Polity

Types Of Government

Monarchy: It is the system of governance in which the government and the sovereignty is embodied in a single individual who is known as the monarch.

Monarchies are hereditary and the monarchies are of differentforms depending on the state of development of the society.

Absolute Or Autocracy: Where the monarch has absolute powers with no restraints on his power.

Constitutional Monarchy: Where the monarch is the constitutional head with no formal powers such as in U.K.

Demography: Where the power to elect the government is with the peopleof the country and they are free to decide the form and structure of government is called as democracy.

Oligarchy: Where the power is held by a small number of individuals.

Republican: Where the head of the state is elected is known as republican form of government.

CONSTITUTION

The constitution of a country lays down the basic structure of the political system under which its people are to be governed. It establishes the main organs of the state-

The legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

It also defines their power, demarcates their responsibilities and regulates their relationship with each other and with the people

Framing of the Indian Constitution

After the end of the Second World War, British government announced its Indian Policy and decided to convene a constitutional drafting body. Three British cabinet ministers were sent to find a solution to the question of India’s independence. This team of ministers was called the Cabinet Mission. The Cabinet Mission discussed the framework of the constitution and laid down in some detail the procedure to be followed by the constitutional drafting body.

Members of Cabinet Mission Plan:

  1. Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the secretary of State for India
  2. Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade

iii.   A.V. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admirality.

The present constitution was formed by the Constituent Assembly of India setup under Cabinet Mission Plan of May 16, 1946

  • The idea of having a Constitution was given by MN Roy. On the demise of Sachidanand Sinha, Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as the BN Rao was appointed as the Constitutional Advisor.
  • The Chairman of the Drafting Committee was Dr BR Ambedkar, also called the Father of the Constitution

Enactment of the Constitution

  • The Constitution, adopted on November 26, 1949, contained 395 Articles and 8 Schedules. Currently, it has 444 Articles and 12
  • Some of the provisions those on citizenship, elections, provisional parliament etc, were given immediate effect. The Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, known as the Republic Day in India.

Preamble

  • It is a preface or introduction to the Constitution. It is not a part of the Constitution. The interpretation of the Constitution is based on the spirit of the Preamble. The Objectives Resolution proposed by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and passed by the Constituent Assembly ultimately became the Preamble.
  • The idea of the Preamble was borrowed from the Constitution of USA. The words Socialist, Secular and Integrity were added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976.

The Preamble

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY, this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT and GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”

Main Features Of Constitution

  • Bulkiest Constitution in the World
  • Written Constitution
  • Consisting of 22 Parts, 444 Articles and 12 Schedules.
  • It is fedral in form (in normal times) but unitary in spirit (in emergencies).
  • It is neither too rigid (as some provisions can be amended by a simple majority) nor    flexible (as some provisions require special majority for amendment).

IMPORTANT ARTICLES OF THE CONSTITUTION

Part I

Union and Its Territories (Article 1-4)

  1. The Constitution says, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”.
  1. Admission or establishment of new States.

The Constitution empowers the Parliament to form new States and to alter the areas, boundaries or names of existing States.

Jammu and Kashmir has been given special status under Article 370.

Part II

Citizenship (Article 5-11)

Five modes to acquire the citizenship of India

  1. By birth
  2. By descent
  3. By registration
  4. By naturalization
  5. By incorporation

Three modes of losing citizenship

  1. Renunciation

b.Termination

  1. Deprivation

Part III

Fundamental Rights (Article 12-35)

  1. Rights to Equality (Article 14-18)

Equality before Law. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

  1. Rights to Freedom (Article 19-21)
  • Rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression, Association, Peaceful Assembly, Movement, Residence, and Occupation
  • Right To Life
  • Right To Personal Liberty
  1. Rights to Education

* Article 21A states that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years.

  1. Rights against Exploitation

Prohibition of trafficking in human beings and forced labour (Article 23). Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc (Article 24).

  1. Rights to Freedom of Religion (Article 25-28)
  • Freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion of choice
  • Freedom to manage religious affairs.
  • Freedom to attend religious instructions or worship in certain educational institutions
  1. Cultural and Educational Rights
  • Protection of interests of minorities (Article 29).
  • Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions (Article 30).
  1. Rights to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
  • Right to move to the Supreme Court and the High Courts (under Article 226) in case of violation of the Fundamental Rights termed by BR Ambedkar as the Heart and Soul of the Constitution.

Types of Writs

Writ                            Meaning                     Intended Purpose

Habeas Corpus                 You may have the body    To release a person who has been detainedunlawfully whether in person or in private custody
Mandamus                        We Command                  To secure the performance of public duties bylower court, tribunal or quasi-judicial authority.
Prohibition                         The act of stopping     To prohibit an inferior court from continuing theproceedings in a particular case where it has nojurisdiction to try.
Certiorari                       To be Certified             To quash the order already passed by an inferior court,tribunal or quasi judicial authority
Quo Warranto               What is your right?          To restrain a person from holding a public officeto which he is not entitled. 

 

Part IV

Important Directive Principles of State Policy

Article 38                  To ensure a welfare state.
Article 39                 Socialistic distribution of wealth and property.
Article 40                 To organize village panchayats as units of self-government.
Article 41                 Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases.
Article 44                 Uniform Civil Code for all citizens.
Article 45                 Free, compulsory elementary education for all children till 14 years.
Article 47                  Prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs

Part IV A

Fundamental Duties

It was inserted by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 on the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee and was taken from the Constitution of the then USSR.

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India

  • To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem
  • To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our struggle for freedom.
  • To uphold the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
  • To promote harmony and common brotherhood amongst all Indians, crossing religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to women.
  • To value and preserve our rich, composite cultural culture.
  • To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.
  • To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of enquiry and reform.
  • To safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
  • To strive towards excellence in all individual and collective activities so that the nation constantly rises to higher achievements.

The 86th Amendment Act, 2002 has inserted Article 51A (K), which asks each parent/guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between 6-14 years.

Part V

The Union

The President

The Executive Head of the State and the first citizen of India.

The 42nd Amendment to the constitution has made it obligatory for the President to accept the advice of the Council of Ministers. However, the 44th Amendment Act· amended the word ‘obligatory’ and added that ‘President can send the advice for reconsideration’

Eligibility

  1. Must be a citizen of India
  2. Minimum 35 years of age
  3. Eligible to be a member of Lok Sabha
  4. Must not hold any government post

Election

Indirectly elected by an Electoral College consisting of elected members of both the Houses of the Parliament and elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States.

Powers

He is the formal head of the administration.

The President shall have the power to

  1. appoint and remove the Prime Minister, other Ministers, Judges, Governors
  1. appoint Chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force.

He is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He nominates 12 members of special repute to the Rajya Sabha and 2 members of the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha.

The President in India has got a Limited Veto power.

Emergency Powers

  1. To declare a National Emergency (Art 352)
  1. To impose the President’s Rule in a State (Art 356)
  1. To declare a Financial Emergency. (Art 360)

The Vice-President

Article 63 of the Constitution stipulates a Vice-President for India, to be elected by both the houses of Parliament. The Vice-President is the ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) as motioned in the Article 64.

Council of Ministers

  • There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at it head to aid and advise the President (Art 74).
  • It comprises all Union Ministers —- i.e. Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.
  • The Council is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under Article 75.
  • A Minister must be a Member of Parliament, or must be elected within 6 months of becoming a Minister.
  • The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha i.e. a no confidence motion passed even against a single Minister means that the entire Council must resign.
  • A Minister can be removed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister

  • The Prime Minister is the head of the Government and the head of the Council of Ministers.
  • The Prime Minister is appointed by the President on the basis of his being the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha.
  • If no party gets an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha or the PM resigns or dies, the President can use his discretion in the choice of the Prime Minister.
  • It is the Prime Minister’s duty to furnish such information about the administration of the Union or any Legislation as the President may call for (Art 78).

The Union Legislature

  • The Union Legislature is called Parliament, which consists of Rajya Sabha (Council of States), Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the President.
  • The business of Parliament is transacted either in Hindi or English. However, the Presiding Officers of the two Houses may permit any member to address the House in his/her mother tongue too.

Raiya Sabha (Council of States)

  • The Rajya Sabha is the Upper House of the Parliament.
  • The maximum permissible strength of the Rajya Sabha is 250, of which 238 members are elected indirectly from the States and Union Territories while 12 members are nominated by the President from areas like art, literature, science and social service.
  • The Rajya Sabha is a Permanent House and is not subject to dissolution and its members enjoy a tenure of six years. One-thirds of the members retire every two years.
  • It shares legislative powers with the Lok Sabha except in the case of Money Bill where the Lok Sabha has overriding powers

Lok Sabha (People’s House)

  • The Lok Sabha is the Lower House of Parliament.
  • Members – Maximum of 530 from States, 20 from Union Territories and 2 nominated by the President from Anglo Indian community.
  • Election: The representatives of the states are directly elected by the people on the basis of adult suffrage. In case of Sikkim, however, its sole representative in the Lok Sabha is elected by the members of its Legislative Assembly.

After a Money Bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha, it is sent to the Rajya Sabha for deliberations. The Rajya Sabha is given 14 days to make recommendations, which can be accepted or rejected by the Lok Sabha. A Money Bill cannot be returned to the House by the President for reconsideration.

Speaker of the Lok Sabha

  • As soon as a new Lok Sabha is constituted, the President appoints a Pro Term Speaker, who is generally the senior most member of the House. A Deputy Speaker is also elected to officiate in the absence of the Speaker. GV Mavlankar was the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha (1952-1956)
  • Dr Balram Jakhar was the longest serving Speaker (1980-1989).

The Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court has Original, Appellate and Advisory
  • The Supreme Court consists of 31 judges – 1 Chief justice and 30 other Judges.

Judges’ Tenure and Qualifications

The Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President and retire at the age of 65. The qualifications are

(a) must be a citizen of India

(b) Must have been a Judge of a High Court for at least 5 years/ an advocate of a High Court for at least 10 years

In case of any vacancy in the office of the CJI, the President appoints an Acting Chief Justice from amongst the Judges of the Court to function as the Chief Justice.

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General is appointed by the President under Article 148 of the Constitution
  • The CAG audits all receipts and expenditures of the Union and State Governments
  • The CAG also acts as the external auditor for the government-owned companies
  • The CAG can only be removed from office in manner similar to a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • The salary and benefits of the CAG cannot be changed to his disadvantage during his tenure.

Attorney General of India

  • The Attorney General is the highest law officer in the country appointed by the President.
  • The Attorney General must have the qualifications of a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • The Attorney General can participate in proceedings of the Parliament without the Right to Vote.

Part VI

The States

The Governor is the Constitutional Head of the State and the same Governor can act as Governor of more than one State. The Governor is appointed by the President and holds office at the pleasure of the President.

Article 161 gives the Governor the power to grant pardon, reprieve and remission of punishment to persons convicted under the state law. Article 163 talks of discretionary powers of the Governor which is not even provided to the President.

The State Legislature

  • Council of Ministers to aid and advise the Governor.
  • An Advocate General for each of the States.
  • Currently, only six states in India have Legislative Councils: Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The Legislative Council consists of not more than 1/3rd the strength of the Legislative Assembly and not less than 40. The composition of the Council is as follows

(i) 1/3rd members are elected by the Legislative Assembly of the concerned state.

(ii) 1/3rd elected by local political bodies;

(iii) 1/12th elected by electorate consisting of graduates of 3 years standing and who are residents of the state;

(iv) 1/12th elected by persons engaged for 3 years in teaching;

(v) 1/6th nominated by the Governor.

High Courts

  • The Calcutta High Court, established in 1862 is the oldest in India. The Bombay and Madras High Courts were also established in the same year.
  • Some of the newer High Courts are in Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand (Nainital) and Jharkhand (Ranchi), which were established in 2000.

Important Parliamentary Terms

Quorum: The minimum number of members required to transact the business of the House. The quorum of either House is 10% of its total strength.

Question Hour: The first hour of every sitting of Parliament is called the Question Hour. Questions usually require a 10-day notice before being answered by the minister concerned.

Zero Hour: The hour immediately after the Question Hour. The members can raise matters of national importance without prior notice.

Adjournment Motion: A motion to adjourn the proceedings of the House, to take up a matter of urgent public importance. It can be moved by any member but requires support of at least 50 members.

No Confidence Motion: A No Confidence Motion indicates lack of confidence of the Lok Sabha in the Council of Ministers. It can be introduced in the Lok Sabha only. If such a motion is passed even against a single minister, the government must resign as a consequence.

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

  • The Constitution provides for
  1. a Union Public Service Commission for the Union,
  2. a Public Service Commission for each state or
  3. a joint Public Service Commission for a group of states.
  • The UPSC members retire at 65 years while for a member of PSC of a State or a Joint Commission, the corresponding age is 62 years.

Functions

  • To conduct exams for appointment to the services under the Union.
  • Recommend names for promotions and appointments to different post under the Union.
  • Maintain continuity in administration.

Election Commission

  • The Election Commission is an autonomous constitutional body, established in 1950 under Article 324 of the Constitution.
  • The Election Commission is charged with the duty of conducting, supervising and controlling the elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, President, Vice-President, State Legislative Assemblies and State Legislative Councils.
  • The first Chief Election Commissioner was Sukumar Sen.

Planning Commission

  • The Planning Commission was established in March 1950 by an executive resolution of the Government of India (i.e. Union Cabinet). Thus the Planning Commission is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body. In India, it is the supreme organ of planning for social and economic development.
  • Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the Planning Commission.

National Development Council (NDC)

  • The function of the NDC is to approve, monitor and review the 5-year plans.
  • The NDC was formed in 1952 to associate the states in the formulation of the plans.
  • The PM is the ex-officio chairman of NDC.

It is an extra constitutional and extra legal body.

Finance Commission

Article 280 provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi-judicial body. It is constituted by the President every 5 years. It consists of a Chairman and 4 other members.

Functions

The Finance Commission is required to make recommendation to the President of India on

  • The distribution of taxes to be shared between the centre and the states,
  • the allocation between the states, and
  • the respective shares of such proceeds.
Important Schedules
7th Schedule: Allocates powers between Union and States. It contains 3 lists·         Union List (Exclusive powers of Central Government) : 97 Subjects·         State List (Exclusive powers of State Governments) : 66 Subjects·         Concurrent List (Both Union and States) : 47 Subjects
8th Schedule: Contains the list of 22 Official Languages in India.Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmirl, Manipuri, Malayalam, Konkani, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Santhali, Bodo, Maithili and Dogri
9th Schedule: Added by 1st Amendment Act in 1951. Contains Acts and Orders related to land tenure, land tax, railways, industries (Right to Property not a Fundamental Right now),
10th Schedule: Provisions for disqualification on grounds of defection.
11th Schedule: Contains provisions for Panchayati Raj.
12th Schedule: Provisions for Urban Local Bodies.