Salient Features of The Constitution of India – Full Explanation

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

The term ‘Constitution’ can be applied to ‘an all-encompassing’ law that defines the functioning of a government. The Indian Constitution aimed at achieving many important goals during its formation like maintaining the unity of the Nation and removing the backwardness of the country. It established a democratic society that provides justice to all its citizens, irrespective of their cultural or social background.

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Universal Adult Franchise:

The adoption of Universal Adult Franchise by the Indian Constitution establishes political equality in India; which means that each citizen of India, who is 18 years of age or above has the right to vote in the elections irrespective of race, caste, sex, religion or status. ‘One person one vote’ is the policy adopted in Indian democracy, which maintains political equality in India.

Doctrine of Judicial Review:

According to the doctrine of Judicial Review the power is included in Articles 226 and of the Constitution of India, relating to the High Courts. As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, Articles 32 and 136 of the Constitution, the Judiciary in India regulates every component of governmental and public operations. It is laid down by the Judicial review.

Single Citizenship:

Under a federal system, there is generally dual citizenship, that of the State to which w individual belongs and of the Nation that represents a Union of States. In India, we have single citizenship, that is, not of the respective states to which we belong. This provision helps in promoting unity and integrity among people of the nation.

Fundamental Rights:

One of the important features of the Indian Constitution are Fundamental Rights . These rights are protected by the judiciary and are inviolable i.e., in case of any violation of any of these rights; a citizen has the right to seek the protection of the judiciary. In a democracy all citizens are entitled to enjoy certain rights, which ensure a good living. Any act of the legislature or or of the executive can be declared null and void if it violates any of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens by the constitution. The Constitution of India guarantees those rights in the form of Fundamental Rights which, present in part III (Articles 12 to 35).

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Classification of Fundamental Rights :

The Constitution provides for six Fundamental Rights. These are as follows:

Right to Equality-Articles 14 to 18:

The Right to Equality of citizens comprises social, political and economic components and the success of Indian democracy largely rests on it. However, certain restrictions are put on Right to Equality by the 42nd Amendment Act, 19 A person cannot move the Court if his right to Equality is restricted to implement the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Equality before the law: 

As per Article 14, the Constitution guarantees that all its citizens will be treated equally before the law. It means that if two persons commit the same crime, both of them will get the same punishment without any prejudice or partiality.

Prohibition of Discrimination:

According to Article 15, no citizen can be discriminated against on the basis of race, religion, sex, place of birth, creed or caste so that social equality is maintained.  However, special provisions or concessions may be made by the State for women and children and socially backward classes of citizens.

Equality of Opportunity in matters of Public Employment :

Under Article 16, every citizen has equal rights in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. Every state cannot discriminate against any citizen in the matter of public employment.  All the citizens can apply on the basis of their eligibility and become employees of the state.  However, there are some exceptions to this right as well.

There is a special provision for the reservation of posts for citizens belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STS) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Abolition of Untouchability:

Untouchability is a social disability imposed on certain classes of people.  Untouchability in any form is a punishable offense as per Article 17 which states that ‘Untouchability is abolished and prohibited in any form’. This provision is an effort to uplift the social status of millions of people who had been looked down upon and kept at a distance because of their caste or the nature of their profession.

Abolition of Titles:

Article 18 abolishes all titles like Rai Sahib, Maharaja and Khan Bahadurs as they are considered to be a contradiction to the idea of equality. However, the President of India can award civil and military awards to those who have done meritorious work for the nation in different fields.The civil awards such as Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padam Bhushan and Padma Shri and the military awards like Veer Chakra, Paramveer Chakra, and Ashok Chakra are conferred.

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Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Right to Freedom-Articles 19 to 22:

Since democracy presupposes equality and also calls for individual liberty, our Constitution is inclusive of the Right to Freedom as stipulated under Articles 19-22. However, during an Emergency, the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19 remain suspended. The following are the six categories of the Rights to Freedom:

Freedom of Speech and Expression:

Clause (1) (a) of Article 19 provides for the right freely to express one’s beliefs and opinions whether by word of mouth, writing, printing, drawing or any other means. Article 19 covers expression of ideas through any means of communication or visual representation, such as  sign, gesture, etc.

Freedom to form Associations and Unions:

Clause (1) (c) of Article 19, the citizens have the freedom to form unions or associations to protect their individual and collective interest without creating any turmoil but the state can impose reasonable restrictions on the right of freedom of association and union in the interests of public order, morality and the integrity sovereignty of India.

Freedom to Reside and Settle:

The Article 19 (1) (e) enables geographical mobility and freedom to people for settling in any part of India. They are also entitled to buy, sell or transfer their property.

Freedom to Assemble Peacefully and without Arms:

According to Article (19) (1) (b) provides the right to citizens to assemble for public gatheri protests, functions, discussions, etc. in a peaceful manner without possessing arms and weapons. Reasonable restrictions on assembly can be imposed if the same is harmful to the maintenance of public order.

Freedom to Move Freely Throughout India :

According to Article 19 (1) (d) the citizens have the freedom to go wherever they like in the territory of India. Without any legal sanction they cannot be stopped. However, reasonable restrictions may be imposed in the interest of the general public or to control an epidemic.

Freedom for Practice any Profession, Trade or Business:

According to Article (1) (g), all citizens of India have the freedom to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, business or trade that does not have any adverse effect on the moral standards of society. However, the State is permitted to lay down the technical or professional qualifications necessary for practicing any profession or carrying on any occupation, business or trade.

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Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Right to Protection in Respect of Conviction for Offences :

Article 20 provides protection to persons who are convicted or accused of an offence.  There are three such protections:

 1. No person shall be tried or punished for the same offense more than one time.

 2. No person can be held guilty of an act which was not an offense at the time it was committed.  No one should be punished more than what is actually prescribed under the law.

 3. Any one can not be compelled to testify against himself.

Protection of Life and Personal Liberty:

Article 21 states that ‘no person shall be deprived of his life or personal property except according to procedure established by law. The expression ‘personal liberty’ consists of all those freedoms that are not included in Article 19. Therefore, a punishment that is too cruel is considered to be unconstitutional.

Rights of a Person Arrested Under Ordinary Circumstances:

Article 22 states about the Rights that are conferred by the Constitution upon a person arrested under ordinary circumstances. They are as follows: 

  *  Whenever a person is arrested, he should be informed as soon as possible about the grounds of arrest and the person should be allowed to consult and defend himself with a legal practitioner of his choice.

  * The arrested person should be present before the nearest magistrate within twenty-four hours of his arrest.  Without the order of the Magistrate, that person cannot be kept in custody for more than the said period.

Right Against Exploitation-Articles 23 and 24:

The citizens of India have been guaranteed the right against exploitation through Articles as and 24 of the Constitution. The Indian Constitution is inclusive of two main declarations against exploitation :

Traffic in Human beings and Forced Labour Prohibition :

According to Article 23  forced labour and traffic in human beings are prohibited . Trafficking in human beings means ‘dealing in men and women like goods, such as letting, selling or otherwise disposing of them’. Forced labour or ‘beggar:: means ‘making a person work against his will and then not to pay him his wages’. The contravention of these provisions is punishable. Thus, a person who is asked to do any labour without payment or with payment less than his desire can complain against the violation of his fundamental right.

However, an exception is made as compulsory service for public purposes. Compulsory military conscription is included by this provision.

Prohibition of Employment of Children:

Article 24 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any mine or factory. A child should not be engaged in any hazardous employment.

Right to Freedom of Religion in Articles 25 to 28 :

The Preamble to the Constitution ensures the liberty of belief, worship and faith to all citizens.

The objective is realized by the following provisions of the Constitution of India: 

Freedom of Conscience and the Free Profession and Propagation of Religion :

Article 25 guarantees freedom of Conscience and the right to practise, profess and propagate Any religion to every individual. However, the State  may impose restrictions on the freedom of  conscience and the free profession and Propagation of religion in the interests of health morality and public order Thus, no one can be allowed to hurt the religious feelings of any class of Indian citizens. Religious practices such as animal or human sacrifice as an offering to deities or some supernatural forces are not acceptable.

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Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs :

Article 26 of the Constitution guarantees this Right to establish and maintain institutions for manage its own affairs in connection with charitable and religious purposes and matters of religion.The rights are also subject to morality, public order and health.

Freedom as to Payment of Taxes for Promotion of any Particular Religion :

Article 27 states that no taxes shall be levied on the proceeds of which are meant for the maintenance of any particular religion. It is against the ideals of a Secular State to pay out any money out of the public funds for the promotion of any particular religious sect.

No religious instruction in educational institutions run by state funds:

Article 28 of the Constitution aims to establish a Secular State by allowing equal freedom of worship and faith to all. In case of State recognized or State-aided educational institutions, there is no bar to giving religious instruction. No individual can be required to take part in any religious instruction without his consent and in case of a minor, the consent of his guardian has to be obtained.

Thus, the Constitution aims to establish a Secular State by allowing equal freedom of worship and faith to all.

Cultural and Educational Rights-Articles 29 and 30 :

Since India is a country of different religions and cultures, the Constitution protects the educational and cultural rights of the minorities.

Protection of Interests of Minorities :

According to Article 29, any minority group having a distinct script, language or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve it. No citizen of India shall be deprived of admission into any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language. 

Right to establish Educational institutions :

Article 30 states that all minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, irrespective of religion or language. 

During providing aid by state to educational institutions, shall not discriminate against any educational institution on the base that it is under the management of a minority.

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Right to Constitutional Remedies-Article 32 :

Unless there are the means to make the Fundamental Rights effective, a mere declaration of it is useless. Article 32 provides the right to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of the Rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution.It provides writs or legal remedies for the protection of our fundamental rights against arbitrary actions of the state.  All High Courts are also empowered by the Constitution to issue orders or writs to enforce any of these rights.The writs include:

Habeas Corpus :

 It protects the safety of person held in prison or taken into custody. This writ can be issued where a person. This writ is reckoned as “the popular and effective writ, as far as illegal confinement is concerned. It is the hope given to the lowest of the low against the mightiest. It is to be noted, in some Spanish-speaking countries, “amparo de liberated (protection of freedom)” is tantamount to Habeas Corpus. 

Mandamus :

 The Latin word “mandamus’ means ‘We command’. Writ is issued when a petition is filed against a public official or entity that is not performing its duty. In such cases the higher court can command the concerned officer to perform its duty. 

Quo Warranto :

Quo warranto writ is generally issued against a person who has illegally or forcibly occupied a public office.  It also questions the authenticity of the person holding such a position. If a person illegally occupies a post, this writ is generally is issued against that person. 

Prohibition :

The writ of Prohibition is issued against a lower court to prevent it from exercising its powers when it is legally not empowered to do so. This writ is issued to limit the jurisdiction of the lower court in exercising its powers.

Certiorari :

The word ‘certiorari’ means ‘to be fully informed’. By this writ, all the lower courts have to hand over all the relevant records of a case to the higher court.

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Fundamental Duties :

The Fundamental Duties were included in Article 51A of Part IV of the Constitution, by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976. Duty means ‘an obligation imposed by custom or law on a person. Every right has a corresponding duty and like rights, duties can be both moral and legal. The incorporation of fundamental duties in the constitution was thus an attempt to balance the individual’s civic freedoms with civic obligations and thus to fill a serious gap in the constitution.

Earlier, there were ten Fundamental Duties under Article 51A by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976. However, the 86th Amendment Act, 2002 amended Article 51A of the  Constitution and added a new Article that dealt with the Right to Education. Under these provisions, all citizens are expected to faiths fully observe the following fundamental Duties.

Importance of Fundamental Duties :

The Fundamental Duties have been enlisted in the Indian Constitution to make the citizens aware of their economic and social obligations. These duties warn the citizens of our country to respect the National Flag and National Anthem as it stirs up patriotism and strengthens national.

harmony. It also intends to uphold the right of equality among all individuals, to disown violence, to offer compulsory education and to protect the environment and public property. The constitution does not make any provision for the enforcement of these duties. However, any citizen violating duties or showing disrespect to the National symbol is punishable under law.

The Fundamental Duties remain ineffective if the citizens refuse to assume duties and are not enthusiastic to be active participants in the process of governance. These duties should be performed by each and every citizen of the country to protect their cultural heritage and also taming the unruly elements in society.

Directive Principles of State Policy :

The Directive Principles of State Policy are instructions or guidelines for the central and state governments of India, which should be kept in mind while formulating laws and policies. These provisions contained in Part IV (Articles 36 to 51) of the Constitution of India symbolize the Directive Principles of State Policy, which cannot be enforced by any court, but the principles laid down in them are considered fundamental in the governance of the country,  It is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws for the establishment of a just society in the country.

The purpose of Directive principles is to provide respect the National Flag and National Anthem social, economic and political justice to our as it stirs up patriotism and strengthens national people, like adequate means to livelihood, equal pay for equal work for men and women, free and compulsory primary education, right to work, public assistance in case of old age, unemployment, sickness and disablement, etc. These Principles added a new section to the constitution on Fundamental  Duties  that enjoined citizens to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood among all the people of India,  transcending religious, linguistic and regional  diversities.

Indian Directive principles of state policy (DPSP) have been inspired by the Directive  Principles, stated in the Constitution of Ireland. It also follows the principles of Gandhism.

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Objectives of Directive Principles :

The Directive Principles constitute a restatement of certain ideals and objectives mentioned in the Preamble. These are guidelines which should be kept in mind by the Union and State governments while making laws and implementing  policies. Following are some of the directive principles of the State police that are included in our constitution which aim at  establishing a welfare state  where equal opportunities are granted to all in the social  economic and educational  sphere.

  1. The State should aim at establishing a welfare  state  in India where there will be no concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. protect historical monuments and the environment from destruction and disfigurement. It requires ensuring equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
  2. The State should also work towards reducing economic inequality, and the inequalities in status and opportunity.
  3. The State should create social and economic conditions which ensure adequate means of livelihood under which the citizens can lead a good life.
  4. The State has to provide free education to all children till 14 years of age.
  5. The State should work for organizations of village panchayats and should secure a uniform civil code for all citizens from all sections of the society.
  6. The State should consider its primary duty to stop the use of intoxicating drinks.
  7. The State should extend all help in the cases of unemployment, child abuse, old age, exploitation of workers, sickness and disablement, etc.
  8. The State should ensure a living wage and proper working conditions for the workers. 
  9. The State also has to work for the upliftment of the backward classes like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and others.
  10. The State should protect historical monuments and the environment from destruction and disfigurement.

Classification of Directive Principles :

Articles 36-51 of the Indian Constitution contain the main provisions of the Directive Principles of the State Policy. They can be classified under the following principle groups: 

  1. Principles promoting  economic equality.
  2. Political and administrative principles.
  3. Legal and Judicial Principles. 
  4. Environmental Principles.
  5. Principles protecting national heritage.
  6. Principles promoting international peace and security.

Thus, the Directive Principles of the State Policy are basically a code of conduct for the legislature and administrators of the country, which aim for the establishment of a Welfare State., The government can bring about more improvements in the condition of the people, with the help of these principles. It also serves as a yardstick to measure or assess the performance of a government.

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Welfare State :

Renowned sociologist T.H.  Marshall identified the welfare state as a combination. The welfare state is a concept of government according to which the state should protect the overall economic and social well-being of each and every citizen.  The concept is based on the principles of equitable distribution of wealth, equality of opportunity and public responsibility for those citizens who are unable to avail themselves of the minimum provisions for a decent life. Otto von Bismarck (the first Chancellor of Germany) carried on the tradition of welfare programs in Prussia and Saxony to create the modern welfare state.

  One of the main features of the Indian Constitution is its attempt to establish a welfare state. According to Article 38 “It is the duty of every State to secure and preserve a social order in which social, economic and political justice shall inform all the institutions of national life, striving to promote the welfare of every citizen.

Article 39(a) entitles every citizen equally to an adequate means of livelihood, Article 43 empowers the State to endeavor to ensure to all workers work, livable wages and working conditions ensuring a decent standard of living. Provision of employment opportunities, which is yet another objective of a welfare state is emphasized by Article 41, which directs the state for securing the right to work. Protection and special care of the weaker sections of the community are provided by Article 46. The Directive Principles of State Policy spell out the philosophy of the welfare state in clear terms.

The Directive Principles of State Policy are parameters for the framing of laws by the government.

Difference Between Directive Principles And Fundamental Right :

Directive Principles :

1. Contained in Part-IV (Articles 36 to 51) of the Constitution.

2. They are non-justiciable, which means not one can go to the courts to compel the State for their proper implementation.

3. These aim at securing welfare, social and economic freedom through appropriate state action.

4. Policy-directive principles have been given a place of permanence by the makers of the constitution.

5. These need legislation or policy intervention for their proper implementation 

6. These are socio-economic instructions meant for the establishment of a welfare State.

Fundamental Rights :

1. Contained in Part-III (Article 12 to 35) of the Constitution.

2. They are justiciable, which means any individual can move the courts seeking legal assistance for restoring them. Hence, can be enforced by a court against the State.

3. Their main objective is to ensure political freedom of citizens by protecting them from excessive state action.

4. The fundamental rights have been given a place of pride by the framers of the constitution.

5. These are automatically enforced and no legislation is for their implementation. 

6. These are meant for citizens to strive towards their individual good and to protect them from encroachment of their basic rights.

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Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Read about Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Read about Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Read about Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

Salient Features of The Constitution of India

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