Constitution: Why And How? Class 11 Notes Political Science Chapter 1 - CBSE

Chapter : 1

What Are Constitution: Why And How ?

Functions Of The Constitution

  • First function of the Constitution is to provide a set of basic rules that allow for minimal coordination amongst the members of a society.
  • Second function of the Constitution is to specify who has the power to make decisions in a society. It decides how the government will be constituted.
  • Third function of the Constitution is to set some limits on what a government can impose on its citizens. These limits are fundamental in the sense that government may never trespass them.
  • Fourth function of the Constitution is to enable the government to fulfil the aspirations of a society and create conditions for a just society.

Constitution Expresses The Fundamental Identity Of The People

  • Collective Identity: The agreeing to a basic set of norms about how one should be governed, and who should be governed that one forms a collective identity.
  • Moral Identity: Constitutional norms are the framework within which one pursues individual aspirations, goals and freedoms.

Constituent Assembly

  • It held its first sitting on 9 December 1946 and reassembled as Constituent Assembly for divided India on 14 August 1947.
  • Its members were chosen by indirect election by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies that had been established under the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • The Constituent Assembly was composed roughly along the lines suggested by the plan proposed by the
    committee of the British cabinet, known as the Cabinet Mission. Members were elected by the method of proportional representation with single transferable vote.
  • According to this plan, 292 members were elected from provinces while the Princely States were allotted a minimum of 93 seats.
  • These members were elected by the method of proportional representation with single transferable vote.
  • After the partition, the members reduced to 299. The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949.
  • Constituent Assembly had constituted eight major committees on different subjects.

Objective Resolution

  • It was moved by Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1946. This resolution encapsulated the aspirations and values behind the Constitution.
  • Based on this resolution, our Constitution gave an institutional expression to these fundamental
    commitments: equality, liberty, democracy, sovereignty and a cosmopolitan identity.

Institutional Arrangement

  • The Constitution ensures balanced institutions.
  • The horizontal division of power refers to the division of power among the various organs of the government that is the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary. It also provides the system of checks and balances.
  • The vertical division that is the federal system, ensures the division of power among the centre, state and the district government. It represents deepening of democracy and working at the grassroot level.

Provisions Adopted From Constitutions Of Different Countries

US Constitution:

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Power of Judicial Review and independence of the judiciary (Judiciary has power to review laws made by
    Executive and Legislature).

Irish Constitution:

  • Directive Principles of State Policy (The goals that a state must fulfill)

French Constitution:

  • Principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

Canadian Constitution:

  • A quasi-federal form of government
  • The idea of Residual Powers

British Constitution:

  • First Past the Post (Majority wins)
  • Parliamentary Form of Government
  • The idea of the rule of law (Law is supreme)
  • Institution, the Speaker and her/his role
  • Law-making procedure

Fundamental Rights

  • Right to equality
  • Right to freedom
  • Right against exploitation
  • Right to freedom of religion
  • Cultural and educational rights
  • Right to constitutional remedies