Constitution Day


    In News

    • 26th November is being celebrated as Constitution Day to mark the adoption of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly.

    Key Points

    • About: 
      • The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949 for ‘We the people of India’. 
    • Celebrated since: 
      • The day began to be celebrated as Constitution Day in 2015
      • This day is indeed a historic day for the nation, with the framing of a Constitution for the governance of independent India.
    • Soul of the nation: 
      • An enduring constitution is a rare phenomenon, and acts as the soul of a nation or the defining identity of a country. 

    Constitution Day

    • About:
      • Constitution Day is also known as ‘Samvidhan Divas’.
      • It is celebrated in the country on 26th November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. 
      • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 19th November 2015 notified the decision of the Government of India to celebrate the 26th day of November every year as ‘Constitution Day’ to promote Constitution values among citizens.
    • Historical Background:
      • The Constituent Assembly, which was the body meant to draft the Constitution, conducted its first session on 9 December 1946
      • The demand of the Constituent Assembly was made in 1934.
        • M.N. Roy, a communist party leader, introduced the idea. 
      • It was taken up by the Congress party and finally, in 1940, the demand was accepted by the British government.
      • Before independence, the Constituent Assembly met for the first time on 9 December 1946. 
        • Dr Sachchidananda Sinha was appointed as the first president of the Constituent Assembly. 
      • The Constituent Assembly took two years, eleven months and seventeen days to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India. 
        • During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. 
          • Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution.
      • Jawaharlal Nehru, the then prime minister, moved the “Objectives Resolution” on 13 December 1946, which was later adopted as the Preamble on January 22, 1947.
      • On 29 August 1947, a Drafting Committee was constituted to prepare a Draft Constitution with Dr B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairman.
      • On 26th November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, which came into effect from 26th January 1950.
    • Significance of the day:
      • The day aims to bring awareness to the importance of the Indian Constitution as well as its main architect, Dr B R Ambedkar.

    Constitutional Making: Not an easy task

    • Lengthy Process: India’s constitution-making project took about three years from 1946 to 1949.
    • Difficult conditions: It was written under extraordinarily difficult conditions: 
      • The partition of India which resulted in the displacement of millions of people on both sides of the border. 
      • Partition was accompanied by mass deaths, devastation, violence, and brutality. 
      • Amid all this, as refugees flowed into Delhi, our dual-purpose assembly — a parliament by morning and a constituent body in the afternoon drafted our enduring founding instrument. 
      • One that would remain relevant not just for the turbulence of that present, but also would be meaningful for future generations to come.
    • Inspired From: 
      • The Constitution, had its inspiration in sources like Tilak’s Swaraj Bill of 1895 (which included rights to free speech, free press, equality before law) and the Declaration of Rights of 1918 (where the Indian National Congress demanded that civil and political rights to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of press and association and for all this to be included in the Government of India Act 1919).
    • Good will of political leaders: 
      • The drafters deployed the considerable political goodwill enjoyed by key national leaders who were members of the assembly to give legitimacy to the Constitution. 
    • Balance of bold choices and compromises: 
      • For instance, breaking down traditional privileges like the abolition of princely states and royal titles, and crafting the country as a democracy based on universal adult franchise, and ending discrimination on grounds of caste, or sex or religion.
    • Consensus, People oriented: 
      • It was also the consensus-oriented method that found favour with the Constituent Assembly that has helped our Constitution endure. 
      • The framers appreciated the link between consensus in adoption and the legitimacy of the Constitution. 

    Way Ahead

    • The Constitution should get due recognition across the educational system
    • Celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day is fine, but we should not restrict ourselves to symbolism. We should look at the substantive issues dealt with by the Constitution, thereby enriching our life.

    Indian Constitution

    • It is the longest written constitution in the world.
      • The Constitution of India, with its preamble and 470 articles grouped into 25 parts and 12 schedules
    • The Constitution of India was not typeset or printed but was handwritten and calligraphic in both English and Hindi. 
    • 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.
    • The original copies of the Constitution of India are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India
    • The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the Government. 
    • Key Features: 
      • Longest written constitution
      • Federalism
      • Parliamentary Form of Government
      • Separation of Powers
      • Fundamental Rights
      • Secularism
      • Single Citizenship
      • Sovereignty
    • 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: IE + TH