3 February 2016

Historical background of the Indian Constitution

Historical background of the Indian Constitution

British came to India in 1600 as traders, with the name East India Company
They got the trading right by Queen Elizabeth I
In 1765, they got the Diwani right of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

Q: What is Diwani right?
A: Right over revenue and civil justice.

With 1858 Sepoy Mutiny, the British got direct responsibility for the governance of India and it continued till August 15, 1947.
With Independence, there came a need for the constitution. In 1934, M n Roy suggested a constituent assembly, which was formed in 1946 and then constitution was formed and came into being on 26 January 1950.



We have to note that the makers of the Indian constitution extracted ideas for framing our constitution, from other countries and it also had roots in the British rule.

Now, let's discuss the acts and rules during the British rule and what aspects of those rules influenced our present day constitution.

The British rule in India was divided into two phases -
  1. The Company rule from 1773 to 1858
  2. The Crown rule from 1858 to 1947

Company rule 1773 - 1858

During the company rule we have four rules or acts 
  1. Regulating act of 1773
    • Foundation of central administration in India
    • Establishment of Supreme court
    • Appointment of Chief Justice
  2. Pitt's India act of 1784
    • Amending the acts
  3. Charter act of 1833
    • Legislative powers
  4. Charter Act of 1853
    • Separating legislative and executive powers
    • Open competition system of selection of civil servants
    • Local representation in Indian Legislative council

Crown rule 1858 - 1947

During the crown rule there were five rules that were followed
  1. Government of India Act 1858
    • New office of Secretary of State for India vested with complete authority and control over Indian administration
  2. Indian Councils act of 1861, 1892, 1909
    • Decentralisation of Power
    • Portfolio system
    • Issuing ordinances
    • Indian council act of 1909 is also called Minto - Marley reforms
  3. Government of India act 1919
    • Formation of Upper House
    • Lower House
    • Elections
    • Central Public service Commission
    • Simon commission and Communal award comes under the Govt. of India act 1919
  4. Government of India act 1935
    • Division of power between the centre and the state
    • Appointment of governor
    • Separate electorates for depressed classes, women and labour
    • Establishment of RBI
    • Setting up Federal court
  5. India Independence act 1947
Now we will see the inspiration from other countries for our constitution
  1.  Fundamental rights - USA
  2. The Parliamentary system of government - UK
  3. Directive Principles of state policy - IRELAND
  4. Emergency Provisions - GERMANY
  5. Amendment procedures - SOUTH AFRICA
  6. Preamble to the Indian constitution - FRANCE
  7. Federal model of Governance - CANADA

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Polity of India


 Indian Polity starts with the study of Constitution of India and its features, how it works and then the politics, elections, government, policies, acts, amendments and many other things.


Here are the tutorials on Indian Polity

Indian Polity 

  • Part I
    • Historical background of the Indian constitution
    • Making of the Indian Constitution
    • Salient features of the constitution
    • Preamble of the constitution
    • Union and its territories
    • Citizenship
    • Fundamental rights
    • Directive principles of state policy
    • Fundamental Duties
    • Amendments of the constitution 
    • Basic structure of the constitution
  • Part II
  • Part III
    •  Central Government
      • President
      • Vice-president
      • Prime minister
      • Central council of ministers
      • Cabinet committees
      • Parliament
      • Parliamentary committees
      • Parliamentary forums
      • Supreme court
  • Part IV
    • State government
      • Governor
      • Chief minister
      • State concil of ministers
      • State legislature
      • High court
      • Subordinate courts
      • Special status of Jammu & Kashmir
      • Special provisions for some states
  • Part V
    • Local Government
      • Panchayat raj
      • Municipalities
  • Part VI
    • Union territories and special areas
      • Union territories
      • Scheduled and Tribal areas
  • Part VII
    •  Constitutional bodies
      • Election commission
      • Union Public Service Commission
      • State Public Service Commission
      • Finance Commission
      • National Commission for SCs
      • National Commission for STs
      • Comptroller and Auditor General of India
      • Attorney General of India
      • Advocate General of the state
  • Part VIII
    • Non-Constitutional bodies
      • Planning Commission
      • National Development Council
      • National Human Rights Commission
      • State Human Rights Commission
      • Central Information Commission
      • State Information Commission
      • Central Vigilance Commission
      • Central Bureau of Investigation
      • Lokpal and Lokayuktas
  • Part IX
    • Other Constitutional Dimensions
      • Co-operative Socities
      • Official language

    Read More »