(IGP) GS Paper 1 – Indian Polity & Governance – “Outstanding features of the Indian Constitution”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS

Subject – Indian Polity & Governance
Chapter – Outstanding features of the Indian

Indian Constitution is a written Constitution. Written constitution is that
which is drafted after a prolonged process of discussion by a representative
body elected for this very purpose.

The best features in the Indian Constitution, drew from many
sources as shown below :

British Constitution

  • Parliamentary form of government
  • Rule of law
  • Procedure established by Law

United States Constitution

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Federal structure of government
  • Electoral Collage
  • independence of the judiciary
  • Judicial review

Irish Constitution

Directive principles of state policy

Australian Constitution

  • Concurrent List
  • Joint sitting of the Parliament

French Constitution

Ideals Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

Canadian Constitution

  • A quasi-federal form of government a federal system with a strong
    central government
  • The idea of Residuary Powers with centre

Constitution of the Soviet Union

Fundamental Duties (Art. 51-A) on the recommendations of Sardar swaran
Singh Committee 1976)

Other Constitutions

  • Emergency Provision from Weimar Constitution
  • Amendment of Constitution from South Africa

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Salient Features of Indian Constitution:

Lengthiest Constitution

Indian Constitution is the lengthiest in the world in terms of the number of
articles. Originally, at the time of being adopted, it consisted of 395 articles
but after 97 amendments (2012), it presently has more than 440 articles. There
are 12 Schedules to amplify and support the contents in the Articles

Parliamentary System of Democracy

The Constitution of India adopts Parliamentary system of democracy in order
to represent the pluralist tradition and interests of the country.

Welfare State

Constitution has many features that commit the country to
a welfare State. The Preamble to the Constitution was amended in 1976
(Forty-second Amendment Act, 1976) to insert the goal of socialism.
Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) aim at the establishment of a
Welfare State in India. Progressive taxation, developmental interventions
like the various flagship programmes of the government (MGNREGS),
nationalization of banks in 1969 and 1980, land reforms and various
subsidies are meant to establish a welfare state. Affirmative action
(positive discrimination) by the Government in favour of the socially
marginalised like dalits is an important aspect of the welfare state

Secular State

  • State has no official religion
  • State and religion are separate
  • State has an equidistant policy towards all religions
  • All individuals have the right to pursue the religion of their

Unified, Hierarchial And Independent Judiciary

Indian Constitution provides for a single integrated judiciary headed by
the Supreme Court. Each state, or a group of them, has a High Court with
administrative control over the subordinate judiciary (district and below).

Universal Adult Franchise

The Constitution provides for Universal Adult Franchise. The citizens of
India who are 18 years of age and above have been granted the right to vote
irrespective of any qualification pertaining to education, possession of
property or payment of income tax.

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