26 November is celebrated as Constitution Day to mark the day the Constituent Assembly adopted the Indian Constitution on 26 November 1949. It came into force in its entirety two months later, on 26 January, 1950. 26 November is now celebrated as Constitution Day. “At the heart of the constitutional project was trust – trust in each other, trust between institutions, trust in the goodness of fellow citizens, and trust in the wisdom of future generations,” President Ram Nath Kovind had said in his address to mark the day last year. Its wisdom continues to guide us in moments of crisis, Chief Justice of India Rajan Gogoi said on Monday. The Constitution, an exhaustive set of principles which guides the governance of the Indian Republic, lays down a Parliamentary form of government which is federal in structure. The Preamble lists the guiding principles of the Constitution. The parts that follow deal with a wide range of subjects including the governance structure and powers of the centre and states; centre-state relationship and fundamental rights.
Here are 10 important facts you must know about the Indian Constitution.
- The Indian Constitution was finalised by a Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly. The committee, headed by Dr B R Ambedkar, was set up on 29 August 1947.
- The creation of the drafting committee was preceded by the adoption of the Objectives Resolution moved by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. This stated the Constituent Assembly’s resolve to draw up India’s own Constitution.
- The Constituent Assembly took nearly three years to draft the Constitution. The exact time taken was two years, 11 months and 17 days. The assembly held 11 sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution.
- The Constituent Assembly moved, discussed and disposed of as many as 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 tabled while discussing the Draft Constitution.
- The Constitution was signed by 284 members of the Constituent Assembly on 24 January 1950. It came into force in its entirety on 26 January 1950, when India became a Republic.
- On that day, the Constituent Assembly ceased to exist and became the Provisional Parliament of India until a new Parliament was constituted in 1952.
- The Lion Capital was adopted as the national emblem on the same day. The day was chosen as it marked the anniversary of the announcement of Purna Swarajya (26 January 1930).
- The original copies of the Constitution, one each in Hindi and English, were hand-written in beautiful calligraphy by Prem Behari Narain Raizada. Artists from Santiniketan decorated pages of the Constitution. Original copies of the Constitution are kept in helium-filled cylinders at the Parliament of India
- Parts of the Constitution have been inspired by the constitutions of Britain (Parliamentary system, law-making procedure and single citizenship); United States (Preamble, Judiciary’s Structure, Judicial Review, and Fundamental Rights); Canada (Strong federal system); Ireland (Directive Principles of State Policy) and Australia (Concurrent List).
- The Constitution of India has seen 101 amendments so far, the last one having been brought about to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2016.