Outstanding Features Of Indian Constitution

Drawn from different sourcesThe constitution of India is remarkable for many outstanding features which will distinguish it from other constitution even through it has been prepared after “ransacking all the known constitution of the world”.

So, though our constitution may be said to be a ‘borrowed’ constitution, the credit of its framers lies in gathering the best features of each of the existing constitution and in modifying them with a view to avoiding the faults that have been disclosed in their working and to adapting them to the existing conditions and need of this country.

Read – Fundamental Rights – Meaning And Concept

The longest known constitutionThe constitution of India has the distinction of being the most lengthy, detailed and beautiful constitutional document the world has so far produced .The original constitution contained many 395 articles and 8 schedules (to which additions were made by subsequent amendments).

More flexible than rigidAnother distinctive feature if the Indian constitution is that it seeks to impact flexibility to a written federal constitution.

Reconciliation of a written constitution with parliamentary sovereignty – This combination of the theory of ‘fundamental law’ which underlies the written constitution of the United States with the theory of parliamentary sovereignty which underlies the unwritten constitution of England is the result of the liberal philosophy of the framers of the Indian constitution.

The flexibility of our constitution is illustrated by the fact that during the first 59 years of its working, it has been amended more than 94 times. Various vital changes are introduced and upset the balance between the different organs of the state.

Role of conventions under the constitution – It is also a remarkable that though the framers of the constitution attempted to make an exhaustive code of organic law, room has been left for the growth of conventions to supplement the constitution in matters were it is silent. Sir Ivor Jennings observed that “the machinery of government is essential British and the whole collection of British constitutional convention has apparently been incorporated as conventions”

Fundamental rights, and constitutional remedies –While the directive principles are not enforceable in the courts, the fundamental rights, included in Part III, are so enforceable at the instance of any person whose fundamental right has been infringed by any action of the state and the remedies for enforcing these right, namely, the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, are also guaranteed by the constitution. Any law or executive order which offends against fundamental rights is liable to be declared void by the Supreme Court or the High Court.

Fundamental rights subject to reasonable regulation by the legislature.–  The balancing between supremacy of the constitution and sovereignty of the legislature is illustrated by the novel declaration of fundamental rights which our constitution embodies. The idea of incorporating in the constitution a “bill of rights” has been taken from the constitution of the United States. But the guarantee of individual rights in our constitution has been very careful balanced with the need for the security of the state itself.

Social equality is also guaranteed by the constitution It aims at securing not merely politically or legal equality, but social equality as well. Thus a part from the usual guarantees that the state will not discriminate between one citizen and another merely on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, in the matter of appointment, or other employment offered by the state.

Read – Judicial Review Under Indian Constitution

Fundamental  rights checkmated by fundamental duties – another feature, which was not in the original constitution has been introduced by 42nd amendment, 1976 by introducing article 51A as part IV A of the constitution.

Universal franchise without Communal representation – The introduction of universal adult suffrage without any qualification either of sex, property, taxation or the like, is a ‘bold experiment’ in India, having regard to vast extent of the country and its population, with an over-whelming illiteracy. This concept is much wider than England or USA. The electorate has further been widened or amended by lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, by the 61st constitution amendment act, 1988.[1]

Parliamentary government combined with an elected president at the headThe form of government introduced by our constitution both at the union and the states is the parliamentary government of the British type. The makers of our constitution rejected the presidential system of government, as it obtains in America, on the ground that under that system the executive and the legislature are separate from each other, which is likely to cause conflicts between them, which our infant democracy could ill afford to risk.

Federal system with unitary bias – The most remarkable achievement of the Indian constitution is to confer upon a federal system the strength of a unitary government. Such combination of federal and unitary system in the same constitution is unique feature.[2]

[1] D.D Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India.

[2] D.D Basu, Introduction to the Constitution of India.

Vaishali Phull

Content Writer, Law Corner, Student of BBA LLB, 3rd Year, Sharda University

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