Sources Of Indian Constitution

The Constituent Assembly took help from various sources to draft the Indian Constitution. They studied the Constitution of various countries and took the important parts of their Constitution and added them in Indian Constitution like the concept of Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties, the Preamble etc. At that time, there were 395 Articles and 8 schedules. The head of the drafting committee was Dr. B.R Ambedkar.


Indian Constitution came into force on 26th January, 1950. India celebrates this day as Republic Day. The Constituent Assembly was formed for framing the Constitution. The idea for formation of Constituent Assembly was put forward by M.N Roy in 1934. After his idea Indian National Congress took an initiative for framing the Constitution in 1935. In continuance of this idea, the first meeting was held in 1946 in December. In the formation of Constituent Assembly meeting there were a total of 389 members of which 292 were elected through the provincial legislative assemblies, 93 represented princely states and 4 represented chief commissioner’s provinces. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the first person who became the President of the Constituent Assembly.[1]


This Act was passed having 321 sections and 10 schedules by British government. This is the lengthiest Act. This Act was based on various sources like on the reports of the Joint Select Committees, on the report of Simon Commission, discussions of Third Round Table Conference and the White Paper of 1933. According to this Act, the governor office was established. This Act laid down the concept that powers should be vested with the centre and now the governor is the centre of authority. Following are some important features of this Act:

  •         FEDERAL LEGISLATURE: It means that there should be two houses i.e., upper house (Council of States) and the lower house (Federal Assembly). According to this Act, the upper house comprised 250 members i.e., 156 members were from British India and 101 of Princely Indian States and was a permanent body. The lower house comprised 375 members. The tenure of upper house was 3 years and that of lower house was 5 years.
  •         PROVINCIAL AUTONOMY: According to this provision, powers were divided into three lists i.e., federal list, concurrent list, and provincial list. There were also some residuary powers vested with the viceroy.[2]


There are various features adopted from the UK Constitution, including:

  •         PARLIAMENTARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT: It means that there should be more than one party in ruling so that there should be proper functioning by the party who is in power. According to this feature, all the powers will be vested with the cabinet of ministers and the Prime Minister. The President will be the nominal head.
  •         RULE OF LAW: This rule defines that everyone is equal in the eyes of law; there will be equality in the country without discrimination. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution defines the rule of Law.
  •         SINGLE CITIZENSHIP: In India, there is only a single citizenship, there is no concept of dual citizenship. The one who has the citizenship of India can enjoy the political and civil rights of India.
  •         WRITS: If there is violation of fundamental rights and constitutional rights, then a person can file writ petition, either in the Supreme Court or High Courts. In the Indian Constitution, there are 5 writs i.e., Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition and Quo Warranto.


The Indian Constitution adopted some features from the US constitution as well:

  •         FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: These are the basic rights of individuals given in Article 12 to 32 of the Indian Constitution which are: Right to Equality, Right to Freedom, Right against Exploitation, Right to Freedom of Religion, Cultural and Educational Rights and Right to Constitutional Remedies. 
  •         JUDICIAL REVIEW: Judicial independence is one of the most significant aspects of a functioning democracy. Judicial Review means that the judiciary can interpret and evaluate any action of the legislative and executive, and also nullify such actions, if it violates any  constitutional provisions.
  •         IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT AND REMOVAL OF JUDGES: The procedure for impeachment of the President in India has been borrowed from the Constitution of the US, including the manner and grounds of such removal. 
  •         PREAMBLE: This defines the aim and objectives of the Indian Constitution, forming the basis of the Indian Constitution. According to the Preamble, Indian States are Sovereign, Socialist, Democratic, Republic, and Secular in nature. Preamble also states the objectives of the Indian Constitution.[3]


The Preamble of Indian Constitution states some ideals i.e. Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity,  which the nation should seek to achieve. Justice refers to social, economic and political justice. Liberty refers to personal liberty of thoughts, views, beliefs and expression. Equality refers to equal protection to all the citizens. Fraternity refers to unity and integrity.[4]


There are some features borrowed by the Indian Constitution from the Irish Constitution that are:

  •         DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY (DPSP): Fundamental Rights are enforceable in nature, while Directives principles of State Policy are not. In the Indian Constitution, it is given in part IV and there are a total 21 Directive Principles of State Policies.
  •         PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND ELECTION OF RAJYA SABHA MEMBERS: The procedure that how members of Rajya Sabha will be nominated was borrowed from Ireland and also about the elections of President. Rajya Sabha has 250 members and 12 members are nominated by the President and rest of the members are appointed by Lok Sabha members.[5]


There are three lists i.e. Union List, State List, and Concurrent List and the concept of concurrent list was borrowed from the Australian Constitution which deals with 47 subjects on which both centre and state can make rules. The concept of freedom of trade and commerce is also borrowed from here, which means that everyone is free to do trade throughout the country without any restrictions.


The powers of the centre, with respect to rule-making were borrowed from the Canadian Constitution. These powers are defined in the Article 248 of the Indian Constitution. If the President feels that he/she wants some opinion on any particular matter then there is also a provision for advisory jurisdiction, where he/she can take advice from the Supreme Court. This provision is given in Article 143 of the Indian Constitution. 


The concept of Fundamental Duties was borrowed from the Constitution of Soviet Union; these duties are mentioned in Chapter IV of the Indian Constitution. There are a total 11 fundamental duties. If the Constitution provides certain rights to the citizens then there are also some responsibilities which they have to fulfill.


The provisions related to emergency situations in the country like war, were adopted from the Constitution of Germany. According to this, only the centre has all the powers during the emergency and fundamental rights are also suspended during this time.


The Indian Constitution borrowed the procedure of establishment of law from the Japanese Constitution. It means that a law will be valid only if it stands on the principles of equity and justice. For protection of everyone’s life there is a need for valid law.


The Indian Constitution also needs changes from time to time. The procedure for amendment of the Constitution was borrowed from the Constitution of South Africa. The procedure should get the approval from both the houses of the Parliament and subsequently from the President. Till the time of writing this article, 104 amendments have been made according to the requirements of the Country. 


The Indian Constitution is the lengthiest Constitution in the world with 448 articles, 22 parts and 8 schedules. This is the supreme law of the country and there is nothing which is above the Constitution or Law. There are various sources from which Indian Constitution was inspired like the US Constitution, Japanese Constitution and many more. Indian Constitution protects the rights of all the citizens. Indian Constitution believes that even a guilty person can be free but an innocent person should not suffer. The aim of the Indian Constitution is to provide justice to every citizen.


[1] India’s constitution is 30 times longer than America’s – and still growing available at:,contrast%2C%20has%20only%204%2C400%20words. (Last visited at October 25, 2020).

[2] Important Sources of Indian Constitution available at: (Last visited at October 26, 2020).

[3] Id.

[4] Sources of Indian Constitution- Featured Borrowed available at: (Last visited at October 27, 2020).

[5] Id.

BY- Nidhi | Geeta Institute of Law, Delhi NCR

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