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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

General Studies : Indian Polity #2 |

STRUCTURE OF THE CONSTITUTION

Preamble to the Constitution

  • Defines the basic structure and spirit of the Constitution
  • Serves as a guiding tool for the interpretation of the Constitution
  • Does not bestow any rights
  • The words Socialist and Secular were added to the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment 1976 (during the Emergency)
Parts of the Constitution

Parts are individual chapters in the Constitution, each focused on a particular field of law. Each Part contains articles that address the issues in question. There are 24 Parts to the Constitution.
Part
Focus
Article
Deals with
I
The Union and its Territory
1
2
3
Name and territory of Union
Admission of new states
Creation of new states, alteration of existing




II
Citizenship
5
6
9
Citizenship at the commencement of the Constitution
Citizenship of migrants from Pakistan
Persons acquiring foreign citizenship not to be citizens




III
Fundamental Rights
12
14
15
17
23
24
26
29
Definition
Equality before law
Prohibition of discrimination
Abolition of untouchability
Prohibition of human trafficking and forced labour
Prohibition of child labour
Freedom to manage religious affairs
Protection of minority interests




IV
Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties
40
41
42
44
45
46
49
50
Organisation of village panchayats
Right to work, education and public assistance
Humane work conditions and maternity relief
Uniform civil code
Free and compulsory education for children
Promote interests of SC/ST, other weaker sections
Protection of monuments/places of national importance
Separation of judiciary from executive




V
The Union
52-62
63-69
74
76
80
81
84
89
93
107
108
124
125
127
President of India
Vice-President of India
Council of Ministers
Attorney-General for India
Composition of the Council of States
Composition of the House of the People
Qualification for membership to Parliament
Chairman & Deputy Chairman of the Council of States
Speaker & Deputy Speaker of the House of the People
Provisions for the introduction and passing of bills
Joint sitting of both houses
Establishment and constitution of the Supreme Court
Appointment of the Chief Justice
Appointment of additional judges




VI
The States
153-160
163
170
171
173
214
223
224
225
235
Governor of the state
Council of Ministers
Composition of the Legislative Assemblies
Composition of the Legislative Councils
Qualification for membership to state legislature
High Courts
Appointment of the Chief Justice
Appointment of additional judges
Jurisdiction of the High Courts
Control over subordinate courts




VIII
Union Territories
239
239A
239AA
241
Administration of Union Territories
Legislatures for certain UTs (esp. Pondicherry)
Special Provisions for NCT Delhi
High Courts for UTs




IX
Panchayat and Municipalities
243A
243B
243G
Gram Sabha
Composition of Panchayats
Authority and responsibility of Panchayats




XI
Relation b/w the Union and States
244-255
256-261
262
263
Distribution of legislative powers
Administrative relations
Disputes relating to water
Co-ordination between states




XII
Finance
268-281
300A
Distribution of revenue b/w Union and states
Right to property




XV
Elections
324-329





XVII
Languages
343-344
345-347
348-349
Official languages of the Union
Language of the states
Language of the Supreme Court and High Courts
Schedules of the Constitution

Schedules are lists in the Constitution that categorized by bureaucratic activity of government. They refer to Articles and hence overlap with Parts of the Constitution.
Schedule
Focus
Schedule
Focus
First
States and Union Territories
Seventh
Union, State and Concurrent list




Second
Emoluments of higher level officials
Eighth
Official languages




Third
Forms of Oaths
Ninth
Land reform, accession of Sikkim




Fourth
Allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha
Tenth
Anti-defection provisions for MPs and MLAs




Fifth
Administration of Scheduled Areas and STs
Eleventh
Rural development




Sixth
Administration of tribal areas in Assam
Twelfth
Urban planning

MODIFYING THE CONSTITUTION

Amendments to the Constitution

  • Allowed by Article 368 of the Constitution
  • Amendments can happen in three ways
    • Simple majority of Parliament
    • Special majority of Parliament
    • Special majority of Parliament and ratification by at least half of the state legislatures by a special majority
  • Indian Constitution is the most frequently amended governing document in the world
  • Supreme Court struck down two amendments for violation of basic structure of Constitution
    • 39th Amendment: election of Executive beyond scrutiny of courts, 1975 (during Emergency)
    • Parts of 42nd Amendment: reduced power of Supreme Court and High Courts to judge constitutionality of laws, 1976 (during Emergency)
  • There have been a total of 94 amendments, as of 2009
Important of Amendments to the Constitution

For a full list of Amendments, see here.
Amendment no.
Enacted
Objectives
1
June 1951
  • Secure validity for zamindari abolition laws
  • Place restrictions on freedom of speech
  • Protect laws contrary to fundamental rights



7
Nov 1956
  • Reorganize states on linguistic lines
  • Introduce Union Territories



12
Dec 1961
  • Incorporate Goa, Daman and Diu as UTs following acquisition from Portugal



13
Dec 1963
  • Formation of Nagaland



14
Dec 1962
  • Incorporate Pondicherry into India
  • Create Legislative Assemblies for HP, Tripura, Manipur, Goa



22
Sep 1969
  • Form autonomous states within the State of Assam



23
Jan 1970
  • Extend reservation for SC/STs and nomination of Anglo Indians for another 10 years (up to 1980)



26
Dec 1971
  • Abolition of privy purse paid to former rulers of princely states



28
Aug 1972
  • Rationalize Civil Service rules



31
Oct 1973
  • Increase size of Parliament from 525 to 545
  • Increased seats go to newly formed states in NE



36
Apr 1975
  • Incorporation of Sikkim within the Indian Union



45
Jan 1980
  • Extend reservation for SC/STs for another 10 years (i.e. up to 1990)



52
Mar 1985
  • Anti-defection law



61
Mar 1989
  • Lower voting age from 21 to 18



69
Feb 1992
  • Provide for legislative assembly for NCT Delhi
  • Delhi continues to be a UT



70
Dec 1991
  • Include NCT Delhi and Pondicherry in the electoral college for Presidential election



71
Aug 1992
  • Include Konkani, Manipuri, Nepali as National Languages



79
Jan 2000
  • Extend reservation for SC/STs for another 10 years (i.e. up to 2010)



86
Dec 2002
  • Provide right to education until the age of 14
  • Provide early childhood care until the age of 6



90
Sep 2003
  • Reservation in Assam Assembly relating to Bodoland Territory Area



91
Jan 2004
  • Restrict cabinet size to 15% of legislative members
  • Strengthen anti-defection laws



93
Jan 2006
  • Reservation for OBCs in government and private educational institutions

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