Comparison of the Indian Constitution with that of other countries
Salient features of Indian constitution
The bulkiest constitution of the world
The Indian constitution is one of the bulkiest constitution of the world, comprising of 395 articles, 22 parts and 12 schedules. So far the constitution underwent 100 amendments.
Rigidity and flexibility
The Indian constitution is combination of rigidity and flexibility, which means some parts of it can be amended by the Parliament by a simple majority, whereas some parts require a two-third majority as well as not less than one-half of the state legislatures.
Parliamentary system of government
The Indian constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government, i.e., the real executive power rests with the council of ministers and the President is only a nominal ruler (Article 74).
Federal system with a unitary bias
The Indian constitution described India as a ‘Union of States’ (Article 1), which implies that Indian federation is not the result of any agreement among the units and the units cannot secede from it.
Fundamental rights and fundamental duties
The Indian constitution provides an elaborate list of Fundamental Rights to the citizens of India, which cannot be taken away or abridged by any law made by the states (Article 12–35). Similarly, the constitution also provides a list of 11 duties of the citizens, known as the Fundamental Duties (Article 51A).
Directive principles of state policy
The Indian constitution mentions certain Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 36–51) which that government has to keep in mind while formulating new policy.
The constitution makes India a secular state by detaching from religious dogmas (Forty-second Amendment).
The constitution provides an independent judiciary (Article 76) which ensures that the government is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and acts as a guardian of the liberties and fundamental rights of the citizens.
The Indian constitution provides a single citizenship for all the people residing different parts of the country and there is no separate citizenship for the states (Article 5–11)
Salient features of constitution of united states of America
American Constitution is Written
Like other federal constitutions in the world, the American constitution is written in form. It is a brief document consisting of only 7 Articles and 27 Amendments. Indeed it was a skeleton constitution since the framers of the constitution left the details to be filled in by the Acts of the Congress. It has been adequately clothed with conventions, customs, judicial decisions and legislative measures.
The American constitution is federal in character. America was originally a federation of 13 States but due to admission of new states, it is now a federation of 50 States. A constitutional division of powers has been made between the centre and the federating units. The constitution enumerates the powers of the centre and leaves the residuary powers to be exercised by the federating states. The constitution thus creates a weak Centre and because residuary powers have been given to the units. However, in practice, federals centre in American has become very powerful due to the application of the doctrine of “Implied Powers” as propounded by the Supreme Court of the U.S.A.
American constitution is probably the most rigid constitution in the world. It can be amended by a very lengthy and difficult process. Because of the complicated nature of the amendment procedure, sometimes it takes years before an amendment becomes operative after it has been proposed. Every amendment, which can be moved in two different ways, must be ratified by 3/4th of the states. The rigidity of the constitution is obvious from the fact that during more than 200 years it has been in operation; only 27 amendments have been made in the constitution.
The constitution provides for the presidential type of government in the U.S.A. All powers are vested in the President. He is elected for a fixed period or 4 years and cannot be removed before the expiry or his tenure. Though the constitution provides indirect election of the President but in practice his election has become direct. The President is not politically responsible to the Congress. He has nothing to do with the Congress. The member of his Cabinet are neither members of the Congress nor answerable to it.
Supremacy of the Constitution
Supermacy of the constitution means the supreme law of the land. Neither the centre nor the states can override it. A law or an executive order repugnant to the constitution can be declared unconstitutional and invalid by; the Supreme Courts.
Separation of Powers
The U.S constitution is based on the doctrine or “Separation or Powers. Although the three wings of administration, viz the executive the legislative and the judiciary-are inter-dependent ‘and cannot be separate entirely in the interests of good government yet an attempt has been made in the American constitution to separate them as much as possible. The Congress is the legislative organ. The President is the executive who is elected directly by the people and has nothing to do with the Congress. He enjoys a fixed tenure of 4 years and is not a member of the Congress and cannot be removed by the vote of no confidence before the expiry of his term of office. He does not participate in debates, nor can he dissolve the Congress. Both are independent of each other. The Supreme Court heads the Federal judiciary and enjoys freedom in its work.
Salient features of British constitution
Mostly Unwritten and Partly Written
By far the most important feature of British constitution is its unwritten character. There is no such thing as written, precise and compact document, which may be called the British constitution. It was really this aspect of the British constitution that led De Tocqueville to remark that English constitution does not really exist. The main reason for this is that it is based on conventions and political traditions, which have not been laid down in any document. However, it has some written parts too which includes Historical Documents, Parliamentary Statues, Judicial Decisions and Constitutional Characters, e.g. Magna Carta (1215), Petition of Rights (1628), Bill of Rights (1689), Parliamentary Act of 1911 & 1949 etc.
British Constitution is Evolutionary
The British constitution is a specimen of evolutionary development. It was never framed by any constituent assembly. No precise date of its birth can be given and no definite body of persons can claim to be its authors, because it is the product of gradual growth and development. It has an unbroken continuity of development over a period of more than thousand years. Its sources are several and the course of its development has been sometimes guided by accidents and sometimes by high designs.
The British constitution is a classic example of flexible constitution. It can be passed, amended and repealed by simple majority of Parliament since no distinction is made between a constitutional law and an ordinary law. Both are treated alike. The element of flexibility has length the virtue of adaptability and adjustability to the British constitution. This quality has enabled it to grow with the needs of time.
The British constitution has unitary character as opposed to a federal one. All powers of the government are vested in the British Parliament, which is a sovereign body. The executive organs of state are subordinate to it and exercise delegated powers and are answerable to it. There is only one legislature. England, Scotland, Wales etc. are administrative units and not political autonomous units.
England has a Parliamentary form of government. The King who is sovereign has been deprived of all his powers and authority. The real functionaries are Ministers who belongs to the majority party in Parliament and remain in office so long as they retain its confidence. The Prime Minister and his Ministers are responsible to the legislature for their acts and policies. In this system the executive and legislature are not separated as in the federal form of government
Sovereignty of Parliament
A very important feature of the British constitution is sovereignty of Parliament. Parliament is the only I4slative body in the country with unfettered powers of legislation can make, amend or repeal any law it likes. The courts have no purer to question the validity of the laws passed by British Parliament. It can also amend constitution on its own authority like ordinary law of the land. It can make illegal what is legal and legalize what is illegal.
Salient Features of Chinese Constitution
The draft of 1982 Constitution of China was prepared by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China after prolonged nationwide discussions spread over a span of 2 years. It was officially recognized by the National People Congress (NPC), which met in December 1982. The draft of the Constitution adheres to four cardinal principles namely; adherence to socialist road, to the people’s democratic dictatorship, to, the leadership by the Communist Party of China and by Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong thought. Chapter 1 of the Constitution of the People Republic of China (PRC) deals with general principles. It has 32 articles in all Following are the main features of the Chinese Constitution. Following are the salient features of Constitution of China:
A Written Document
The Constitution of People Republic of China is written in nature. It is a brief document containing 138 Articles, which comprises of four chapters. Though, it is brief yet it lays down in sufficient detail. The political, social and economic objectives ‘of the regime. It deals not only with the structure of the state machinery but is also embodies a program for future (Its preamble states the goals of the Communist regime in accordance with the basic lines of the Communist Party of China (CPC). According to Article-I of Chinese constitution People Republic of China (PRC) is a socialist state. The Socialist system is the basic system of People Republic of China. No individual or organization is allowed to sabotage the socialist system. This principle is based on the definite ideology of Marxism and Lenin as interpreted by .Chinese socialist leader Mao.
The China Constitution of 1982 is flexible. Article-64 of the constitution declares, “Amendments to the constitution are to be propose by the standing committee of National People Congress (NPC) and by more than I/5th of the deputies to the NPC and adopted the majority vote of more than 2/3rd of all deputies to the Congress”. Statutes and resolutions are adopted by simple majority of the deputies of National People Congress. In comparison with other rigid constitutions of the world the procedure of amendment in the Chinese Constitution is easier. Thus the constitution is not rigid, but a flexible.
The 1982 Constitution like the previous ones (1954.1975.1978) provides for a unitary system. It provides for the centralization of powers at the Centre. Though there are provinces autonomous regimes and municipalities, but they are given powers by the Central Government, which can be taken always whenever it is so desired.
Article-II of the Constitution says that all powers in People Republic of China belong to the people, which are exercised through National People Congress and Local People’s Congress. The people administer the state affairs and manage their economic, social and other affairs through various channels in various ways in accordance with law. The People Republic of China is a state of people’s democratic dictatorships led by the working class based on allowance of workers and peasants and rallying all democratic classes and various nationalities within the country.
The Article-III of the constitution lays down that the state organs of People Republic of China apply the principle of democratic centralism. The National People at different levels is instituted through democratic election and responsible to the people. All the state organs are created by the people’s congresses. The division of powers and functions between the Centre and the local state organs is guided by the principle of giving full play to initiative and enthusiasm of local authorities under the unified leadership of central authorities. The government of the People Republic of China is a government of the People’s Congress on the principle of democratic centralism.
The constitution of the People Republic of China declares that there will be a unicameral legislature to be known as National People’s Congress (NPC). It is the highest organ of the state power and the sole legislative assembly of China. It is repository of all powers and authority in the country and people exercise their powers through it. Its deputies are directly elected by the people.
Fundamental Rights and Duties
The Article 33-56 of Chapter II of the constitution give a detail description of the fundamental rights and duties of the citizens. The individual’s rights include right to vote, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of procession and of demonstration. The state also protects the right of citizens and their lawfully earned income saving, house, property and also his right to inherit property. The important duties include to safeguard the unity of the country, to abide by the laws of constitution, to defend the motherland and resist aggression, to perform
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