Indian Polity Study Material 1. Constitutional Development

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Indian Polity Study Material 1.Constitutional Development

Regulating Act of 1773:

  • It did the following things:
  • Changed the constitution of the company in England. Recognized the Government of Calcutta.
  • Brought the presidencies of Bombay and Madras to some extent under the control of Governor-General of Bengal.
  • Established a Supreme Court at Calcutta.

The Pitts India Act of 1784:

  • The Act distinguished between commercial and political functions of the company. The Court of Directors were allowed to manage commercial affairs of the company. For political affairs, Board of six commissioners, known as Board of Control, was appointed to control such affairs.
  • The Board was empowered to superintend, direct and control all operations of the civil and military governments of the British possessions in East India.

The Charter Act of 1813:

  • Although the Act renewed the charter for a further period of 20 years.
  • It took away the exclusive right of the East India company to trade in India.
  • The Indian trade was thrown open to al British merchants but trade in tea and trade with China was still exclusive to the company.

The Charter Act of 1833:

  •  The Governor-General of Bengal was henceforth to be styled as the Governor- General-   in-Council.
  • The Act increased the power in the hands of the Governor-General-in-Council by vesting   the legislative power solely in him.
  • The ‘Governor-General-in-Council was empowered to make laws and regulations. For the purpose of legislative work by the addition of a fourth member-known as the law member-who had no voice in executive matters.

The Charter Act of 1853:

  •  The Charter of 1853 took a decisive step in separating the legislative machinery from the executive.
  • The Act created a separate Legislative Council for India consisting of 12 members.

The Govt. of India Act, 1858:

  •  The Act of 1858 transferred legislative power of the Government of India from the   East India Company to the British Crown.
  • The Board of Control and the Court of Directors were abolished and their powers were transferred to one of Her majesty’s Secretary of State.
  • The Powers of the Crown were to be exercised by the Secretary of State for India assisted by a Council of 15 members. This was known as the ‘Council of India’.
  • The Indian Council Act of 1861
  • It brought about the beginning of the representative institutions.
  • Under this Act, Indian were for the first time associated with the work of legislation.

The Indian Council Act of 1892:

The Indian Council Act of 1892 achieved three things:

  1. it increased the number of members in the central and provincial council,
  2. introduced the election system partially, and
  3. enlarged the functions of the councils.

The Morley-Minto Reforms (The Indian Councils Act, 1909):

  •  The number of additional members n the Governor-General’s Council was raised from 16 to 60.
  • Now the councils were empowered to discuss any matter, ask questions and supplementary questions.

The Montague-Chelmsford Report (The Government of India Act, (1919):

  • The act introduced a system of Dyarcy in the provinces.
  • In matter of legislation, subjects were divided into central and provincial. The provincial subjects were divided into ‘reserved’ and ‘transferred’.

The Govt. of India Act, 1935:

  • The Act provided for the establishment of an All India Federaton and a new system of govt. for the provinces on the basis of provincial autonomy.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947:

  • The British set up and sent many missions like Cripps Mission (1942), Cabinet Mission (1946) etc. and the question of independence was settled by the Indian Independence Act, 1947.
  • The members of the Constituent Assembly were elected by the provincial Assemblies by indirect election.
  • Out of 296 seats for British India, the Congress captured 211 seats and Muslim League 73 seats. The rest were not filled up.

The Constituent Assembly:

  • It was constituted under the Presidentship of Dr Rajendra Prasad to formulate the framework for drafting the Indian Constitution.
  • Finally, the Constitution was adopted on 26 th November, 1949 and came into force
  • on 26 January, 1950.
  • The Indian Constitution originally with its 395 articles, 22 parts and 8 schedules, is the lengthiest in the world.

Making of the Constitution:

  • In accordance with the recommendation of the Cabinet Mission, which consisted of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A. V. Alexander and which visited India in March 1946.
  • The Constituent Assembly of India was elected by the provincial Assemblies in July 1946. It had 389 members in all, including 93 representatives of Indian Princely States.

The important committees of the Constituent Assembly were:

1. Union Powers Committee:

  • It had 9 members. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru was its Chairman.

1. Committee on Fundamental Rights and Minorities:

  • It had 54 members. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was its Chairman.

1. Steering Committee:

  • It had 3 members. Dr. K. M. Munshi (Chairman), Shri Gopalswamy Ayyangar and Shri Bishwanath Das.

1. Provincial Constitution Committee:

  • 25 members. Sardar Patel as Chairman.

1. Committee on Union Constitution:

  • 15 members. Pandit Nehru as Chairman.
  • K. Gandhi and M. A. Jinnah were not members of the Constituent Assembly.
  • The first session of the Assembly was held in New Delhi on December 9, 1946.
  • It was attended by 207 members including four Muslims elected on Congress ticket.
  • Sachchidanand Sinha, as the oldest member of the Constituent Assembly, was elected provisional chairman of the session.
  • On December 11, 1946, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the Permanent Chairman of the Constituent Assembly.
  • The Objectives of the Constituent Assembly were stated in Nehru’s resolution proposed on December 13, 1946, and passed on January 22, 1948.
  • Between December 9, 1946 and August 14, 1947, five sessions of the Constituent Assembly were held.
  • In accordance with Indian independence Act of 1947, the Constituent Assembly became a sovereign body. It was no longer to confine itself to the limitations laid down by the Cabinet Mission.
  • It appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten as the first Governor-General and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime minister of India.
  • The Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949 and it came into effect on January 26, 1950.

Sources of Constitution:

1)   British Constitution:

  •  Parliamentary system of government, Constitutional head of state, more powerful lower house of parliament (Lock Sabha) than the Upper House, responsibility to Council of ministers to Lok Sabha, prevalence of Rule of Law.

2)   USA Constitution:

  •  Preamble of the Constitution, provisions of Fundamental Rights, functions of Vice- president, Amendment of the Constitution, nature and function of Supreme court, independence of Judiciary.

3)   Iris Constitution:

  •  Directive principles of State Policy, methods of nominating members of the Rajya Sabha.

4)   Australian Constitution:

  •  Three Legislative Lists.

5)   Weimar Constitution of Germany:

  •  Powers of the President.

6)   Canadian Constitution:

  •  Provisions of a strong nation, the name of “Union” of India and resting residuary powers with the Union.

7)   South African Constitution:

  •  Procedure of amendment with a two-thirds majority in Parliament, election of the members of Rajya Sabha.

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