Following are 20 most important Features of Indian Constitution that every Indian must know.
1. The Bulkiest Constitution of the World
The Indian Constitution is one of the bulkiest constitutions of the world. The constitution, originally consisting of 395 articles and eight schedules now consist of 444 articles divided into 22 parts and 12 schedules.
2. Combination of Rigidity and Flexibility
While some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the parliament by a simple majority, others require a two-thirds majority of the members of the Parliament as well as a majority of the members of the Parliament as well as a majority of the members of the Parliament as well as a majority in the state legislatures. Again, some provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament alone by a two-third majority. Further flexibility is introduced in the Constitution by the provisions which permit the Parliament to supplement the provisions of the Constitution by legislation.
Read Also: Unicameral Parliamentary System
3. Parliamentary System of Government
The Constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government under which the rests with the council of ministers and the President is only a nominal ruler. The council of minister stays in office as long as they enjoy the confidence of the Parliament. The framers of the constitution decided to adopt
4. Federal System with a Unitary Bias
The Indian Constitution provides for a federation with a strong center. It is noteworthy that the Constitution has not used the word ‘federation’, anywhere, and has described India as a ‘Union of State’, which implies that the Indian federation is not the result of any agreement among the units and the units cannot secede from it. India possesses most of the federal features but also several unitary features. The federal character acquires unitary character during an emergency when the normal distribution of powers between the center and the states undergoes vital changes.
5. Fundamental Rights
The Constitution contains an elaborate list of Fundamental Rights. The state cannot make laws which take away or abridge any of the fundamental rights of the citizens. If it does so, the court can declare such a law as unconstitutional. It may be noted that the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution are not absolute and are subject to certain restrictions. In other words, the Constitution seeks to strike a balance between individual liberty and social interest.
6. Fundamental Duties
The Constitution also contains a list of 11 fundamental duties of the citizens. While ten of these duties were added to the Constitution by the forty-second amendment in 1976, the eleventh duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act 2002. These duties serve as constant reminders to the citizens that they have to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct.
7. Directive Principles of State Policy
The Constitution outlines certain Directive Principles of State Policy which the government has to keep in mind while formulating any policy. These principles seek to provide the social and economic basis for democracy and establishment of a welfare state. Unlike Fundamental Rights, the Directive Principles of the State Policy are non-justiciable, which implies that no acting can be brought against the state before a court of law for its failure to implement the Directive Principles. However, in actuality, the government has accorded due importance to the Directive Principles in the formulation of policies.
Must Read: Bicameral Parliamentary System
8. Secular State
The Constitution makes India a secular state. This means that there is no state religion and the state is completely detached from religious dogmas. It also implies that citizens are free to profess, practice and propagate any religion. However, freedom of religion is not absolute and same can be regulated in the interest of the public.
9. Independent Judiciary
The Constitution provides an independent judiciary which ensures that the government is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. It acts as the guardian of the liberties and fundamental rights of the citizen. It also determines the limit of the power of the centre and the states.
10. People as Source of Authority
The Constitution draws its authority from the people and has been promulgated in the name of people. This is evident from the preamble which states ‘We the people of India … do thereby adopt, enact and give ourselves this Constitution’.
11. Universal Adult Franchise
The Constitution introduces universal adult franchise and accord the right to vote to all citizens above 18 years of age without discrimination. However, it makes the reservation of seats for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes to provide them adequate representation.
12. Emergency Powers
The Constitution vests extraordinary powers in the President during emergencies arising out of armed rebellion or external aggression; emergency due to the breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state; and financial emergency when the credit of the country is threatened. In fact, during an emergency, the federal Constitution can virtually be converted into a unitary Constitution.
13. Single Citizenship
It provides single citizenship. All persons residing in different parts of the country are treated as Indian citizens and are entitled to the same rights of citizenship. There is no separate citizenship of different states.
14. Bicameral Legislature
It provides a bicameral legislature at the centre consisting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The former contains the representative of the people, while the latter contains the representative of the states.
15. Special Provision for Minorities
The constitution makes special provision for minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, etc. It can not only reserve seats for them in the Parliament and the state legislature but also grants them certain special rights and privileges.
Don’t Miss: Basic Principles Of The Constitution
16. Panchayati Raj
The Constitution provides the constitutional basis to Panchayati Raj institutions as well as urban local bodies. This was achieved through the seventy-third and seventy-fourth amendments to the Constitution carried out in December 1992.
17. Rule of Law
The concept of ‘rule of law’ was borrowed from Britain. It implies that no man is above the law and all individuals are subject to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. There are basically three postulates of the Rule of Law.
- No person can be punished except for the breach of an existing law.
- All citizens are equal before the law and no one is above the law.
- The Constitution is the Supreme law of the land and all laws passed by the Parliament must be in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution.
18. Strikes Balance between Constitutional Supremacy and Parliamentary Sovereignty
The Indian Constitution combines two seemingly contradictory principles of supremacy of Constitution (as obtains in the USA), and Parliament sovereignty (as obtains in Britain). The Supreme Court through its provisions. It is one of the one of the most important features of Indian Constitution.
19. A Single Integrated Judiciary
The Constitution provides a single integrated judiciary with the Supreme Court at the top. Below the Supreme Court here is high Courts at the State level. Under the High Court, there are subordinate courts. This system of single courts enforces both the central and state laws. This system is at complete variance with the United States where federal laws are enforced by the Federal Courts, while the state laws are enforced by the state courts.
20. Provision of Independent Bodies
Apart from the three traditional organs of government viz. Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary, the Indian Constitution provides for certain bodies certain bodies which work as bulwarks of the democratic system. These include
(i) The Election Commission which ensures free and fair election to Parliament, the state legislature and for the posts of President and Vice-President.
(ii) Comptroller and Auditor General of India which audits the accounts of central and state governments and acts as the guardian of public money.
(iii) Public Service Commission both at the centre and state level. They conduct examinations for recruitment of They conduct examinations for recruitment of civil services at the centre and state. They also advise President and Governor on disciplinary matters. The Constitution has sought to ensure the independence of the above bodies by assuring the above officials the security of tenure; and by charging their expenses on the Consolidated Fund of India and the state.