Indian Constitution and Democracy Characteristics

Table of Contents:-

  • What is Indian constitution?
  • Characteristics of Indian Constitution

What is Indian constitution?

The Indian Constitution contains several matters that are economically very significant and have far-reaching implications. It lays down the socio-economic and political objectives of India and the basic guiding principles of state functioning. The Indian constitution also outlines the economic powers and responsibilities of the Union government and the State government. Our constitution bestows such enormous responsibilities on the state that government interference in the functioning of the economy is necessary to a great extent.

The government made many amendments to the constitution to enable it to implement its economic policies and programs. On 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly formally approved the Constitution of India, which then became effective on 26th January 1950. Our constitution is the world’s lengthiest one containing 395 articles and 10 schedules. It comprises 22 parts that contain articles and schedules.

The most important parts and articles are as follows:

II Part contains Articles 5-11 relating to citizenships

III Part contains Articles 12-35 A relating to Fundamental Rights

IV Part containing Articles 36-51 relating to Directive Principles of State Policy

V Part containing Articles 52-152 relating to the Union

VI Part containing Articles 153 relating to the States

XVIII Part contains Articles relating to Emergency Provisions.

Characteristics of Indian Constitution

The following sentences detail the main features of the Indian Constitution.

    1. Sovereignty
    2. Partly Rigid and Partly Flexible
    3. Longest Written Constitution
    4. Secularism
    5. Socialism
    6. Parliamentary System
    7. Separation of Powers
    8. Democratic Republic
    9. Fundamental Rights
    10. Federation
    11. Fundamental Duties
    12. Single Citizenship
    13. Directive Principles of State Policy

1) Sovereignty

India is a sovereign (independent) republic. The country is not subordinate to any other nation in external or internal matters. The people of India ran their government through their elected representatives. The government of India is free to make its own decisions in both domestic and foreign affairs

2) Partly Rigid and Partly Flexible

The Indian Constitution is a unique blend of both rigidity and flexibility. There is a harmonious blend of flexibility and rigidity. Standard legislative procedures in Parliament have the authority to amend certain portions of the Constitution.

3) Longest Written Constitution

The Indian Constitution can be widely recognized as the largest written constitution in the world because of its comprehensive and extensive contents. In its original form, the document consisted of 395 Articles and 8 Schedules to which additions have been made through subsequent amendments. Currently, the Constitution has 448 Articles and 12 Schedules.

4) Secularism

India’s constitution provides complete freedom to its citizens to preach and practice their religion. The State gives equal treatment to all religions. Religious discrimination is strictly prohibited in the Constitution.

5) Socialism

Our constitution aims at a socialistic pattern of society. It seeks to establish a welfare state. Special facilities are given to the backward and downtrodden people to reduce economic and social disparities. Such disparities create unrest in the country. Therefore, efforts have been made to achieve social and economic equality,

6) Parliamentary System

The government of India is based on the parliamentary system. The Ministers in the central government are members of the parliament. These ministers and the Prime Minister are answerable to the parliament for their decisions and actions.

7) Separation of Powers

Under the Indian constitution, the functions of the government are based on a tripartite division of legislature, executive and judiciary. Each organ is distinct, separate and sovereign in its own allocated jurisdiction. The constitution is supreme and all the authorities created by it function under the supreme law of the country.

8) Democratic Republic

India is a democratic republic. It means that ultimate authority lies within the citizens of India, granting them sovereignty. They govern themselves through their representatives elected based on universal adult franchise. The President of India is the highest official of the state which is elected for a fixed term.

9) Fundamental Rights

The Constitution of India upholds the fundamental principle that every individual is entitled to enjoy certain basic rights. Part III of the Constitution addresses these rights, commonly known as Fundamental Rights.

10) Federation

Article 1 of the Constitution of India states that “India that is Bharat shall be a Union of States”. Though the word Federation is not used,  the government structure is indeed federal. A state is federal when:

i) There is an independent judiciary to interpret the Constitution and resolve conflicts that may arise between the central government and the individual states.

ii) There are two distinct sets of governments and there is the distribution of powers between the two.

iii) There is a written constitution, which serves as the paramount law of the land. 

11) Fundamental Duties

The purpose of incorporating these duties in the Constitution is just to remind the people that while enjoying their rights as citizens, they should also perform their duties, for rights and duties.

12) Single Citizenship

The Constitution of India recognises only single citizenship. In India, we are citizens of India only,  rather than being citizens of the specific states to which we belong. This provision would help in promoting the unity and integrity of the nation.

13) Directive Principles of State Policy

One notable aspect of the Constitution is that it contains a chapter in the Directive Principles of State Policy. These principles serve as directives to the government to implement them for establishing social and economic democracy within the country.

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