Salient Features of Indian Constitution

1) Lengthiest Written Constitution – The constitution of India is the lengthiest constitution in the world. Constitution can be of two types a) written constitution like America b) unwritten constitution like Britain. Indian Constitution is of elephant size because India is the home of different variety of the people belonging to different caste, religion, tribes, cultural, custom, tradition & the geographical factors are also different in different parts of India therefore the constitution of India was framed keeping all this factors in consideration. And the constitution of India was drafted by legal luminaries, center and state both have one single constitution not like America where center and state both have their own constitution.

2) Rigidity and Flexibility – Our Indian Constitution is not completely flexible or rigid. In Britain their constitution is not written therefore it is easy to change any provision with simple majority like an ordinary law and in America it’s very difficult to change the provision of the Constitution because it requires special procedure for its amendment. The Constitution of India is neither rigid nor flexible but a synthesis of both. Article 368 provides for two types of amendments: (a) Some provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, i.e., a two-third majority of the members of each House present and voting, and a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent), of the total membership of each House. (b) Some other provisions can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and with the ratification by half of the total states. At the same time, some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the Parliament in the manner of ordinary legislative process. Notably, these amendments do not come under Article 368.

3) Taken from many other sources – Our constitution makers analysis different constitutions form many countries like America, France, Russia, Canada, Japan and other countries who have their own constitution and they have adopted the best features from their constitution and put it in our Indian Constitution with some modifications according to the conditions of India. The reason behind analyzing different constitution and putting it in Indian Constitution is if they start making a new constitution it would take many years with several loopholes in the constitution.

4) Parliamentary Form of Government – The parliamentary system is also known as the ‘Westminster’ model of government, responsible government and cabinet government. The Constitution establishes the parliamentary system not only at the Centre but also in the states. The features of parliamentary government in India are: (a) Presence of nominal and real executives; (b) Majority party rule, (c) Collective responsibility of the executive to the legislature, (d) Membership of the ministers in the legislature, (e) Leadership of the prime minister or the chief minister, (f) Dissolution of the lower House (Lok Sabha or Assembly). Even though the Indian Parliamentary System is largely based on the British pattern, there are some fundamental differences between the two. For example, the Indian Parliament is not a sovereign body like the British Parliament. Further, the Indian State has an elected head (republic) while the British State has hereditary head (monarchy). In a parliamentary system whether in India or Britain, the role of the Prime Minister has become so significant and crucial that the political scientists like to call it a ‘Prime Ministerial Government’.

5) Balance between the Sovereignty of Parliament and Judicial Supremacy- A fine balance has been struck between parliamentary sovereignty and judicial supremacy by the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court is vacuumed by Articles 13, 32 and 136 with the power of judicial review. By its power of judicial review, it can strike down any parliamentary law as unconstitutional. On the other hand, the Parliament, being the representative of the people’s will, has the authority to make laws, and it can also amend the major part of the Constitution through its video vested powers under Article 368.

6) Directive Principles of State Policy- In Part IV of the Constitution, the Directive Principles of State Policies (DPSPs) aims to make India a welfare state. Therefore, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar calls the Directive Principles as the Indian Constitution’s novel feature. The Principles of the Directive are inherently unjustifiable, that is, they are not enforceable for their violation by the courts.Their usefulness, however, lies in their moral obligation to apply these principles to the state in making laws. As such, the principles of the directive are fundamental to the country’s governance.

7)Independent and Integrated Judicial System- In India, unlike the United States where there is a two-tiered judiciary, a single judicial system prevails with the Supreme Court at the top, the State and District High Courts and other subordinate courts below and subject to the supervision of the High Courts. It is the duty of all levels of courts in India to enforce both central and state laws unlike in the US, where federal courts adjudicate on federal matters and state courts on state matters. Not only is the judiciary system well fully integrated in India, but because of the following provisions it is also independent

1. Appointment of judges of Supreme Court and High Courts by collegium system
2. Removal of judges in Parliament through an impeachment procedure that is very difficult to pass
3. Supreme Court judge’s salaries, pensions, and allowances are charged to India’s Consolidated Fund
4. Power to punish for self – disregard
5. Ban on judges’ practice after retirement…etc.

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