What are the borrowed features of the Indian constitution? Read further to know more.
The Indian Constitution is unique in its contents and spirit. However, it had picked up many best features from other constitutions of the world. The constitution of India has several salient features that distinguish it from the constitutions of other countries.
What do You Understand by a Constitution?
A constitution means a document having a special legal sanctity that sets out the framework and principal functions of the government, Constitution of a country gives an idea about the basic structure of the political system under which its people are to be governed.
It defines the powers of the main organs of the state, demarcates their responsibilities, and regulates their relationships which each other and with the people. It can also be termed the “Fundamental Law” of a country that reflects people’s faith and aspirations.
The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest written constitution in the world. It took about 2 years and 11 months for the constituent assembly to prepare it.
The Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution on 26th November 1949, which contained a Preamble, 395 Articles, and 8 Schedules originally, and it came into effect on 26th of January 1950.
Borrowed Features of the Indian Constitution
The Constitution of India is remarkable for many outstanding features which make it different from other Constitutions of the world even though it has been prepared after ransacking all the known constitutions of the world and most of its provisions are substantially borrowed from others.
Though our Constitution may be said to be a borrowed constitution, the credit goes to the framers who gathered the best features of all the existing Constitutions and modified them with a view to avoiding the faults that have been disclosed in their work and them adopting them as per the need of this country.
The chairman of the drafting committee Dr. Ambedkar had said in this regard, “As to the accusation that the Draft Constitution has reproduced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, I make no apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a Constitution….”
Government of India Act, 1935
This Act formed the basic premise or the basis or ‘blueprint’ of the constitution of India with the features of:
Constitution of Britain
- Law-making procedures/Legislative procedure
- Rule of law
- Single citizenship
- Bicameral Parliamentary system
- Office of CAG
- Parliamentary form of Government
- Parliamentary privileges
- Cabinet system
- Prerogative writs
Constitution of USA
- Independence of judiciary
- Judicial review
- Fundamental rights
- Removal of Supreme Court and High Court judges
- Functions of the President and Vice-president
- Impeachment of the President
- Post of Vice-President
Constitution of Canada
- Centrifugal form of federalism where the center is stronger than the states
- To provide residuary powers to the Centre
- Supreme Court’s advisory jurisdiction
- Appointment of state Governors by the Centre
Constitution of Ireland
- Directive Principles of State policy
- Method of presidential elections
- The nomination of members to Rajya Sabha by the President
Weimar Constitution of Germany
Provisions concerning the suspension of fundamental rights during an Emergency.
Constitution of Australia
- The idea of the Concurrent List
- Trade and Commerce provisions
- Freedom of trade
- Joint sitting of the Upper and Lower House
Constitution of South Africa
- Amendment with 2/3rd majority in Parliament
- Election of the Members of Rajya Sabha on the basis of proportional representation
Constitution of Japan
Concept of “Procedure Established by Law”
Constitution of France
- Concept of Republic (Republican System)
- Principles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity
Constitution of former USSR
- Fundamental Duties
- Ideals of justice in the Preamble (social, economic, and political)
Framing of Indian Constitution: Important Facts
- The Constitution of India was framed by a constituent Assembly set up under the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946.
- The Assembly consisted of 389 members representing provinces (292), states (93) the Chief Commissioner Provinces (3), and Baluchistan (1).
- The Assembly held its first meeting on December 9, 1946, and elected Dr. Sachhidannand Sinha, the oldest member of the Assembly as the Provisional President.
- On December 11, 1946, the Assembly elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as its permanent Chairman.
- The strength of the Assembly was reduced to 299 (229 representing the provinces and 70 representing the States) following the withdrawal of the Muslim League members after the partition of the country.
- The Constituent Assembly set up 13 Committees for framing the constitution. On the basis of the reports of these committees, a draft of the constitution was prepared by a seven-member. Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambetkar.
- The draft constitution was finally adopted on November 26, 1949, and was signed by the President of the Assembly.
- Though the major part of the constitution came into force on January 26, 1950, the provisions relating to Citizenship, Elections, and Provisional parliament and temporary and transitional provision came into force with immediate effect viz. from November 26, 1949.
On January 26, 1950, the Indian Constitution came into existence as a result of the tireless efforts of the framers.
The people who drafted the constitution looked at the laws of other countries and adopted some of the elements while making certain modifications and adjustments.
Therefore, it cannot be said that the Indian Constitution is a borrowed work or a bag of borrowers as it was modified in light of India’s historical context, geographic diversity, cultural diversity, and traditional characteristics.
Additionally, with the passage of time, some modifications and amendments have been made, such as providing preference to marginalized communities and the president exhibiting greater power in times of emergency.
After considering these features, the researcher comes to the conclusion that the Indian Constitution is unique and should not be considered to be borrowed.
Article Written By: Priti Raj