Polity and Constitution
❖ The idea of a Constituent Assembly of India was first put forward by M.N. Roy in 1934. It was accepted in August 1940 in the August Offer. However, it was constituted under the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946.
❖ The Constitution of India was framed by the Drafting Committee which was formed by the Constituent Assembly.
❖ The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly of India took place in Constitution Hall, New Delhi, on 9 December 1946. Dr Sachchidananda Sinha was the first President (interim) of the Constituent Assembly, since he was the oldest member of the house.
❖ The membership plan was roughly as per suggestions of the Cabinet Mission Plan. The basis of division of seats was ‘population’, roughly in a 1 : 10 lakh ratio. The members of the Constituent Assembly were indirectly elected by the members of Provincial Assemblies, who themselves were elected in the year 1946.
❖ On 11 December 1946, Dr Rajendra Prasad became the President of the Constituent Assembly. Professor Harendra Coomar Mookerjee was the Vice-President of the Constituent Assembly, whereas B.N. Rau was the Constitutional Advisor.
❖ The Assembly appointed 22 committees to perform different tasks related to the framing of the Constitution, the most important among them being the ‘Drafting Committee’, headed by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, which had to draft the Constitution. The Drafting Committee was formed on 29 August 1947, with other members being N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Dr K.M. Munshi, Syed Mohammad Saadullah, N. Madhava Rao (he replaced B.L. Mitter who resigned due to ill health) and T.T. Krishnamachari (he replaced D.P. Khaitan who died in 1948).
❖ The Constituent Assembly took 2 years, 11 months, and 17 days to frame the Constitution. The Constitution of India was adopted, enacted andgiven by the people of India to themselves on November 26, 1949. A total of 284 members appended their signatures to it on 24 January 1950. The Constituent Assembly held 11 sessions to complete the drafting of the Constitution.
❖ The Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950. This date was selected, as on the same day 20 years ago (26 January 1930), the All India Congress Committee (AICC) had passed the Purna Swaraj Declaration or the Declaration of Complete Independence during its Lahore Session.
❖ Though the Constitution came into force on 26 January 1950, some provisions relating to citizenship, elections, provisional parliament, temporary and transitional provisions were given immediate eff ect on 26 November 1949. the conStItutIon oF IndIA
❖ Article 393 of our Constitution provides that it may be called the ‘Constitution of India’. The Constitution includes a Preamble, 22 parts and 12 Schedules (initially, there were eight schedules) which extensively lays down the framework and structure of the State of India.
❖ Article 1 of the Constitution states that ‘India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States’.
❖ The Constitution of India is the lengthiest constitution in the world. India is a vast country with diverse regional and ethnical needs, interests, and ethos. The country being secular, does not have any offi cial religion nor does it prohibit or promote any particular religion. The Constitution has thus been framed keeping in mind the needs of the people of different race, caste, sex, region, ethnical community, and other parameters.
The Constitution of India has certain essential features such as:
❖ It is a written Constitution. ❖ It is partly flexible and partly rigid. ❖ It provides for a federal as well as a unitary system. Historian and Constitution expert K.C. Wheare called the Indian Constitution ‘Quasi-Federal’.
❖ The Preamble describes India as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republic. ❖ The Constitution provides for the creation of new states and the alteration of boundaries of existing states.
❖ It lays down the conditions for acquiring the citizenship of India. ❖ It provides for a Parliamentary system of government at two levels— union and the state.
❖ It provides for a system of checks and balances for the three organs of the State—the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.
❖ It clearly defines the limitations of the union and state legislatures with regard to their specific fields of legislations.
❖ It lays down the Fundamental Rights and duties of the citizens (and in some cases—even non-citizens) and the Directive Principles for the State. ❖ The President of India is the head of the State of India (and the Executive) and is advised by the Council of Ministers. ❖ Some states have bicameral legislature (Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council).
❖ It makes a provision for an independent judiciary consisting of the Supreme Court, the High Courts, and subordinate Courts. ❖ It makes elaborate provisions for local self-government by providing for panchayats and municipalities.
❖ Special provisions have been made for the union territories and the scheduled and tribal areas. ❖ The legislative and administrative relationship between the Union and the states has also been laid down by the Constitution. ❖ The financial relationship has also been laid down taking into account the special needs of states.
❖ In furtherance of the object of unifying India as a country, the trade, commerce, and intercourse has been made free throughout the territory of India (subject to regulations and reasonable restrictions).
❖ It also makes provisions for the Public Service Commissions for the Union and the states and the Services to aid and assist the State in performing its functions.
❖ Election Commission has been established to ensure free and fair elections in furtherance of the right of the citizens to vote.
❖ Tribunals have been provided for, to reduce the burden on the Supreme Court and the High Courts and to provide specialized courts for dealing with matters.
❖ There are provisions for reservation for the weaker sections of society.
❖ Last, but not the least, the Constitution also makes provisions for its own amendment.
❖ Fundamental Rights are the basic rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution of India. They are provided for under Part III (Arti- cles 12–35) of the Constitution. Any law which is inconsistent with or in derogation of these rights shall be void (Article 13). They are also known as the Magna Carta of the Indian Constitution.
❖ It should be noted that, with a few exceptions, Fundamental Rights are only available against the State. This is because the Constitution (in which Fundamental Rights are given) is not a promise by the people to the people but a promise by the State to the people. Thus, such a promise can only be enforced against the State and not individuals. Article 12 of the Constitution gives the definition of State and states that ‘the State includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India’. The broad categorization of the Fundamental Rights is as follows: 1. Right to Equality (Article 14–18) 2. Right to Freedom (Article 19–22) 3. Right against Exploitation (Article 23–24) 4. Right to Freedom of Religion (Article 25–28) 5. Cultural and Educational Rights (Article 29–30) 6. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32)
❖ Initially, there were seven broad Fundamental Rights (encompassing several other rights) but now the number has reduced to six, after deletion of Right to Property by virtue of the 44th Amendment in 1978. Certain Fundamental Rights are conferred to Indian citizens only, whereas some others are given to all individuals, citizens as well as non-citizens.
❖ In simple language, ‘Preamble’ means ‘a preliminary or preparatory statement or an introduction’. This is precisely the role that the Preamble to the Indian Constitution plays. It sets the ideals and the goals which the makers of the Constitution seek to achieve through the Constitution.
Therefore, it is also regarded as ‘a key to open the mind of the makers of the Constitution, which may show the general purpose for which they made the Constitution’. For that reason, the Preamble is also a legitimate aid in the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution.
❖ Now let’s learn the meanings of some specific words from the Preamble: ● Sovereign: India is both internally as well as externally free and is not dependent upon any outside authority. ● Socialist (added by 42nd Amendment, 1976): Some form of ownership of means of production and distribution by the State. ● Secular (added by 42nd Amendment, 1976): The State does not have any official religion of its own. ● Democratic: The government draws its authority from the people (Remember how Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as ‘Government of the people, by the people, for the people’). ● Republic: Head of the State in India is an elected person and holds the office for a fixed term (The President of India is the Head of the State in India). Compare this with monarchy where the Head of the State is not an elected person but is chosen on the basis of heredity. ❖ The Preamble specifies that the Constitution of India was ‘adopted’, ‘enacted’ and given to themselves by the people of India on 26 November 1949. It should be noted that the Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950.
❖ The Preamble was initially not considered as a part of the Constitution. This was held by the Supreme Court in the Berubari case in 1960. However, this interpretation was later changed in the case of Kesavananda Bharti Vs. State of Kerala in the year 1973, whereby the Supreme Court held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution, and, thus, it can also be amended.
❖ The words ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’, and ‘and integrity’ were not a part of original text of the Preamble and were added by the 42nd Amendment in the year 1976 (also known as ‘Mini-Constitution’). This is the only instance where the Preamble was amended.
❖ Is Preamble a part of the basic structure of the Constitution? Partially, yes! The objectives specified in the Preamble are a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and cannot be interfered with. (To know more about the basic structure of the Constitution, read the case of Kesavananda Bharti Vs. State of Kerala ). Citizenship
❖ Part II of the Constitution of India provides for the citizenship of India. It lays down the general principles of citizenship. India has a system of single citizenship. There is a single citizenship for the Union of India, and there is no citizenship for individual states. Also, a person cannot be a citizen of any other country apart from India while he continues to hold the citizenship of India.
Right to Equality
❖ Article 14: Equality before law: Article 14 says that ‘the State shall not deny to any person equality before law or equal protection of laws within the territory of India’. It is conferred to all individuals as opposed to only citizens. Article 14 has two components viz., ‘equality before the law’ and ‘equal protection of laws’. Everyone, irrespective of rank and position, is subject to the jurisdiction of ordinary courts. The latter part of the Article confers a positive obligation over the State to ensure that everyone may enjoy equal protection, and remove existing inequalities, by bringing in necessary steps.
❖ Legislative classification is allowed. However, equality does not mean uniformity of treatment but that equals must be treated equally, whereas unequals must be treated differently. Therefore, a wide discretion has been given to the legislature to classify and distinguish persons for the purposes of legislation.
Article 15:Prohibition of Discrimination: This Article applies the general principle laid down in Article 14 to particular situations. It prohibits the State from discriminating (treating unfairly) against its citizens, only on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Further, they should also not be restricted in access to various public places including shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainment; or the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads, and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. But State can make special provisions for women and children or for socially and educationally backward classes or for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes. It is to be noted that this is directed only at the citizens and not all individuals.
❖ Article 16: Equality of opportunity in public employment: It states that there should be an equality of opportunity for citizens and non- discrimination in the matters of public employment. There are some exceptions though. The Parliament may enact a law requiring certain jobs to be filled only by the applicants domiciled in the area. The State may also reserve posts for members of backward classes, scheduled castes, or scheduled tribes which are not adequately represented in the services under the State. A law may require that the office holder of any religious institution shall also be a person professing that religion. ❖ Article 17: Abolition of Untouchability: It abolishes untouchability and renders enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability to be an offence.
❖ Article 18: Abolition of Titles: It prohibits conferment of titles by the State or their acceptance from foreign states. It also prohibits any non- citizen holding an office of profit or trust under the State from accepting a title from a foreign State and any person holding such an office from accepting any present or future emolument or office from any foreign state, without the consent of the president.
Right to Freedom
❖ Article 19: Article 19(1) of the Constitution guarantees all the citizens of India six fundamental freedoms which they can exercise throughout the territory of India. They are as follows: 1. Freedom of Speech and Expression (19(1)(a)): It means the right to express one’s own ideas and opinions freely by any mode of expression or medium of communication. It includes freedom of the press as well and, therefore, incorporates the right to propagate or publish the views of others also. However, reasonable restrictions can be imposed in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offence. 2. Freedom to Assemble Peacefully without Arms (19(1)(b)): It provides for the right of assembly including the right to hold meetings and to take out processions. But this right has two limitations, that the assembly must be unarmed and peaceful. Further reasonable restrictions may be imposed in the interest of public order or sovereignty. 3. Freedom to form Associations, Unions or Co-operative Societies (19(1)(c)): It also confers on its citizens a freedom to form and continue associations or unions; and it has a very wide ambit including all kinds of associations like political parties, clubs, trade unions, etc. 4. Freedom to move Freely Throughout the Territory of India (19(1) (d)): This freedom is also guaranteed to the citizens, and it overlaps with the freedom to reside and settle in any part (19(1)(e)) of the territory of India. 5. Right to Property (19(1)(f)): (deleted by the 44th Amendment, 1978, and is now a part of Article 300A).
6. Right to Trade and Occupation (19(1)(g)): The Constitution also guarantees that all the citizens have the right to practise any profession or to pursue any occupation, trade, or business, within the territory of India. However, it is to be reiterated that these freedoms are not absolute in nature and that they are subject to reasonable restrictions which may be imposed by the State, in the interest of:
● Sovereignty and integrity of India ● Security of the State ● Friendly relations with foreign States ● Public order
❖ Protection in Respect of Conviction of Offences (Article 20): It states that a person can only be convicted of an offence, if the act he is charged against was an offence under the law at the date of commission of the offence. Thus, one cannot be punished for an act which is not an offence at the date of its commission (Right against retrospective laws).
● Further, this Article recognizes the concept of ‘Double Jeopardy’ and the Constitution doesn’t allow a person to be prosecuted for a criminal offense again for which he has already been tried once (Right against double jeopardy).
● It further protects an accused person against the compulsion of self- incrimination, stating that a person who is accused of an offence shall not be compelled to be witness against himself (Right against self- incrimination).
❖ Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Article 21): It confers the most fundamental right, that of life and personal liberty. However, protection of life and personal liberty afforded by this Article is not absolute. It can be restricted according to the procedure established by law. For example: court can grant capital punishment if a person is convicted of any offence punishable with death under the Indian Penal Code.
❖ Protection against Arrest and Detention (Article 22): It confers certain rights to all persons against arrest and detention. It confers a right not to be detained in custody without being informed about the grounds of arrest, the right to consult and to be represented by a lawyer of one’s own choice, the right to be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of his arrest, and the right to not be detained in custody beyond 24 hours without authority of the court. It further lays down the mechanism to be followed in case of preventive detention. Right Against Exploitation (Article 23)
❖ Abolition of Trafficking in Human Beings and Begar: The provisions pertaining to this right are laid under Articles 23 and 24. The former talks about the prohibition of trafficking in human beings and forced labour, and it would not only apply to the State but also to individuals. Trafficking refers to the treatment of human beings like goods, i.e., to sell or let or otherwise dispose them off. In furtherance of this Article, bonded labor system was abolished by Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. Begar means involuntary work without payment, and the same has already been specifically abolished. No one can be compelled to work without wages.
❖ Abolition of Employment of Children (Article 24): It forbids the employment of children below the age of 14 years in dangerous jobs like factories and mines. However, the employment of children in general is not prohibited under the Constitution. Right to Freedom of Religion (Articles 25–28)
❖ This right extends from Articles 25 to 28 of the Indian Constitution and highlights the secular nature of Indian polity. It provides for freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, and includes the right of establishing and maintaining religious and charitable institutions, managing one’s own religious affairs. Article 25 guarantees rights to individuals, whereas Article 26 confers right to religious denominations. Article 27 enshrines freedom from levying of taxes, the proceeds of which are utilized for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion. Lastly, Article 28 deals with imparting religious instructions in religious educational institutions, wherein only certain institutions are qualified to impart religious instructions. Cultural and Educational Rights (Articles 29–30)
❖ This seeks to protect the interests of minorities, by conferring on them the right to converse in their own language, script, or culture. Further, no one can be denied admission to any educational institution maintained or aided by State funds, solely on the grounds of religion, race, caste, or language. Furthermore, all minorities, whether religious or linguistic, have been conferred a right to establish and administer an educational institution of their own choice. Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32) There is a famous maxim, ‘Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium’, which means that ‘there is no right without a remedy’. There would be no use of Fundamental Rights for the citizens or non-citizens, if there was no mechanism to enforce such rights. Article 32 of the Constitution gives such a mechanism to the people. If any Fundament Right of any person to whom such right was granted is infringed, he can directly approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. No wonder Dr B.R. Ambedkar, the chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, termed this article as ‘the heart and soul of the Indian Constitution’. Article 32 gives the power to the Supreme Court to issue directions, orders, or writs.
Directive Principles of State Policy
❖ The concept of Directive Principles of State Policy (hereinafter, referred to as DPSP) has been borrowed from the Irish Constitution. The DPSP are the guidelines laid down by the framers of the Constitution for the central and state governments. They are directives to the governments for a better functioning of the country and for the welfare of the citizens. The aim of DPSP is to achieve social and economic equality through the creation of a welfare state.
❖ Article 37 of the Constitution of India provides that the provision contained in Part IV (DPSP) shall not be enforceable by any Court. It further says that the principles are fundamental in the governance of the country, and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles to make laws.
❖ The DPSP can be said to be the unenforceable rights, which when implemented would improve the standard of living of the citizens and ensure that the society as a whole progresses and benefits from the planning done by the government. The DPSP are the non-justiciable (cannot be enforced by a court of law) rights of the people. Some of the important DPSPs provided under the Constitution are listed here. The Socialist Principles
❖ Article 38: To secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people.
❖ Article 39: To strive to minimize inequalities of income.
❖ Article 39(b): Ownership and control of material resources of the community shall be so distributed so as to subserve the common good.
❖ Article 39(d): Equal pay for equal work. ❖ Article 39(e): Health and strength of workers, and the tender age of children must not be abused.
❖ Article 39A: Equal justice and free legal aid. ❖ Article 42: Provision of just and humane conditions for work and maternity relief. ❖ Article 43A: Participation of workers in the management of the industries. The Gandhian Principles
❖ Article 40: Organization of village panchayats. ❖ Article 43: To promote cottage industry.
❖ Article 46: Promotion of educational and economic interests of the SCs, the STs, and other weaker sections of society.
❖ Article 47: To bring about the prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.
❖ Article 48: Organization of agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines to prohibit the slaughter of cows, calves, and other milch and draught animals.
The Western Liberal Principles
❖ Article 44: Uniform Civil Code for the citizens. ❖ Article 45: Provide free and compulsory education for children below 14 years.
❖ Article 50: Separation of judiciary from the executive.
❖ Article 51: To promote international peace and amity. Short Notes on Some Prominent DPSPs
❖ Uniform Civil Code: The term ‘Uniform Civil Code’ refers to a secular law which would govern all people, irrespective of their religion, caste, and tribe. At present, India has different personal laws for people following different religions. The Uniform Civil Code aims at unifying the country by means of a uniform law for all citizens. The aim of the code is to include the laws related to property, succession, marriage, divorce, adoption, within its fold, to make the law consistent across the sections of society. The Uniform Civil Code is currently applicable only in Goa. The Goa Civil Code was not passed by the Indian Legislature, but we have inherited this law from the Portuguese.
❖ Free Legal Aid: Article 39-A of the Constitution provides that the State should strive to ensure that no person is denied justice by reason of economic or other disabilities. The National Legal Services Authorities Act (NALSA), 1987 was enacted to ensure that this directive principle is implemented. The Act provides for constitution of Legal Services Authorities to provide free services by competent legal professionals.
This Act ensures that no person is denied justice due to economic disabilities. This ensures a fair field for everyone seeking justice. As a result no one can be intimidated by the economic prowess of the other person while seeking justice before the courts of law.
❖ The Fundamental Duties of the citizens are provided for in Part IVA of the Constitution, which were added by the 42nd Amendment in the year 1976. They were inspired from the Constitution of erstwhile U.S.S.R. Article 51-A was inserted in the Constitution enumerating the duties of the citizens towards the country. The aim behind adding the Fundamental Duties was to introduce some duties for Indian citizens, so that the culture, heritage, unity of the country is preserved.
❖ Initially, there were ten Fundamental Duties. By an amendment (86th Amendment) in 2002, the Parliament added the eleventh Fundamental Duty for the parents to provide an opportunity for education to their child between the age of six and 14 years. The various Fundamental Duties of the citizens as enumerated in the Constitution are:
● 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 national struggle for freedom; ● to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India; ● to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so; ● to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women; ● to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture; ● to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures; ● to develop a scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform; ● to safeguard public property and to abjure violence; ● to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement; and ● parents or guardians to provide opportunities for education to children or, as the case may be, wards between the age of 6 and 14 years. Union Executive and Union Legislature ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’
❖ The Monarchial system of government which existed almost everywhere centuries ago, was on the premise of the king being the supreme. He would be the all-powerful person and the judge, jury, and executioner in all matters. However, this resulted in the all-powerful person exercising authority in a whimsical and an arbitrary manner, without keeping the interests of the people in mind.
❖ To battle this, most of the modern democratic setups are based on a principle known as the principle of Separation of Powers, whereby the powers are divided between three wings of the Government, namely the legislature, executive, and judiciary. The Union legislature consists of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, and its purpose is framing laws to govern the country. The Union executive consists of the President, Vice- President, Prime Minister (and sometimes Deputy Prime Minister), and the Union Council of Ministers. Its purpose is to execute the laws passed by the Union Legislature.
The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and lower courts, and its purpose is to interpret and review the laws passed by the legislature. The judiciary can also declare a law unconstitutional if it goes against the Constitution of India. Union Executive This branch of the government primarily consists of three broad components, namely the President, Vice President, and the Council of Ministers including the Prime Minister.
As stated above, the primary function of the Union Executive is to implement the laws framed by the Union Legislature. President Article 52 establishes the post of the President of India. He/she is the de jure head (by operation of law), Head of the State in India and the Nominal (or Titular) Head.
1. Oath: The President has to take an oath or affirmation in the presence of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court in his absence.
2. Qualifications: ● He should be a citizen of India; ● He should have completed the age of 35 years; ● He should be qualified to be elected as a member of the Lok Sabha, but must not be a member of either House of Parliament or State Legislature, and ● The President should not hold any office of profit, i.e., the candidate should not be a government servant. However, the office of the President, the Vice-President, the Governor, or the minister of the Union or the State is not considered as an office of profit for this purpose. (Article 58)
3. Manner of Election: The president is elected by an electoral college which consists of the elected members of: ● Both the Houses of Parliament and ● The State Legislative Assemblies. (Article 54) The election is conducted by way of a secret ballot according to the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. (Article 55)
4. Tenure: The President is elected for a period of 5 years and is eligible for immediate re-election. (Article 56 & 57)
5. Impeachment Procedure (Removal): ● The President can only be removed from office through a process called impeachment. The resolution to impeach the President can be moved in either House of Parliament only after a 14-day notice is given by at least one-fourth of the total membership of the House. Such a resolution must be passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of that House, and then it goes to the other House, which should pass it with a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House, to effect the impeachment. ● In case of vacancy in the office of President due to death, resignation or impeachment, the Vice-President officiates for a period of six months, and within that period an election for the new president must be held. (Article 61)
6. Emoluments of the President are determined by Parliament, and the same shall not be diminished during his term of office.
7. Powers of the President: Some of the prominent powers of the President are as follows: ● The President summons both the Houses of Parliament, can prorogue them, and can dissolve the Lok Sabha. ● The President can declare war or conclude peace. ● The President can issue an ordinance when the Parliament is not in session. Such an ordinance ceases to have effect on the expiration of six weeks from the start of the next session of Parliament. ● When a bill is presented to the President for assent, The President can either: ✶ Give assent. ✶ Withhold assent. ✶ Send the bill back (if it is not a money bill) to the Parliament for reconsideration once. ● The President appoints the following persons to their respective posts: ✶ Governors of States ✶ Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts ✶ Attorney General of India ✶ Prime minister and council of ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister ✶ Comptroller and Auditor General of India ✶ Heads of Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force) ✶ Ambassadors and High Commissioners to other countries ● The President can grant pardons, reprieves, respites, and remissions of punishment or he/she can suspend, remit, or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence, if: ✶ The punishment was given under any union law ✶ The punishment or sentence is by a court martial ✶ The sentence is a sentence of death ● The President can declare a National Emergency, State Emergency (President’s Rule), or Financial Emergency.
❖ The Prime Minister is the de facto (by operation of fact) head, head of the government, and the real Head of India.
❖ Appointment: The President appoints the Prime Minister of India. He is usually the leader of the ruling party in the Lok Sabha. ❖ The Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers and allocates their portfolios to them.
❖ Resignation: The Prime Minister can submit his resignation to the President.
❖ Oath and Removal: The President administers to the Prime Minister, oaths of office and secrecy. Furthermore, he can be removed from his post by the President.
❖ Term of Office: The Prime Minister holds office so long as he/she enjoys the support of the Lok Sabha. The usual term of office is five years.
❖ On the death or resignation of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers is automatically dissolved.
❖ Article 81 deals with the composition of the House of the People and states that the Lok Sabha consists of directly elected people from territorial constituencies, and its maximum strength cannot be more than 552.
At present, the Lok Sabha comprises 545 members, out of which 543 members are directly elected by the people of India on the basis of universal adult franchise, and two are nominated.
❖ Quorum (minimum strength required to make the proceedings of any day valid) for Lok Sabha is 1/10th of the total strength.
❖ Article 84 deals with the qualification for membership of Parliament and states that any citizen of India, who has completed the age of 25 years and does not hold any offi ce of profi t, may contest Lok Sabha elections.
❖ Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by adult universal suff rage and a fi rst-past-the-post system to represent their respective constituencies, and they hold their seats for fi ve years or until the body is dissolved by the president on the advice of the council of ministers.
M. Thambidurai. When the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker are vacant, the President appoints a Speaker Pro Tem (temporary speaker) to fulfi ll the duties of the Speaker. ❖ A Money bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. Also, the assent of the President is required, to introduce a Money bill.
❖ The Rajya Sabha has only 14 days to pass the bill when it is presented for its approval. Also, during these 14 days, the Rajya Sabha cannot make amendments to the bill but can only give non-binding recommendations.
❖ Once the Money bill is presented to the President, he/she cannot send the bill back to the Parliament for reconsideration. Thus, he/she cannot use a Suspensive Veto on a Money bill.
❖ A motion of no-confi dence can only be initiated and passed in the Lok Sabha. It cannot be introduced or passed in the Rajya Sabha as the ruling government needs to have a majority in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha.
❖ Three sessions of Lok Sabha take place in a year: ● Budget session: February to May. ● Monsoon session: July to September. ● Winter session: November to mid-December. Rajya Sabha (Council of States) ❖ The Rajya Sabha is also known as the Upper House of the Parliament of India, Council of States and ‘Elder House’. Since we have both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha at the Union level, we follow a bicameral system of parliament at the Union level.
❖ Though the maximum strength of the Rajya Sabha is 250 members, at present the Rajya Sabha comprises 245 members, out of which the President nominates 12 members having special knowledge or practical experience in the fi eld of literature, science, art, and social service. However, they are not entitled to vote in Presidential elections as per Article 55 of the Indian Constitution.
❖ Members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of the Assemblies of states and union territories in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable votes.
❖ The Chief Minister is the de facto (by operation of fact) head of a state. He/ she is usually the leader of the ruling party in the Legislative Assembly. He/she is invited by the Governor to become the Chief Minister and form his/her cabinet. He is appointed under Article 164 of the Constitution.
❖ The Chief Minister recommends the name of the State Council of Ministers to the Governor who then appoints the same. The removal of the State Council of Ministers also happens on the advice of the Chief Minister.
❖ A person can be the Chief Minister of a state without being a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) or Member of Legislative Council (MLC), but only for a maximum period of 6 months.
Some Important Functions of the Chief Minister
❖ He presides over the meetings of the Council of Ministers and plays a major role in their decision making.
❖ On his/her advice, the Governor usually summons or prorogues the Legislative Assembly.
❖ He/she can also recommend dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, to the Governor
❖ He/she is a member of the Inter-State Council and the National Development Council, both of which are presided over by the Prime Minister of India.
Consolidated Fund of India
❖ Provided for under Article 266(1) of the Constitution.
❖ There is both for the Centre and each of the States, a Consolidated Fund to which all incomes received by the government are credited.
❖ All government expenditure is made from this fund, except for exceptional items met from the Contingency Fund or the Public Account. No money can be withdrawn from this fund without Parliament’s approval.
❖ Article 112 mentions the expenditures which shall be charged from the Consolidated Fund of India. Contingency Fund of India
❖ Provided for under Article 267(1) of the Constitution of India.
❖ It is in the nature of an imprest, that is, money maintained for a specific purpose. It’s at the disposal of the President of India to make advances to meet urgent unforeseen expenditure like natural disasters.
❖ India being the largest democracy of the world, elections in India have been the largest electoral exercise in the world since the first General Elections of 1952.
❖ According to Article 324, the Election Commission (EC) of India is the only entity that has been given the authority to supervise, direct, and control elections. The EC should comprise the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other Election Commissioners, who will be appointed by the President.
❖ India has been divided into single member territorial constituencies. Every constituency will have one electoral roll for both Parliamentary and Assembly elections, and no person shall be included or excluded from the electoral roll on grounds of religion, race, caste, and sex. ❖ Article 326 of the Constitution guarantees the right to be registered as a voter, to every citizen above the age of 18. Further, Section 62 of the Representation of Peoples Act (RoPA), 1951 states that every person who is in the electoral roll of that constituency will be entitled to vote. ❖ Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were commissioned in 1989 by EC of India in collaboration with Electronics Corporation of India Limited. The highest number of candidates that an electronic voting machine can support is 64. ❖ In 2014, owing to a Supreme Court decision, the option of ‘None of the Above’ was added to all Electronic Voting Machines. Earlier, in order to cast a negative vote, the voter had to inform the presiding officer at the polling booth.
Finance Commission of India
❖ Article 280 of the Constitution provides for a Finance Commission as a quasi-judicial body. It is constituted by the President every fifth year or at such earlier time as he/she considers necessary.
❖ It was formulated for the purpose of allocation of resources between the Union and the States. It is required to make recommendations to the President of India on the following matters: ● The distribution of net proceeds of taxes to be shared between the Centre and the states and the allocation between the states of the respective shares of such proceeds. ● The principles that should govern the grants-in-aids to the states by the Centre. ● The measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the panchayats and the municipalities in the state on the basis of the recommendations made by the State Finance Commission. ● Any other matter referred to it by the President in the interests of sound finance. ❖ The Finance Commission consists of a Chairman along with four other members and a Secretary. They are eligible for reappointment, and they hold their office for a period as specified by the President in his order. ❖ The Chairman of the Finance Commission should be a person having experience in public affairs and the four other members should be selected from amongst the following: ● A judge of a High Court or one qualified to be appointed as one. ● A person who has specialized knowledge of finance and accounts of the government. ● A person who has wide experience in financial matters and administration. ● A person who has special knowledge of economics. ❖ A member of the Finance Commission can be disqualified on the following grounds—when a member is found to be of unsound mind, is involved in a vile act or if his interests are likely to affect the functioning of the Commission. A member of the Finance Commission can resign by addressing his resignation to the President. ❖ Chairman of the first Finance Commission—K.C. Neogy.