JAC Board Class 9th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 2 Constitutional Design
- In a democracy, there are certain basic rules that the citizens and the government have to follow. All such rules together are known as constitution.
- It is the supreme law of country.
- It determines the rights of citizens, the powers of the government and how the government should function.
- In this chapter, we will discuss about the need of the constitution and making of the Indian constitution.
→ Democratic Constitution in South Africa
- After a long struggle for freedom, South Africa became independent and got its democratic constitution.
- Nelson Mandela fought for its freedom and for rights and equality among black and white people.
- Alongwith seven other leaders, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 for daring to oppose the apartheid regime in his country.
- He spent the next twenty eight years in South Africa’s most dreaded prison, Robben Island.
→ Struggle Against Apartheid
- Apartheid was the name of a system of racial discrimination unique to South Africa. The white rulers treated all non-whites as inferiors. The non-whites did not have voting rights.
- In apartheid system
- The blacks were forbidden from living in white areas.
- They culd work in white areas only if they had a permit.
- Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets were all separate for the whites and blacks. This was called segregation. They could not even visit the churches where the whites worshipped.
- Blacks could not form associations or protest against this terrible treatment.
- The African National Congress (ANC) was the umbrella organization that led the struggle against the policies of segregation. This included many workers’ unions and the Communist Party. Many sensitive whites also joined the ANC to oppose apartheid and played a leading role in this struggle.
→ Towards a New Constitution
- As protest and struggles against apartheid increased, the government realized that they could no longer keep the blacks under their rule through repression.
- Finally, at the midnight of 26 April 1994,the new national flag of the Republic of South Africa was unfurled, making it a newly-born democracy in the world.
- After the partition of India and Pakistan, the constituent assembly was divided into constituent assemblies of India and Pakistan.
- The constituents assembly that wrote the Indian constitution constituted 299 members.
- The assembly adopted the constitution on 26th November, 1949. It came into effect on 26th January, 1950. To mark this day, we celebrate 26th January as Republic Day every year.
- The constitution does not reflect the view of its members alone but expresses a broad consensus of its time.
- The assembly was dominated by the Indian National Congress, which included a variety of political and regional groups of people.
- First, some basic principles were decided, and then a drafting committee under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar prepared a draft constitution for discussion.
- The discussion of the draft constitution took place clause by clause.
- The members of the drafting committee completed the work in 114 days spread over three years.
- More than two thousand constitutional amendments were made. Every document presented and every word spoken in the constituent assembly has been recorded and preserved.
- These debates provide the rationale behind every provision of the constitution and are used interpret the meaning of the constitution.
→ The Dream and the Promise
- Mahatma Gandhi was not a member of the Constituent Assembly but many members of it followed his vision.
- In 1931, he had expressed himself in his magazine “Young India’ that he wanted to frame a constitution that provides an effective voice to the poor and the underprivileged.
- Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar wanted political, social and economic equality for all.
- Jawaharlal Nehru wanted equality of opportunity to all and removal of poverty and ignorance and control of diseases.
→ Philosophy of the Constitution
- The values that inspired and guided the freedom struggle formed the foundation for India’s democracy.
- These values are included in a short statement of its basic valeus, which is called the preamble to the Indian constitution. They guide all the articles of the Indian constitution.
- It is inspired by the American model of the constitution which begins with a preamble.
- It provides a standard to examine and evaluate any law and action of government, to find out whether it is good or bad. It is the soul of the Indian Constitution.
→ Institutional Design
- A constitution embodies the values and philosophy into institutional arrangements. Most of the Indian constitution details these arrangements.
- The constitution describes the institutional arrangements in legal language.
- The makers of the constitution made a provision for making amendments to the constitution from time to time; these changes are called constitutional amendments.
→ Important Dates and Related Events
- 1928: Motilal Nehru and eight other congress leaders drafted a constitution for India.
- 1931: A session of the Indian National Congress was held in Karachi.
- July 1946: Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held.
- Nov. 1949: On the 26th, the Assembly adopted the constitution.
- Jan. 1950: The constitution came into force on 26th January.
- 1950: Since the 1950s, the blacks, coloreds and Indians fought against the apartheid system.
- April 1994: On 26th, South Africa was declared as democratic republic country.
→ Constitution: Supreme law of a country, containing fundamental rules governing the politics and society in a country.
→ Apartheid: The official policy of racial separation and illtreatment of blacks followed by the government of South Africa between 1948 and 1989.
→ Constituent Assembly: An assembly of people’s representatives that writes a constitution for a country.
→ Clause: A distinct section of a document.
→ Draft: A preliminary version of a legal document.
→ Philosophy: The most fundamental principles underlying one’s thoughts and actions.
→ Preamble: An introductory statement in a constitution which states the reason and
guiding values of the constitution.
→ Constitutional Amendment: Achange in the constitution made by the supreme legislative body in a country.
→ Treason: The offence of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance.
→ Tryst: A meeting or meeting place that has been agreed upon.