- 1. MAJOR POLITICAL THEORIES
- 2. PREAMBLE AND THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
- 3. FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
- 4. DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY AND FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
- 5. INDIAN FEDERAL SYSTEM
- 6. EMERGENCY PROVISIONS
- 7. UNION EXECUTIVE
MAJOR POLITICAL THEORIES
Liberalism is fairly an old political ideology . Its roots can be traced to the days of the
sixteenth century . Since then it has passed through numerous stages. The Western
Enlightenment had refused to accept moral goals as absolute truths; the English Glorious
revolution (1688) had denounced the divine rights of the kings;
The French Revolution gave the cardinal ideas of ‘Liberty , Equality , and Fraternity’ and
the American War of Independence a little earlier (1775-76) laid emphasis on the declaration
of human rights.
4.1.1 Meaning of Liberalism
Harold Laski, an English scholar of Political Science once wrote: “It (liberalism) is not
easy to describe, much less to define, for it is hardly less a habit of mind than a body of
doctrine”. What it means is that liberalism is too dynamic and too flexible a concept to give
it a precise meaning. And yet the scholars have made attempts to define it. Sartori says,
‘V ery simply , liberalism is the theory and practice of individual liberty , juridical defense and
the constitutional state.” According to Koerner, “Liberalism begins and ends with the
ideals of individual freedom, individual human rights and individual human happiness”.
Encyclopaedia Britannica defines liberalism “as an idea committed to freedom, as a method
and policy in government, as an organizing principle in society and as a way of life for the
individual and the community .”
Liberalism is a theory of reforms, for it has stood for reforms in economic, social and
political fields. It is a theory of liberty , individual liberty , individual autonomy , for it has
argued in favour of the development of human personality . It is a theory of democracy , for
it has favoured constitutional government, government based on the consent of the people,
rule of law , decentralization, free and fair elections. T o conclude, we may highlight three
aspects of liberalism which clearly help us in understanding its meanings: in social sphere,
liberalism stands for secularism and a society that opposes, all kinds of social discrimination;
in economic sphere, it favors a capitalistic economy , individual ownership of the means of
production and maximum profit-earning motive, in political sphere, it stands for a democratic
polity , individual rights and liberties, responsive and responsible government, free and
impartial judiciary and the like.
4.1.2 Features of Liberalism
We may identity certain characteristics of liberalism. These characteristic features are :
(1) Individual Liberty : Liberalism is essentially an ideology of liberty . Its love for individual
liberty is unquestionable. It has become libertarianism. For the liberals, liberty is the very
essence of human personality . It is a means to one’s development.
(2) Individual-centred theory: Liberalism begins and ends with individual. For liberals,
individual is the centre of all activities, the focal point; individual is the end while all other
associations, including the state, are the means, which exist for the individual. individual is
the centre around which all things move.
(3) Capitalistic Economy :Liberalism advocates free-market economy , i.e., the capitalistic
mode of economy. It believes in private property system, regarding property rights as
sacrosanct; maximum profit as the only motive; capitalistic mode of production and
Individual and the S tate distribution as the only essence; the market forces as the controlling means of economy .
(4) Limited State: Liberalism advocates the concept of limited state. The liberals view
the state as a means for attaining the good of the individual. They oppose every type of
totalitarian state. They are of the opinion that a more powerful state means a less free
individual. Locke used to say , “because the functions of the state are limited, so are limited
(5) Opposed to Traditions/Superstitions : As liberalism rose as a reaction against
traditions/superstitions, it is, by its nature, opposed to all reactionary measures. Liberalism,
emerging from Renaissance and Reformation, stood, and actually stands, for reason and
rationalism. As against the feudal model of man as a passive being, liberalism favours a
model of man who is more active and more acquisitive.
(6) Democracy: Liberalism is an exponent of democratic government. It seeks to establish
a government of the people, by the people and for the people; a government that functions
according to the Constitution and constitutionalism; a government that upholds the rule of
law; a government that secures rights and liberties of the people. Liberalism, McGovern
says, is a combination of democracy and individualism.
(7) Welfareism :Liberalism is closely associated with welfarism. Welfarism, as a state
activity , is the idea that state works for the welfare of the people. The liberal concept of
state activity is one where the state serves the people. In other words, the welfare sate is
a ‘social service’ state.
4.1.3 Weaknesses of Liberalism
Liberalism has its own inherent defects. It is a philosophy full of tensions. On the one
hand, it unfurls the flag of liberty , and on the other , it argues for equality. On the one hand,
it works, within the framework of market society , it promises equal opportunities to all. On
the one hand, it asks for unlimited rights to acquire property , and on the other , it seeks to
demand a share of profit for the welfare of those who are unemployed and the needy . On
the one hand, it builds a capitalistic economy , ending up ultimately in inequalities, and on
the other , it endeavours to establish an egalitarian society .
Following the establishment of factories and the capitalistic
mode of production during the 17th-18th centuries West, the
conditions of the workers deteriorated. The workers who
entered the factories were subject to all sorts of exploitation
: long hours of work, life in slums, ill-health etc. The result
was exploitation of the workers, ever-increasing gap between
the rich and the poor , economic inequalities, degradation and
alienation. Karl Marx and Frederich Engels realised clearly
the adverse effects of capitalism and in the process, brought
out what is called scientific socialism or Marxism (after the
name of Marx). Those who contributed to the Marxian
philosophy after Marx and Engels include, among others, V .I.
Lenin (Russia), and Mao Zedong (China).
Alienationmeans aloofness, estrangement, apathy, cutting off. Marx finds
alienation in extermination i.e., man finds himself external (alien) to his
activity, his self.
4.2.1 Marxism and its Basic Postulates
Marxism is the political philosophy of the working class as liberalism is the political philosophy
of the capitalist class. It is a theory of social change : why social changes take place and
how do these changes come into effect? The social changes take place because of the
material factors and through a method called ‘dialectical materialistic’ method.
Marxism is based on certain assumptions/postulates. These are :
1) Nothing happens in the world on its own; there is always a cause -effect relationship
in what we see around. The relations of production (i.e., material relations among
the people), as the basis of society , provide the cause while the productive forces
constitute the effect.
2) The real development is always the material development (i.e., the economic
development). The progressive development of productive forces indicates the
progressive level of development.
3) The material (i.e. economic) factor is the dominant factor in both individual life and
4) Human being is born at a particular stage of social / material development, i.e., born
in a social setting which exists independent of him. But being an active being, human
being makes his own social setting. Marx had said, human beings are born in history ,
but they make history .
5) Social classes, especially the opposing classes, through their struggle and following
the process of revolution, move in the forward direction. That is why the Marxists
say that every subsequent society is better than the preceding society .
6) Revolutions mean total and wholesome changes; they are not a negative force, but
are what Marx had called, the locomotives of history . When launched and successful,
revolutions take the society to a higher stage of development.
Individual and the S tate 7) The state, being the result of a class society , is a class institution. It is neither impartial nor just; it is a class institution. It is a partisan, oppressive and exploitative institution;
it exists to serve the dominant class of which it is an instrument. In the capitalist
society , the capitalist state protects and promotes the interests of the capitalists while
in the socialist society , it protects and promotes the interests of the working class. By
the time the socialist society becomes fully communistic, the state would, by then,
have withered away .
Withering away of the state, according to the Marxists, means disappearing
of the state, i.e., slowly and gradually the state apparatus would go the whole
Thus, Marxism advocates communism as the highest form of society where men would
work as they wish and would get what they want : “from each according to his ability to
each according to his needs.”
4.2.2 Highlights of Marxism
Marxism revolves around the following theoretical propositions.
Dialectical materialism is the sum-total of the general principles which explain as to
why and how social changes take place. The social changes take place because of the
material factors and through the dialectical materialistic method. The dialectical materialistic
method is a triple method. According to Marx,
Relations of Productionsconstitute the basis of the society at any given point of time.
What are called the social relations among the people are, for the Marxists, the relations of
Productive Forces constitute those elements which originate from the relations of
production, but which, though opposite to the latter , promise more production through newer
In very simple words, the Marxian theory states that all development takes place through
struggle between opposites and because of factors which are economic.
New Mode of Production is the result of the struggle between the relations of
production and productive forces at a matured stage of their development. The new
mode of production has the merits of both the relations of production and productive
forces; hence a higher stage of economic development.
Historical Materialismis also called the economic/materialistic/ deterministic
interpretation of history . The Marxian explanation of history is that it is a record of the
self-development of productive forces; that the society keeps marching on its path of
economic/ material development; that each stage of development indicates the level of
development attained; that history is the history of numerous socio- economic formations:
primitive communistic, slave-owning, feudal, capitalist and thereafter the transitional socialist
followed by the communist society; that each succeeding society is an improvement over
the preceeding one; that the socialist society , after the abolition of the capitalist society
would be a classless society but with a state in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat;
the communist society , which follows the socialists society , would be both classless society
and stateless society .
Individual and the State worker who creates value in the commodity when he produces it. But he does not get what he produces, he gets only the wages: over and above the wages is what goes to the
employer. That is the surplus value. The surplus value is the difference between what the
value a labourer produces and what he gets in the form of wages. In simple words, the
labourer gets the wages; the employer , the profit. This surplus value makes the rich, richer
and the poor, poorer . It is through surplus value that capitalists thrive.
Theory of Class Struggleis another tenet of Marxism. In the Marxian view , all hitherto
history has been the history of class struggle between opposing classes. Class struggle is
the characteristic of class societies. In the classless societies, there is no class struggle
because there are, in such societies, no opposing/ antagonistic classes. Class struggle, in
class societies, (i.e., in slave-owning society , the feudal society , the capitalist society) is of
mainly three types: economic, ideological, political.
Marxism advocates revolution. Revolutions, the Marxists say , are locomotives of history .
Revolutions occur when the relations of production come into conflict with the productive
forces, leading, thus, to a new mode of production. They bring about a complete
transformation of society , without violence if possible, and with it, if necessary . Revolutions,
indicate changes: wholesome changes, changes in the very character of a given society .
They signify the coming up of a higher stage of social development. Accordingly, the
Marxists regard revolution as a positive phenomenon.
Dictatorship of the proletariatmeans the rule of the working class. It is a state of the
workers in the socialist society which follows the capitalist society. It is the dictatorship of
the workers in the socialist society in the sense there is the dictatorship of the capitalists in
the capitalist society . There capitalists rule the way they want; now the workers’ rule in
the socialist society the way the workers want. Nevertheless, Marx makes it clear that the
dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the workers’ state, is an interim or a transitional
arrangement which functions between the capitalist society and the communist society.
Once the socialist society is completely established, the workers state will not be needed,
i.e., it will wither away (disappear slowly). Lenin insists that the dictatorship of the proletariat
is better than the bourgeois state, both quantitatively and qualitatively (at it looks after the
interests and welfare of the whole multitude of the workers rather than handful of capitalists).
The socialist society that follows the capitalist society after its abolition is a classless
society. It is a classless society in the sense that all are workers wheresoever they work,
in the office, in the factory or on the fields: each gets job according to one’ s ability (‘from
each according to his abilities to each according to his work’). The communist society
which follows the socialist society, will be both the classless society and the stateless
4.2.3 Relevance of Marxism
Marxism, both as a philosophy and also as a practice, has attained a position unparallelled
in social and political thought. Its appeal crosses all boundaries, and in fact, all limits. Its
adversaries are as much convinced of its strength as are its admirers. And yet its
shortcomings are obvious.
Changes do not occur simply because of the clashes between the opposing classes. History
is indebted to class cooperation as well for its development. Material factor , though important
and dominating it may be, is not the sole factor in explaining the whole complex of society’ s
intricacies. Indeed, man does not live by bread alone, but it is also true that he can not live
without it. Marxism has underestimated the worth and strength of national/ patriotic
sentiments. T o say that the workers have no fatherland of their own, as Marx used to say ,
is to make them parentless. Marxism also underestimated the importance of the state. To
say that the State is a class institution and therefore, an oppressive and exploitative one is
to oversimplify things.
The Marxian formulations, in practice, have been really disappointing. Marxism, as a practice,
has failed, whatever be the reasons. One chief reason has been its centralizing tendency:
the dictatorship of the proletariat becomes the dictatorship of the communist party , the
party’s dictatorship becomes, ultimately , the dictatorship of one man: be that a Stalin or a
Mao. In the Soviet Union, reform movement (Glasnost, especially) initiated by Mikhail
Gorbachev marked the beginning of the end of the communist movement not only in
Europe but almost the world over . The communist China has introduced numerous
liberalization measures in its economy and polity . The relevance of Marxism as an alternative
ideology before the world is no more unquestioned.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was the supreme leader of
the Indian nationalist movement which he had led for about
thirty years, between 1917 and 1947. He was a thinker in so
far as he had challenged most of the assumptions and doctrines
of his times, and in their places, provided possible and plausible
It is really difficult to project Gandhiji in any particular frame.
He was more than a Plato, one can possible call him a
Socrates; he was more than an Aristotle, one can call him a
Buddha; he was more than a Mill or a Marx, one can call him
Individual and the S tate a Guru Nanak. Gandhiji was a liberal among the Marxists, and a Marxist among the
liberals; he was a democrat among the individualists and an individualist among the socialists.
He was an idealist among the realists, and a realist among the idealists. He had combined
in himself the virtues of all the known ideologies, past and present.
4.3.1 Gandhi as a Critic of Western Civilization
Gandhiji was a critic of Western Civilization. His complaint against western materialism is
that it destroys the very essence of spiritualism. He regarded the western type of man as
an atomistic individual, with all flesh and no soul.
As against the state that existed in the West, Gandhiji advocated what he called, the
Ramrajya; as against the western style of managing things through the centralizing forces,
he stood for a decentralized polity . As against materialism, industrialization and capitalism,
he made a strong plea for Swadeshi, cottage industries and the theory of Trusteeship.
4.3.2 State, Decentralization, Cottage Industries, T rusteeship
Gandhiji is not an admirer of the type of the state that exists in the Western Society . For
him, the Western state represented ‘violence in a concentrated form’; it is a soulless
machine. Accordingly, Gandhiji, as a philosophical anarchist, admitted the state, but very
unwillingly , only when it is most needed.
Anarchistis one who is opposed to every type of state; anarchism is a theory of
lawlessness: without state, without government, without law .
Gandhism stands for a non-violent state based on (i) the consent of the people (ii) the near
unity in the society . Gandhiji advocated decentralization of power: both political and
economic. The spirit of Gandhian democracy is the spirit of decentralization. Decentralization
means devolution of power at each level beginning from individual/ local unit and reaching
the apex. The essence of decentralization, according to Gandhiji, is that all powers flow
from below and go up, in ascending order .
So considered, political power, in the Gandhian scheme, is vested in the individuals: the
centre of all activity , the repository of Swaraj; from individual, power is transferred to the
village; from village, the power goes to the higher unit, and ultimately , ends up with the
central/ national government which, practically performs only the coordinating functions.
Thus what is or what can not be done by the individual is done by the village, what is not
done by the village is done by the local/ regional government; what is not done by the
regional/ provincial government is done by the central/ national government. The spirit of
the Gandhian Ramrajya is that it is a self-regulating system where everyone is one’ s own
ruler, and not a hindrance to one’ s neighbours.
Gandhiji’s concept of decentralization has an economic aspect. He argued for the devolution
of economic power as well. He advocated village economy through the promotion of
village, small, cottage industries. In fact, he was for the self-reliant village economy. His
concept of Swadeshi is “that spirit which requires us to serve our immediate neighbours
and use things produced in our neibourhood in preference to those more remote.”
Gandhiji favoured the revival of indigenous industries so that people could have enough to
eat. In his opinion, any kind of economy which exploited people and helped concentrated
wealth in fewer hands, stands condemned.
Individual and the S tate Gandhiji’s idea of trusteeship was unique. It was unique because it aimed at establishing cordial relations between the capital and the labour . Declaring all property to be the property of the community as a whole, Gandhiji pleaded that all the employers (industrialists, capitalists
and the like) are the trustees of what they hold. As such, they all are entitled only for the
money they need to satisfy their necessities as do the employees (the workers etc.). For
Gandhiji no individual is the owner: all work and all are the workers; everyone gets for the
service one renders; the profit is not of the owner , but is what belongs to the community .
The employers are the trustees, and not the masters; the employees as necessary
components of the enterprises, are the workers and not the slaves.
4.3.3 Ends and Means
According to Gandhiji, ends and means constitute two aspects of the same reality, i.e., two
sides of the same coin. They form an organic whole. Ends grow out of the means “As are
the means, so are the ends”. Gandhiji used to say . He also said, the means may be likened
to a seed; the ends, to a tree and there is just the same inviolable connection between the
means and the ends as there is between the seed and the tree.” He argued that the state
can not attain its ideal character as long as the means are tainted with violence. That is
why he always laid emphasis on the purity of means to achieve the ends. Impure means
can not achieve pure ends. He said once: “I would not accept Swaraj if it comes through
bloodshed”. Again, “For me, Ahimsa comes before Swaraj.” So close and inseparable is
the relation between the two that if one takes care of the means, the ends will take care of
themselves. Furthermore, the realization of the goal has to be, for Gandhiji, in proportion to
that of the means.
Gandhiji was no Machiavelli. For Machiavelli, ends justify the means; for Gandhiji, means
justify the ends.
4.3.4 Society and Sarvodaya
Gandhism is not only a theory of politics, economy, religion, strategy , but also is a theory of
society . Gandhiji’ s whole social philosophy is a philosophy of equality: equality not in the
sense of absolute equality , but in the sense that as human beings, all are equal. Asociety
based on equality , according to Gandhiji, is a society which rejects any and every type of
discrimination: either on the basis of caste, creed, class, sex, race, or region. We are born
as human beings, not as Hindus or Muslims, We are born as human beings, not as an upper
caste being or a dalit. Gandhiji is opposed to all types of discriminatory tendencies and
trends. For him, there is only one caste, one class, one religion, one race, and that is
humanity . He, therefore, did not admit any discrimination. In fact, he was more for the
welfare of the weaker, i.e., for women as compared to men; for the weaker sections of
society: the Harijans, the Dalits. It is not that he wanted to deprive ‘A ’ and ‘give’ to ‘B’; it
is that he wanted to give ‘B’ more so as to enable him to get to the heights of ‘A ’. He
advocated equality so as to level people in social, economic, and political hierarchy . His
concept of equality aimed at bridging the gaps and not distancing them.
Gandhiji’s concept of Sarvodaya sums up his views on the kind of society he used to
dream. Sarvodaya, as Gandhiji had visualised, is the greatest good of all the members of
the society . It is the welfare of all. It is the good of the individual together with the good of
all the individuals, i.e., the good of each with the good of all. The concept of good in
Sarvodaya is not merely material, it is moral and spiritual as well.
What you Have Learnt
In this lesson, you have learnt about three major political theories: Liberalism, Marxism
and Gandhism. Y ou now know that liberalism is a political philosophy which advocates the
autonomy of individual, the constitutional state, the responsive government, rights and
liberties of the individual, free press, rule of law , impartial judiciary , decentralization and
the like. Y ou also know that Marxism is a political philosophy of the working class, which
advocates equality, social justice, absence of all types of exploitation, a planned economy
with employment for each and all. Y ou also know that Gandhism is a political philosophy of
Satya and Ahimsa, an alternative solution of all problems faced by humanity, a synthesis of
all major political ideologies of the world.
PREAMBLE AND THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
he Constitution of India was framed by a Constituent Assembly . This Assembly was an
indirectly elected body . It had laid down certain ideals to be included in the Constitution.
These ideals included commitment to democracy, guarantee to all the people of India-Justice, equality and freedom. It had also proclaimed that India will be a Sovereign
The Constitution of India begins with a Preamble.The Preamble contains the ideals,
objectives and basic principles of the Constitution. The salient features of the Constitution
have evolved directly and indirectly from these objectives which flow from the Preamble.
In this lesson you will learn about the framing of the Constitution, its political philosophy as
reflected in the Preamble and the salient features of the Constitution.
5.1 The Constitution
The Modern State is considered to be a state for the welfare of the people. It is therefore,
suggested that it should have a government of a particular form with appropriate powers
The document containing laws and rules which determine and describe the form of the
government, the relationship between the citizens and the government, is called a
As such a constitution is concerned with two main aspects the relation between the different
levels of government and between the government and the citizens.
A constitution is the basic fundamental law of a State. It lays down the objectives of the
State which it has to achieve. It also provides for the constitutional framework that is,
various structures and organs of the governments at different levels. In addition, it describes
the rights and duties of the citizens. It is, therefore, considered to be the basis for the
governance of the country both in terms of goals and objectives as also their structures
5.2 The Constituent Assembly
The Constitution of India was framed by the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly was
constituted in 1946.
The members of the Constituent Assembly were indirectly elected by the members of the
existing Provincial Assemblies. In addition, there were members nominated by the rulers
of the Princely States. With Independence of India, the Constituent Assembly became a
fully sovereign body .
The Constituent Assembly, following the partition of the country in 1947, consisted of 299
members as on 31st December 1947. Of these 229 members were elected by the provincial
assemblies and the rest were nominated by the rulers of the princely states. Majority of
the members in the Constituent Assembly belonged to the Congress party. All prominent
leaders of the freedom movement were members of the Assembly.
Princely States During the British Rule there were about 560 areas which were not
directly under the control of the British. These were Kingdoms or ‘Riyasats’ under
Indian rulers or Princes. These were called ‘Princely States’. T o name a few , Kashmir ,
Patiala, Hyderabad, Mysore, Baroda were some of the princely states.
5.2.1 Working of the Constituent Assembly
The Constituent Assembly was chaired by the President of the Assembly Dr. Rajendra
Prasad was elected as the President of the Assembly . The Assembly worked with the
help of a large number of committees and sub-committees. The committees were of two
types : (a) relating to matters concerning with procedures, and (b) concerning important
issues. In addition there was an Advisory Committee primarily advised from outside. The
most important committee was the Drafting Committee. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the
Chairman of the Drafting Committee. The task of the Committee was to prepare the draft
of the Constitution. The Constitutent Assembly met for 166 days spread over a period of
2 years 11months and 18 days. The procedure followed in the Assembly was Similar to
that which is followed in legislature. Y ou will study about the legislative procedure in detail
in subsequent lesson on Parliament and the legislative Assemblies.
The leaders of the Constituent Assembly were conscious that the need of the hour was
general agreement on different issues and principles. As a result, deliberate efforts were
made to achive consensus. While arriving at any decision, the aspirations of the people
were uppermost in the minds of the members of the Assembly.
5.3 Objectives of the Constitution
The Constitution of independent India was framed in the background of about 200 years
of colonial rule, a mass-based freedom struggle, the national movement, partition of the
country and spread of communal violence. Therefore, the framers of the Constitution
were concerned about the aspirations of the people, integrity and unity of the country and
establishment of a democratic society . Amongst the members there were some who held
different ideological views. There were others who were inclined to socialist principles,
still others holding Gandhian thinking but nothing could act as any kind of impediment in the
progress of the Assembly’s work because all these members were of liberal ideas. Their
main aim was to give India a ‘Constitution’ which will fulfill the cherished ideas and ideals
of the people of this country .
Dr . Rajendra Prasad signing the new constitution
Conscious efforts were made to have consensus on different issues and principles and
thereby avoid disagreement. The consensus came in the form of the ‘Objectives Resolution’
moved by Jawahar Lal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly on December 17, 1946 which
was almost unanimously adopted on January 22, 1947. In the light of these ‘Objectives’
the Assembly completed its task by November 26, 1949. The constitution was enforced
with effect from January 26, 1950. From that day India became a Republic. Exactly
twenty years before the first independence day was celebrated on Jan. 26, 1930 as decided
by the Lahore session of the Congress on Dec. 31, 1929. Hence, January 26, 1950 was
decided as the day to enforce the constitution.
5.4 The Preamble
As you know that the Constitution of India commences with a Preamble. Let us find out
what a ‘Preamble’ is. The Preamble is like an introduction or preface of a book. As an
introduction, it is not a part of the contents but it explains the purposes and objectives with
which the document has been written. So is the case with the ‘Preamble’ to the Indian
Constitution. As such the ‘Preamble’provides the guide lines of the Constitution.
Preamble of Indian Constitution
The Preamble, in brief, explains the objectives of the Constitution in two ways: one, about
the structure of the governance and the other , about the ideals to be achieved in independent
India. It is because of this, the Preamble is considered to be the key of the Constitution.
The objectives, which are laid down in the Preamble, are:
i) Description of Indian State as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular , Democratic Republic.
(Socialist, Secular added by 42nd Amendment, 1976).
ii) Provision to all the citizens of India i.e.,
a) Justicesocial, economic and political
b) Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
c) Equality of status and opportunity
THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA,having solemnly resolved to
constitute India into a 1[SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR
DEMOCRA TIC REPUBLIC] and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTYof thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITYof status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRA TERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the2[unity and integrity of the Nation];
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBL Y this twenty-sixth day of
November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT , ENACT AND GIVE TO
OURSEL VES THIS CONSTITUTION.
5.5 Sovereign, Socialist, Secular , Democratic Republic
Sovereignty is one of the foremost elements of any independent State. It means absolute
independence, i.e., a government which is not controlled by any other power : internal or
external. Acountry cannot have its own constitution without being sovereign. India is a
sovereign country . It is free from external control. It can frame its policies. India is free to
formulate its own foreign policy .
The word socialist was not there in the Preamble of the Constitution in its original form. In1976, the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution incorporated ‘Socialist’and ‘Secular’, in the
Preamble. The word ‘Socialism’ had been used in the context of economic planning. It
signifies major role in the economy . It also means commitment to attain ideals like removal
of inequalities, provision of minimum basic necessities to all, equal pay for equal work.
When you read about the Directive Principles of the State Policy , you will see how these
ideals have been incorporated as well as partly , implemented in the Constitution.
In the context of secularism in India, it is said that ‘India is neither religious, nor irreligious
nor anti-religious.’ Now what does this imply? It implies that in India there will be no
‘State’ religion – the ‘State’ will not support any particular religion out of public fund. This
has two implications, a) every individual is free to believe in, and practice, any religion he/
she belongs to, and, b) State will not discriminate against any individual or group on the
basis of religion.
As you have noticed while reading the Preamble to the Constitution, that the Constitution
belongs to the people of India. The last line of the Preamble says ‘…. Hereby Adopt,
Enact And Give T o Ourselves This Constitution’. In fact the Democratic principles of the
country flow from this memorable last line of the Preamble. Democracy is generally
known as government of the people, by the people and for the people. Effectively this
means that the Government is elected by the people, it is responsible and accountable to
the people. The democratic principles are highlighted with the provisions of universal adult
franchise, elections, fundamental rights, and responsible government. These you will read
in subsequent lessons.
The Preamble also declares India as a Republic. It means that the head of the State is the
President who is indirectly elected and he is not a hereditary ruler as in case of the British
Monarch. Under chapter of Union Executive you will read in detail about the election of
the President ofIndia.
5.6 Justice, Liberty and Equality
The struggle for freedom was not only against the British rule but their struggle should also
usher in an era of restoring the dignity of men and women, removal of poverty and end to
all types of exploitation. Such strong motivations and cherished ideals had prompted the
framers to lay emphasis on the provisions of Justice, Liberty and Equality to all the citizens
Justice promises to give people what they are entitled to in terms of basic rights to food,
clothing, housing, participation in the decision-making and living with dignity as human
beings. The Preamble covers all these dimensions of justice – social, economic and political.
Besides, the granting of political justice in the form of universal adult franchise or the
representative form of democracy . You will read socio-economic justice in next lessons.
The Preamble also mentions about liberty of thought and expression. These freedoms
have been guaranteed in the Constitution through the Fundamental Rights. Though freedom
from want has not been guaranteed in the Fundamental Rights, certain directives to the
State have been mentioned in the Directive Principles.
Equality is considered to be the essence of modern democratic ideology . The Constitution
makers placed the ideals of equality in a place of pride in the Preamble. All kinds of
inequality based on the concept of rulers and the ruled or on the basis of caste and gender ,
were to be eliminated. All citizens of India should be treated equally and extended equal
protection of law without any discrimination based on caste, creed, birth, religion, sex etc.
Similarly equality of opportunities implies that regardless of the socio-economic situations
into which one is born, he/she will have the same chance as everybody else to develop his/
her talents and choose means of livelihood.
5.7 Fraternity, Dignity , Unity and Integrity
In the background of India’ s multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi- religious society and
keeping in view the partition of the country , the framers of the Constitution were very
much concerned about the unity and integrity of our newly independent country. There
was a need for harmonious co-existence among various religions, linguistic, cultural and
economic groups. Inclusion of phrases like ‘dignity of individuals’, ‘fraternity among people’
and ‘unity and integrity of the nation’ in the Preamble highlight such a need.
Egalitarian: Asociety , which feels concerned for meeting the needs of all its
members, is known as egalitarian society. An egalitarian state is expected to reduce
inequalities among citizens and fulfill minimum requirements of all.
The Preamble has provided for a vision humane which is, democratic, secular and,
therefore, egalitarian. Therefore, inspite of not being a part of the Constitution, the
Preamble has always been given due respect and regard by the courts while
interpreting the Constitution.
5.8 Salient Features of The Constitution
So far you have read about the Preamble to the Indian Constitution. In the subsequent
paragraphs you are going to read about the salient features of the Indian Constitution
which directly and indirectly flow from the Preamble, indicating the faith of framers in the
ideals, objectives and goals as mentioned in our Constitution.
A Written Constitution
The Indian Constitution is mainly a written constitution. Awritten constitution is framed at
a given time and comes into force or is adopted on a fixed date as a document. As you
have already read that our constitution was framed over a period of 2 years, 11 months
and 18 days, it was adopted on 26th November, 1949 and enforced on January 26, 1950.
Certain conventions have gradually evolved over a period of time which have proved
useful in the working of the constitution. The British Constitution is an example of unwritten
constitution. It is to be noted though, that a written constitution is ‘mainly’ an enacted
document, there could be bodies or institutions which may not be included in the constitution
but form an important part of governance. In Indian context one can mention the Planning
Commission. It is very important body for country’s planning and development. But, the
planning commission was set up in March 1950, not by an Act of Parliament, nor as a Part
of the Constitution of India. It was set up by a cabinet resolution. The Indian constitution
is the lengthiest in the world. The original constitution had 395 Articles and 8 Schedules,
while, the constitution of US has only 7 Articles.
A Combination of Rigidity and Flexibility
The Indian Constitution is a unique example of combination of rigidity and flexibility . A
constitution may be called rigid or flexible on the basis of its amending procedure. In a rigid
constitution, amendment of the constitution is not easy . The Constitutions of USA,
Switzerland and Australia are considered rigid constitutions. While, the British Constitution
is considered flexible because amendment procedure is easy and simple.
The Constitution of India provides for three categories of amendments. In the first category ,
amendment can be done by the two houses of Parliament simple majority of the members
present and voting of before sending it for the President’ s assent. In the second category
amendments require a special majority . Such an amendment can be passed by each House
of Parliament by a majority of the total members of that House as well as by the 2/3rd majority of the members present and voting in each house of Parliament and send to the
President for his assent which cannot be denied. In the third category besides the special
majority mentioned in the second category, the same has to be approved also by at least
50% of the State legislatures. Thus, you see that the Indian Constitution provides for the
type of amendments ranging from simple to most difficult procedure depending on the
nature of the amendment.
India has adopted a federal structure. In a federation there are two distinct levels of
governments. There is one government for the whole country which is called the Union or
Central Government. Also there is government for each Unit/State. The United States of
America is a federation whereas the United Kingdom (Britain) has a unitary form of
government. In a unitary structure there is only one government for the whole country and
the power is centralised.
The Constitution of India does not use the term ‘federal state’. It says that India is a
‘Union of States’. There is a distribution of powers between the Union/Central Government
and the State Governments. Since India is a federation, such distribution of functions
becomes necessary . There are three lists of powers such as Union List, State List and the
Concurrent List. These lists have been explained in Lesson 8 in detail. On the basic of this
distribution, India may be called a federal system.
The supremacy of the judiciary is an essential feature of a federation so that the constitution
could be interpreted impartially . In India, the Supreme Court has been established to guard
the constitution. However , in case of Indian federalism, more powers have been given to
the Union Government in administrative, legislative, financial and judicial matters. In fact,
The Indian federal set up stands out with certain distinctive unitary features. The makers
of our constitution while providing for two sets of government at the centre and in the
states provided for division of powers favouring the Central Government, appointment of
the Head of the State government by the Central Government, single unified judiciary ,
single citizenship indicate the unitary nature of our federalism. Therefore, it is said that
India has a quasi-federal set up.
Quasi Federal: It means a federal set up where despite having two clear sets of
government – central and the states, more powers are given to the Central Government.
India has a parliamentary form of democracy . This has been adopted from the British
system. In a parliamentary democracy there is a close relationship between the legislature
and the executive. The Cabinet is selected from among the members of legislature. The
cabinet is responsible to the latter . In fact the Cabinet holds office so long as it enjoys the
confidence of the legislature. In this form of democracy , the Head of the S tate is nominal.
In India, the President is the Head of the State. Constitutionally the President enjoys
numerous powers but in practice the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister,
which really exercises these powers. The President acts on the advice of the Prime Minister
and the Council of Ministers.
Fundamental Rights and Fundamental Duties
Every human being is entitled to enjoy certain rights which ensure good living. In a
democracy all citizens enjoy equal rights. The Constitution of India guarantees those rights
in the form of Fundamental Rights.
Fundamental Rights are one of the important features of the Indian Constitution. The
Constitution provides for six Fundamental Rights about which you will read in the following
lesson. Fundamental Rights are justiciable and are protected by the judiciary . In case of
violation of any of these rights one can move to the court of law for their protection.
Fundamental Duties were added to our Constitution by the 42nd Amendment. It lays down
a list of ten Fundamental Duties for all citizens of India. While the rights are given as
guarantees to the people, the duties are obligations which every citizen is expected to
Single Integrated Judicial System
India has a single integrated judicial system. The Supreme Court stands as the apex court
of the judicial system. Below the Supreme Court are the High Courts. The High Courts
control and supervise the lower courts. The Indian judiciary , thus, stands like a pyramid
with the lower courts as the base, High Courts in the middle and the Supreme Court at the
Independence of Judiciary
Indian judiciary is independent an impartial. The Indian judiciary is free from the influence
of the executive and the legislature. The judges are appointed on the basis of their
qualifications and cannot be removed easily
In a federal state usually the citizens enjoys double citizenship as is the case in the USA.
In India there is only single citizenship. It means that every Indian is a citizen of India,
irrespective of the place of his/her residence or place of birth. He/she is not a citizen of the
Constituent State like Jharkhand, Uttaranchal or Chattisgarh to which he/she may belong
to but remains a citizen of India. All the citizens of India can secure employment anywhere
in the country and enjoy all the rights equally in all the parts of India.
Universal Adult Franchise
Indian democracy functions on the basis of ‘one person one vote’. Every citizen of India
who is 18 years of age or above is entitled to vote in the elections irrespective of caste,
sex, race, religion or status. The Indian Constitution establishes political equality in India
through the method of universal adult franchise.
The Constitution makers also foresaw that there could be situations when the government
could not be run as in ordinary times. T o cope with such situations, the Constitution elaborates
on emergency provisions. There are three types of emergency; a) emergency caused by
war, external aggression or armed rebellion; b) emergency arising out of the failure of
constitutional machinery in states; and c) financial emergency .
What You Have Learnt
AConstitution symbolises independence of a country. Framework and structure for the
governance of a free country are provided in the Constitution. The Constituent Assembly
prepared the draft of the Constitution by keeping the ‘Objectives Resolution’ as the backdrop
which reflected the aspirations of the people of India.
The framing of the Constitution was completed on November 26, 1949 when the Constituent
Assembly formally adopted the new Constitution. The Constitution came into force with
effect from January 26, 1950.
The Constitution begins with a Preamble which declares India to be a Sovereign, Socialist,
Secular, Democratic, Republic. The Preamble also mentions the goals of securing justice,
liberty and equality for all its citizens and promotion of national unity and integrity on the
basis of fraternity among the people assuring dignity of the individual.
The Constitution of India has several distinctive features. It is the lengthiest Constitution in
the world and it is a combination of rigidity and flexibility . The Constitution provides for a
quasi-federal set up with a strong centre. There is a clear division of powers between the
Centre and the States. The Supreme Court of India, is the apex court of India which will
resolve the disputes between the centre and state or between the states.
India has a parliamentary democracy . The Council of Ministers headed by the Prime
Minister enjoys the real powers and is responsible to the Parliament.
The Indian Constitution provides for Fundamental Rights which are justiciable. T en
Fundamental Duties have also been added to the Constitution. The Directive Principles of
State Policy give a concrete shape to the welfare concept.
eople in democractic conutries enjoy certain rights, which are protected by judicial
system of the country concerned. Their violation, even by the State, is not allowed by the
courts. India respects the rights of the people, which are listed in our Constitution, under
the heading “Fundamental Rights”. In lesson, a mention has been made of the Fundamental
Rights as one of the salient features of the Constitution. In this lesson, we will discuss in
detail various Fundamental Rights which are incorporated in chapler III of the Constitution.
6.1 Meaning And Importance Of Fundamental Rights
The rights, which are enshrined in the Constitution, are called ‘Fundamental Rights’. These
rights ensure the fullest physical, mental and moral development of every citizen. They
include those basic freedoms and conditions which alone can make life worth living.
Fundamental Rights generate a feeling of security amongst the minorities in the country .
They establish the framework of ‘democratic legitimacy’ for the rule of the majority . No
democracy can function in the absence of basic rights such as freedom of speech and
Fundamental Rights provide standards of conduct, citizenship, justice and fair play . They
serve as a check on the government. V arious social, religious, economic and political
problems in our country make Fundamental Rights important. In our Constitution,
Fundamental Rights are enumerated in Part III from Article 14 to 32. These rights are
Justiciable:Justiciable means that if these rights are violated by the government or
anyone else, the individual has the right to approach the Supreme Court or High
Courts for the protection of his/her Fundamental Rights.
Our Constitution does not permit the legislature and the executive to curb these rights
either by law or by an executive order . The Supreme Court or the High Courts can set
aside any law that is found to be infringing or abridging the Fundamental Rights. Y ou will
read about it in detail in the lesson on ‘Judiciary’. Some of the Fundamental Rights are also
enjoyed by foreigners, for example, the Right to Equality before Law and Right to Freedom
of Religion are enjoyed by both i.e. citizens as well as foreigners. The Fundamental Rights
though justiciable are not absolute. The Constitution empowers the government to impose
certain restrictions on the enjoyment of our rights in the interest of public good.
Seven Fundamental Rights were enshrined in the Constitution of India. However the Right
to Property was removed from the list of Fundamental Rights by the 44th Amendment Act
of the Constitution in the year 1976. Since then, it has been made a legal right. There are
now six Fundamental Rights.
The Fundamental Rights are: -1. Right to Equality
2. Right to Freedom
3. Right against Exploitation
4. Right to Freedom of Religion
5. Cultural and Educational Rights, and
6. Right to Constitutional Remedies.
Recently by the 86th Amendment Act, the Right to Education has been included in the list
of Fundamental Rights as part of the Right to Freedom by adding Article 21(A).
6.2 Right T o Equality
Right to Equality means that all citizens enjoy equal privileges and opportunities. It protects
the citizens against any discrimination by the State on the basis of religion, caste, race,
sex, or place of birth. Right to Equality includes five types of equalities.
6.2.1 Equality Before Law
According to the Constitution, “The State shall not deny to any person equality before law
or equal protection of laws within the territory of India”.
‘Equality before law’ means that no person is above law and all are equal before law,
every individual has equal access to the courts. ‘Equal protection of laws’ means that if
two persons belonging to two different communities commit the same crime, both of them
will get the same punishment.
6.2.2 No Discrimnation on Grounds of Religion, Race, Caste,
Sex, Place of Birth or any of them
No citizen shall be denied access to shops, restaurants and places of public entertainment.
Neither shall anyone be denied the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads etc. maintained
wholly or partly out of State funds. However, the State is empowered to make special
provisions for women, children and for the uplift of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes
and other backward classes (OBC’ s). The State can reserve seats for these categories in
educational institutions, grant fee concessions or arrange special coaching classes.
6.2.3 Equality Of Opportunity In Matters Of Public Employment
Our Constitution guarantees equality of opportunity in matters relating to employment or
appointment to public services to all citizens. There shall be no discrimination on the basis
of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or residence in matters relating to employment
in public services. Merit will be the basis of employment. However , certain limitations
have been provided to the enjoyment of these rights.
6.2.4 Abolition of Untouchability
The Constitution abolishes untouchability and its practice in any form is forbidden.
Action in the box are considered as offences when committed on the grounds of
refusing admission to any person to the public institutions;
preventing any person from worshipping in place of public worship;
insulting a member of Scheduled Caste on the grounds of untouchability;
preaching untouchability directly or indirectly .
6.2.5 Abolition of Titles
All titles national or foreign which create artificial distinctions in social status amongst the
people have been abolished.
This provision has been included in the Constitution to do away with the titles like ‘Rai
Sahib’, ‘Rai Bahadur’ have been conferred by the British on a few Indians as a reward
for their effective co-operation to the colonial regime. The practice of conferring titles like
this is against the doctrine of equality before law . T o recognise the meritorious service
rendered by individual citizens to the country or mankind, the President of India can confer
civil and military awards on those individuals for their services and achievements such as;
Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padam Sri, Param V eer Chakra, V eer Chakra etc., but
these cannot be used on ‘titles’.
6.3.1 Six Fundamental Freedoms
The Constitution guarantees the following six Fundamental Freedoms:
(i) Freedom of speech and expression.
(ii) Freedom to assemble peacefully without arms.
(iii) Freedom to form associations or unions.
(iv) Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India.
(v) Freedom to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
(vi) Freedom to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Let us study these freedoms one by one briefly.
(I) Freedom of Speech And Expression
It is an important freedom. This freedom ensures free and frank speech, discussion and
exchange of opinions. It includes the freedom of the press. However these freedom like
freedom of speech and expression are not absolute. The state is empowered to impose
reasonable restrictions on the exercise of this right in the interest of security of the state,
public order , morality etc.
These freedoms can be suspended during the State of National Emergency . As soon
as the State of National Emergency is declared under Article 352, the above-mentioned freedoms except the right to life and liberty , automatically remain suspended
as long as the State of National Emergency continues. All these freedoms get restored
as soon as the proclamation of National Emergency is lifted.
6.3.2 Protection in Respect of Conviction for An Offence
This Constitutional provision assures protection against arbitrary arrest and excessive
punishment to any person who is alleged to have committed an offence. No person shall
be punished except for the violation of law which is in force when the crime was committed.
An accused cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself/herself.
No person shall be punished for the same offence more than once.
6.3.3 Protection of Life and Personal Liberty
The Constitution lays down that no person shall be deprived of his/her life or personal
liberty except according to the procedure established by law . It guarantees that life or
personal liberty shall not be taken away without the sanction of law . It ensures that no
person can be punished or imprisoned merely at the whims of some authority . He/she may
be punished only for the violation of the law .
6.3.4 Prevention against Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
Our Constitution guarantees certain rights to the arrested person. As per the provision, no
person can be arrested and/or be detained in custody without being informed of the grounds
for detention. He /she has the right to consult and be defended by a lawyer of his/her
choice. The accused has to be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of
twenty-four hours of arrest.
These safeguards however are not available to foreigners as well as to those citizens
detained under Preventive Detention Act.
Preventive Detention:When the State feels that a person is likely to commit
crime or is a threat to the security of the State, he/she may be detained without trial
for a limited period. However , no person can be kept under detention for more than
three months until permitted by an Advisory Board consisting of persons who are
qualified to be appointed as judges of the High Courts. Such a board is presided over
by a sitting judge of a High Court.
6.3.5 Right to Education
By the 86th Amendment Act of the Constitution a new article 21-Ahas been added after
Article 21. By this Amendment Act, Right to Education has been made a Fundamental
Right and has been deleted from the list of Directive Principles of State Policy . According
to it, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of
six to fourteen in such a manner as the State may by law determine”. It further states that
it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to
their child or ward between the age of six to fourteen years.
6.4 Right against Explotation
The people of India were exploited not only by the British but also by the money lenders
and zamindars. This system was called forced labour . Right against exploitation prohibits
all forms of forced labour as well as traffic in human beings . The violation of this provision
is an offence punishable under law . The state require citizens services in times of major
calamities such as floods, forestfire, foreign aggression etc.
Our Constitution also provides safeguards for children. It bans the employment of children
below the age of fourteen years in any factory , mine or hazardous occupations.
Traffic in human beings means sale and purchase of human beings as goods and
commodities for immoral purposes such as slavery and prostitution
Right to Freedom of Religion
India is a multireligious state. Besides Hindus, there are Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and
many others residing in our country. The Constitution guarantees to every person freedom
of conscience and the right to practice and propagate any religion.
It also permits every religious group, the right to manage its own affairs in matters of
religion. Every religious sect has the right to establish and maintain in stitutions for religious
and charitable purposes. Each religious group is also free to purchase and manage
its movable and immovable property in accordance with law , for the propagation of its
Our Constitution lays down that no religious education can be imparted in any educational
institution which is wholly maintained out of the state funds. This restriction does not apply
to those educational institutions which are not wholly maintained out of State funds. But,
even in those institutions, no child can be compelled to receive religious instructions against
his /her wishes.
Right to Freedom of Religion is not absolute. It can be restricted on the grounds of public
order, morality and health. The state shall not impose restrictions arbitrarily .
6.6 Cultural and Educational Rights
India is a vast country with diversity of culture, Script and languages. People take pride in
their own language and culture.
Our constitution provides necessary guarantees to preserve maintain and promote their
culture and language. The Constitution allows minorities to establish and maintains
educational institutions of their own. It also provides that the state shall not discriminate
against any educational institution while granting financial aid on the grounds that it is being
run by a minority community .
These rights ensure that minorities will be given assistance by the state in the preservation
of their language and culture. The Ideal before the state is to preserve and propagate the
composite culture of the country .
6.7 Right to Constitutional Remedies
After reading about all the Fundamental Rights, a question may arise in your mind : what
can an individual do if one or more of his or her Fundamental Rights are encroached upon
by the State?
Part III of our Constitution provides for legal remedies for the protection of these rights
against their violation by the State or other institutions/individuals. It entitles the citizens of
India to move the Supreme Court or High Courts for the enforcement of these rights. The
State is forbidden from making any law that may be in conflict with the Fundamentals
The Constitution empowers the Supreme Court and High Courts to issue orders or writs
as mentioned in the box given below .
HABEAS CORPUS;(Latin term) It is an order by the court to the state to produce
the person physically before it justify the confinement or release of the person.
MANDAMUS: (Latin term) It is a command or an order from a superior court to a
subordinate court or tribunal or public authority to perform its duty in case it is not
PROHIBITION:It is an order issued by the Superior Court to forbid a subordinate
court or tribunal from proceeding with a case which is beyond its jurisdiction.
QUO W ARRANTO: This writ is issued to restrain a person from acting in a public
office to which he /she is not entitled.
CERTIORARI : The term certiorari means “to be informed of what is going”. It is
an order to a lower court from a superior court to transfer the matter to it or to any
other court for deciding the matter .
These writs go a long way in protecting the rights of the individuals against encroachment
by the legislature, the executive or any other authority . If the Fundamental Rights are the
cornerstone of our democracy , then the Right to Constitutional Remedies is the soul of the
part III of the Constitutions.
What You Have Learnt
Fundamental Rights have been incorporated in part III of our Constitution from article 14-32. These rights protect and safeguard the dignity and status of the citizens. These rights
are justiciable i.e. are enforceable by the court of law . At present there are six Fundamental
Rights. Recently by an Amendment Act of the Constitution, Right to Education has been
These Rights are not absolute, reasonable restrictions can be imposed on these rights in
the interest of peace, national defence, morality , comman good and good relations with
other countries. The first right that comes under Fundamental Rights is the Right to Equality .
Under the Constitution, all are equal before law and the state can not discriminate between
citizens on the basis of religion, race, sex, place of birth or any of them. Uuntouchability
has been abolished and made an offence punishable by law . The state has been forbidden
from conferring honorary titles on citizens that create social disparities.
Right to Freedom has been granted for the all round development of the body, mind and
spirit of all the citizens. It provides six freedoms to citizens. This Right helps protection of
life and personal liberty . It also protects the individual from arbitrary arrest and detention.
Our Constitutions prohibits traffic in human beings and forced labour . Employment of
children below the age of fourteen years in mines, factories and hazardous jobs is banned.
India is a multi religious country . Our Constitution neither promotes nor interferes in their
religious affairs. India believes in secularism. Every religious community is free to establish,
maintain and run its own religious institutions. Every citizen has been granted freedom to
profess and propagate his/her religion.
Cultural and Educational rights provide the right to conserve our culture. Educational
institutions maintained by the state on getting financial aid from the state cannot refuse
admission to children on the grounds of religion, race, caste, language or any of them. The
minorities have been given the right to establish and manage institutions of their own for
the preservation and propagation of their language and culture. While giving financial aid to
any institution, the state will not discriminate on the basis of religion or language.
Lastly the Constitution guarantees enjoyment of Fundamental Rights by citizens under the
Right to Constitutional Remedies. The Supreme Court and High Courts have been given
powers to issue orders, directions and writs for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights .
Dr . B.R Ambedkar has rightly called the writs as the “ Soul of the part III of the Constitution”:
DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY AND FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES
he Constitution of India aims to establish not only political democracy but also socio-economic justice to the people to establish a welfare state. With this purpose in mind, our
Constitution lays down desirable principle and guidelines in Part IV . These provisions are
known as the Directive Principle of State Policy . In this lesson we will study about Directive
Principles in detail.
It is a well-established saying that rights have significance only when enjoyed in consonance
with the duties. Therefore, the Fundamental Duties were inserted in Article 51Aof our
Constitution in 1976 by 42nd Amendment Act. In the original Constitution in 1950, there
was no mention of these duties. It was expected that the citizens would fulfil their duties
willingly. We will also learn about these duties in this lesson.
7.1 Meaning of Directive Principles of S tate Policy
Directive Principles of State Policy are in the form of instructions/guidelines to the
governments at the center as well as states. Though these principles are non-justiciable,
they are fundamental in the governance of the country . The idea of Directive Principles of
State Policy has been taken from the Irish Republic. They were incorporated in our
Constitution in order to provide economic justice and to avoid concentration of wealth in
the hands of a few people. Therefore, no government can afford to ignore them. They are
infact, the directives to the future governments to incorporate them in the decisions and
policies to be formulated by them.
7.2 Classification Of The Directive Principles
Directive Principles of State Policy have been grouped into four categories. These are: (1)
the economic and social principles, (2) the Gandhian principles, (3) Principles and Policies
relating to international peace and security and (4) miscellaneous.
7.2.1 The economic and social Principles
The state shall endeavour to achieve Social and Economic welfare of the people by:
(1) providing adequate means of livelihood for both men and women.
(2) reorganizing the economic system in a way to avoid concentration of wealth in few
(3) securing equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
(4) securing suitable employment and healthy working conditions for men, women and
(5) guarding the children against exploitation and moral degradation.
(6) making effective provisions for securing the right to work, education and public
assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement.
(7) making provisions for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity
(8) taking steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings
(9) promoting education and economic interests of working sections of the people
especially the SCs and ST s.
(10) securing for all the workers reasonable leisure and cultural opportunities.
(11) making efforts to raise the standard of living and public health.
(12) providing early childhood care and education to all children until they complete the
age of 6 years.
7.2.2 The Gandhian Principles
There are certain principles, based on the ideals advocated by Mahatma Gandhi. These
Principles are as follows : -(1) T o organize village Panchayats.
(2) T o promote cottage industries in rural areas.
(3) T o prohibit intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.
(4) T o preserve and improve the breeds of the cattle and prohibit slaughter of cows,
calves and other milch and drought animals.
7.2.3 Directive Principles of S tate Policy Relating T o Interna-tional Peace And Security :
India should render active cooperation for world peace and security and for that the state
shall endeavour to : -(1) promote international peace and security .
(2) maintain just and honourable relations between nations.
(3) foster respect for international laws and treaty obligations.
(4) encourage settlements of international disputes by mutual agreement.
The Directive Principles in this category call upon the state : -(1) T o secure for all Indians a uniform civil code.
(2) T o protect historical monuments.
(3) T o save environment from pollution and protect wild life.
(4) To make arrangements for disbursement of free legal justice through suitable
7.3 Directive Principles : Universalisation of Education,
Child Labourand S tatus of Women
Illiteracy is a big hindrance in the achievement of the goals of socio-economic
justice and welfare state.
7.3.1 Universalisation of Education
The percentage of literate people at the time of independence was only 14%. Our
government realized the importance of education and laid stress on the spread of literacy
among the masses. Efforts have been made by the governments to raise this level. But a
large section of our population is still illiterate. The foremost effort which is required in this
field-is the spread of elementary education and its universalisation. Due to increased number
of drop outs at the primary stage, the number of illiterates between 15 to 35 years of age
has constantly increased.
According to National Policy on Education, 1986, the government has launched National
Literacy Mission, and ‘Operation Blackboard’ for the spread of mass literacy at primary
stage. For those who were deprived of the benefits of education in their childhood, the
government and many voluntary agencies are making special efforts to educate them by
opening night schools and adult literacy centers.
Many distance education programmes through correspondence courses, distance education
and open learning have been started in different states. The National Institute of Open
Schooling and several Open Universities have been set up to attain the goal of universalisation
of education. The Directive Principles providing free and compulsory education for children
upto the age of 14 years has been included through the 86th Amendment Act, 2002 in the
list of Fundamental Rights under Article 21A.
Though much has been achieved but still there is a long way to go to accomplish this
objective of a welfare state.
7.3.2 Child Labour
Y ou have already read that one of the Directive Principles provides opportunities and
facilities to children to develop in a healthy manner . Y ou have also read about the Fundamental
Right against Exploitation of children. Employment of children below the age of 14 years
in mines and industries which are hazardous to their health is prohibited.
Inspite of these provisions, the desired results have not been reached. In most of the
cases, the parents attitude is not conducive to the elimination of child labour . They force
their children to do some sort of work to earn money and contribute to the family income.
Poverty and social stigma are certain constraints on the path of eradication of this problem
apart from the lack of will. All efforts by governments at various levels would prove futile
unless the willingness and awareness to get rid of the social challenge comes from within.
Dr. Abdul Kalam’s ‘dream of developed India 2020’ can be achieved only when the children
who are the future of the country are secured and protected from being exploited. The
children should not be deprived of their right to enjoy childhood and right to education.
7.3.3 Status of Women
Indian society basically is a male dominated society in which father has been head of the
family and mother ’ s position has been subordinated to him. The position of a woman in
such a system is naturally weak. Women have been suffering a great deal on account of
cruel social customs and religious practices like, pardah and dowry etc.
Women as an integral part, account for 495.74 million and represent 48.3% of the country’ s
total population as per 2001 census. Necessity of raising the status and education of women
has already been stressed in our Constitution through Fundamental Rights and various
Directive Principles of State Policy . They have been provided with the right to an adequate
means of livelihood and equal pay with that of men for their work. Women workers have
also been provided for health-care and maternity-relief.
Even in the Fundamental Duties stress has been laid on the duty of every citizen of India
to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
Many laws and judicial decisions have restored the dignity of women. T o protect their
rights, measures have been taken to give them share in the family property . For their
emancipation from cruel practices like bride burning for dowry , wife beating, sati etc. laws
have been enacted. Prohibition of female infanticide, foetouscide, discrimination against
girl child and child-marriage are some of the other measures that will help in improving the
status of women.
T o empower women, reservation of one third of seats through the 73rd and 74 th Amendment
Act, 1991,1992 for them has been made in the Panchayats and Municipalities. There is a
similar proposal for reservation of seats for them in the Parliament and in the state
7.4 Critical Analysis Of Directive Principles
Many critics have called these Directive Principles of State Policy as not better than
‘New Y ear Greetings’. Even the rationale of inserting such high sounding promises has
been questioned. It has been asserted that Directives are in the form of holy wishes
having no legal sanction behind them. Government is not bound to implement them. Critics
point out that they are not formulated keeping the practical aspect these ideals in mind.
Despite all this, it can not be said that these Principles are absolutely useless. They have
their own utility and significance. The Directive Principles are just like a polestar that
provide direction. Their basic aim is to persuade the government to provide social and
economic justice in all spheres of life, keeping in view its limited material resources, at the
earliest possible. Many of them have been implemented very successfully . Actually, no
government can afford to ignore these instructions as they are the mirror of the public
opinion and also reflect the basic spirit of the Preamble of our Constitution. Some of the
steps taken in this direction are being listed below:
(1) Land reforms have been introduced and Jagirdari and Zamindari systems have been
(2) There has been rapid industrialisation and tremendous increase in the agricultural
production through Green Revolution.
(3) National Commission for the Welfare of Women has been established.
(4) Ceiling has been placed on land and property to fix the limit of person’s holdings.
(5) The privy purses of ex-princes have been abolished.
(6) Life Insurance, General Insurance and most of the banks have been nationlised.
(7) In order to reduce economic disparity , Right to Property has been deleted from the
chapter on Fundmental Rights.
(8) Subsidized public distribution schemes have been launched to help the poor people.
(9) The rules require that both men and women are paid equal wages for equal work.
(10) Untouchability has been abolished. Sincere efforts have been made for the upliftment
of the SCs ,ST s and of other Backward Classes.
(11) Through 73rdand 74th Amendments to the constitution, (1991 & 1992 respectively),
Panchayati Raj has been given the constitutional status with more powers.
(12) Small scale and village industries and Khadi Gram Udyog have been encouraged to
bring prosperity to the rural areas.
(13) India has also been actively co-operating with the U.N. to promote international
peace and security .
The above steps on the part of the central and state governments indicate that many
Directive Principles of State Policy have been implemented to lay down the foundations of
a secular, socialist and welfare state. However , still there is a long way to go to achieve all
of them in full.
There are many hindrances in the non-implementation of Directive Principles of State
Policy. The main reasons are – (a) lack of political will on the part of the states, (b) lack of
awareness and organized action on the part of the people and (c) limited material resources.
7.5 Distinction between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
Now that you know about Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy ,
which are playing an important role in the establishment of the political and socio-economic
society in India, it is important for you to learn about the distinction between the two. The
Fundamental Rights are claims of the citizens recognized by the state. They are in the
nature of denial of certain authority to the government. They are, therefore, negative in
nature. The Directive Principles are like positive directions that the government at all
levels must follow to contribute to the establishment social and economic democracy in
Another point of difference as mentioned earlier is that while the Fundamental Rights are
justiciable and are enforceable by the court of law , the Directive Principles are non-justiciable. In other words, the Supreme Court and the High Courts have the powers to
issue orders or writs for enforcement of Fundamental Rights. The Directive Principles of
State Policy , on the other hand, confer no legal rights and create no legal remedies. This
should not lead us to conclude that the Directive Principles are inferior or subordinate to
the Fundamental Rights.
7.5.1 Relationship between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
Inspite of these differences, there is a close relationship between the two. Fundamental
Rights and Directive Principles are complementary and supplementary to each other.
Whereas the Fundamental Rights establish political democracy, the Directive Principles
establish economic and social democracy . No government can afford to ignore them while
formulating its plans and policies as it is responsible for all its actions to the people in
general. Although there is no legal sanction behind these principles, the ultimate sanction
lies with the people. The people with their opinion will never let the ruling party to acquire
power again if it fails to adhere to these guiding principles. Thus, our Constitution aims at
bringing about a synthesis between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of state
policy . T ogether, they form the core of the Constitution.
7.6 Fundamental Duties
Rights and Duties are two sides of a coin. There are no rights without duties, no duties
without rights. In fact, rights are born in a world ofDuties. The original Constitution enforced
in 1950, did not mention Fundamental Duties of the citizens. It was hoped that citizens
would perform their duties willingly . But, 42nd Amendment to the Constitution added a new
list of 10 duties in chapter IVunder Article 51Aof the Constitution.
7.6.1 Duties Enlisted
(i) T o abide by the Constitution and respect our National Flag and National Anthem.
(ii) T o follow the noble ideals that inspired our national freedom movement.
(iii) T o protect the unity and integrity of India.
(iv) T o defend the country when the need arises.
(v) T o promote harmony and brotherhood among all sections of the people and to respect
the dignity of women.
(vi) T o preserve our rich heritage and composite culture.
(vii) T o protect and improve our natural environment including forests, rivers, lakes and
(viii) T o develop scientific outlook and humanism.
(ix) T o protect public property and not to use violence.
(x) T o strive for excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity .
(xi) Clasue (K) Art 51A Amendment Act 86th 2002.
(K) “a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education of his child or as the case
may be ward between the age of six and fourteen years.
7.6.2 Nature of Fundamental Duties
Fundamental Duties for citizens are in nature of a code of conduct. Afew of these duties
are even vague and unrealistic. The non-justiciable character of these duties make them
less interesting. Moreover , their ambiguous language is another hindrance in their being
obeyed e.g. a citizen does not know how to maintain sovereignty , integrity and glorious
heritage of the country .
There is a lot of truth in the argument of the critics, yet, it would not be proper to call these
duties as only pious declarations.
What Y ou Have Learnt
The Directive Principles of State Policy are included in Part IV of the Constitution. The
framers of the Constitution included them with a special purpose of bringing about social
and economic equality . These principles give directions to the state for making laws and
policies for the collective good of the people. These Principles are non justiciable and are
not enforceable by the Courts of law . But they are nevertheless fundamental to the
governance of country .
For the sake of convenience, they were classified into four categories -(1) Socio-economic principles
(3) International peace and Security
The Directive Principles lay stress on universalisation of education, abolition of child labour
and improvement of the status of women. They provide a framework for establishing
welfare state and achieving economic and social democracy .
There are important differences between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
The former are justiciable and positive in nature. At the same time, there is close relationship
between the two. They are equally important to bring social and economic democracy in
practice. The Courts have been laying stress on the implementation of Directive Principles.
Rights and Duties are two sides of the same coin. In the interest of the well being and
progress of the society , Rights and Duties must be adhered to equally by all.
INDIAN FEDERAL SYSTEM
n lesson 5 dealing with Salient Features of the constitution of India you have learnt that
the founding fathers of Indian Constitution adopted a Federal structures.
In a federal set up there is a two tier of Government with well assigned powers and
functions. In this system the central government and the governments of the units act
within a well defined sphere, co-ordinate and at the same time act independently . The
federal polity , in other words, provides a constitutional device for bringing unity in diversity
and for the achievement of common national goals.
8.1 Features of Indian Federalism
The Constitution of India has adopted federal features; though it does not, in fact, claim
that it establishes a federation The question whether the Indian Constitution could be
called a federal constitution troubled the minds of the members of the Constituent Assembly.
This question cannot be answered without going into the meaning of federalism and the
essential features that are evident in federal state. Let us examine them and try to find out
whether India is a federation or not.
8.1.1 Written Constitution
The most important feature of a federation is that its constitution should be a written one,
so that both the Union Government as well as the State can refer to that as and when
needed. The Constitution of India is a written document and is the most elaborate
Constitution of the world. It establishes supremacy of the Constitution because both the
union and the states are given powers by the Constitution as to be independent in their
spheres of governance.
8.1.2 Rigid Constitution
The procedure of amending the Constitution in a federal system is normally rigid. Indian
Constitution provides that some amendments require a special majority. Such an amendment
has to be passed by majority of total members of each house of the Parliament as well as
by two-thirds majority of the members present and voting there in. However, in addition to
this process, some amendments must be approved by at least 50% of the states. After this
procedure the amendment is signed by the head of the state i.e; the President. Since in
India important amendments can be amended through this procedure. Hence, Indian
Constitution has been rightly called a rigid constitution.
8.1.3 Division of Powers
In our Constitution, there is a clear division of powers, so that the States and the Centre
are required to enact and legislate within their sphere of activity and none violates its limits
and tries to encroach upon the functions of the other . Our constitution enumerates three
lists, viz. the Union, the State and the Concurrent List. The Union List consists of 97
subjects of national importance such as Defence, Railways, Post and T elegraph, etc. The
State List consists of 66 subjects of local interest such as Public Health, Police etc. The
Concurrent List has 47 subjects important to both the Union and the State. such as Electricity ,
Trade Union, Economic and Social Planning, etc.
8.1.4 Supremacy of the Judiciary
Another very important feature of a federation is an independent judiciary to interpret the
Constitution and to maintain its sanctity. The Supreme Court of India has the original
jurisdiction to settle disputes between the Union and the States. It can declare a law as
unconstitutional, if it contravenes any provision of the Constitution.
8.2 Nature of Indian Federation
In spite of the fact that the Indian Constitution establishes a federal structure, it is indeed
very difficult to put the Indian Constitution in the category of a true federation. The framers
of the Constitution have modified the true nature of Indian federation by incorporating
certain non-federal features in it. These are :
Article I of the Constitution describes India as a ‘Union of States’, which implies two
things: firstly , it is not the result of an agreement among the States and secondly , the States
have no freedom to secede or separate from the Union. Besides, the Constitution of the
Union and the States is a single framework from which neither can get out and within
which they must function. The federation is a union because it is indestructible and helps
to maintain the unity of the country .
The Centre appoints the Governors of the States and may take over the administration of
the State on the recommendations of the Governor or otherwise. In other words, Governor
is the agent of the Centre in the States. The working of Indian federal system clearly
reveals that the Governor has acted more as centre’ s representative than as the head of
the State. This enables the Union government to exercise control over the State
administration. The control of the Union over states after the imposition of National
The equality of units in a federation is best guaranteed by their equal representation in the
Uppers House of the federal legislature (Parliament). However, this is not applicable in
case of Indian States. They have unequal representation in the Rajya Sabha. In a true
federation such as that of United State of America every State irrespective of their size in
terms of area or population it sends two representatives in the upper House i.e. Senate.
In addition to all this, all important appointments such as the Chief Election Commissioner ,
the Comptroller and Auditor General are made by the Union Government. Besides, there
is single citizenship. There is no provision for separate Constitutions for the states. The
States cannot propose amendments to, the Constitution. As such amendments can only be
made by the Union Parliament.
In order to ensure uniformity of the administrative system and to maintain minimum common
administrative standards without impairing the federal system. All India Services such as
IAS and IPS have been created which are kept under the control of the Union. In financial
matters too, the States depend upon the Union to a great extent. The States do not possess
adequate financial resources to meet their requirements. During Financial Emergency , the
Center exercises full control over the State’ s finances.
In case of disturbances in any State or part thereof, the Union Government is empowered
to depute Central Force in the State or to the disturbed part of the S tate. Also, the Parliament,
by law may increase or decrease the area of any State and may alter its name and
The federal principle envisages a dual system of Courts. But, in India we have unified
Judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex.
The Constitution of India establishes a strong Centre by assigning all-important subjects to
the Centre as per the Union List. The State Governments have very limited powers.
Financially the States are dependent on the Centre
From the above discussion, it is clear, that there is a tilt in favor of the Centre at the cost of
the States. The States have to work in close co-operation with the Centre. This has lent
support to the contention that the Indian Constitution is federal in form but unitary in spirit.
Constitutional experts have called it ‘semi-federal’ of ‘quasi federal’ system.
8.3 Centre-State Relations
We have seen that the Constitution of India provides for a federal system. Both the Union
and the State are created by the Constitution and derive their respective authority from it.
Y et there is a criticism that India is a federal State but with unitary features. How far is
this criticism valid? T o understand this, it is desirable to study the relationship between the
Union and the States.
The relations between the Centre and the states which constitute the core of federalism
have been enumerated in Parts XI and XII of the Constitution under the heads, legislative,
administrative and financial relations. Let us examine them one by one.
8.3.1 Legislative Relations
Regarding legislative relations, there is a threefold division of powers in the Constitution.
We have followed a system in which there are two lists of legislative powers, one for the
Centre and the other for the State, known as the Union List and the State List, respectively .
An additional list called the Concurrent List has also been added.
The Union List which consists of 97 subjects of national interest is the largest of the three
lists. Some of the important subjects included in this list are: Defence, Railways, Post and
T elegraph, Income T ax, Custom Duties, etc. The Parliament has the exclusive power to
enact laws on the subjects included in the Union List for the entire country.
The State List consists of 66 subjects of local interest. Some of the important subjects
included in this List are Trade and Commerce within the State, Police, Fisheries, Forests,
Industries, etc. The State Legislatures have been empowered to make laws on the subjects
included in the State List.
The Concurrent List consists of 47 subjects of common interest to both the Union and the
States. Some of the subjects included in this list are: Stamp Duties, Drugs and Poison,
Electricity , Newspapers etc. Both the Parliament and the State Legislatures can make
laws on the subjects included in this list. But in case of a conflict between the Union and
the State law relating to the same subject, the Union law prevails over the S tate law .
Power to legislate on all subjects not included in any of the three lists vests with the
Under certain circumstances, the Parliament can legislate on the subjects mentioned in
the State List.
8.3.2 Administrative Relations
The framers of the Indian Constitution never intended to create administrative co-operation
and co-ordination between the centre and states.
The executive power of the State is to be exercised in such a way as to ensure compliance
with the laws made by the Parliament. Further, the Union Executive is empowered to give
directions to a State, if necessary , for the requisite purpose.
The Union Government can issue directions to the States to ensure compliance with the
laws of the Parliament for construction and maintenance of means of communications,
declared to be of national and military importance, and also on the measures for the protection
of Railways. In addition to all this, the Parliament can alone adjudicate on inter-state river
disputes. Also, a provision has been made for constituting an Inter- State Council to advise
the president on inter-state disputes.
Even the State governments may delegate some of its administrative functions relating to
the State subjects, to Union Government for a specified period.
The Constitution of India has certain special provisions to ensure uniformity of the
administrative system. These include the creation of All India Services such as IAS and
IPS and placing members of these services in key administrative positions in the states.
The presence of All India Service Officers further paves way for the Central Government
to exercise its authority and control over the states. The members of these services are
recruited by the Centre but are appointed in the States. No disciplinary action can be taken
against them by the State Governments without the permission of the Centre. The
Constitution also makes provision for the creation of new All India Service by the Parliament
on the recommendation of the Rajya Sabha. The President also puts the entire control of
the state administrative machinery under the control of the Union which you will study in
details while going through the lesson on emergency provisions.
Y ou would also recall that the Union executive is empowered to give such directions to a
state as it may appear necessary for the purpose to the Union Government. The Union
Government has wide powers to issue directions based on the subjective view of the
Union and may, therefore, interfere with the state autonomy in the field of administration.
Ordinarily, the central police force and Army are posted to the states at the request of the
State Government. However , there have been occasions when the CRPF of BSF have
been deployed in states much against the state wishes of the State Government. Thus, the
center plays a very important role in the administrative sphere of activity concerning the
8.3.3 Financial Relations
The distribution of financial resources is especially critical in determining the nature of the
State’ s relationship with the Centre. Both the Union and the State have been provided
with independent sources of revenue by the Constitution. The Parliament can levy taxes
on the subjects included in the Union List. The States can levy taxes on the subjects in the
State List. By and large taxes that have an inter-state base are levied by the Centre and
those with a local base by the State.
The Union List consists of items of taxation which fall under the following categories:
(i) T axes levied by the Union but collected and appropriated by the State such as stamp
duties and duties of excise on medicinal and toilet preparations etc.
(ii) T axes levied and collected by the Union but assigned to the States viz. railways, sea
or air etc.
(iii) T axes levied and collected by the Central and may be distributed between the Central
and the states if the Parliament by law so provides, such as union excise duties,
excise on toilet preparations etc.
(iv) T axes levied and collected and retained by the Centre such as customs, surcharge
on income tax etc.
(v) T axes levied and collected by the Centre and distributed between the union and the
states such as taxes other than agriculture etc.
It is clear that in the financial sphere too the Centre is better equipped. The Centre can
exercise control over the state finances and grants-in-aid both general and special to meet
the expenditure on developmental schemes. During financial emergency , the President
has the power to suspend the provisions regarding division of taxes between the Centre
and the State. He can also impose other restrictions on the expenses of the State.
State plans are framed within the priorities of the central plan and they are executed with
the approval of the Planning Commission. Further, the States have to carry out the centre-sponsored schemes for which the Centre gives grants and the conditions under which
these are to be made. The Planning Commission has created an over-centralized planning
system. No initiative is left to the states and the centrally formulated schemes have been
inappropriately and unimaginatively imposed upon them.
8.4 Demand for Greater Autonomy for the States
The founding fathers of the Indian Constitution were deeply concerned about ensuring the
unity and integrity of the country . They were aware of the forces of disruption and disunity
working within the country. These dangers at the time of independence could be handled
only by a strong government at the Centre.
Therefore, the framers of the Constitution assigned a predominant role to the Centre. At
the same time they made provisions for the establishment of a co-operative federalism.
The working of the Indian federation during the last five decades clearly shows that the
relations between the Centre and the States have not always been cordial.
The administrative Reforms Commission and several other Commissions were appointed
by the Government of India from time to time to regulate Centre State relations. The
Union Government appointed Sarkaria Commission to suggest ways and means to improve
The recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission assume importance so as to evolve an
appropriate policy in the areas of legislative, administrative and financial relations. It has
not suggested wholesole structural changes in the fundamental fabric of the Constitution.
It felt that federalism is more a functional arrangement for co-operative action than a
static institutional concept. The Commission strongly recommended the establishment of
permanent Inter-State Council. In addition, it desired that both the Centre and the States
should have the concern for the development of backward territory or areas. If the economic
development of these backward regions are undertaken in a planned manner, the separatist
tendencies will be automatically controlled. Differences between the Union and the States
should be resolved by mutual consultation. It has taken a favourable view on the demand
of the States to provide more financial resources at their disposal. In order to improve
Centre-State relations in the country , it has suggested economic liberalization and suitable
amendments to the Constitution.
What You Have Learnt
In a federal system of government there is a need for clear cut division of power between
the Union and States. This also requires a written and rigid constitution and an independent
judiciary to decide disputes between the Union and the States. Though the Indian Constitution
has all such features of a federal state, it is indeed difficult to put the Indian Constitution in
the category of true federations.
The framers of the Constitution have incorporated certain non federal features in it such
as single citizenship, single judiciary , a strong centre, appointment of the Governor by the
President, unequal of representation in the Rajya Sabha and so on. All these indicate a tilt
towards strong centre. The states have to work in close co-operation with the centre. The
constitution is federal in form but unitary in spirit. The study of Center-State relationship in
legislative, administrative and financial spheres also clearly shows that the Centre is stronger
as compared to the states. The Centre has been assigned a dominant role which became
necessary keeping in view the dangers to the unity and integrity of the nation. Therefore,
there are provisions for a co- operative federalism.
The working of the Indian Constitution over the year indicates that relations between the
center and the States have not remained very co-ordinal. The states have started demanding
more autonomy. V arious commissions have been appointed by the Government of India to
review the centre- state relations. The Sarkaria Commission examined the problem and
recomended changes in the area of federal, legislative, administrative and financial relations.
ou have read in the preceding lesson that the Constitution of India is federal in nature
having a unitary bias. On the one hand, it has all the characteristic features of a federation,
while, on the other hand the Centre is more powerful than the States.
When the Constitution of India was being drafted, India was passing through a period of
stress and strain. Partition of the country , communal riots and the problem concerning the
merger of princely states including Kashmir. Thus, the Constitution-makers thought to
equip the Central Government with the necessary authority , so that, in the hour of emergency ,
when the security and stability of the country is threatened by internal and external threats.
Therefore, some emergency provisions were made in Constitution to safeguard and protect
the security , integrity and stability of the country and effective functioning of State
9.1 Emergency Caused by War , External Aggression etc.
Provisions have been made in the Constitution for dealing with extraordinary situations
that may threaten the peace, security , stability and governance of the country or a part
thereof. There are three types of extraordinary or crisis situations that are envisaged.
First, when there is a war or external aggression has been committed or there is threat of
the same, or if internal disturbances amounting to armed rebellion take place; second,
when it becomes impossible for the government of a State to be carried on in accordance
with the Constitution; and third, if the credit or financial stability of the country is threatened.
In each case the President may issue a proclamation with varying consequences. In this
section we will discuss the emergency caused by war etc., popularly known as the national
9.1.1 Proclamation of National Emergency (Article 352)
The Constitution of India has provided for imposition of emergency caused by war , external
aggression or internal rebellion. This is described as the National Emergency . This type of
emergency can be declared by the President of India if he is satisfied that the situation is
very grave and the security of India or any part thereof is threatened or is likely to be
threatened either (i) by war or external aggression or (ii) by armed rebellion within the
country. The President can issue such a proclamation even on the ground of threat of war
or aggression. According to the 44th Amendment of the Constitution, the President can
declare such an emergency only if the Cabinet recommends in writing to do so.
Such a proclamation of emergency has to be approved by both the Houses of Parliament
by absolute majority of the total membership of the Houses as well as 2/3 majority of
members present and voting within one month, otherwise the proclamation ceases to operate.
In case the Lok Sabha stands dissolved at the time of proclamation of emergency or is not
in session, it has to be approved by the Rajya Sabha within one month and later on by the
Lok Sabha also within one month of the start of its next session. Once approved by the
Parliament, the emergency remains in force for a period of six months from the date of
proclamation. In case it is to be extended beyond six months, another prior resolution has
to be passed by the Parliament. In this way , such emergency continues indefinitely . But if
the situation improves the emergency can be revoked by another proclamation by the
President of India.
The 44th Amendment of the Constitution provides that ten per cent or more members of
the Lok Sabha can requisition a meeting of the Lok Sabha and in that meeting, it can
disapprove or revoke the emergency by a simple majority . In such a case emergency will
immediately become inoperative.
National Emergency has been declared in our country three times so far . For the first time,
emergency was declared on 26 October 1962 after China attacked our borders in the
North East. This National Emergency lasted till 10 January 1968, long after the hostilities
For the second time, it was declared on 3 December 1971 in the wake of the second India-Pakistan War and was lifted on 21 March 1977. While the second emergency , on the basis
of external aggression, was in operation, third National Emergency (called internal
emergency) was imposed on 25 June 1975. This emergency was declared on the ground
of ‘internal disturbances’. Internal disturbances justified impositin of the emergency despite
the fact that the government was already armed with the powers provided during the
second National Emergency of 1971 which was still in operation.
9.1.2 Effects of National Emergency
The declaration of National Emergency has far-reaching effects both on the rights of
individuals and the autonomy of the states in the following manner :
(i) The most significant effect is that the federal form of the Constitution changes into
unitary . The authority of the Centre increases and the Parliament assumes the power
to make laws for the entire country or any part thereof, even in respect of subjects
mentioned in the State List.
(ii) The President of India can issue directions to the states as to the manner in which
the executive power of the states is to be exercised.
(iii) During this period, the Lok Sabha can extend its tenure by a period of one year at a
time. But the same cannot be extended beyond six months after the proclamation
ceases to operate. The tenure of State Assemblies can also be extended in the same
(iv) During emergency , the President is empowered to modify the provisions regarding
distribution of revenues between the Union and the States.
(v) The Fundamental Rights under Article 19 about which you have already learnt are
automatically suspended and this suspension continues till the end of the emergency .
But according to the 44th Amendment, Freedoms listed in Article 19 can be suspended
only in case of proclamation on the ground of war or external aggression.
From the above discussion, it becomes quite clear that emergency not only suspends the
autonomy of the States but also converts the federal structure of India into a unitary one.
Still it is considered necessary as it equips the Union Government with vast powers to
cope up with the abnormal situations. The exigencies of the situation prevailing in the
period 1975-77 necessitated certain changes in the Constituion reagarding emergency
provisions. Therefore, the 44th amendment was passed on 30th April 1979 to strengthen
the democratic features of the Indian Constituion and to protect citizens’ rights even during
the national emergency .
9.2 Emergency due to Failure of Constitutional Machinery in a State
It is the duty of the Union Government to ensure that governance of a State is carried on
in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Under Article 356, the President
may issue a proclamation to impose emergency in a state if he is satisfied on receipt of a
report from the Governor of the State, or otherwise, that a situation has arisen under
which the Government of the State cannot be carried on smoothly . In such a situation,
proclamation of emergency by the President is called ‘proclamation on account of the
failure (or breakdown) of constitutional machinery .’ In popular language it is called the
President’ s Rule.
Like National Emergency , such a proclamation must also be placed before both the Houses
of Parliament for approval. In this case approval must be given within two months, otherwise
the proclamation ceases to operate. If approved by the Parliament, the proclamation remains
valid for six months at a time. It can be extended for another six months but not beyond
one year . However , emergency in a State can be extended beyond one year if
(a) a National Emergency is already in operation; or if
(b) the Election Commission certifies that the election to the State Assembly cannot be
This type of emergency has been imposed in most of the States at one time or the other for
a number of times. It was in 1951 that this type of emergency was imposed for the first
time in the Punjab State. In 1957, the Kerala State was put under the President’ s Rule.
There have been many cases of misuse of ‘constitutional breakdown’. For example, in
1977 when Janata Party came into power at the Centre, the Congress Party was almost
wiped out in North Indian States. On this excuse, Desai Government at the Centre dismissed
nine State governments where Congress was still in power . This action of Morarji Desai’s
Janata Government was strongly criticised by the Congress and others. But, when in 1980
(after Janata Government had lost power) Congress came back to power at the Centre
under Mrs.Gandhi’ s leadership and dismissed all the then Janata Party State Governments.
In both cases there was no failure of Constitutional machinery , but actions were taken only
on political grounds.
In 1986, emer gency was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir due to terrorism and insurgency .
In all, there are more than hundred times that emergency has been imposed in various
States for one reason or the other . However , after 1995 the use of this provision has rarely
9.2.1 Effects of Imposition of President’s Rule in a State
The declaration of emergency due to the breakdown of Constitutional machinery in a
State has the following effects:
(i) The President can assume to himself all or any of the functions of the State
Government or he may vest all or any of those functions with the Governor or any
other executive authority .
(ii) The President may dissolve the State Legislative Assembly or put it under suspension.
He may authorise the Parliament to make laws on behalf of the State Legislature.
(iii) The President can make any other incidental or consequential provision necessary to
give effect to the object of proclamation.
The way President’ s Rule was imposed on various occasions has raised many questions.
At times the situation really demanded it. But at other times, President’s Rule was imposed
purely on political grounds to topple the ministry formed by a party different from the one
at the Centre, even if that particular party enjoyed majority in the Legislative Assembly.
Suspending or dissolving assemblies and not giving a chance to the other political parties to
form governments in states has been due to partisan consideration of the Union Government,
for which Article 356 has been clearly misused.
In view of the above facts, Article 356 has become very controversial. In spite of the
safeguards provided by the 44th Amendment Act, this provision has been alleged to be
misused by the Union Government. That is why , there is a demand either for its deletion or
making provision in the Constitution to restrict the misuse of this Article. The Sarkaria
Commission which was appointed to review the Centre–State relations also recommended
that Article 356 should be used only as a last resort. The Commission also suggested that
the State Legislative Assembly should not be dissolved unless the proclamation is approved
by the Parliament. It further suggested that all possibilities of forming an alternative
government should be fully explored before the Centre imposes emergency in a State on
grounds of breakdown of Constitutional machinery . The Supreme Court held in the Bommai
case that the Assembly may not be dissolved till the Proclamation is approved by the
Parliament. On a few occasions such as when Gujral Government recommended use of
Article 356 in Uttar Pradesh, the President returned the recommendation for reconsideration.
The Union Government took the hint and dropped the proposal.
9.3 Financial Emergency
The third type of Emergency is Financial Emergency provided under Article 360. It provides
that if the President is satisfied that the financial stability or credit of India or any of its part
is in danger, he may declare a state of Financial Emergency . Like the other two types of
emergencies, it has also to be approved by the Parliament. It must be approved by both
Houses of Parliament within two months. Financial Emergency can operate as long as the
situation demands and may be revoked by a subsequent proclamation.
9.3.1 Effects of Financial Emergency
The proclamation of Financial Emergency may have the following consequences:
(a) The Union Government may give direction to any of the States regarding financial
(b) The President may ask the States to reduce the salaries and allowances of all or any
class of persons in government service.
(c) The President may ask the States to reserve all the money bills for the consideration
of the Parliament after they have been passed by the State Legislature.
(d) The President may also give directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances
of the Central Government employees including the Judges of the Supreme Court
and the High Courts.
So far, fortunately , financial emergency has never been proclaimed.
What Y ou Have Learnt
According to the Indian Constitution, the President has been given extraordinary powers
to deal with certain abnormal situations in order to protect the security , integrity and stability
of the country. For this purpose, there are three types of emergencies which can be
proclaimed by the President of India on the written advice of the Union Cabinet. These
three types of emergencies are :
(a) National emergency (Article 352).
(b) Emergency due to the breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State (Article
(c) Financial emergency (Article 360).
National emergency under Article 352 has been declared three times so far. T wice it was
imposed due to the external aggression once by China and another time by Pakistan,
whereas it was declared only once on the basis of the fear of internal disturbances. This
emergency was imposed on 25 June 1975. Emergency on account of failure of Constitutional
machinery has been declared in most of the States some time or the other . But Financial
Emergency has not been declared so far.
Emergency , when imposed, affects the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. It also affects
the autonomy of the StateGovernments. The powers of the Union Government increase
and it can make laws even on the subjects included in the State List. The Centre gives
directions to the State Governments. Practically speaking, the federal nature of the
Constitution changes into a unitary form. So much so that when the proclamation of national
emergency is in operation, some of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution
The second type of emergency under Article 356 is the most frequently imposed emergency.
Under this, a State is put under the President’ s Rule if the elected representatives fail to
form or run the government in a State according to the Constitution of India. This is the
most misused form of emergency which has been vehemently criticised by many .
The third type of emergency is Financial Emergency which has not been declared so far.
During this type of emergency , the President of India may give directions to the Union as
well as State Governments to reduce the salaries and allowances of their employees
including the judges. The purpose of declaring this type of emergency is to solve the
The proclamation of each type of emergency is made by the President on the written
advice of the Union Cabinet. Such a proclamation has to be approved by both the Houses
of Parliament within one month in case of National Emergency and within two months in
case of the remaining two types of emergencies, from the date of imposition of such
emergency . The Proclamation of national emergency as well as the imposition of President’ s
Rule, if approved by the Parliament, will continue to be in operation for six months from
the date of proclamation. In case it is to be extended beyond six months, a subsequent prior
resolution has to be passed by the Parliament to this effect. In case of Financial Emergency
once proclaimed, it continues to operate as long as it is required.
The Emergency Provisions provide the President with sweeping powers to deal with abnormal
and extraordinary situations. Any misuse of these powers can easily lead to subversion of
democracy . But the actual working of the Constitution for more than five decades has
demonstrated that emergency powers were generally used in the interest of the country
barring a few cases where emergency was imposed due to political considerations. In spite
of misuse of emergency provisions in some of the States, there is a broad consensus that
emergency provisions still have a role to play under the conditions prevailing in India.
The President cannot at the same time be a member of Parliament or of a State
Legislature. If a member of Parliament or State Legislature is elected as President
his/her seat will be deemed to have been vacated on the date, he/she assumes office
as President of India.
10.1.1 Election Procedure
The President is elected by an Electoral College consisting of the elected members of both
Houses of Parliament i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and of the State Legislative
Assemblies (Vidhan Sabhas). Nominated members of Parliament and members of State
Legislative Councils are not members of the Electoral College. The election is held by
means of single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The voting is
done by secret ballot.
The framers of the Constitution were keen to obtain parity between the votes of the
elected members of Parliament on one side and elected members of Legislative Assemblies
of all the States on the other . They devised a system to determine the value of vote of each
member of Parliament and Legislative Assembly , so as to ensure equality .
The value of vote of each memberof Legislative Assembly of a state is
determined by the formula as given below:-=
Total population of the State
Number of elected members of State Legislative Assembly
In simple words the total population of the State is divided by the number of elected
members of the State Legislative Assembly, and the quotient is divided by 1000.
Example:Let us suppose that the population of Punjab is 1,35,51,060 and the number of
members of State Vidhan Sabha is 104. The votes which each Legislature is entitled to
cast will be:-1,35,51, 000
= 130 [As the remainder .29 is less than 50%, it is ignored]
The value of each vote of a Member of Parliamentis determined by adding all the
votes of members of the State Legislative Assemblies including the Legislative Assemblies
structure e of Government of Union Territory of Delhi and Pondicherry divided by total member of elected members
of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Total number of votes of Member of all the State Legislative Assemblies
Total number of elected Members of both Houses of Parliament
Example : The votes of all the State Legislative Assemblies are added. Let us suppose
that the total number of votes of all the Legislators is 5,44,971 and the total number of
elected members of Parliament is 776. Then the number of votes of each member of
Parliament will be
5, 44, 971
At both the stages if the remainder is less than 50% of the divides, it is ignored. But when
the remainder is 50% or more, one vote is added to the quotient.
Single Transferable V ote System: The election of the President is held through single
transferable vote system of proportional representation. Under this system names of all
the candidates are listed on the ballot paper and the elector gives them numbers according
to his/her preference. Every voter may mark on the ballot paper as many preferences as
there are candidates. Thus the elector shall place the figure 1 opposite the name of the
candidate whom he/she chooses for first preference and may mark as many preferences
as he/she wishes by putting the figures 2,3,4 and so on against the names of other candidates.
The ballot becomes invalid if first preference is marked against more than one candidate
or if the first preference is not marked at all.
Counting of Votes and Declaration of Result
Members of State Legislative Assemblies cast their votes in States Capitals, while Members
of Parliament cast their votes in Delhi in the States Capitals. Counting of votes is done at
New Delhi. First preference votes of all the candidates are sorted out and counted. T o be
declared elected a candidate must get more than 50% of the total valid votes polled. This
is known as Quota. The Quota is determined by totalling the total number of votes polled
divided by the number of candidates to be elected plus one. In this case, since only the
President is to be elected, so division is done by 1+1. One (01) is added to the quotient to
make it more than 50%.
Total number of votes polled
At the first count only first preference votes are counted. If any of the candidates reaches
the quota, he/she is declared elected. In case no candidate reaches the quota, then the 2
preference votes of the candidate getting the least number of first preference votes are
transferred to other candidates. Thus the candidate getting the least number of votes is
eliminated. If after counting, a candidate reaches quota, he/she is declared elected as the
President. In case no candidate reaches quota, even at this stage, then the votes of next
candidate getting the least number of votes are transferred to the others. It continues till
any one candidate gets the quota of votes.
Structur e of Government Let us understand it with the following example. Supposing the total number of valid votes
is 20,000 and there are four candidates A, B, C and D. The quota in this case will be
1 1 +
+ 1 = 10001.
Let us assume that first preference votes cast in favour of all the four candidates are as
follows:-A = 9000
B = 2000
C = 4000
D = 5000
As no candidate has reached the quota i.e. 10001, candidate ‘B’ getting the least number
of votes gets eliminated and his votes transferred to the other candidates.
Supposing as a result of transfer of votes ‘A ’ gets 1100, ‘C’ gets 500 and ‘D’ 400. Now the
position would be as follows:
A= 9000 + 1100 = 10,100
B = 6000 + 400 = 6400
C = 4000 + 500 = 4500
Since ‘A ’ reaches quota he is declared elected as the President.
Before entering upon the office the President has to take an oath of office in the presence
of the Chief Justice of India.
10.2 The President: Tenure and Removal
The President is elected for a term of five years and is eligible for re-election, though a
convention has developed that no President seeks election for the third term. However,
the first President Dr . Rajendra Prasad was elected for two full terms. He/she may resign
before the expiry of his term, or the office of President may fall vacant due to his/her
death. His term of office commences from the date he takes the oath of office.
10.2.1 Privileges and Immunities
The President of India enjoys certain privileges and immunities which include the following:
1. The President is not answerable to any court of law for the exercise of his functions.
2. The President can neither be arrested nor any criminal proceedings be instituted
against him in any court of law during his tenure.
3. The President cannot be asked to be present in any court of law during his tenure.
4. A prior notice of two months time is to be served before instituting a civil case against
10.2.2 Removal of the President
The President can only be removed from office through a process called impeachment.
The Constitution lays down a detailed procedure for the impeachment of the President.
He can only be impeached ‘for violation of the Constitution’. The following procedure is
intentionally kept very difficult so that no President should be removed on flimsy ground.
The resolution to impeach the President can be moved in either House of Parliament.
Such a resolution can be moved only after a notice has been given by at least one-fourth
of the total number of members of the House. Such a resolution charging the President for
violation of the Constitution must be passed by a majority of not less than two-third of the
total membership of that House before it goes to the other House for investigation.
The charges levelled against the President are investigated by the second House. President
has the right to be heard or defended when the charges against him are being investigated.
The President may defend himself in person or through his counsel. If the charges are
accepted by a two-third majority of the total membership of the second House, the
impeachment succeeds. The President thus stands removed from the office from the date
on which the resolution is passed.
This procedure of impeachment is even more difficult than the one adopted in America
where only simple majority is required in the House of Representatives to initiate the
IMPEACHMENT : An impeachment is a quasi-judicial procedure leading to the
removal of a high public official, say , the President as in India, on the grounds of the
violation of the Constitution.
10.2.3 V acancy in the Office of the President
Whenever the office of the President falls vacant either due to death or resignation or
impeachment, the Vice-President officiates for a period not more than six months. The
Constitution has made it obligatory that in such cases (of vacancy in the office of President)
election for a new President must be held within six months. The newly elected President
then holds office for his full term of five years. Thus, when President Fakhruddin Ali
Ahmad died in 1977, Vice-President B. D. Jatti officiated and the new President (Sanjeeva
Reddy) was elected within six months.
In case the President’ s office falls vacant and the Vice-President is not available (or Vice-President acting as President dies or resigns in less than six months), the Chief Justice of
India is required to officiate till the new President is elected. This provision was made in
1969 by the Parliament to enable Chief Justice Hidayatullah to officiate when President
Zakir Hussain had died, and Vice-President V . V . Giri resigned.
If a President is temporarily unable to discharge his duties, due to illness or otherwise, the
Vice-President may discharge the functions of the President without officiating as the
10.3 Powers of The President
The Constitution has vested the President with vast powers. Broadly the powers of the
President can be classified as Executive, Legislative, Financial and Judicial Powers. His
emergency powers are already dealt with in Lesson No. 9.
10.3.1 Executive Powers
The President is head of State and executive powers of the Union have been vested in
him. The President is empowered to exercise these powers either directly or through
officers subordinate to him which means through the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
also. His executive powers are given below:-The President appoints the Prime Minister and he appoints other ministers on the
advice of the Prime Minister . He allocates portfolios among the ministers on the
advice of the Prime Minister . He may remove any Minister on the advice of the
Prime Minister .
The President appoints the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court and High
Courts. However, in all judicial appointments, the Chief Justice of India is consulted. Besides
the President may also consult such other judges of the Supreme Court as the President
may be deemed necessary. While appointing Chief Justice and justices of High Courts the
President has to consult the State Governor also. In the appointment of High Court judges,
the President also consults the Chief Justice of the State. But now in accordance with the
1993 decision of the Supreme Court as re-interpreted in 1999 (see Lesson 12), the President
is bound by the recommendations of a panel of senior most judges of the Supreme Court
in matters of all judicial appointments. This panel headed by the Chief Justice is known as
the collegium of the Supreme Court. The President appoints the Attorney General, the
Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Chief Election Commissioner and other
Election Commissioners, the Chairman and Members of Union Public Service Commission
(U.P .S.C.). He/she also appoints the Governors of States and Lt. Governors of Union
T erritories. All such appointments are made on the advice of the Union Cabinet headed by
the Prime Minister .
The President is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. As such, the President
makes appointments of Chiefs of Army, Navy , and Air Force. The President can declare
war and make peace. In his/her capacity as head of state, the President conducts the
country’s foreign affairs. The President appoints India’s ambassadors and high
commissioners in other countries; and the President receives foreign ambassadors and
high commissiners. All diplomatic work is conducted in his/her name (by the foreign office
and Indian envoys abroad), and all international treaties are negotiated and concluded in
All laws enacted by the Union Parliament are enforced by him/her. All officials appointed
by him/her (such as Governors and Ambassadors) may be removed or recalled by him/
her , on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
All the functions are performed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. All
decisions of the Union Government are communicated to him/her by the Prime Minister .
The President can ask the Prime Minister only once to have a recommendation of the
executive reconsidered by the Cabinet. The President can also refer a minister’ s decision
to the Cabinet for its consideration. The President cannot seek a second reconsideration.
10.3.2 Legislative Powers
The President being an integral part of Parliament enjoys many legislative powers. These
powers are given below:
The President summons, and prorogues the Houses of Parliament. He may summon the
Parliament at least twice a year, and the gap between two sessions cannot be more than
six months. The President has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha even before the expiry
of its term on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. In normal course he/she dissolves
Lok Sabha after five years. The President nominates twelve members to Rajya Sabha
from amongst persons having special knowledge in the field of literature, science, art and
social service. The President may also nominate two members of Anglo-Indian community
to the Lok Sabha in case that community is not adequately represented in the House. The
President can call a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament in case of a disagreement
between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on a non-money bill. So far thrice such joint sittings
have been summoned (see Lesson no. 11). The President has the right to address and
send messages to Parliament. The President addresses both Houses of Parliament jointly
at the first session after every general election as well as commencement of the first
session every year . These addresses contain policies of the government of the day .
Every bill passed by Parliament is sent to the President for his/her assent. The President
may give his/her assent, or return it once for the reconsideration of the Parliament. If
passed again the President has to give her assent. Without his/her assent no bill can become
a law . The President may promulgate an ordinance when the Parliament is not in session.
The ordinance so issued has the force of law . The ordinance so promulgated should be laid
before both Houses of Parliament when they reassemble. If it is neither rejected by the
Parliament nor withdrawn by the President, it automatically lapses six weeks after the
commencement of the next session of Parliament. Generally a bill is moved by the
Government to enact a law in place of the ordinance.
10.3.3 Financial Powers
All money bills are introduced in the Lok Sabha only with the prior approval of the President.
The Presidenthas the control over Contingency Fund of India. It enables her to advance
money for the purpose of meeting unforeseen expenses. Annual budget and railway budget
are introduced in the Lok Sabha on the recommendation of the President. If the Government
in the middle of the financial year feels that more money is required than estimated in the
annual budget, it can present supplementary demands. Money bills are never returned for
reconsiderations. The President appoints the Finance Commission after every five years.
It makes recommendations to the President on some specific financial matters, especially
the distribution of Central taxes between the Union and the States. The Presidentalso
receives the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, and has it laid in the
Contingency Fund of India:It is a fund kept by the Union Government to meet
any unforeseen expenditure for which money is immediately needed. The President
has full control over this Fund. The Presidentpermits withdrawals from this Fund.
10.3.4 Judicial Powers
Y ou have seen above that the President appoints Chief Justice and other judges of the
Supreme Court. The President also appoints Chief Justices and other judges of the High
Courts. The President appoints law officers of the Union Government including the
Attorney-General of India.
The President, as head of state, can pardon a criminal or reduce the punishment or suspend,
cummute or remit the sentence of a criminal convicted by the Supreme Court or High
Courts for an offence against the federal laws. The President can pardon a person convicted
by a Court Martial. His/her power of pardon includes granting of pardon even to a person
awarded death sentence. But, the President performs this function on the advice of Law
The President enjoys certain immunities. He is above the law and no criminal proceedings
can be initiated against him/her (see section 10.2.1 above).
10.4 Position of the President
The office of the President is of high dignity and eminence, not of real powers. The
powers formally vested in him/her are actually exercised not by his/her, but by the Union
Council of Ministers, in his/her name. If the Presidenttries to act against the wishes of the
ministers, the Presidentmay create a constitutional crisis. The Presidentmay even face
impeachment and may have to quit. Thus, the President has no alternative but to act in
accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister , who after all is head of the real executive.
The Prime Minister is in regular touch with the President.
The Council of Ministers is responsible to Lok Sabha, and can be removed on its adverse
vote only . In practice the ministers do not hold office during the pleasure of the President.
The Constitution, 42nd Amendment Act has made it obligatory for the President to act only
on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The Presidentcannot act independently .
His/her powers are formal. It is the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister
which is the real executive. In accordance with the 44th Amendment Act of the Constitution,
the President can send back a bill passed by the Parliament for reconsideration only once.
If the bill is again passed by the Parliament, the President has to give his assent to the bill.
In the Constituent Assembly, Dr . B.R. Ambedkar had rightly said, “The President occupies
the same position as the King in the British Constitution”. But in reality the President of
India is not a mere rubber stamp. The Constitution lays down that the President has to
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. The Presidentcan ask a newly appointed
Prime Minister to seek a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha within a stipulated period of
time. All the administration of the country is carried on in her name. The Presidentcan ask
for any information from any minister . All the decisions of the Cabinet are communicated
to the President. The Presidentis furnished with all the information relating to administration.
It is in this context that the utility of the office of the President comes to be fully realised
when the Presidentgives suggestions, encourages and even warns the government. It is in
this context, the President emerges as an advisor , a friend and even a critic.
By way of conclusion, we may describe the position of the President in the words of Dr.
B.R. Ambedkar. According to him/her, the President is the Head of State but not the
executive. The Presidentrepresents the nation but does not rule over the nation. The
Presidentis the symbol of nation. His/her place in the administration is that of a ceremonial
10.5 The Vice-President
The Constitution of India provides for the office of the Vice-President. The Vice-President
of India is elected indirectly by an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses
of Parliament, on the basis of proportional representation by means of single transferable
vote system. The voting is held by secret ballot. The Vice-President cannot be a member
of either Houses of Parliament, or of a State Legislature. The Vice-President has to
possess the following qualifications:
He/she has to be a citizen of India, who should not be less than 35 years of age, should not
hold any office of profit and should be eligible to be elected as a member of the Rajya
The Vice-President is elected for a term of five years. He/shemay resign from the office
of the Vice-President even before the expiry of five years by writing to the President. The
Vice Presidentcan be removed before five years if a resolution to this effect is passed by
a majority of members of Rajya Sabha and agreed to by the Lok Sabha.
10.5.1 Functions of the Vice-President
The Vice-President is the ex-of ficio Chairman of Rajya Sabha which means that whosoever
is the Vice-President, he/shepresides over the Rajya Sabha and performs normal duties
of a presiding officer . These include maintenance of order in the House, allowing members
to speak and ask questions, and putting bills and motions to vote. Since the Vice-President
is not a member of the Rajya Sabha, he/shecannot vote in the House. But, in case of a tie
(equality of votes in favour and against a bill), the Vice Presidentexercises his/her casting
vote so that a decision can be reached.
If ever a vacancy arises in the office of President, due to death, resignation or impeachment,
the Vice-President officiates as the President for not more than six months (see above).
During that period, he enjoys all powers of the President, and does not preside over the
House when he officiates as President.
In case the President is temporarily unable to discharge his/her functions, the Vice-President
may be called upon to discharge his/her functions, without becoming officiating President.
10.6 Prime Minister and The Council of Ministers
The executive powers of the President are exercised by the Council of Ministers. The
Constitution provides that “there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at
the head to aid and advise the President in the excercise of his functions”. Here the word
“shall” indicates that the President cannot function without the Council of Ministers. The
President is the constitutional head of State, but the real Head of the government is the
10.6.1 Appointment of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President but the Presidentdoes not have freedom
in the selection of the Prime Minister . Normally the Presidenthas to invite leader of the
majority party to form the government. In case no single party is in clear majority , the
Presidentinvites the person who is likely to command support of two or more parties
which make up majority in the Lok Sabha. Once appointed, the Prime Minister holds
office so long as he/she enjoys the support of the majority of members of Lok Sabha. The
Prime Minister is normally leader of the majority party in Lok Sabha. However, there have
been cases when a member of Rajya Sabha was made the Prime Minister. This happened
when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was first appointed, Prime Minster in 1966, or when I. K. Gujral
became Prime Minister in 1997 or when Rajya Sabha member Dr. Manmohan Singh
became the Prime Minister in 2004. In 1996 H.D. Deve Gowda was not a member of any
House. He later entered the Rajya Sabha.
Members of the Council of Ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the
Prime Minister . While selecting the ministers, the Prime Minister the PM keeps in mind
that due representation to different regions of the country , to various religious and caste
groups. In a coalition government, the members of coalition parties have to be given due
representation in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister decides portfolios of the
Ministers, and can alter these at his will.
In order to be a Minister , a person has to be a member of either of the two Houses of
Parliament. Even a person who is not a member of any of the two Houses can become a
Minister for a period of six months. Within six months the Minister has to get himself/
herself elected to either House of Parliament, failing which he/she ceases to be a Minister .
All the Ministers are collectively as well as individually responsible to the Lok Sabha.
The Council of Ministers consists of two category of ministers. These are: Cabinet Ministers
and Ministers of State. The Cabinet Ministers are usually senior members of the party/
coalition of parties. The Ministers of State come next to Cabinet Ministers. Some of the
Ministers of State have independent charge of a department while other Ministers of State
only assist the Cabinet Ministers. Sometimes even deputy ministers are also appointed to
assist the ministers.
Ministers other than Cabinet Ministers normally do not attend the meetings of the Cabinet.
The Prime Minister presides over the meetings of the Cabinet. All policy matters are
decided by the Cabinet. The Prime Minister has the authority to reshuffle the portfolios of
the Ministers or even ask for their resignation. In case of resignation or death of the Prime
Minister the entire Council of Ministers also goes out of office. This is because the Council
of Ministers is created by the Prime Minister, who also heads it. The entire Council of
Ministers is responsibility to the Lok Sabha (see below 10.8)
S tructur e of Government 10.6.2 Powers and Functions of the Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is the most important and powerful functionary of the Union Government.
The President is head of the government and leader of Lok Sabha. The President is
principal advisor to the President, and the country’s visible face and spokesperson in the
international affairs. His/her role is unparalled and the President gives direction to the
governance of the country .
The Prime Minister being the head of the Council of Ministers, selects the Ministers to be
sworn in by the President. The Ministers in fact are chosen by the Prime Minister and
remain Ministers as long as they enjoy the confidence of the Prime Minister . The Prime
Minister distributes portfolios among Ministers. The President can change the portfolios
as and when he desires. The Prime Minister can drop a Minister or ask for his/her
The Prime Minister presides over the meetings of the Cabinet and conducts its proceedings.
As head of the Cabinet, he/she largely influences the decisions of the Cabinet. The Prime
Minister co-ordinates the working of various ministers. The President resolves disagreement
if any amongst different Ministers. Prime Minister is the link between the President and
the Cabinet. The decisions of the Cabinet are conveyed to the President by the Prime
Minister. It is he who keeps the President informed of all the policies and decisions of the
Government. No Minister can meet the President without the permission of the Prime
Minister. All important appointments are made by the President on the advice of the Prime
Minister. It is on the advice of the Prime Minister that the President summons and prorogues
the session of the Parliament and even dissolves the Lok Sabha.
The Prime Minister is the “principal spokesman” and defender of the policies of the
Government in the Parliament. When any Minister is unable to defend his/her actions
properly , the Prime Minister comes to the help of that Minister both inside and outside the
Parliament. The Prime Minister is the leader of the nation. The nation looks to his/her for
guidance. At the time of general elections, it is the Prime Minister who seeks mandate of
the people. The Prime Minister plays an important role in the formulation of domestic and
foreign policies. The President represents the country in the world arena, by participating
in the international meetings such as NAM, SAARC and United Nations. All international
agreements and treaties with other countries are concluded with the consent of the Prime
Minister. The President is the Chief spokesperson of the policies of the country .
The Prime Minister has a special status both in the Government and in the Parliament.
This makes him/her the most powerful functionary . His/her position and powers depend
upon his/her personality. Aperson of the stature of Jawaharlal Nehru or Indira Gandhi, is
always more effective than a person who lacks vision or depends on support from outside
his party. The Prime Minister is not only leader of the Parliament but also leader of the
nation. The Prime Minister has to secure the willing cooperation of all important members
of his/her own party . In a minority government, the Prime Minister has to depend on
outside help that might act as hindrance in his effective role.
10.7 The Council of Ministers and The Cabinet
The terms Council of Ministers and ‘The Cabinet’ are often used as inter-changeable
terms. In reality , they are not. Prior to 44th Amendment of the Constitution, the word
‘Cabinet’ was not mentioned in the Constitution. Let us distinguish between the Council of
Ministers and the Cabinet. The main points of difference are: The Council of Ministers
consists of all category of Ministers i.e., Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State. The
Cabinet on the other hand consists of Senior Ministers only. Its number varies from 15 to
30 while the entire Council of Ministers can consist of even more than 70. The Council of
Ministers as a whole rarely meets. The Cabinet on the other hand meets as frequently as
possible. It is the Cabinet that determines the policies and programmes of the Government
and not the Council of Ministers. Thus, ‘Cabinet is an inner body within the Council of
Ministers’. It acts in the name of the Council of Ministers and exercises all powers on its
10.7.1 Powers and Functions of the Cabinet
It has enormous powers and manifold responsibilities. All the executive powers of the
President are exercised by the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister.
The Cabinet determines and formulates the internal and external policies of the country. It
takes all major decisions regarding defence and security of the country . It has also to
formulate policies so as to provide better living conditions for the people.Cabinet has control
over national finance. The Cabinet is responsible for whole of the expenditure of the
government as well for raising necessary revenues. It is the Cabinet that prepares the text
of President’ s address to the Parliament. The Cabinet is also responsible for the issuance
of Ordinances by the President when the Parliament is not in session. The sessions of the
Parliament are convened by the President on the advice of the Cabinet conveyed through
the Prime Minister . The Cabinet prepares the agenda of the sessions of the Parliament.
10.8 Responsibility of The Ministers
We have already read that there is a Council of Ministers, with the Prime Minister as its
head to aid and advise the President. Constitutionally the Ministers hold office during the
S tructur e of Government pleasure of the President. But, in fact, they are responsible to, and removable by the Lok
Sabha. Actually the Constitution has itself declared that the Council of Ministers shall be
responsible to the Lok Sabha (not to both the Houses). Ministerial responsibility is the
essential feature of parliamentary form of government. The principle of ministerial
responsibility has two dimensions: collective responsibility and individual responsibility .
10.8.1 Collective Responsibility
Our Constitution clearly says that “The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible
to ‘House of the People’.” It actually means that the Ministers are responsible to the Lok
Sabha not as individuals alone, but collectively also. Collective responsibility has two
implications. Firstly , it means that every member of the Council of ministers accepts
responsibility for each and every decision of the Cabinet. Members of the Council of
Ministers swim and sink together. When a decision has been taken by the Cabinet, every
Minister has to stand by it without any hesitation. If a Minister does not agree with the
Cabinet decision, the only alternative left to him/her is to resign from the Council of Ministers.
The essence of collective responsibility means that, ‘the Minister must vote with the
government, speak in defence of it if the Prime Minister insists, and he/she cannot afterwards
reject criticism of his act, either in Parliament or in the constituencies, on the ground that
he/she did not agree with the decision.’ Secondly , vote of no-confidence against the Prime
Minister is a vote against the whole Council of Ministers. Similarly, adverse vote in the Lok
Sabha on any government bill or budget implies lack of confidence in the entire Council of
Ministers, not only the mover of the bill.
10.8.2 Individual Responsibility
Though the Ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha, they are also individually
responsible to the Lok Sabha. Individual responsibility is enforced when an action taken by
a Minister without the concurrence of the Cabinet, or the Prime Minister, is criticised and
not approved by the Parliament. Similarly if personal conduct of a Minister is questionable
and unbecoming he may have to resign without affecting the fate of the Government. If a
Minister becomes a liability or embarrassment to the Prime Minister, he may be asked to
NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION :- It is a motion moved by a member of legislature
expressing no-confidence of the House in the Council of Ministers. If adopted by the
legislature, the Council of Ministers has to resign.
What You Have Learnt
India has adopted parliamentary form of government where the President is the constitutional
head of state. The Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister is the real executive.
The President of India is indirectly elected by an Electoral College consisting of elected
members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of State Legislative
Assemblies (Vidhan Sabhas) by means of single transferable vote system of proportional
representation. The President is elected through a complicated system which ensures
equal voice (value of votes) of the national Parliament on the one side and all the State
Legislative Assemblies on the other.
The President is elected for a term of five years. The President is eligible for reelection.
Structur e of Government The President may resign before the expiry of his/her term or can be removed from office
The President enjoys vast powers. His/her powers can be classified into Legislative,
Executive, Financial and Judicial. But his/her powers are exercised by the Council of
Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The President enjoys numerous privileges and
immunities, and exerts influence in the field of administration. The President possesses the
right to be informed, to be consulted and to warn. The President is a guide and advisor of
the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is the real head of the Government. The
President is appointed by the President. The Prime Minister has to appoint the leader of the
majority party in Lok Sabha or leader of a group of parties as the Prime Minister.
The Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister aids and advises the President in
the exercise of his functions. The Council of Ministers consists of two levels of Ministers–
Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State. The President appoints the Ministers on the
advice of the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the nation. He/she is responsible for administration of
the country . He/she presides over the meetings of the Cabinet. The Council of Ministers
works under his/her. The President represents the nation at all national and international
forums. The Prime Minister is the link between the President and the Council of Ministers.
He/she supervises and co-ordinates the working of different Ministries. He/she remains in
office as long as he/she enjoys the support of the majority of members in the Lok Sabha. All
important appointments are made by the President on the recommendation of the Prime
The Council of Ministers consists of all category of Ministers, while the Cabinet is a smaller
group consisting of senior Ministers. The Council of Ministers as a whole rarely meets. It is
the Cabinet which determines the policies and programmes of the Government. All the
Ministers are collectively as well as individually responsible to the Lok Sabha. The Council
of Ministers can be removed from office by Lok Sabha if a vote of no-confidence is adopted
The Cabinet formulates the external and internal policies of the government. It coordinates
the working of various departments. It has full control over the national finance. Amoney
bill can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha by a Minister.