A Constitution is a comprehensively stated set of rules or directives, which are the fundamental tools of governance of a country.
The exact details and procedures of how the governing body functions through its three organs – the legislative, the executive and the judiciary are charted out in a constitution. Apart from this it clearly establishes the rights and duties of the citizens and the checks and balances in case of any part of the government exceeding its legitimate powers. A constitution is normally the supreme law of the nation. It is the foundation of a democratic country and sets its goals.
History of Constitution
Historically, the Ancient Greek cities have been known to use a constitution for governance. However, this was only partly written. The British among other nations have also had some form of constitution to run the government. However, The Constitutional Convention, also known as the Philadelphia Convention from 27 May to 17 Sept 1787 was the first of its kind in the modern times, where the constitution was drafted for the United States of America in an entirely written form. This was meant to have a set of rules and directives for the entire nation, inspired by many constitutions, mainly the British and yet largely original, at the same time aligning with the constitutions of the individual states.
From here on written constitutions began to be adapted in all nations. Poland emerged as the next country in 1791 followed by France with four constitutions in 1790s to have the written form.
Constitution of India
The Indian Constitution is the longest one for any sovereign nation. It was adapted on the 26th January 1950. On that day, India gave up all its earlier legislations and the Constitution became the highest authority in the land. It declared India a sovereign democratic Republic with the public goals of promoting Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
The Constitution was drafted by a 299 member constituent assembly, chaired by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The members of this assembly represented people across all castes, regions, religions and gender to ensure a fair and equal representation. It took three years for the final draft.
The Constitution begins with a preamble followed by 448 articles. These are spread over 25 parts with 12 schedules and 5 appendices. There have been 101 amendments to it by now, the last being in July 2017. As against the rigidity of other constitutions, this one has been worded in general terms to ensure flexibility.
The constitution is a very important instrument particularly to a democratically run country as it lays down the basic structure of the government as per the goals and wishes of the people.