Features of the Constitution
K)-A Secular State
L)-Universal Adult Franchise
K)- A Secular State
following provisions of the Constitution reveal the secular character of the Indian State.
1)-‘Secular’ was added to the Preamble 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
2)-Secures to all citizens of India liberty of belief, faith and worship.
3)-State shall not deny equality before the law or equal protection of the laws (Article 14).
4)-State shall not discriminate against any citizen on the ground of religion (Article 15).
5)-All persons- freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion (Article 25).
6)-Every religious denomination shall have the right to manage its religious affairs (Article 26).
7)-Any person- Not to pay any taxes for promotion of a particular religion (Article 27).
8)-No religious instruction in any educational institution maintained by State (Article 28).
Any section citizens shall have right to conserve distinct language, script or culture (Article 29)
Minorities- Right- establish and administer educational institutions of their choice (Article 30)
State shall endeavour to secure for all the citizens a Uniform Civil Code (Article 44)
Western concept of secularism connotes a complete separation between the religion (the church) and the state (the politics).
Negative concept of secularism is inapplicable in the Indian situation where the society is multi-religious.
Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism, i.e., giving equal respect to all religions or protecting all religions equally.
Constitution has also abolished the old system of communal representation, that is, reservation of seats in the legislatures on the basis of religion.
Provides for the temporary reservation of seats for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to ensure adequate representation to them.
L) Universal Adult Franchise
Adopts- basis of elections- Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies.
Every citizen- 18 years of age has a right to vote without any discrimination of caste, race, religion, sex, literacy, wealth, and so on.
Voting age was reduced to 18 years from 21 years 1989- 61st C A Act of 1988.
Constitution-makers was a bold experiment and highly remarkable in view of
1)- Vast size of the country,
2)- Its huge population,
3)- High poverty,
4)- Social inequality and
5)- Overwhelming(भारी) illiteracy.
Universal adult franchise :
1)-makes democracy broad-based,
2)-enhances the self-respect and prestige of the common people,
3)-upholds the principle of equality etc.
M) Single Citizenship :
Constitution- dual polity (Centre and states)- Only a single citizenship- Indian citizenship.
Unlike USA, on the other hand, each person is not only a citizen of USA but also a citizen of the particular state to which he belongs- Both and enjoys dual sets of rights—conferred by National & state government.
All citizens irrespective of the state- born or reside enjoy- same political and civil rights of citizenship all over the country and
No discrimination is made between them excepting in few cases like tribal areas, Jammu and Kashmir, and so on.
Despite constitutional provision for a single citizenship and uniform rights for all the people witnessing-communal riots, class conflicts, caste wars, linguistic clashes and ethnic disputes.
This means that the cherished goal of the Constitution-makers to build an united and integrated Indian nation has not been fully realised.
N)-Independent Bodies :
Bulwarks(बाांध) of the democratic system.
(1)- Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections –
c)-Office of President of India
d)- Office of Vice-president.
(2)- Comptroller and Auditor-General – audit accounts- Central and state- Acts as the guardian of public purse and comments on legality and propriety(औदित्य) of government expenditure.
(3)- Union Public Service Commission- conduct examinations for recruitment to all-India services and higher Central services and to advise the President on disciplinary matters.
(4)- State Public Service Commission- every state to conduct examinations for recruitment to state services and to advice the governor on disciplinary matters.
Constitution ensures the independence of these bodies through various provisions like security of tenure, fixed service conditions, expenses being charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
O)-Emergency Provisions :
Provisions to enable the President to meet any extraordinary situation effectively.
Rationality behind incorporation of these provisions is to safeguard the sovereignty, unity, integrity and security of the country, the democratic political system and the Constitution.
Three types of emergencies
(a) National emergency- war or external aggression or armed rebellion (Article 352);
(b) State emergency (President’s Rule)- 1)-Failure of Constitutional machinery in the states (Article 356) or failure to comply with the directions of the Centre (Article 365); and
(c) Financial emergency- Threat to the financial stability or credit of India (Article 360).
During an emergency- Central Government becomes all powerful
Converts federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution.
Transformation of the political system from federal (during normal times) to unitary (during emergency) is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution.
P)-Three-tier Government :
Originally- dual polity and contained provisions- Centre and the states.
Later- 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts (1992) have added a third-tier of government (i.e., local) which is not found in any other Constitution of the world.
73rd Amendment Act of 1992- gave constitutional recognition to the panchayats (rural local governments) by adding a new Part IX and- New Schedule 11 to the Constitution.
74th Amendment Act of 1992- gave constitutional- Recognition to the municipalities (urban local governments) by adding a new Part IX-A and a new Schedule 12 to the Constitution.
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