Civils Polity and Governance

Dear viewers and aspirants of modernizing India, we shall now concentrate on Polity section and important paths that shaped up Indian Polity. We need strong foundation in political India if we have to score decently at Prelims, Mains and subsequent interview stage.

We shall learn in detail of Parliamentary democracy and its derived relevance from Indian national freedom struggle and framing of constitution and adoption of foreign policy with an eye on industrialization. Books for basic reading are 1. Our Parliament by Subhash Kashyap 2. Introduction to Constitution of India by DD Basu 3. Crack IAS booklet material on Indian Polity 4. Internet usage for series of articles from Economic and Political Weekly and thorough research of web portals of GoI and other institutions. The reference from Crack IAS is very good as the content has been developed by those who cleared the examination, so better you subscribe for it from the beginning to avoid last minute rush. Any scheme announced by government, either in the union or in the state, is directly linked up with at least one article of constitution of India, 1950, or has its roots in one or all of directive principles of state policy or of fundamental rights.

What makes a constitution for a nation-state?

The word nation-state is derived from the concept of city-state of Greece which was introduced as early as in Socrates period. The concept of city-state is different from its derivative in nation-state as the moot for nuances of administration of an ancient city is infinitesimal when you look at nations under whose direct control the current cities like Auckland, New York city, Delhi national capital territory are administered. Put it simply, the model of administration was definitely taken from ancient times but has evolved over time to make it compatible with world order today.

Preparation of Constitution of India

Gandhiji had asked for a constitution of the people themselves in 1922 through an article ‘Independence in young India’ which was taken up further by the demand from MN Roy for constituting assembly in 1927. Upon the request of All India Muslim League, the Indian National Congress, Hindu Mahasabha, Central Khilafat Committee, the conference of Indian Christians, in the year 1928 at Delhi, Motilal Nehru had drafted a constitution from Canadian perspectives of governance and Australasian models, which included dominion status for India. Jawaharlal Nehru equally made efforts to have original constitution for independent India after Simon “all White” commission had submitted its report on the constitutional progress for India. Later the INC in 1937 in the Faizpur session and in 1940 in the Ramgarh session and subsequent rejection of Government of India Act, 1935, in its resolution in 1936, had upped the ante which eventually got the nod from Viceroy Linlithgow. Cripps Plan had accepted the idea in 1942 and finally Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 had carved out a constituent assembly to write the constitution.

The composition of the assembly had in all 389 members in which 292 were elected from legislative assemblies of British India and 93 members were recommended by princely states heads. Partition resulted in the reduction of Indian members to 299 in which United Provinces had the highest number of representatives followed by Madras. The constitution committee headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad had taken help from 22 committees wherein Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had headed the important drafting committee; Jawaharlal Nehru the committees of states, union powers, union constitution; J.B. Kripalani the Fundamental Rights sub committee; B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya the House committee; G.V. Mavalankar the Functions of the constituent assembly; and Rajendra Prasad himself the ad-hoc committee on the National Flag, the committees of Rules of Procedure, Steering Committee, Finance and Staff Committee. No matter how good and intellectuals others were, it was Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who had taken the painstaking effort in penning the lengthy and relevant constitution with his mastery over English and legal affairs, and hence referred to as father of Indian constitution.

Ambedkar had clearly explained why the terms union and state were used in the draft. India, as it was, the indestructible unit of destructible units, which meant India was one unit divided by many sub units WHICH MAY UNDERGO subsequent divisions and alterations as per the need. He also laid emphasis on ‘the control at the union with sub controls at the regional level’ when he made single commission for conducting elections with regional election commission units which should function independently. On the same account, he wisely had asked for making the role of President a ‘functional’ one and not a ‘mute’ spectator by proposing the indirect method of election in parliamentary democracy. On the recommendation of states committee also, he sought to make Governor of a state an active watch house, which can ‘act’ by the need, through which centre communicates to state. The constitution of India, 1950, had parallels with the Government of India Act, 1935, in some key aspects like federalism, election commission, public service commission, SC’s superiority over HCs, exemplary powers of the central government in exceptional and demanding cases of governance etc,.

So, we see that tremendous will power and man power exercise resulted in a constitution that is changing. As Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India had said, a constitution that is unchanging to people’s needs and aspirations is like a dead body. Rules of procedure have thus been enforced to guide amendment rules. The basic point we can see is the basic structure can never be altered. That’s why not all the powers, with exception of defence and external affairs, have been pocketed in central government. The Auditing authority CAG is mainly an auditing agency independent of government unlike its counterpart in the UK where the office also has comptroller authority. Similarly, any government order needs elaborate exercise of “due process” to be signed by the President at the centre and by the Governor at the state. Cabinet rank in the union is entirely different in nature compared to a cabinet rank in the state. Tax structure is fundamentally a headache of union finance ministry, but is equally an aching mechanism for a state. Supreme Court can only review its own judgment whereas High Courts should invariably be under the jurisdiction of SC.

Contd…


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