Every year, 26th November is celebrated as Indian Constitution Day. Also known as National Constitution Day or National Law Day, it is a day which marks the celebration of the anniversary of the Indian Constitution’s adoption. Indian constitution got completed and adopted on 26th November 1949 and it came into force on 26th January 1950.
On 19th November 2015, Narendra Modi led BJP government declared 26th November to be celebrated as National Constitution Day, every year to acknowledge the contribution of the framers of the Constitution and to aggravate the people regarding the prominent values of the constitution.
The celebration starts in the Government offices & institution at 11.00 Am with the reading of ‘Preamble’ of the constitution. The best part is that the day will be celebrated for the first time in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and the newly formed state of Ladakh after the abrogation of Article 370.
The activity is to be conducted at the office of Divisional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners, Heads of the Departments and the Heads of all the Policy Formations and in all the Subordinate offices, PSUs, Private Organisations, Corporate bodies, etc.
Constitution Draft Began Before Independence
While the constitution of India came into existence and in force after the Independence, you will be famished to know that the constitution was being drafted before there were no clues of getting independence.
M.N. Roy, a communist party leader, first came up with the idea of setting up a Constituent Assembly and he put up the demand before the Britishers in 1934. The idea was furthered by Congress Party and the British Government finally accepted the demand in 1940.
As a result, on 9th December 1946, the constituent Assembly met for the first time before Independence. The assembly was presided by Dr Sachchidananda Sinha. India got its independence on 15th August 1947, and 14 days later, on 29th August, a Drafting Committee was constituted to prepare a Draft Constitution of India. Dr B.R. Ambedkar was made the Chairman of the committee.
On 9 December 1946, the Constituent Assembly for the first time met before independence. The first president of the Constituent Assembly was Dr Sachchidananda Sinha. Further, on 29 August 1947, a Drafting Committee was constituted to prepare a Draft Constitution with Dr B.R. Ambedkar as a Chairman.
How Long Did it Take?
India’s constitution is the longest written constitution in the world. It precisely took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to come up with the final draft. A total of 11 sessions were held and met for around 166 days during this period between the adoption and enforcement. The members did a thorough reading and translation of the draft from English to Hindi.
Further, before the finalization of the draft, it was put up for debate and discussion. Around 2000 amendments were made before it was finalized. The drafting got completed on 26th November 1949 and the handwritten copy of Constitution was signed on 24th January 1950.
There were 284 signing members of the Constituent Assembly, which included 15 women and they signed two handwritten copies of the document, one each in Hindi and English.
Finally, 2 months after its completion and two days after its signing, the constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950 became the law of the land. Currently, the original copies are preserved in a museum in Indian Parliament.
What is the Preamble to the Constitution of India?
The Preamble to the constitution of India reads:
“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens:
Justice, social, economic and political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and opportunity;
And to promote among them all
Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
In our constituent assembly this twenty-sixth day of November 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.”
The Constitution of India declares India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic nation and assures its citizen’s justice, equality and liberty and endeavours to promote fraternity. The words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ were added to the preamble during the emergency in 1976.
Apart from this, the Indian Constitution describes the fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of the government institutions and the fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens of India.
A Bag of Borrowings
Indian constitution was adopted and took inspirations from various constitutions of different nations. This is one of the reasons, why it is informally called ‘Bag of Borrowings’.
While the concept of Five Year Plans (FYP) was taken from the USSR, the Directive Principles (socio-economic rights) were taken from Ireland’s constitution and the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity have been taken from the French Revolution.
Apart from this, India’s Preamble was inspired by that of the United States of America, which also starts with “We the people”. Also, the nine fundamental rights of Indian Citizens have been adopted from the American Constitution only.
Because of the great thought process that has been given in finalizing the constitution, the Indian Constitution is also considered as one of the World’s best Constitution. This is because, in 62 years of its adoption, it had been amended only 94 times. As of now, our Constitution has undergone a total of 100 amendments only.
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Author: Keshav Kothari
A young CA Aspirant who is a writer and a photographer with the zeal to convey a positive perception through his work.