Constitution Day 2022: Revisiting the making of the world’s longest known constitution

Constitution Day, also known as “National Law Day”, is observed annually in India on 26 November to commemorate the adoption of the Indian Constitution. The Constituent Assembly of India enacted the Indian Constitution on 26 November 1949 and it came into force on 26 January 1950.

The Constituent Assembly worked for three years (two years, eleven months and seventeen days) to fulfill its historic mission of drafting the Constitution of independent India. During this time, it held eleven sessions for a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent in discussions on the draft constitution.

Constitution of the Constituent Assembly (December 6, 1946) On December 9, 1946, the Constituent Assembly, a body of popularly elected representatives established for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution, met for the first time in the Constitution Hall, currently known as the Central Hall of the Parliament House.

The honorable members sat in semi-circular rows facing the Presidential dais, overwhelmed and ecstatic. The front row included Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Acharya JB Kripalani, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sarojini Naidu, Hare-Krushna Mahatab, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Dr BR Ambedkar, Sarat Chandra Bose, C. Rajagopalachari and M. Asaf Ali. There were 237 representatives present, including nine women.

The inaugural session began at 11.00 am with the introduction of Dr. Sachchidanand Sinha, the pro-tem speaker of the Sabha by Acharya Kriplani. Acharya said on the arrival of Dr Sinha and others: “When we start every work with divine blessings, we request Dr Sinha to invoke these blessings so that our work can proceed smoothly. Now, I once again call the doctor on your behalf.” Sinha will now take over the chair,” according to Facts on the Indian Constitution of the Lok Sabha.

Dr. Sinha took his seat amidst thunderous applause and read out the good wishes received from many countries. After the opening remarks of the Speaker and the appointment of a Deputy Speaker, the members were formally asked to present their credentials. The proceedings of the first day came to an end when all the 207 members present submitted their credentials and signed the register.

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Representatives of the press and visitors gathered in galleries thirty feet above the floor of the chamber to witness the historic occasion. All India Radio in Delhi broadcast a composite audio picture of the entire event.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad appointed as President (December 11, 1946)Dr. Rajendra Prasad, an Indian independence activist, lawyer and scholar, who became the first President of India in 1950, was elected as the first President of the Constituent Assembly.

The members were elected by indirect election by the members of the provincial assemblies as per the recommendation of the Cabinet Mission. The system was as follows: (i) 292 members were elected through the Provincial Legislative Assemblies; (ii) 93 members represented the Indian princely states; and (iii) 4 members representing the Chief Commissioner’s Provinces.

Thus the total membership of the House will be 389. However, as a result of partition under the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June 1947, a separate Constituent Assembly was established for Pakistan, and representatives of some provinces ceased to be members of the Assembly. As a result, the membership of the Assembly was reduced to 299.

Motion and adoption of the ‘Objectives Resolution’ (December 13, 1946)– Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru introduced the ‘Objective Resolution’ on December 13, 1946, which established the idea and guiding principles for the making of the Constitution and later took the form of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

The Constituent Assembly unanimously approved this resolution on January 22, 1947. The assembly assembled in the Constituent Assembly late in the evening of 14 August 1947 and assumed office as the Legislative Assembly of an independent India at midnight.

National Flag was adopted (July 22, 1947)The National Flag of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 July 1947 and became the official flag of the Dominion of India on 15 August 1947. The Indian flag is a tricolor, consisting of saffron, white and India green. Ashoka Chakra in the centre, with 24-spoke wheel in navy blue.

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Independent India (August 15, 1947)On this day, the authority of the British Empire was transferred to India with the help of various freedom fighters whose efforts made India’s independence a reality.

Drafting Committee (26 August 1947) The constitution was drafted by 299 representatives from all castes, regions, religions and genders. During the committee stages and the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly, the Drafting Committee and its members wielded considerable power in the Indian Constitution-making process.

On August 29, 1947, the Constituent Assembly appointed Dr. B.R. A drafting committee was set up under the chairmanship of Ambedkar. The assembly moved, discussed and voted on 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 proposed amendments while deliberating on the draft constitution.

The Constitution of India was passed and adopted (November 26, 1949)This day, also known as Samvidhan Diwas or National Law Day, is celebrated in honor of the adoption of the Constitution of India. This Constituent Assembly became effective on January 26, 1950.

The Constitution of India was adopted on 26th November, 1949 and signed by the Hon’ble Members on 24th January, 1950. In all, 284 members signed the constitution. It was drizzling outside on the day the constitution was signed, which was seen as a favorable omen. The Indian Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950.

The Assembly ceased to exist on that date, becoming the provisional Parliament of India until a new Parliament was constituted in 1952.

Last meeting of the Constituent Assembly (January 24, 1950)– All signed and ratified the ‘Constitution of India’ (395 Articles, 8 Schedules, 22 Parts).

When the Constitution came into force (January 26, 1950)The Constitution replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the primary governing document of the country and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India.

First General Election (1951-52)- General elections were held in India between 25 October 1951 and 21 February 1952. They were the first Lok Sabha elections held after the independence of the country in August 1947. This was done in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.

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