Polity Study Notes- Framing Of Constitution Part-1


The idea for framing Indian Constitution by a Constituent Assembly of India was put forward by the communist leader MN Roy in 1934. The demand of the Constituent Assembly to draft the constitution of India was officially demanded by India National Congress (INC) in 1935.

Cabinet Mission-The demand of the Constituent Assembly was accepted by the British Government in ‘August offer’ of 1940. In 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps came to India and drafted a proposal for framing of the constitution of India which was to be adopted after the World War II. But it was rejected by the Muslim league on a question of Pakistan, Again in 1946 a cabinet Mission consisting of three Members (Lord Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps & AV Alexander) sent to India and the Constituent Assembly was set up in November 1946 as per the Cabinet Mission plan of 1946.

Some Important features of the Cabinet Mission plan are as follows:

  1. There were a total of 389 members of which 296 were elected by the members of the Provincial Assemblies and 93 seats were filled by nomination by the Princely States.
  2. Seats are allotted in the proportion of the respective population of each province & princely state. Thus, the numbers were elected indirectly in the ratio of one member per one million population. 
  3. Members of Assembly from the princely state were nominated by the head of the Princely states. 
  4. The seats which were allocated to each British province were to be divided among three communities – Muslims, Sikhs & General in proportion to their population. 

Formation of Constituent Assembly -In the elections held in July-August 1946, the Indian National Congress won 208 seats, Muslim League won 73 seats and the remaining seats were won by the independents and small groups. But the 93 seats which were allotted to the princely states were remained unoccupied because the princely states decided to stay away from the Constituent Assembly. 

  • The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on 9th December with SachchidanandSinha as the interim President (By following French practices of choosing oldest member as president).
  • Muslim League boycotted the first meeting on the issue of the separate state of Pakistan. 
  • B N Rau was appointed as the legal advisor of the Constituent Assembly.
  • Later, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the president of the Constituent Assembly. 
  • The Constituent Assembly had two vice-Presidents – HC Mukherjee & V T Krishnamachari.

Changes by the Constituent Assembly – The representative of the Constituent Assembly, gradually jointed it. The Mountbatten Plan was placed in Constituent Assembly on June 3,1946 which announced the partition of the country into the separate dominion of India & Pakistan. A separate Constituent Assembly for the proposed state of Pakistan was also formed.
The Constituent Assembly by passing the Indian Independence Act of 1947 introduced following changes in the Constituent Assembly:

1. The Assembly became full sovereign body & could frame any law and abrogate or alter any law Made by British Government in India. 
2. The Constituent Assembly performs two separate functions as- the constituent body headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and legislative body headed by G V Mavlankar. The two functions continued till November 26, 1949.  
3. After the withdrawal of Muslim league Members (hailing from Pakistan), the total strength of the Constituent Assembly came down to 299 as against 389 originally fixed.  

The Constituent Assembly had 11 sessions over two years, 11 Months and 18 days. The total expenditure incurred on making the constitution amounted to 64 lakhs. On 26 November1949, the people of India through the Constituent Assembly adopted enacted and gave to themselves the constitution of India.



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