Constituent Assembly


What is a Constitution?

A constitution is a set of laws within framework of which a country is governed.
The constitution lays down the basic principles and the processes of the country’s governance and touches upon all the aspects. These principles are superior to the other laws and cannot be violated.

Constituent Assembly

.An assembly responsible for the task of framing a constitution is known as Constituent Assembly.

1934

.The idea of Constituent Assembly was put forward for the first time by M.N.Roy

1935

.the Indian National Congress officially demanded for the Constituent Assembly to frame the constitution.

1938

.Jawahar Lal Nehru declared that the constitution of Free India must be framed,without outside interference, by a Constituent Assembly.

1940

.The demand was accepted by British Government in “August offer”. But August offer was rejected by Congress as well as Muslim League.6

1942

.Sir Stafford Cripps came to India with a draft proposal of the British Government on framing an Independent constitution. This draft proposal was to be adopted after World War II. But Muslim League rejected the proposal which wanted a separate autonomous state with separate Constituent Assembly.

March 1946

.The Cabinet Mission arrived India.
.Members : A.V. Alexander, Pethick Lawerence and Sir Stafford Cripps
.It rejected the idea of two separate constituent assembly.
.According to Cabinet Mission, the members were

a) To be elected indirectly by the provincial legislative assemblies. (No, of members – 292)

b) The representative of the princely states to be nominated by their rulers. (No. of members – 93)

July 1946

.Election to Constituent Assembly held.
.INC won – 208 seats
.Muslim League won – 73
.Independent – 15
.Princely states stayed away from the Constituent Assembly.
.Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah were not a part of Constituent Assembly.

November 1946

.The Constituent Assembly constituted.

9 November 1946

.First Meeting of the Constituent Assembly held
.Muslim League Boycotted and insisted on a separate state of Pakistan.
.Only 211 members were present including 4 Muslim members
.Dr. Sachichananda Sinha – elected as the Temporary chairman of the opening session

11 December 1946

.Dr. Rajender Prasad elected as the President of the Constituent Assembly
.H.C. Mukharjee elected as the Vice-Present of Assembly.
.Sir B.N.Rau was appointed as the Constitutional Advisor to the Commettiee.

13 December 1946

.“Objective Resolution” moved by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.
.It laid down the fundamental and Philosophy of the Constitutional Structure.

22 January 1947

.The resolution was adopted unanimously by the Assembly.

3 July 1947

.The Mountbatten plan for partition of Country was passed.

July 1947

.The Indian Independence Act passed.
.Assembly was made a fully sovereign body.
.Assembly also became a legislative body ( making of the constitution and enacting of ordinary laws were assigned)
.Muslim league members withdrew from the Constituent Assembly of India (Strength reduced to 299)

22 July 1947

.The National Flag Adopted by the Assembly.

15 August 1947

.India got independence.

29 August 1947

.The Drafting Committee was set up.
.The purpose of the committee was to prepare a draft of new constitution.
.The committee was chaired by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
.7 members
.It was the most important committee of all
.Prepared draft in less than 6 month (sat for 141 days only)

4 November 1948

.Final Draft for first reading introduced by B.R. Ambedkar.

26 November 1949

.The Constitution of India adopted, contained a Preamble, 395 Articles and 8 Schedules.

24 January 1950

.Final Session of the Constituent Assembly held.
.The national Song was adopted
.The National Anthem was adopted
.Dr. Rajender Prasad elected as the First President of India.

26 January 1950

.The Constitution of India came into force completely. And is celebrated as “The Republic Day”

1951-52

.First General Elections held

Important Points

.Total no. of sessions held by the Constituent Assembly – 11 over a period of 2 years, 11 month and 18 days.

.The constitution of 60 countries were gone through by the Constitution makers

.Total expenditure in making the Constitution – About 64 lakh

.Dr. B.R.Ambedkar is known as “The Father of the Constitution”. He is also known as “Modern Manu” and is “the chief Arhitect of the Constitution of India”.

.26 January 1950 was chosen for commencement of The Constitution because on 26 January 1930, “The Purna Swaraj” day was celebrated.

Chairman of Various Committees

Union Powers Committee – Jawahar Lal Nehru
Union Constitution Committee – Jawahar Lal Nehru
State Committee (for Negotiating with states) – Jawahar Lal Nehru
Provincial Constitution Committee – Sardar Patel
Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded areas – Sardar Patel
Rules of Procedure Committee – Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Steering Committee - Dr. Rajendra Prasad

Criticism of the Constituent Assembly

1. Not a representative and sovereign body.
2. Time consuming
3. Dominated by Congress, Hindus, Lawyer and Politician.

Objective Resolution

Moved by – Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru on 13 December 1946
The resolution proposed the establishment of the sovereign democratic republic in India which would provide Fundamental Rights to its citizens and provide the safeguard for the rights of minorities and the backward classes.

Functions performed by the Constituent Assembly

1. Making of constitution
2. Ratified India’s membership of the Commonwealth in May, 1949
3. Adopted the national flag on July 22, 1947
4. Adopted the national anthem on January 24, 1950
5. Adopted the national song on January 24, 1950
6. Elected Dr. Rajender Prasad as the first President of India on January 24, 1950.


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