Making of the Indian Constitution

In 1934, idea of Constituent Assembly put forward for first time by M.N.Roy.
In 1935, INC for first time officially demanded Constituent Assembly to frame Constitution. Demand accepted in August Offer of 1940.
Cripps brought proposal on framing of independent Constitution. Cripps proposal rejected by Muslim League.
Constituent Assembly constituted in November 1946 under scheme formulated by Cabinet Mission Plan.
Features were-
  1. Total strength- 389. 296 for British India (292 for 11 Governor’s Province, 4 – Chief Commissioner Province). 93 – Princely States.
  2. Each province and princely state alloted seats in proportion to their population. 1 for a million.
  3. Seats to each British province divided among 3 Muslims, Sikhs & General in proportion to population.
  4. Representatives of each community elected by members of that community in provincial legislative assembly and voting by proportional representation by STV.
  5. Representatives of princely states nominated.
Election to Constituent Assembly held in July-August 1946. Mahatma Gandhi was not Assembly member.

Princely States did not participate.

First meeting on Dec 9, 1946. Muslim league boycotted meeting and insisted on Pakistan. Dr. Sachchidananda Singha, oldest members, elected as temporary President based on French practice. Later Dr. Rajendra Prasad elected. H.C.Mukherjee and V.T.Krishnamachari elected as Vice-Presidents.
Total expenditure in making Constitution- 64 lakh.
Dec 13, 1946, J L Nehru moved Objectives Resolution. Adopted by Assembly on Jan 22, 1947. Its modified version forms Preamble. Features:
  1. India as Independent Sovereign Republic.
  2. British India, Indian States(Princely states) constituted into independent India.
  3. States to retain status of autonomous units together with residuary powers.
  4. All power & authority derived from people.
  5. Justice– social, economic, political. Equality of Status of opportunity & Before the Law. Freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association & action, subject to law & public morality.
  6. Safeguards for minorities, backward & tribal areas, depressed, OBC.
  7. Promotion of world peace & welfare of mankind.
After the acceptance of Mountbatten Plan of June 3, 1947 for partition, representatives of most princely states & Muslim League entered Assembly. Indian Independence Act 1947 made following changes wrt Assembly-
  1. Assembly was made fully sovereign body which could frame any Constitution. Empowered Assembly to abrogate or alter any law of British.
  2. Assembly became legislative body. Assembly as Constitutional body was chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and as legislative body by G.V.Mavlankar. Continued till Nov 26, 1949.
  3. Total strength came down to 299 as Muslim League withdrew.
Constituent Assembly-
  1. ratified India’s membership of Commonwealth in May 1949
  2. adopted National Flag on July 22, 1947.
  3. adopted National Anthem and National Song on Jan 24, 1950.
  4. elected Rajendra Prasad as first President on Jan 24, 1950.
  5. gone through Constitution of 60 countries.

Ambedkar– He is called Father of Constitution. Called Modern Manu.

1. Union Powers Committee : Jawaharlal Nehru
2. Union Constitution Committee : Jawaharlal Nehru
3. States Committee : Jawaharlal Nehru
4. Steering Committee : Rajendra Prasad
5. Committee on the Rules of Procedure: Rajendra Prasad
6. Finance and Staff Committee : Rajendra Prasad
7. Ad Hoc Committee on the National Flag : Rajendra Prasad
8. Provincial Constitution Committee: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
9. Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
10. Advisory Committee on Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas : Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. 
11. Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee : J.B. Kripalani
12. Minorities Sub-Committee : Harendra Coomar Mukherjee
13. North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee : Gopinath Bordoloi
14. Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Apart from those in Assam) Sub-Committee : A.V. Thakkar

15. Order of Business Committee : Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi
16. Special Committee to examine the Draft Constitution : Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar

Important Points:
1. First Draft of Constitution published in Feb 1948.
2. Second Draft of Constitution published in Oct 1948.
3. Final Draft of Constitution published in Nov 4, 1948.
4. In third reading on Nov 14, 1949, Ambedkar moved a motion- Constitution as settled by Assembly be passed. Motion passed on Nov 26, 1949.
5. Original first Constitution contained Preamble, 395 Articles, 22 Parts, 8 Schedules. Preamble enacted after Constitution enacted. 
6. Some provisions of Constitution related to citizenship, elections, provisional parliament, short title came into force on Nov 26, 1949. Remaining provisions on Jan 26, 1950 – date of commencement
7. Jan 26, 1930 – Celebration of Poorna Swaraj Day after Lahore Session resolution.
8. With Constitution commencement, India Independence Act, 1947 and Government of India Act 1935 repealed. Abolition of Privy Council Jurisdiction Act continued.
9. Elephant was symbol (seal) of Constituent Assembly.
10. Sir B.N. Rau appointed as constitutional advisor (Legal advisor) to Constituent Assembly
11. S.N.Mukerjee was chief draftsman
12. Prem Behari Narain Raizada was calligrapher who wrote Constitution in flowing italic style.

Criticism of Constituent Assembly
  1. Not a representative body – members were not directly elected on universal adult franchise.
  2. Not a sovereign body- created and held sessions with British permission
  3. Time Consuming. Naziruddin Ahmed called it Drifting Committee.
  4. Dominated by Congress.
  5. Lawyer-Politician Domination
  6. Lord Viscount Simon called it body of Hindus.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *