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Constitutional Design

01 Constitutional Design


After freedom, the democratic government had to follow a set of predefined norms that are defined in a set of documents known as the Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the country. The Constitution framework was created by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Democratic Constitution in South Africa

  • Nelson Mandela was against the Apartheid regime in South Africa. He fought for the equal rights of the non-whites.
  • He spent 28 years in Robben Island, South Africa’s most dreaded prison

Struggle against Apartheid

  • Apartheid was the name of a system of racial discrimination unique to South Africa.
  • The African National Congress (ANC) led the struggle against the policies of Segregation. ANC included many workers’ unions and the Communist Party and also some sensitive whites.

Towards a new constitution

  • Gradually, with the increasing protests and struggles, the white government found it difficult to keep the blacks under their rule. They had to change their repressive policies.
  • At the midnight of 26 April 1994, democracy was marked by unfurling the national flag of Republic of South Africa.
  • Nelson Mandela was appointed the first president of the new South Africa.
  • The South African constitution inspires democrats all over the world. A state denounced by the entire world till recently as the most undemocratic one is now seen as a model of democracy.

Why do we need a constitution?

  • Every country, democratic or non-democratic, or association or club or cooperative society or a political party needs to have its constitution.
  • Thus, constitution is the supreme law that determines the relationship among citizens and also the relationship between the people and government.

Making of the Indian Constitution

  • The makers of the constitution had an uphill task as the future of the country was not secure as it is today.

The path to Constitution

  • The Indian Constitution was drafted by Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders in 1928.
  • Basic values like Universal adult franchise, right to freedom and equality and protecting rights of minority were accepted by all leaders much before the constitution was finalised by the Constituent Assembly.

The Constituent Assembly

  • The constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 but came into effect on 26 January 1950, which we celebrate as the Republic Day.
  • The chairperson of the drafting committee was DR. B. R. Ambedkar who prepared a draft constitution for discussion.

Guiding values of the Indian Constitution

  • Many members followed Mahatma Gandhi’s vision which led to elimination of inequality.
  • Dr. Ambedkar’s bitterly criticised Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas and vision.
  • In his speech Jawaharlal Nehru urged the citizens to take a pledge to serve the country and fellow citizens and humanity as a whole.

Philosophy of the Constitution

  • The basic values of the freedom struggle are written at the start, in the ‘Preamble of the Indian Constitution’

Institutional Design

  • Constitutional amendments have been incorporated time to time to keep it updated in accordance with people’s aspirations and changes in society.

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