Explain The Indian Constitution As The Lengthiest Constitution Of The World


According to the words of the book “Constitutional Law” written by E.C.S. Wade and George Godfrey Phillips, “A constitution means a document having a special legal sanctity which sets out the framework and the principal functions of the organs of the Government of a State and declares the principles governing the operations of those organs.” In other words, we can say that the Constitution is a supreme law of the land which provides principles and provisions for the Government to govern a State.

Indian Constitution is considered as the lengthiest Constitution of the world. While the American Constitution has only 7 Articles, Australian Constitution consists of 128 Articles, Canadian Constitution is of 147 Articles; Indian Constitution is made up of 395 Articles divided into 22 parts at the time of incorporation. Today, it consists of 495 Articles which is divided into 25 parts. Apart from this, the Indian Constitution also has 12 Schedules. 

Few articles which have been incorporated through amendment in Constitution are 21A, 31A, 39A, 48A, 51A, 139A, 144A, 239A, 239B, 323A, etc.

The following are the reasons for the Indian Constitution being the lengthiest written Constitution in the world:

1. A mixture of many Constitutions: Indian Constitution is a mixture of Constitutions. Constitutional framers studied various Constitutions of the world and incorporated only the good features and were careful of the flaws that they came across. For example, the concept of Fundamental Rights is inspired by the American Constitution. In America, Fundamental Rights are absolute but in India, there are reasonable restrictions on it on the grounds of public order, decency or morality. On the point of the Indian Constitution being “Borrowed Constitution”, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar states that “One likes to ask whether there can be anything new a Constitution framed at this hour in the history of the world. More than hundred years have rolled when the first written Constitution was drafted. It has been followed by many other countries reducing their Constitutions to writing…. Given these facts, all Constitutions in their main provisions must look similar. The only new things, if there be any, in a Constitution framed so late in the day are the variations made to remove the faults and to accommodate it to the needs of the country.”

The provisions which are taken from different sources are:

Government of India Act of 1935

  1. Federal Scheme
  2. Office of governor
  3. Judiciary
  4. Public Service Commissions
  5. Emergency provisions
  6. Administrative details


  1. Parliamentary government
  2. Rule of Law
  3. Legislative procedure
  4. Single citizenship
  5. Cabinet system
  6. Prerogative writs
  7. Parliamentary privileges
  8. Bicameralism


  1. Directive Principles of State Policy
  2. The nomination of members to Rajya Sabha
  3. Method of election of the president

United States of America

  1. Impeachment of the president
  2. Functions of president and vice-president
  3. Removal of Supreme Court and High court judges
  4. Fundamental Rights
  5. Judicial review
  6. Independence of judiciary
  7. The preamble of the constitution


  1. Federation with a strong Centre
  2. Vesting of residuary powers in the Centre
  3. Appointment of state governors by the Centre
  4. Advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court


  1. Concurrent List
  2. Freedom of trade
  3. Commerce and intercourse
  4. The joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

  1. Fundamental duties
  2. The ideal of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble


The ideas of Republic, liberty,equality and fraternity.

Weimar Constitution of Germany

Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency

South Africa

  1. Procedure for amendment of the Constitution
  2. Election of members of Rajya Sabha


Concept of “procedure established by Law”

2. Detailed Administrative Provisions: The constitutional framers have provided very detailed provisions of administrative procedures and functions in the country. In order of this, a separate article is provided which gives details about the functioning of Judiciary (Article 124 – 147 for Union and Article 214 – 231 for states), Election Commission (Article 324), Public Service Commissions (Article 315 – 323), Commissions for Backward Classes (Article 334B), Scheduled Castes (Article 338) and Schedule Tribes (Article 338A), etc. Apart from these, it also provides functioning of Attorney – General of India (Article 76), Advocate – General in each State (Article 165), Controller and Auditor General (Article 148 – 151), Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities (Article 350B), etc.

3. Inclusion of Provisions for Units: While the American Constitution deals only with the works of the Federal Government but not the states. Indian Constitution provides provisions for both Union and its units i.e. States. There is Part V (Article 52 – 151) which deals with the Union and Part VI (Article 152 – 237) which is related to the provisions for the States. Apart from these, there is Part VIII (Article 239 – 242) which deals with Union Territories and Part IX (Article 243 – 243q) and Part IX(A) (Article 234p – 243zq) for the Panchayats and Municipalities respectively.

4. Special Provisions for the States: In order to meet the regional problems and demands in certain states various special provisions are given to these states. Like at the time of incorporation there are following Articles which deals with the special status for the following states:

  • Article 370 – Jammu and Kashmir
  • Article 371 – Maharashtra and Gujarat
  • Article 371a – Nagaland
  • Article 371b – Assam
  • Article 371c – Manipur
  • Article 371d – Andhra Pradesh
  • Article 371f – Sikkim
  • Article 371g – Mizoram
  • Article 371h – Arunachal Pradesh
  • Article 371i – Goa
  • Article 371j – Karnataka

Apart from these, there are many provisions such as Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Duties, Rigid and Flexible Process of Amendments, Judicial reviews, Legislative and Executive Powers, Official Languages, Anti – Defection Laws, etc. which has made our Constitution, “The lengthiest Constitution of the world”.

Read – Fundamental Rights – Meaning And Concept

Utkarsh Shubham

Faculty of Law, University of Allahabad

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