Important sources of Indian constitution

What is Constitution?

A constitution is a fundamental and supreme legal document that serves as the foundation for a country’s governance and sets out the framework for its political system. 

It outlines the rights, powers, and responsibilities of the government, defines the relationship between the government and its citizens, and establishes the basic principles and institutions that govern the nation. 

The Constitution of India

The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the country, establishing its framework of government, fundamental rights, and duties of citizens. It was adopted on November 26, 1949, and came into effect on January 26, 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. The drafting of the Indian Constitution was a significant milestone in the country’s struggle for independence and the foundation of its democracy.

The Constitution of India is the lengthiest written constitution in the world. It took about 2 years and 11 months for the constituent assembly to finalize it.

The Constituent Assembly of India was formed in 1946 and consisted of elected representatives from different regions and communities across the country. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a prominent jurist and social reformer, chaired the drafting committee of the Constituent Assembly. The committee, with the help of various experts, deliberated on the constitutional framework for almost three years.

The Indian Constitution draws inspiration from a range of sources, integrating principles from different countries and historical events. The concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity, emanating from the French Revolution, have been embraced by the Indian Constitution. The parliamentary system, modeled after the United Kingdom, influenced the structure of the Indian government. Furthermore, the Indian Constitution borrows the idea of fundamental rights from the United States Constitution.

A comprehensive list of various sources of the Indian Constitution has been provided in the table below.

S.No Countries Borrowed Features of the Indian Constitution
1. Australia
  • Concurrent list
  • Freedom of trade, commerce, and intercourse
  • Joint-sitting of the two Houses of Parliament
2. Canada
  • Federation with a strong Centre
  • Vesting of residuary powers in the Centre
  • Appointment of state governors by the Centre
  • Advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
3. Ireland
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Nomination of members to Rajya Sabha
  • Method of election of the president
4. Japan
  • Procedure Established by law
5. Soviet Union (USSR) (now, Russia)
  • Fundamental duties
  • Ideals of justice (social, economic, and political) in the Preamble 
6. UK
  • Parliamentary government
  • Rule of Law
  • Legislative procedure
  • Single Citizenship
  • Cabinet system
  • Prerogative writs
  • Parliamentary Privileges 
  • Bicameralism
7. US
  • Fundamental rights
  • Independence of judiciary
  • Judicial Review
  • Impeachment of the president
  • Removal of Supreme Court and High Court judges
  • Post of Vice-President 
8. Germany (Weimar)
  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights during emergency
9. South Africa
  • Procedure for Amendment in the constitution 
  • Election of members of Rajya Sabha
10. France
  • Republic
  • Ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Preamble
11.  Government of India Act 1935
  • Federal Scheme
  • Emergency Provisions
  • Public Service Commissions
  • Office of Governor
  • Structure of Judiciary
  • Administrative Details like three subject lists


However, with so many borrowed features in the Constitution, several Constituent Assembly members criticized the Constitution as a “Borrowed Bag”. But, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee, counters this criticism in the following way:

“One likes to ask whether there can be anything new in a Constitution framed at this hour in the history of the world. More than a hundred years have rolled over when the first written Constitution was drafted. It has been followed by many countries reducing their Constitutions to writing. What the scope of a Constitution should be has long been settled. Similarly, what are the fundamentals of a Constitution are recognized all over the world”.

“As to the accusation that the Draft Constitution has produced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, I make no apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a Constitution. What I am sorry about is that the provisions taken from the Government of India Act, 1935, relate mostly to the details of administration.”

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