The Constitution of India is the world's lengthiest written constitution with 395 articles and 8 schedules. It contains the good points taken from the constitution's of many countries in the world. It was passed on 26 Nov 1949 by the 'The Constituent Assembly' and is fully applicable since 26 Jan 1950. The Constituent Assembly had been elected for undivided India and held its first sitting on 9th Dec.1946, re-assembled on the 14th August 1947, as The Sovereign Constituent Assembly for the dominion of India. In regard to its composition the members were elected by indirect election by the members of The Provisional Legislative Assemblies (lower house only). At the time of signing 284 out of 299 members of the Assembly were present.
The constitution of India draws extensively from Western legal traditions in its outline of the principles of liberal democracy. It follows a British parliamentary pattern with a lower and upper house. It embodies some Fundamental Rights which are similar to the Bill of Rights declared by the United States constitution. It also borrows the concept of a Supreme Court from the US.
India is a federal system in which residual powers of legislation remain with the central government, similar to that in Canada. The constitution provides detailed lists dividing up powers between central and state governments as in Australia, and it elaborates a set of Directive Principles of State Policy as does the Irish constitution.
The constitution has provision for Schedules to be added to the constitution by amendment. The ten schedules in force cover the designations of the states and union territories;the emoluments for high-level officials;forms of oaths;allocation of the number of seats in the Rajya Sabha. A review of the constitution needs at least two-thirds of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to pass it.
The Indian constitution is one of the most frequently amended constitutions in the world. Infact the first amendment to it was passed after only a year of the adoption of the constitution and instituted numerous minor changes. Many more amendments followed, a rate of almost two amendments per year since 1950. Most of the constitution can be amended after a quorum of more than half of the members of each house in Parliament passes an amendment with a two-thirds majority vote. Articles pertaining to the distribution of legislative authority between the central and state governments must also be approved by 50 percent of the state legislatures.
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