative devolution in India”, was followed by the Indian Council’s Act of 1892 and 1909. The Act of 1909 which was in implementation of the Morley-Minto Reforms, introduced an element of election and representation in the Legislative Council at the Union. However, none of these Acts provided for decisive say to the native elements in the matters of legislation and administration.
  • The Government of India Act of 1919, which gave effect to the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms, established a Bicameral Legislature at the Union for the first time and introduced some elements of responsible form of Government in the Provinces. The national leaders found the 1919 reforms inadequate, unsatisfactory and disappointing and urged the British Parliament to take early steps to establish fully responsible Government in India in accordance with the principle of self-determination. For early revision of the Government of India Act, 1919, a resolution, which later became famous as the ‘National Demand’, was adopted by the Central Legislative Assembly which, for the first time, lent its support to the growing demand that the future Constitution of India should be framed by Indians themselves.
  • In 1922, Mahatma Gandhi asserted the demand that India’s destiny should be determined by the Indians themselves.
  • Another significant development in the Indian constitutional history was enactment of the Government of India Act, 1935. The Government of India Act, 1935 occupies a significant place in the constitutional history of India as the Act had endeavoured to give a written Constitution to the country.
  • However, the freedom fighters or people’s representatives had no role in the making of this document, and it suffered from serious drawbacks.Even after the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1935, the Central Government in India, by and large, remained what it was under the Act of 1919, since the federal part of the 1935 Act never came into operation; only some modifications in practice and procedure, as necessitated by the introduction of ‘autonomy’ in the Provinces, were made.
  • The Quit India Movement of 1942 lent a new thrust to the freedom struggle. Subsequently, there were several efforts to work out the transfer of power and to provide for a constitutional framework for free India. As a part of these efforts, a British Cabinet Mission arrived in India on 24 March 1946.
  • The Cabinet Mission presented on 16 May 1946 a scheme of its own, laying down the principles and procedure for framing the future Constitution of India.
  • Under the terms of the Cabinet Mission Plan, the Members of Constituent Assembly were elected in July 1946. The India Independence Act, 1947 provided that the Constituent Assembly would have unlimited power to frame and adopt any Constitution and even to supersede the India Independence Act itself without the need for any further legislation on the part of the British Parliament.
  • The Indian Independence Act expressly terminated the British Parliament’s authority to legislate for the Dominion on or after the 15 August 1947. The Constituent Assembly, thus, became a body fully representative of the States and Provinces in India and fully sovereign of all external authority. As a sovereign body, it completed the task of framing the Constitution for India in the best interest of people and without any outside interference.

Making of the Constitution

The Constitution-making process was organised around the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly. The members of the Constituent Assembly were elected on a limited franchise.

On 9 December 1946, the Constituent Assembly sat for the first time. In the span of 2 years and 11 months, it completed its task of framing the Indian Constitution. During this period the Constituent Assembly had 11 sessions and sat for a total of 166 days. On 26 November the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of India which came into force on 26 January 1950.

The Constitutional Adviser, B.N Rau prepared an initial Draft Constitution based on the reports and his research into the constitutions of other nations which he submitted to the Drafting Committee which scrutinized the Draft Constitution. Decision-making in the committees was on the basis of a majority vote and members could record their dissents to decisions taken if they wished.

Principal Committees and their sub-committees

  • Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities, Tribal Areas and Excluded Areas (appointed on 24 Jan. 1947. 57 members, Chairperson- Sardar Patel.
  • Union Powers Committee (appointed on 25 Jan, 1947. 12 members, Chairperson- J.L. Nehru.
  • Union Constitution Committee (appointed on 4 May. 1947. 12 members, Chairperson- J.L. Nehru.
  • Provincial Constitution Committee (appointed on 4 May. 1947. 21 members, Chairperson- Sardar Patel.
  • Drafting Committee (appointed on 29 Aug. 1947. 8 members, Chairperson- Dr.Ambedkar.

Major Time Line

  • 6 December 1946: Formation of the Constitution Assembly.
  • 9 December 1946: The first meeting was held in the constitution hall (now the Central Hall of Parliament House). Temporary president appointed - SachchidanandaSinha.
  • 11 December 1946: Rajendra Prasad was elected as President of Constituent Assembly.
  • 13 December 1946: An 'Objective Resolution' was presented by Jawaharlal Nehru, laying down the underlying principles of the constitution, which later became the Preamble of the constitution.
  • 22 January 1947: Objective resolution unanimously adopted.
  • 22 July 1947: National flag adopted.
  • 29 August 1947: Drafting Committee appointed. The Drafting Committee had seven members: AlladiKrishnaswamiAyyar, N. Gopalaswami; B.R. Ambedkar, K.M Munshi, Mohammad Saadulla, B.L. Mitter (Later replaced by MadhavRao) and D.P. Khaitan (Later replaced by T. T. Krishnamachari).
  • 26 November 1949: The Constitution as adopted on November 26, 1949, contained a Preamble, 395 Articles and 8 Schedules.
  • 24 January 1950: Last meeting of Constituent Assembly. 'Constitution of India' all signed and accepted. (With 395 Articles, 8 Schedules, 22 Parts). National anthem was adopted. National song was adopted and Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India.
  • 26 January 1950: 'Constitution of India' came in to force.

Important Facts

  • Elephant was adopted as the symbol (seal) of the Constituent Assembly.
  • Sir B.N. Rau was appointed as the constitutional advisor (Legal advisor) to the Constituent Assembly.
  • V.R. Iyengar was the Secretary to the Constituent Assembly.
  • N. Mukerjee was the chief draftsman of the constitution in the Constituent Assembly.
  • PremBehariNarainRaizada was the calligrapher of the Indian Constitution. The original constitution was handwritten by him in a flowing italic style.
  • The original version was beautified and decorated by artists from Shantiniketan including Nand Lal Bose and BeoharRammanoharSinha.
  • BeoharRammanoharSinha illuminated, beautified and ornamented the original Preamble calligraphed by PremBehariNarainRaizada.
  • The calligraphy of the Hindi version of the original constitution was done by VasantKrishanVaidya and elegantly decorated and illuminated by Nand Lal Bose.

After authentication of copies of the Constitution, the Constituent Assembly got naturally dissolved with its Chairperson having been elected the President of India, and its staff diverted to other avenues. But bulk of the Assembly continued functioning as provisional Parliament of India till first general elections were held. The first amendment to the Constitution of India was made by this provisional Parliament in the summer of 1951.

Borrowed Features from other Constitution

Indian constitution is a blend of various features which are borrowed from different constitution throughout the world. This is what makes it the most distinct constitution in the world. Few of the borrowed features are listed below:

Sources

Features

Govt. of India Act 1935 (most profound influence)

Administrative provisions

Office of the governor

Judiciary

Federal scheme

Emergency powers

Public Service Commissions

British Constitution

The Parliamentary System

The Election Procedure

Office of Comptroller and Auditor General

Writ Jurisdiction of Courts

Civil Services

The Law-Making Procedures

Cabinet System

Martial Law

Bicameralism

Rule of Law

System of Single Citizenship

American Constitution

Fundamental Rights

Independence of Judiciary

Impeachment of President

Judicial Review

Removal of the Supreme Court and the High Court Judges.

Role of Vice President

The Preamble to the Constitution

Irish Constitution

Directive Principles of State Policy

The method of Indian Presidential Election

The nomination of Members of RajyaSabha

Canadian Constitution

The Federal System with a strong Center

Appointment of the State Governor

Advisory jurisdiction of SC

Residuary Powers

Australian Constitution

Concurrent List

A joint sitting of 2 houses of the Parliament

Provisions regarding trade and commerce and intercourse

Weimar Constitution (Germany)

Emergency Provision

Soviet Constitution

Fundamental duties

Justice (Social, Economic, and Political)

South African Constitution

Amendment Procedure of the Constitution

Election of Members of RajyaSabha

France

Republic

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Japan

 Procedure Established by Law

Preamble: Philosophy of the Constitution

Ideals and Objectives

Ideals

  • Ideals of Indian State are Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic.
  • Sovereignty: The ultimate sovereignty rests with the people of India as a whole. Accordingly, it is implied that the constitutional authorities and organs of the Government derive their power only from the people of India.
  • Socialism: There are several articles in the Constitution giving credence to the ideals of a Welfare State which stands to end all forms of exploitation in all spheres of existence. As per the vision of the Constitution, the State is duty-bound to strive for promotion of a social order, in which justice, social, economic and political informs all the institutions of the national life. The ownership and control of material resources of the community are to be distributed as best to sub-serve the common good and the operation of the economic system should not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.
  • Secularism: India is home to almost all the major religions of the world. The ideal of secularism in the Indian context implies that the State does not itself hold any religion and protects all religions equally.India is a ‘Secular State’, does not mean that India is non-religious or irreligious, or anti-religious, but simply that the State in itself is not religious and follows the age-old Indian principle of “Sarva Dharma Samabhava”. It also means that the State shall not discriminate against the citizens in any way on the basis of religion.
  • Democracy: The term ‘democratic’ is used in the Preamble in the broader sense embracing not only political democracy but also social and economic democracy. We have adopted parliamentary democracy to ensure a responsible and stable Government which derives its authority from the people and remains accountable to the people at all times. Efforts are being made to take democracy to the grassroots through Panchayats and Municipalities (73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, 1992).
  • Republic: Our country ceased to be a Dominion and declared itself a 'Republic' since the making of the Constitution. The word ‘Republic’ implies that the Head of the State in India shall be an elected person and shall hold office for a fixed term. The President of India is the chief executive head of the country. A republic also means two more things: one, vesting of political sovereignty in the people and not in a single individual like a king; second, the absence of any privileged class and hence all public offices being opened toevery citizen without any discrimination.

Objectives

  • Objectives are Justice - social, economic and political; Liberty - of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality - of status and of opportunity; Fraternity - assuring the dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation.

Is Preamble a part of the Constitution?

  • In the Re Berubari Union Case (1960), the Court stated that ‘Preamble is the key to open the mind of the makers’ but it cannot be considered as part of the Constitution.
  • In the KeshvanandaBharti v/s State of Kerala (1973) case the Court overruled its earlier decision and made it clear that the Preamble is a part of the constitution and is subjected to the amending power of the Parliament within the core limits of the basic structure doctrine.

Amendabilityof Preamble

  • KeshvanandaBharti Case (1973) has held that the Preamble may be amended subject to the basic structure of the Constitution.In other words, the amendment should not destroy the basic features of it.
  • Subsequently, Preamble has been amended by 42nd Amendment 1976, whereby three words viz. socialist, secular and integrity were added.

GK through MAP (Snippets)

UTTAR PRADESH BORDER DISTRICT

UTTAR PRADESH BORDER DISTRICT

Test/Quiz

Day-1: Polity

10 Questions 10 Minutes 13.3 Marks
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