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Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

Document Description: Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? for Humanities/Arts 2022 is part of Political Science Class 11 preparation. The notes and questions for Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? have been prepared according to the Humanities/Arts exam syllabus. Information about Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? covers topics like What is a Constitution?, Why do we need a Constitution?, Authority of a Constitution, Effectiveness of a Constitution, Inheritance of the Nationalist Movement, Some Important Facts about Indian Constitution, Some Solved Questions For You and Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Example, for Humanities/Arts 2022 Exam. Find important definitions, questions, notes, meanings, examples, exercises and tests below for Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How?.

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Table of contents
What is a Constitution?
Why do we need a Constitution?
Authority of a Constitution
Effectiveness of a Constitution
Inheritance of the Nationalist Movement
Some Important Facts about Indian Constitution
Some Solved Questions For You
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What is a Constitution?

A Constitution is the supreme law, a set of fundamental rules and principles that all persons in a country can agree upon as on the basis of which they want the country to be governed along with providing rights and duties of the citizens.

  • ‘Constitution’ is a compact written (sometimes written) document that comprises a number of articles about the state, specifying how the state is to be constituted and what norms it should follow.

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • The rule book of a nation.
  • Document of people’s faith and aspirations.
  • Fundamental & Supreme Law of the Land
  • Sets out the framework of various government organizations viz. Executive, Legislature, Judiciary.

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

Why do we need a Constitution?

We need a constitution to provide a set of basic rules that allow for minimal coordination amongst members of society.

  • To specify how the government would be constituted and who has powers to make decisions in the society.
  • To lay some limitations on the government’s power by guaranteeing rights to the citizens.
  • To enable the government to fulfill the aspirations of a society and create conditions for a just society.

Question for Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How?
Try yourself:Who decides how the government will be constituted?
View Solution


  • Constitution expresses the fundamental identity of people:
    Political Identity- by providing certain basic norms and principles.
    Moral Identity- by setting authoritative constraints within which one pursues individual aspirations, goals & freedom.
  • The Indian Constitution does not make ethnic identity a criterion for citizenship. 
  • There are 6 Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution:

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts


Authority of a Constitution

  • The authority of people who enact the constitution helps determine in part its prospects for success.
  • The more a constitution preserves the freedom and equality of all its members, the more likely it is to succeed.
  • A well-crafted Constitution fragments power in society intelligently so that no single group can subvert the constitution. The Indian constitution, for example, horizontally fragments power between Legislature, Executive, Judiciary.
  • Successful constitutions strike the right balance between preserving core values and adapting them to new circumstances. Indian constitution is also referred to as ‘A Living Document” because of the possibility to change the provisions and the limits on such changes to ensure that it will survive as a document respected by people.

Effectiveness of a Constitution

The constitution of a country is a very much important document if it seeks to perform functions like provision of basic rules, specifications of work, lying limitations on government, and provision of a society in which we aspire to live in.
Any constitution for its effectiveness is based on the following three things-

  • Mode of promulgation: This refers to how a constitution comes into being. Who crafted and how much authority did they have?
    Our country’s constitution was drafted in the aftermath of popular national movements. It was formally created by a Constituent Assembly between Dec. 1946 and Nov. 1949. The Indian Constitution drew enormous legitimacy from the fact that It was drawn up by people who enjoyed immense public credibility, who had the capacity to negotiate and command the respect of a wide cross-section of society, convincing the people ‘Constitution was not an instrument for the aggrandizement of their personal power.’
  • The substantive provisions of a constitution: It is the hallmark of a successful constitution that it gives everyone in society some reason to go along with its provisions. Indian constitution in this regard provides a reason to all its citizen (majority and minority) to go along with its broad outline. Indian constitution respects and recognizes the identities of its citizen and it also provides a framework for pursuing basic justice.
  • Balanced Institutional design: Well-crafted constitutions fragments power in society intelligently so that no single group can subvert the constitution. The Indian constitution horizontally fragments power across different institutions like the Executive, Legislative, and the Judiciary and even independent statutory bodies like the Election Commission.

This system of balanced institutions has the following benefits:

  • This ensures that even if one institution wants to subvert the constitution, others can check its transgressions. An intelligent system of checks and balances has facilitated the success of the Indian Constitution.
  • These fragments provide the right balance between certain values norms and procedures as authoritative and at the same time allow enough flexibility in its operations to adapt to changing needs and circumstances.
  • By striking a balance between the possibility to change the provisions and the limits on such changes, the constitution has ensured that it will survive as a document respected by people.
  • This arrangement also ensures that no section or group can, on its own, subvert the constitution.

Making of the Indian Constitution.

  • Formally, the constitution of India was made by a Constituent Assembly that had been elected for undivided India.
  • The Constituent Assembly was composed roughly of the British cabinet, known as the Cabinet Mission(1946). According to this plan-
    (a) Each province and each princely state or group of states were allotted seats proportional to their respective population roughly in the ratio of 1:10, 00,000. As a result, the provinces were to elect 292 members while the princely states were allotted a minimum of 93 seats.
    (b) The seats in each province were distributed among the three main communities- Muslim, Sikh, and General, in proportion to their respective population.
    (c) The method of selection in the case of representatives of princely states was to be determined by consultation.
  • After the partition plan of 3 June 1947, Muslim League decided to withdraw its members for the creation of a separate Constituent Assembly for Pakistan and the membership of the Indian Constituent Assembly was reduced to 299, out of which 229 represented provinces and 70 were nominated by the Princely States. 
  • The first meeting of the constituent assembly held on 9 Dec 1946. This assembly worked day and night for the next 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days and finally completed the process of constitution-making on 26 Nov 1949.

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • The members of the Assembly were not elected by Universal Suffrage, there was a serious attempt to make the assembly a represented body by indirect election.
  • Members of all religions were given representation under the scheme described above. In addition, it has- 28 members- Scheduled Castes.
  • Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as Constituent Assembly President on December 11, 1946.
  • To cope with a wide range of specialized tasks, the constituent assembly formed major committees to outline the proposed constitution such as Committee on Union Constitution, Union Powers Committee (both headed by J.L. Nehru), Committee on Fundamental Rights, Advisory Committee(both headed by Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel), etc.
  • The all-important Drafting Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
  • The drafted constitution received the signature of Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 26 November 1949, when it was declared as passed and adopted. And came into effect on 26 January 1950.

Question for Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How?
Try yourself:Which of the following provisions of the Indian Constitution was passed without virtually any debate?
View Solution


The Principle of Deliberation

  • In any assembly that claims to be representative, it is desirable that diverse sections of society participate.
  • It is equally important that they participate not only as representatives of their own identity or community.
  • Each member deliberated upon the constitution with the interest of the whole nation in mind.
  • There were legitimate differences of principles. Almost every issue that lies at the foundation of a modern state was discussed with great sophistication.
  • Only one provision of the constitution was passed without virtually any debate- The introduction of Universal Suffrage (Right to Vote to all its citizens irrespective of religion, caste education, gender, or income) every other matter was seriously discussed and debated.
  • Nothing can be a better testament to the democratic commitment of this assembly.
  • The constitution drew its authority from the fact that members of the constituent assembly engaged in what one might call public reason.
  • The voluminous debates in the constituent assembly where each clause of the constitution was subjected to scrutiny and debates is a tribute to public reason at its best.

Procedures

  • The constituent assembly had eight major committees on different subjects. Usually, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar chaired these committees.
    Major committees are mentioned below:
    (a) Constitution-making union power committee
    (b) Union constitution committee
    (c) Provincial constitution committee
    (d) Drafting committee
    (e) Advisory committee on fundamental rights and minorities
    (f) Rules of procedures committee
    (g) States committee
    (h) Jawaharlal Nehru Steering committee 
  • Among these eight major committees, the most significant was the Drafting Committee. On 29 August 1947, the constituent assembly set up a drafting committee under the chairman of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to prepare a draft constitution for India.
  • Each committee usually drafted particular provisions of the constitution which were then subjected to debate by the entire assembly.
  • Usually, an attempt was made to reach a consensus with the belief that provisions agreed to by all, would not be detrimental to any particular interests.
  • Query or concern was responded to with great care and in writing. The assembly met for 166 days spread over 2 years and 11 months. 

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts


Inheritance of the Nationalist Movement

  • The Constituent Assembly of India could not have functioned if there was no background consensus on the main principles the constitution should enshrine
  • For decades preceding the promulgation of the constitution, the nationalist movement had debated many questions that were relevant to the making of the constitution.
  • Perhaps the best summary of the Principles that the nationalists movement brought to the constituent assembly is the objective resolution (the resolution that defined the aims of the assembly). Based on this resolution, our constitution gave institutional expression to fundamental commitments:- equality, liberty, democracy, sovereignty and a cosmopolitan identity.

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • Main Points of the Objective Resolution: This resolution was presented by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 December 1946.
    It has the following highlights:
  • India is an independent, sovereign, republic;
  • India shall be a union of erstwhile British Indian territories, Indian states, and other parts outside British Indian and Indian states as are willing to be a part of the union;
  • Territories forming the union shall be autonomous units and exercise all powers and functions of the Government and administration, except those assigned to or vested in the union;
  • All powers and authority of sovereign and independent India and its constitution shall flow from the people.
  • All people of India shall be guaranteed and secured social, economic, and political justice; Equality of status and opportunities and equality before the law; and fundamental freedoms- of speech, expressions, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association, and action- subjected to law and public morality;
  • The minorities, backward and tribal areas, depressed and other backward classes shall be provided adequate safeguards;
  • The territorial integrity of the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea, and air shall be maintained according to justice and law of civilized nations;
  • The land would make a full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and welfare of mankind.

Institutional Arrangements

  • The Constituent Assembly spent a lot of time on evolving the right balance among the various institutions like the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.
  • This led to the adoption of the parliamentary form and federal arrangement which would distribute governmental powers between the legislature and the executive on the one hand and between the states and central government on the other hand.
  • Framers of the Indian constitution were not versed in borrowing other constitutional traditions.
  • Indeed, ‘it is a testament to their wide learning’ that they could lay their hands upon any intellectual arguments or historical example that was necessary for fulfilling the task at hand. So they borrowed a no. of provisions from different countries like-

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • But borrowing these ideas was not a slavish imitation.
  • Each provision of the constitution had to be defended on grounds that it was suited to Indian problems and aspirations.
  • India was extremely lucky to have an assembly Parochial in its outlook that could take the best available everywhere in the world and make it their own.

Let’s study, the constitution of India –Why & How?

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

  • The Constitution of India was ready and adopted by the constituent assembly by 26th November 1949 but it came into force on 26 January 1950 to remember the date and long struggle for Poorna Swaraj that was officially demanded by Congress in Lahore session 1929.
  • On 26 January 1930, our tricolor was unfurled on the banks of river Ravi to celebrate the Independence in minds. Until we achieved actual Freedom on 15 August 1947, Indian nationalist leaders kept on celebrating independence day on 26 January on every preceding year.
  • To maintain the importance of the day, our constitution was enforced and India became a Republic.
  • India’s constitution is a unique document that in turn became an exemplar for many other constitutions, most notably South Africa.
  • We have the world’s largest written constitution with 448 articles, 26 parts, 12 schedules, and 5 appendices to date. Initially (26 Jan. 1950), our constitution had 395 articles,22 parts, 12 schedules, and 4 appendices.

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

Indian Constitution Major Facts

Chapter Notes - Constitution: Why and How? Notes | Study Political Science Class 11 - Humanities/Arts

Some Important Facts about Indian Constitution

  • Prem Behari Narain Raizada wrote the original constitution in a flowing italic style with beautiful calligraphy. 
  • Till January 2019, there have been 124 amendment bills and 103 amendment acts to the constitution of India. 
  • The original copies of the Indian Constitution were written in Hindi and English. Each member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution, signed two copies of the constitution, one in Hindi and the other in English 
  • With so much writing, the Indian Constitution is the longest of any sovereign country in the world. In its current form, it has a Preamble, 22 parts with 448 articles, 12 schedules, 5 appendices, and 115 amendments. 
  • Both the versions of the Constitution, Hindi, and English, were handwritten. It is the longest handwritten constitution of any country on earth. 
  • The Constitution was published in Dehradun and photolithographed by the Survey of India. 
  • Each page of the constitution uniquely decorated by artists from Shantiniketan including Beohar Rammanohar Sinha and Nandalal Bose. 
  • The original copies of the Indian Constitution, written in Hindi and English, are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India. 
  • The Constituent Assembly was the first Parliament of Independent India. Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the first president (temporary Chairman of the Assembly) of the Constituent Assembly when it met on 9 December 1946. 
  • The Constituent Assembly, which first met on 9 December 1946, took precisely 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days to come up with the final draft. 
  • When the draft was prepared and put up for debate and discussion, over 2000 amendments were made before it was finalized. 
  • The Constituent Assembly sat for a total of 11 sessions. The 11th session was held between 14-26 November 1949. On 26 November 1949, the final draft of the Constitution was ready. 
  • On 24 January 1950, 284 members of the Constituent Assembly signed the Indian Constitution at the Constitution Hall, now known as the Central Hall of Parliament, in New Delhi. 
  • Passed by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, it came into effect on 26 January 1950. The date 26 January was chosen to commemorate the declaration of Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) of 1930. 
  • The National Emblem was adopted on 26 January 1950 – the day India has declared a republic with its Constitution coming into effect. A representation of the Lion Capital of Ashoka was initially adopted as the emblem of the Dominion of India in December 1947. The current version of the emblem was officially adopted on 26 January 1950, the day India became a republic 
  • The Indian Constitution is often called a ‘bag of borrowings’. It is called so because it has borrowed provisions from the constitutions of various other countries. However, it is much more than a mere copy of other constitutions. 
  • The laws governing our Supreme Court and the concept of “procedure established by Law” were adopted from the Constitution of Japan.
  • The Ideals of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity Come from the French Constitution. These words appear in the Preamble to the Constitution of India. Many other nations have also adopted the French slogan of " liberty, equality, and fraternity & quota; as an ideal. 
  • The concept of the five-year plans in The Indian Constitution was borrowed from the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). 
  • India borrowed the concept of suspension of fundamental rights during Emergency rule was taken from the Weimar Constitution of Germany. 
  • The Preamble of the Indian Constitution was inspired by the US Constitution’s Preamble. Both the Preambles begin with “We the People”. 
  • The Government of India Act 1935 was originally passed in August 1935 and is said to be the longest Act of (British) Parliament ever enacted by that time. The 1935 Act was the second installment of constitutional reforms passed by the British Parliament for implementing the ideal of responsible government in India.

Some Solved Questions For You

Q.1. What is Constitution? Why is the Constitution needed? 

Ans: The constitution is a body of rules and regulations, understandings, and modes of behavior on the basis of which the government is constituted and run. The constitution specifies the areas of functions between the organs of the government. It also sets the mode of .relationship between citizens and the state. 

As said the Constitution is the body of rules, regulations, and common understanding, it is very much needed to achieve definiteness in the relations of citizens and different organs of the government. The Constitution may be written or unwritten. Constitution also put the check on rulers. 


Q.2. What is Constituent Assembly? How much time was taken by Constituent Assembly to write the Constitution?

Ans: A constituent assembly is a body of renowned persons who are engaged in discussion debate and decision-making process and then drafting the Constitution. Most of the constitutions of world countries are written by the Constituent Assemblies. The Constituent Assembly to write the Indian Constitution was constituted in 1946 and it completed the work on 26th November 1949. It took two years, eleven months, and eighteen days to complete the Constitution of India.


Q.3. Name main countries from where institutions and features are taken for the Indian Constitution.

Ans: It is said that the Indian Constitution is a borrowed bag because this Constitution has many foreign sources. Britain has the maximum impact on the Indian Constitution. Besides Britain, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa are the countries that have influenced the Indian constitution. It is rightly said that the Indian Constitution is a borrowed bag.  

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