27. The New Constitution of India

1. The preamble of the Indian constitution resolves to establish a Sovereign Democratic Republic. It declares that Sovereignty vests in the people of the country. The preamble also refers to justice, liberty, fraternity and equality.
2. There were four kinds of states under the constitution viz. Part A States, Part B States, Part C States and Part D States. A States were previously the Governor’s provinces. Part B states were previously ruled by Indian princes. Part C States were under Chief Commissioners and Lt. Governors. However as a result of the Seventh Amendment of the constitution made in 1956 there were to be 14 states and 6 union territories. The old distinctions among states disappeared. The institution of Rajpramukhs was abolished. In 1960 the state of Bombay was divided into two states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. In July 1960 it was decided to set up a new state known as Nagaland.
3. As regards the citizenship of India, persons born or domiciled in India, refugees who have migrated to India from Pakistan and the Indians overseas who apply for Indian citizenship, are Indian citizens. The constitution has adopted the principle of single citizen for the whole of India. No person is entitled to claim that he is a citizen of two countries.
4. The constitution provides for a large number of fundamental rights which are guaranteed to every citizen of India. These rights are to be found in articles 12 to 35 of the constitution. The Supreme Court and the High Courts have been appointed the guardian of these fundamental rights. Those rights are : right to equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, colour, sex or place of birth, equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, abolition of untouchability, right to freedom of speech and expression, right to assemble peacefully and with out arms, the right to form associations and unions, the right to move freely through out the territory of India, the right to reside and settle in any part of India, the right to secure, hold and dispose of property, the right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation trade or business, the right to life and personal liberty, the right to freedom from arrest and detention in certain cases, the prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour, the prohibition of employment of children in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous work, the right to freedom of conscience and free profession, the right to practise and propagate religion, the freedom to manage religious affairs, cultural and educational rights and the right to constitutional remedies.
5. The constitution also contains what are known as the Directive Principles of the state policy. These principles relate to those matters which the Government of India is to keep in view for the welfare of the people of the country. Accordingly, all the Indian citizens are entitled to adequate means of likelihood. There is to be equitable distribution of the material resources of the country. The economic freedom of the country demands the accordance of the concentration of wealth and the means of production. There is to be equal pay for equal work for both men and women. The wealth and strength of the workers are not to be abused. Children and youngmen are to be protected against exploitation and moral and material abandonment. All workers are to get a living wage. All people have the right to work, to education and public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness etc. There is to be uniform Civil Code for all the people of the country. There is to be free and compulsory education for children. It is the duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of the people. The State is to promote international peace and security, maintain just and honourable relations between nations, inculcate respect for international law and treaty obligations and encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration. However, it is to be noted that Directive Principles of State Policy differ from fundamental rights in as much as they cannot be enforced by Courts.
6. The Constitution provides for a President of the Indian Republic. He is elected indirectly by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and legislatures of the States. The President must be a citizen of India. He must have completed the age of 35 and he must be qualified for election as a member of the House of People. He is not eligible for election if he holds a job under the Government. He holds office for 5 years but can be re-elected. He gets a salary of Rs. 10,000 and allowances. He can be impeached for the violation of the constitution. The constitution provides a special procedure for the impeachment of the President. The President has been given a large number of powers in the legislative, executive and judicial spheres. He is also authorised to act in times of emergency. He is expected to act as a constitutional head like the King of England.
7. The Vice President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of Council of States. Any citizen of India who is 35 years of age or more and who is qualified for the membership of the council of states can be elected to this office by both the Houses of Parliament. When the President is ill or resigns or dies or is removed or is absent for any other reason the place is taken over by the Vice-President of India till such time as a new President is elected.
8. The Constitution provides for a council of ministers to assist the President. The President is to appoint the Prime Minister and the other ministers are to be appointed by him on the advice of the Prime Minister. All the ministers are collectively responsible to the House of the People. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all the decisions arrived at in the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the link between the President and the Cabinet. His position is the same as that of the Prime Minister of England.
9. The Indian Parliament consists of two Houses viz; the House of the People and the Council of States. The House of the People consists of 500 members who are directly elected by the voters in the several states. Every adult or grown up citizen of India is given the right to vote. The life of the House of the People is 5 years. The House of the People has a speaker and a Deputy Speaker. The Council of State is a permanent body of 250 members. Its members are elected indirectly. About one third of its members retire after every two years. Twelve members of the Council of States are nominated by the President from men of learning and persons of experience. A member of the Council of States must be a citizen of India and must not be less than 30 years of age.
The House of the People is stronger than the Council of States. It has practically complete control over Money bills. Even in the case of ordinary bills the opinion of the Houses of the People prevails on account of its numerical majority in the joint session of the two Houses.
10. Supreme Court : The Supreme Court of India will consist of a Chief Justice of India and not more than seven other Judges. However the number can be increased by Parliament. All the judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President. Judges hold office during good behaviour till the age of 65. Provision is also made for adhoc judges of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court has been given both original and appellate jurisdiction. As regards its original jurisdiction, it can try any dispute between the Government of India and one or more States or between the Government of states on the other, or between two or more states if and in sofaras the dispute involves any question whether of law or fact on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends. The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is of three kind viz; constitutional, civil and criminal. An appeal can be taken from a High Court to the Supreme Court if a case involves a substantial question of law with regard to interpretation of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court also possesses advisory jurisdiction. It is to advise the President on questions of law and fact. However, neither the Supreme Court is bound to give opinion. But in practice, the opinion of the Supreme Court has not so far been disregarded. As a matter of a fact, the Supreme Court of India has more powers than any other Supreme Court in the World.
The constitution also makes provision for a High Court in every state. It consists of a Chief Justice and such other judges as are appointed by the President.
11. Union Public Service Commission : The constitution also makes provision for a Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commissions. The main functions of the Public Service Commissions are to conduct examinations for recruitment to the services and to recommend candidates for appointment.
12. Comptroller and Auditor General : There is also provision for a Comptroller and Auditor General who is appointed by the President and who performs all duties and exercises powers relating to the accounts of the Union and the States.
13. Distribution of Powers between the Union and the States has been made through the three lists—Union lists, State list and the Concurrent list. The Union List contains the number of subjects on which laws can be passed by the Indian Parliament. Both the Indian Parliament and the State Legislatures can pass laws on the subjects enumerated in the Concurrent list. Union Parliament exercises jurisdiction over all the residuary subjects.
14. There is Provision of freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse throughout the territory of India. Certain restrictions can be placed on the said right in the interests of the public. The constitution clearly provides that no tax can be levied or collected except by authority of law. Clear provisions have been made in the constitution for the creation of certain funds such as the consolidated. Fund of India and a Consolidated Fund for each State.
15. The work of Superintendence, direction and control of Elections to Parliament and Legislature of every state and the President and Vice-President has been entrusted to the Election Commission. The constitution provides for one general electoral Roll for every territorial constituency. There is to be no discrimination on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex etc., no property qualifications are necessary for the voters. The franchise has been considerably extended rather made universal by providing that every person having the citizenship of India and having completed the age of 21 years and having been not otherwise disqualified is entitled to vote at the elections of the Houses of People and the Legislative Assemblies of the states.
16. Hindi in Devanagari Script shall be the official language of the Union. However, the use of English language for official purpose was allowed for a period of 15 years. But the President was empowered to authorise the use of Hindi in addition to English language during the said period. The constitution also provided that if at the end of 15 years if it was found that Hindi could not replace English completely Parliament might provide for the continuance of the use of English. In addition to this the use of 14 Indian languages as regional languages in different states has also been recognised.
17. Though the written new Constitution of India is flexible and can be amended through the procedure laid down in the Constitution.

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