75 Years of Constituent Assembly’s 1st Sitting

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    • The Constituent Assembly of India had held its first meeting 75 years ago on December 9, 1946.

    About

    • Distinguished people from different parts of India, different backgrounds and even differing ideologies came together with one aim- to give the people of India a worthy Constitution
    • The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly was Presided over by Dr Sachchidananda Sinha, who was the eldest member of the Assembly. He was introduced and conducted to the Chair by Acharya Kripalani.

    Constituent Assembly

    • Historical Background:
      • 1934: Demand for the Constituent Assembly was made by M.N. Roy.
      • 1940: Demand was accepted by the British government.
      • 1946: 9th December, CA conducted the first session on Draft Constitution.
      • 1949: 26th November, CA finally adopted the Constitution of India.
      • 1950: 26th January, the Constitution of India came into force.
    • Key Facts about CA:
      • Took 2 years, 11 months & 17 days for drafting the Constitution of India.
      • Dr Sachchidananda Sinha was appointed as 1st President of CA.
      • Dr Rajendra Prasad was the chairman of the Constituent Assembly.
      • Jawaharlal Nehru (PM) made the ‘Objectives Resolution’ on 13th December 1946, later adopted as Preamble on 22nd Jan 1947.
      • Constituent assembly acted as the temporary legislature until a new one was to be constituted. 
    • Features:
      • Partly elected and partly nominated.
      • Indirect election by provincial assemblies who themselves were elected on a limited franchise.
      • Though an indirect mode of election, it included representatives from all sections of the society.
      • Muslim League did not participate in the first meeting.
    • Criticism:
      • Not a representative body since members were not directly elected.
      • It was not a sovereign body since it was established based on British order.
      • It took an unduly long time to make the constitution.
      • It was dominated predominantly by the congress party.
      • It was dominated by lawyer-politicians to a greater degree.
      • It was dominated by Hindus predominantly.

    Constitution Of India

    • About:
      • It is the world’s lengthiest written Constitution which had 395 Articles, 22 Parts and 8 Schedules at the time of its commencement.
      • The Constitution of India was handwritten and calligraphic in both English and Hindi. It had 90,000 words.
      • It was entirely handcrafted by the artists of Shantiniketan under the guidance of Acharya Nandalal Bose, with the calligraphy texts done by Prem Behari Narain Raizada in Delhi.
      • Each part of the Constitution begins with a depiction of a phase or scene from India’s national history. At the beginning of each part of the Constitution, Nandalal Bose has depicted a phase or scene from India’s national experience and history.
      • The artwork and illustrations (22 in all), rendered largely in the miniature style, represent vignettes from the different periods of the history of the Indian subcontinent, ranging from Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley, the Vedic period, the Gupta and Maurya empires and the Mughal era to the national freedom movement.
      • The original copies of the Constitution of India are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India.
    • Salient Features
      • Preamble: Define India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic assuring its citizen’s justice, equality, and liberty.
      • Parliamentary form, Federalism, Single Citizenship, Separation of Powers. 
    • Key Amendments Made:
      • 1st CAA: Added Ninth Schedule laws that cannot be challenged in courts.
      • 42nd CAA: Inserted Article 51-A (10 FDs), Socialist, Secular and Integrity added to the Preamble, & new DPSPs added (Article 39, 39A, 43 A, 48A)

    Source: PIB