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Major Sources of Indian Constitution

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  • Last Updated : 24 Mar, 2022

After too much debate and discussion, on 26th November 1949, the Indian Constitution was finally adopted by the constituent assembly after independence. Every year in India, this day is celebrated as Constitution Day (known as the Samvidhaan Diwas). It came into force on 26th January 1950 and the Constitution of India was borrowed from many nations’ constitutions very wisely by the constituent assembly. At that time India was a fresh independent country, so having their own constitution was a very remarkable issue but the fathers of the constitution bottled the ideals, policies, laws from other nations in the Indian Constitution which were perfectly framed under the Indian Constitution.

Indian constitution is the largest written constitution which had 395 articles 22 parts and 8 schedules when it was constituted and at present time it has 470 articles 25 parts and 12 schedules. Also, it has Preamble. It was constituted by looking over every factor of the geographical, political, historical background of India.

Sources of Indian Constitution:

The larger portion of the Constitution is based on the Government of India Act, 1935. But many of the ideals and laws were borrowed from other countries like from the Constitution of the USA, Canada, Britain, France, etc. Following are the laws that were taken from those countries:

A. Constitution Of United States Of America:

  • Separation of Power: The doctrine of separation of power was derived from the USA constitution. Aristotle proposed the Idea of separation of power as at that time all power was vested in the King. Later, Montesquieu said that for a better living environment, divide the state into legislative, executive, and judiciary; later, these thoughts become the doctrine of separation of power. In the U.S.A. every three power is independent and strictly separated but in India, it’s quite free of strictness. A legislature can play the role of judiciary and vice versa for each of the three. Also, it can be said that in India it’s the Doctrine of separation of functions which means there is a check n the balance of these powers. There is no strict separation in India.
  • Federalism: The spirit of federalism is based on the constitution of the U.S.A. The United States of America is the union of many states which form a union of a big nation. The U.S.A. Is a true federation while India is quasi-federal in nature.
  • Preamble: It was copied from the preamble of the US constitution and also the idea of a written constitution. The USA was the first country to put a preamble in its constitution. “We the people” states that the real source of the constitution is the people.
  • Fundamental Rights: Not even India but many nations have taken the idea of fundamental rights from the USA; which is the most important part of our constitution. It is a guaranteed right of the US constitution.
  • Equal protection of Law: the ideology of equal protection of the law of all citizens under article 14 was also taken by the US constitution.
  • Impeachment of the President: Formal removal of the president by impeachment given under article 61 of the Indian constitution was also taken from the US constitution.
  • Judicial Review: In Marbury v. Madison, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of U.S.A held that judicial review is the power that the courts must have in order to declare any law/policy by the government is illegal or not. The Supreme court and High Court have made vast judicial reviews over the amendment of the constitution.
  • Post of Vice-president: Analogous work done by the vice president is the same both in India and the USA but the power & scope are different in both countries. The Vice president of the USA is more powerful than the vice president of India.

B. British Constitution:

1. Parliamentary Democracy: It has very vast role-playing in systems as:

  • Bicameralism- Bicameral System of parliament means the parliament is divided into two houses, one upper house, and the other lower house. Rajya Sabha is the upper house and Lok sabha is the lower house.
  • Cabinet System- It is a system in which the existence of the Cabinet, including the election of the Prime Minister, depends on parliamentary confidence in the Cabinet.
  • Legislative Procedure- It means any type of being brought before the house of parliament to enact or pass it as an act or law.
  • Parliament Privileges- These are some rights and immunities given under Article 105 provided as a privilege for cabinet ministers. And article 194 for state legislative assembly’s members.

2. Rule of law: Dicey gives the rule of law i.e. Law is supreme. In India rule of law also prevails but any law in the violation of fundamental rights will be deemed to be void. It is given under article 13.

3. Writs: The most important power of citizens against the violation of Fundamental & other rights is Writs. It is given under Article 32 in which citizens can move to the supreme court and under article 226 which gives power to the High court. Every five writs were adopted from the British constitution.

4. Single Citizenship: This gives the idea of brotherhood as every citizen is only Indian and nothing else. Unlike America as there is a dual citizenship system in India citizens have to take only single citizenship.

C. Constitution of Ireland:

  • Directive Principles of State Policy: Part IV of the Constitution directs the state for the welfare of the public & it is derived from the Constitution of Ireland, 1937.
  • The Presidential election method was also taken from the Irish Constitution.
  • Nomination of members for Rajya Sabha by the president.

D. Constitution of Canada:

  • Quasi-federal Structure: Spirit of federalism was taken by the U.S. constitution but the structure of federalism was adopted by Canada where most of the residuary powers are vested in the union. So, Residual powers to the union of India are taken from the Canadian Constitution.
  • Advisory Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (Article 143): Even the president can seek advice from the Supreme Court over any law.

E. Constitution of France:

  • Ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity were taken from the French constitution and it is the important source of the constitution in the preamble.
  • Constituent Assembly: The making of a constituent assembly for the Constitution was the most popular idea of the French constitution.

F. The Constitution of the U.S.S.R (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic):

  • Fundamental Duties: By the 42nd amendment of the Constitution, the parliament added the fundamental duties (Article 51-A) which were adopted from the Constitution of the USSR. It imposes few liabilities to the citizens of India.
  • Ideas of Justice: The idea of social justice, economic justice, political justice, and every other justice was taken from the USSR and expressed in the preamble which gives justice by health, wealth, living, etc. in the Constitution.
  • Socialistic principle: The idea of socialism in the nation and between its citizens was a part of the USSR constitution.

G. Constitution of Germany:

  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights during the Emergency in the country was adopted from the Weimar Republic of Germany. At the time of Hitler during the period of war, the fundamental rights of citizens of Germany were suspended in an emergency.

H. Australian Constitution:

  • The concurrent list was adopted from the Constitution of Australia. The concurrent list is the list that deals with both the union and state. Both governments can make laws for the subject which comes under the concurrent list.

I. Constitution of South Africa:

  • Amendment of Constitution: This power is given to the parliament to amend the Constitution under article 368. It allows the parliament to change, repeal or make any new laws or acts. But such laws must not be violative of fundamental rights.
  • Election of members of Rajya Sabha.

J. Constitution of Japan:  

  • The procedure established by law under Article 31 states that any law is valid only if it is enacted by the due procedure of making law.

K. Government of India Act,1935: 

The Constitution makers adopted 75% of the Indian constitution from the Govt. Of India Act, 1935. Few main provision which was adopted:

  • Office of Governor: Article 153 provides that there must be a governor for every state and he has the executive power of such state.
  • Judiciary: The Constitution empowers the judiciary to protect and save the Indian citizens from rule of law and supremacy. Judiciary is in the hierarchy system Supreme Court then High court and then Subordinate courts to the High Court.
  • Public Service Commission: It was established by the Britishers in India and it is an integral part of the administration system today. Which was later added to the constitution.
  • Emergency: Emergency provisions were adopted by GOI act 1935 which is given in part 18 from articles 352 to 360 in the Indian Constitution. The president has the power to impose an emergency over a nation or state or any part of the state from conditions like war, aggression or etc.

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