General Studies Paper 2 (Indian Polity): Constitution of India

The-Constitution-of-India

IAS Junior Mains Answer Writing June-Sep 2019 Schedule (Click Here)

 

Syllabus: General Studies Paper 2 (Indian Polity)

 

Constitution of India is a mere extension of Government of India Act, 1935?  Give reasons in support of your argument.

 

Introduction:

Indian Constitution, the largest written constitution in the world, is a compilation of many things and attributes taken over from a plethora of sources. Yes, the foundations of the Indian Constitution are laid on major articles and clauses drawn from GOI, 1935 , but it is not just a mere extension of GOI act,1935.

 

Body:

What is GOI act 1935 ?

The Government of India Act was passed by the British Government in the year 1935. It was one of the lengthiest Acts at that time as it contained 321 sections and 10 schedules. 

Features of GOI act 1935

  1. Establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of provinces and princely states as units. It divided the powers between the Centre and units in terms of three lists—Federal List, Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
  2. Abolished diarchy in the provinces and introduced ‘provincial autonomy’ in its place.
  3. It also introduced responsible governments in provinces where governor was required to act with the advice of ministers responsible to the provincial legislature.
  4. Adoption of diarchy at the Centre. The federal subjects were divided into reserved subjects and transferred subjects.
  5. Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 provinces.
  6. Extended the principle of communal representation by providing separate electorates for depressed classes (scheduled castes), women and labour (workers).
  7. Abolished the Council of India, established by Government of India Act of 1858.
  8. Provided for the establishment of a Reserve Bank of India to control the currency and credit of the country.
  9. Provided for the establishment of Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission for two or more provinces.
  10. It provided for the establishment of a Federal Court, which was set up in 1937.

 

The Constitution of India has borrowed most of its provisions from the Government of India Act of 1935. It is the major source of the Indian Constitution. The constitution of India has following features under this Act.

  1. Federal scheme
  2. Role of federal judiciary
  3. Office of the governor
  4. Emergency provisions
  5. Public service commissions
  6. Administrative details

 

Nearly 75 percent of the Constitution can be said to be a reproduction of the Government of India Act- 1935 with suitable adaptations and modifications. Besides this, the Constituent Assembly borrowed various features from more than one country, gave its own color to address the intricacies of the Indian empire and to serve in its paramount interest.

Following are the borrowed features of the constitution from different countries.

From U.K.

  • Nominal Head – President (like Queen)
  • Cabinet System of Ministers
  • Post of Prime Minister
  • Parliamentary Type of Government
  • Bicameral Parliament
  • Lower House more powerful
  • Council of Ministers responsible to Lower House
  • Speaker in the Lok Sabha
  • Single citizenship

From The United States

  • Written Constitution
  • Executive head of state known as President and his being the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
  • Vice – President as the ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • Fundamental Rights
  • Supreme Court
  • Provision of States
  • Independence of Judiciary and judicial review
  • Preamble
  • Removal of Supreme Court and High Court judges

From USSR

  • Concurrent List
  • Language of the preamble

From Australia

  • Concurrent List
  • Language of Preamble
  • Provision regarding trade, commerce

From Japan

  • Law on which the Supreme Court function

From Weimar Constitution of Germany

  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights during the emergency

From South Africa

  • Procedure of Constitutional Amendments

From Canada

  • Scheme of federation with a strong centre
  • Distribution of powers between Centre and the States and placing. Residuary Power with the Centre

From Ireland

  • Concept of Directive Principles of State Policy (Ireland borrowed it from SPAIN)
  • Method of election of the President
  • Nomination of members in the Rajya Sabha by the President

 

Conclusion:

Indian Constitution was made within a short span of three turbulent years, and is still standing tall, after sixty years, when the entire world has changed so much. However, there are many other provisions that are included in the constitution derived from many other constitutions of the world. It would be an exaggeration to say that constitution is just an extension of the 1935 Act.

 

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