Constitutional Design Class 9 Notes Political Science (Civics) Chapter 2

Chapter: 2

What are Constitutional design ?

Democratic Constitution In South Africa

Struggle agains t Apartheid

  • In 1964, Nelson Mandela and seven other leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment for daring to oppose the apartheid regime in his country.
  • Apartheid was the name of a system of racial discrimination unique to South Africa.
  • The system of apartheid divided the people and labelled them on the basis of their skin colour.
  • This system was particularly oppressive for the Blacks and they were forbidden from living in white area.
  • Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets, were all separate for the whites and blacks. This was called segregation.
  • Since 1950, the blacks, colored and Indians fought against the apartheid system.
  • The African National Congress (ANC) was the umbrella organization that led the struggle against the policies of segregation.

Towards a New Constitution

  • As protests and struggles against apartheid had increased, the government realised that they could no longer keep the blacks under their rule through repression. The white regime changed its policies.
  • After 28 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela was released from jail.
  • At the midnight of 26 April 1994, the new national flag of the Republic of South Africa was unfurled marking the newly born democracy in the world. The apartheid government came to end, paving the way for multi-racial government.
  • After the emergence of the new democratic South Africa, black leaders appealed to fellow blacks to forgive the whites for the atrocities they had committed while in power.
  • After two years of discussion and debate they came out with one of the finest constitutions the world has ever had. This constitution gave to its citizens the most extensive rights available in any country.

Why Do We Need Constitution?

  • It generates a degree of trust and coordination that is necessary for different kind of people to live together.
  • It specifies how the government will be constituted, who will have power to take which decisions.
  • It lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us what the rights of the citizens are.
  • It expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.

Making Of The Indian Constitution

Arguments for Democracy

  • In 1928, Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders drafted a constitution for India.
  • In 1931, the resolution at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress dwelt on how independent India’s constitution should look like.
  • Many of our leaders were inspired by the ideals of French Revolution, the practice of parliamentary democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in the US. The socialist revolution in Russia had inspired many Indians to think of shaping a system based on social and economic equality.

The Constituent Assembly

  • The idea of a constituent assembly was first proposed in 1934 by M. N. Roy.
  • The drafting of the document called the constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the Constituent Assembly.
  • Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946.
  • 9 December 1946, the first meeting was held. Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the first chairman of Constitution Assembly later Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President.
  • After the country was divided into India and Pakistan, the constituent assembly also got divided.
  • The assembly adopted the constitution on 26 November 1949 but it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
  • To mark this day, we celebrate January 26 as Republic Day every year.
  • The constituent assembly worked in a systematic, open and consensual manner.
  • First some basic principles were decided and agreed upon. Then a drafting committee chaired Dr. B.R. Ambedkar prepared a draft constitution for discussion.
  • More than two thousand amendments were considered.

Philosophy Of The Constitution

  • The constitution begins with a short statement of its basic values which is called the preamble to the constitution.
  • The preamble focuses on:

(a) Justice, social, economic and political.

(b) Liberty of thoughts, expression, belief, faith and worship.

(c) Equality of status and of opportunity.

(d) Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.