Important Sources of the Indian Constitution – Drishti IAS

Government of India Act 1935
The Constitution of 1950 was a by-product of the legacy started by the Government of India Act 1935. This was the longest act passed by the British government with 321 sections and 10 schedules. This act had drawn its content from four sources – Report of the Simon Commission, discussions and deliberations at the Third Round Table Conference, the White Paper of 1933 and the reports of the Joint select committees.
This act abolished the system of provincial dyarchy and suggested the establishment of dyarchy at the centre and a ‘Federation of India’ consisting of the provinces of British India and most of the princely states.
Most importantly, the act established the office of the Governor; all the executive powers and authority of the centre was vested in the Governor.
Some features of the Government of India Act 1935 were:
The United Kingdom
A lot of concepts and features of the Indian Constitution have its roots in Great Britain. Some of those are:
Article 14: Right to Equality; The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 32 (1): The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.
Article 32 (2): The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part.
Article 226 (1): Notwithstanding anything in Article 32 every High Court shall have power, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any Government, within those territories directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.
The United States of America
Some of the features borrowed from the USA are:
Article 124 (4): A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
The main feature borrowed from the Irish Constitution is the provision of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). The DPSP are listed in the Part IV of the Indian Constitution and it clearly states that it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in the process of law making. There are mainly three categories of these principles – Socialist Directives, Gandhian Directives and Liberal Intellectual Directives. The procedure for the nomination of members to the Rajya Sabha is also borrowed from Ireland.
The provisions of a Federation with a strong centre, Residuary powers of the Centre, appointment of State governors by the Centre and the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, have all been borrowed from the Canadian constitution. Article 248 of the Indian Constitution states that the Parliament has the sole power to make laws regarding any item not mentioned in the Union and State lists respectively. Article 143 provides for an advisory jurisdiction for the Supreme Court. Under this provision, the President may seek opinion of the Supreme Court on public matters and the Supreme Court may then further give its opinion after studying the case properly.
The Indian Preamble borrowed its ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity from the French Constitution. The Indian state came to be recognized as the ‘Republic of India’ in the lineage of the Constitution of France.
The Constitution of Australia lent us the provisions of Freedom of Trade and Commerce within the country and between the states. The provisions of the same are laid down in the Articles 301-307 of the Indian Constitution. We also received the provisions of the Concurrent list and the joint sitting of both the houses of Parliament from Australia.
South Africa and Germany
While the Constitution of South Africa gave us the provisions of the procedure of the amendment and the Election of the Rajya Sabha members, the German Constitution, gave us the provision of suspension of fundamental rights during emergency.
These were the major sources of the Indian Constitution. As the father of our Constitution and the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said, “As to the accusation that the Draft Constitution has [re]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….”

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