Indian Polity & Constitution

Dear Aspirants

You are welcome to Polity and Constitution Section of Free Notes 4 IAS-2010 [Prelims]

What is Politics-?

Politics refers to the relationship between government and society

What is Political Science-?

Political Science is concerned with a systematic study of ‘politics’ in human societies. Integration and Conflict are two sides of coin “Politics.”

What is State-?

State is a social organisation with a fixed territory and stability in society living within that territory. State is distinguished from other forms of social organisation in terms of sovereign power exercised by it. Here Sovereignty is defined as undisputed legal authority over a territory.

In ancient India, the Saptanga Theory of State elaborated in Kautilya’s Arthshastra mentions seven elements — Swami, Amatya, Janpada, Durga, Kosa, Danda and Mitra. In the west, writers like Harold

J. Laski and J.W. Garner have referred to four elements of state as follows-

  1. Population
  2. Territory
  3. Government
  4. Sovereignty [Central theme]

What is Government-?

The state has to exercise sovereign power over the territory and the people within its jurisdiction. For doing this it needs an organisation with persons exercising power on its behalf. Government is such an organisation of the state, with defined powers and functions for the different organs [Legislature, Executive and Judiciary] of the governments. Government of a State can be democratic or non-democratic, unitary or federal and Presidential or Parliamentary.

What about Indian State-?

The origin of State in India is as old as Vedas, when Dharma was the cardinal principle of Politics in India. Manusmiriti is the earliest text to elaborate the principles of social life, propounds decentralization and welfare activities as the basis of the state organisation. Gradually ancient state has evolved into modern state. John Locke propounded the Doctrine of Consent and John Stuart Mill gave much importance to representative and responsible government.


The concept of Nation refers to sense of belongings from a particular State or Region. A society claims distinction on the basis of some common characteristics of its people. Some characteristics that form the basis of such a claim are: lineage, culture, language, religion, territory, race, and so on. The idea of nation and the process of nationalism emphasize the sense of solidarity, and resemblances on various grounds. A sense of belonging among the people is provided by these factors either singly or in combination turned out as a Nation.

Nation Building-

This is the process of consolidation of various social groups [whole population] under a common tag. It is one of the main objectives of the sate to maximize the level of integration in society which is known as Nation Building.

Political System-

The political system of a state refers to the sum total of ideology or principles on which government of a State has been organised to discharge its duties or functions towards Citizens and to exercise the sovereign power of State. The political system of modern states are organised on the basis of constitution of a particular state.

Classification of Government-

Government of a modern state can be classified into various forms like democratic or autocratic, unitary or federal and parliamentary or presidential etc. This classification of government usually based upon the following factors-

S. No. Basis/Factors Type of Government
1. Nature of exercise of power Democratic or Autocratic
2. Nature of executive agency Parliamentary or Presidential
3. Territorial distribution of power Federal or Unitary
4. Nature of constitution Hard or Soft

Political Culture-

Political Culture of a country refers to a set of beliefs and attitudes prevailed in a particular political society.

Political Socialization-

The process by which a particular set of attitudes, belief and orientations is passed on from one generation to another is known as political socialization. It is study of “what, when and how people learn about politics”. Inter-generational continuity is the essence of political culture. The willingness of people to accept new ideas and beliefs is a matter of learnt behaviour. Thus, the learning process to acquire existing political culture is known as political socialization. Individuals acquire certain social obligations through ordinary course of interactions. Process of political socializations is not necessarily a conscious process. Various factors such as international developments, domestic transformations, historical events, and social stirrings shape the process of political socialization. There is a direct linkage between political culture and political socialization. Political socialization is the process by which political cultures are formed, maintained and changed. Thus, it is important to study the process of political socialization in order to understand political stability and development of political system. An individual acquires a particular belief, value and attitude towards politics of a state through manifest and latent transmission of information. The teaching of civics syllabus in the schools is an example of manifest political socialization. Latent political socialization process implies transmission of non-political attitudes towards prevalent institutions in a political system. It involves the fundamental aspects of culture in a political system. Political socialization takes place through a variety of institutions and situations. These are family, peer groups, educational institutions, secondary groups/such as work place, the mass media, government and political party machineries.

Who makes Government in a State i.e. Political Parties-

Political Party refers to a political or social institution with a common ideology. Party system in a state varies from state to state as one party system, two party system and multi party system

Political Participation-

The study of political participation implies the study of actual involvement of people in the decision-making process rather than popular attitude of becoming involved. It refers to the involvement of mango peoples in policy making, implementing and its evaluation. In contemporary context effective participation of citizens in decision-making process has been emphasized through decentralization of power. Effective political participation is also achieved through the various emerging concepts like pressure groups, interest groups, civil society and NGO’s.

Political Development-

Political Development refers to gradual changes occurred into the political structure and political culture of a state during a certain time period. Political development is related to increasing governmental efficiency in the use of human and material resources of the nation for the common good. It also highlighted the notion of national political capacity or efficiency. Political development it refers to the capacity building of the government in discharging its duties or responsibilities. The concept of political capacity referred only to two basic areas of development: ability of a government to collect revenues from its subjects to implement its preferred policies and its ability to mobilize human resources.

Cardinal Theories of Politics-


An ideology based on a commitment to individualism, consent and toleration: modern liberalism differs from classical liberalism. According to this ideology economic system is based upon Laissez-faire approach and it advocated *capitalism. Ideology also advocated the concept of free market and liberalization. Almost all developed countries on globe supported this ideology

*A type of economic system which precedes socialism or communism. It is based on private ownership of the means of production and on the exploitation of the wage labour.


A political ideology based on the principle of state ownership of resources and industry along with responsibility of socio-economic development. Socialism is a clear contrast to Laissez faire and advocated more interference from government side. Traditional Socialism is different from ** democratic socialism.

    • **Democratic Socialism refers to a mixed ideology aiming at bringing about socialism through democratic means. The ideology was consciously articulated by Nehru and endorsed by the Indian Parliament from time to time.


      This ideology was advocated and founded by Karl Marx. Marxism is based upon the principle of classless society. Lenin of former USSR and Mayo of China were the main supporter of this ideology. Marx advocated replacement of capitalism by communism.


      Fascism refers to a political ideology which advocates an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism). NAZI party of Germany under leadership of Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Mussolini were the prime advocator of this ideology


      One more political or economic ideology put forward by Mahatma Gandhi of India is known as Gandhism. This ideology is based upon the principle of non-violence and decentralization of power to local government

      Few important terms in Polity-


      This is a French term signifying citizen class or working class. The term is frequently used by Marxist socialists to denote the class of proprietors, capitalists, manufacturers, merchants, persons with a business of their own and members of liberal professions as opposed to the ‘proletariat’ who live only by selling their labour.


      In ancient Rome the property–less class which served the state by producing children proles. However, the most prevalent usage refers to the one developed by Marx. In this sense proletariat includes those in industry, agriculture and intellectual posts who live by the sale of their labour, as opposed to the capitalist bourgeoisie.


      This term denotes a group of persons who hold positions of eminence in society. The term is also used to refer to leaders in different fields, e.g. political elite and business elite.

      Trade Union-

      An association of wage earners of workers for the purpose of improving their conditions and protecting their interests


      A movement of labour unions which favored “direct action” culminating in a revolutionary general strike to secure workers’ ownership and control of industry. It originated under the influence of Robert Owen and acquired its more violent aspects in France besides getting its name from the word ‘Syndicate’ (union trade).

      Indian Polity-

      The preamble of Indian constitution says that India is a Sovereign [undisputed legal right of Indian citizens over the state], Socialist [adhere to socialism ideology], Secular [without any religion and equal respect for all prevailed ones], Democratic [government by the people or by their elected representatives] Republic [A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens] country.

      Some cardinal features of Indian Polity incorporated by Indian Constitution-

      • Written
      • Partially rigid and partially flexible
      • Impartial Judiciary with Judicial Review
      • Directive Principles of State Policy
      • Universal Adult franchise
      • Emergency Provisions
      • Power distribution between Union and State on doctrine of “Pitch and Substance.”
      • Independent Agencies like UPSC, EC and CAGI
      • Positive Discrimination
      • PRI

      Government Form Parliamentary Government on lines of British Parliament
      Nature of State Quasi-Federal [India is union of states but centre is more powerful]
      Executive agency of Government Legislature and executive organs are based upon the fusion principle not on separation of power like in USA
      Liberty Fundamental Rights and Independent Judiciary

      Who made Indian Constitution-?

      Indian Constitution was drafted and adopted by a Constituent Assembly that was not elected directly by the people. In fact, the Legislative Assemblies of the Indian Provinces elected it indirectly. The Assemblies themselves were elected in 1946 according to the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935. The Constituent Assembly could be called real representative of the people because it had representation of almost all shades of opinions. The words socialist and secular added into preamble of India constitution by 42nd Amendment Act in 1976. Here it should be noted that Mr. K. T. Shah [then member of constitution assembly] advocated addition of these word into preamble but move was strongly opposed by Nehru. Here are few important details regarding development of Indian constitution-

      • Cabinet Mission recommended the establishment of constitution assembly
      • Each province was allotted seats in constitution assembly in proportion of its population and members were elected from provincial legislative assemblies indirectly
      • Total member of constitution assembly was 385. Out of which 93 were representative of Indian States and rest were from British Indian council. Total 205 members were from Indian national congress. After partition total number members of constitutional assembly reduced to 299 but of whom 284 members were actually present and signed on the final Indian Constitution on 26th November 1949.
      • The main communities recognized for appropriate representation were General, Muslim and Sikh
      • 1st meeting of Constitution Assembly- 9-23, December 1946
      • Objective Resolution of Indian Constitution put forward by Nehru on 13th December 1946 and adopted by assembly on 22nd Jan 1947 after a comprehensive debate
      • Dr. Sinha was elected as temporary president of Constitution Assembly who later replaced by Dr. Rajendra Prasad
      • Constitution assembly worked through various individual committees on separate subject matter which later drafted into a single unified document by Drafting Committee of Constitution Assembly
      • Drafted Committee was established in 1947 under chairmanship of Mr. B. R. Ambedkar
      • 11th last meeting and adoption- 26th November 1949
      • Full adoption or ratification- 26th January 1950 [this date was choosed because on the same date earlier National Congress adopted Indian Constitution in 1930s]
      • It took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to frame Indian Constitution

      Important Committees established by Constitution Assembly-

      Committee Chairman
      Committee on the Rules of Procedure Dr. Rajendra Prasad
      Steering Committee Do
      Finance and Staff Committee Do
      Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag Do
      Credential or Bonafide Committee Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
      House Committee B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
      Order of Business Committee K. M. Munshi
      Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly G. V. Mavalanker
      States Committee Jawahar Lal Nehru
      Union Powers Committee Do
      Union Constitution Committee Do
      Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas Sardar Patel
      Minorities Sub-Committee H. C. Mukherjee
      Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee J. B. Kriplani
      North-East Frontier Tribal Areas Committee Gopinath Bardoloi
      Drafting Committee B. R. Ambedkar

      Various provisions copied from outside sources in Indian Constitution-

      The Constitution of India, as opted by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, was not something absolutely new. It was, to a great extent, influenced by the Government of India Act of 1935 that was passed by the British Parliament. In addition Constitution Assembly copied many provisions from the already working constitution of various countries which makes Indian Constitution most lengthy and comprehensive document in world of constitution. The provisions took by constitution assembly from various country’s constitutions are as follows-

      S. No. Provision Source
      1. Federal Structure, Office of Governor, Power Division, Judiciary and Public service commission GOI Act 1935
      2. Parliamentary system, Rule of Law, Single Citizenship, Office of CAG, Legislation, Cabinet form of govt., Prerogative writs and Bicameralism Britain
      3. Fundamental Rights, Judicial Review, Office of Vice-President, Independence of Judiciary, Impeachment of President and Impeachment process of SC and HCs Judges USA
      4. Quasi Federal Structure with strong center [residuary powers], Appointment of state governors by center and Advisory/review role of supreme court Canada
      5. Concurrent List [List III], Freedom of trade, Commerce and interstate trade, Joint Sitting of Parliament Australia
      6. Preamble & Fundamental Duties USSR
      7. Emergency Provisions and suspension of rights during emergency Weimer constitution of Germany
      8. Amendment Procedure, Indirect election of RS members and PRIs South Africa
      9. Directive Principles of State Policy, Election process of President & Nomination of members by President Irish Constitution of Ireland
      10. Procedures established by law Japan
      11. Idea of Justice in SOCIAL, EDUCATION, ECONOMIC and POLITICAL Russian Revolution, 1917
      12. Idea of Liberty, Equality and fraternity French Revolution, 1789-1799

      Indian Parliament-

      What is Parliament?

      According to the Constitution of India, the union legislative body is called the Parliament. The Hindi term for Parliament is Sansad. The Parliament includes the President and the two Houses – the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). This kind of system, with two Houses, is called a bicameral legislature

      Rajya Sabha-

      The Rajya Sabha (Council of States) is the Upper House of Parliament. The House has a maximum of 250 members, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature, science, and social services. The remaining 238 members are elected by the members of the legislative bodies from the States and Union Territories. The Rajya Sabha is a permanent body and unlike the Lok Sabha, it cannot be dissolved at any time.

      Each member of the Rajya Sabha serves for a term of six years. But one third of its members retire at the expiration of every two years. The Vice-President of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. It, however, elects a Deputy Chairman from among its members who takes care of the day-to-day working of the House. Both Houses have equal legislative powers except in the area of finance where the Lok Sabha is given overriding powers.

      Lok Sabha-

      The Lok Sabha (House of the People) is the Lower House of Parliament. The members are directly elected to the House. The electorate consists of all citizens who have attained 18 years of age and are otherwise not disqualified to vote under the law. Under the Constitution, the maximum strength of the Lok Sabha can be 552 members. The Constitution provides that up to 530 members would represent territorial constituencies in the states, up to 20 members would represent the Union Territories, and two members would be appointed by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community if there is inadequate representation of the community.

      The minimum age for qualification as a member of the Lok Sabha is 25 years. Each Lok Sabha is formed for a period of five years, at the end of which the House is dissolved. The House can be dissolved before the completion of the term or it can be extended by a Proclamation of Emergency. The period of extension cannot exceed one year at a time. A Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, elected by the members of the Lok Sabha, conduct day to day business. The Deputy Speaker presides during the absence of the Speaker.

      What are the functions of Parliament?

      Parliament has four primary functions- to make laws, to sanction government expenditure, to oversee the work of the government, and to represent the interests of the people. In the Indian system, the Council of Ministers are also Members of Parliament (that is, there is an overlap of the legislative and executive functions for several members) For those members who are part of the Council of Ministers, there is an additional responsibility of the executive as compared to those who are not in the Council of Ministers. The broad functions of Parliament can be described as follows-

      • Legislative responsibility- To pass laws
      • Oversight responsibility- To ensure that the executive (i.e. government) performs its duties satisfactorily
      • Representative responsibility- To represent the views and aspirations of the people of their constituency in Parliament
      • “Power of the Purse” responsibility- To approve and oversee the revenues and expenditures proposed by the government

      What constitutes the Government of India?

      The President is the formal, constitutional head of the Republic of India. After the Lok Sabha elections, the President invites the leader of the party or parties with the majority of votes in the Lok Sabha to form the Government. The President appoints the leader of the majority party as the Prime Minister and on the advice of the Prime Minister appoints other ministers. The ministers can be chosen from both Houses of Parliament. The political power is vested with the Prime Minister and his team of ministers – the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers constitutes the Government of India and the government is headed by the Prime Minister. The Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, (together forming the Executive) is responsible for the governance of the country and is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. If the Lok Sabha passes a motion of no-confidence against the Council of Ministers, the term of the Government comes to an end. As the leader of the majority, the Prime Minister is also the Leader of the Lok Sabha. He has to perform certain parliamentary functions like proposing dates of calling the House in session to the Speaker and drawing up the programme of official business. The leader of the largest party in opposition in each House is designated as the Leader of the Opposition. Till 18th December 2009 leader of opposition in LS was Mr. L. K. Aadvani but at present he has replaced by Susma Swaraj

      What is the role of the President of India with regard to Parliament?

      The President is the constitutional head of Republic of India, directly elected by an electoral college that includes elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the States. The President performs certain constitutional functions-

      • The President invites the leader of the majority party to form the Government after a new Lok Sabha is duly elected
      • The President nominates 12 members of the Rajya Sabha and has the right to nominate two members from the Anglo Indian community to the Lok Sabha if they are under-represented
      • On the advice of the Executive, the President summons the two Houses of Parliament to meet from time to time
      • The President has the power to discontinue a session in the two Houses and dissolve the Lok Sabha (in consultation with the Executive)
      • The President has to agree to sign a Bill before it can become a law
      • If the Houses are not in session, the President can enact or promulgate Ordinances having the same validity as a law passed in Parliament.
      • The President has the power to appoint the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha on an interim basis
      • The President has the right to address either or both Houses of Parliament
      • The President has the power to call both Houses for a joint sitting in case a dispute arises over passing a Bill. In the joint sitting, the matter is decided by majority vote

      What are the special powers of Rajya Sabha?

      Rajya Sabha enjoys certain special powers. They are as follows-

      • Rajya Sabha can declare that it would be in the national interest for the Parliament to make laws on any subject in the State List
      • Rajya Sabha is empowered to make laws creating one or more All India Services, which would be common to the Union and State, if it is deemed to serve the national interest. The services such as the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and All-India Judicial Service are part of the All India Services.

      What do you mean by Youth Parliament Competition-?

      In order to develop democratic ethos in the younger generation the Ministry conducts Youth Parliament Competition in various categories of schools and colleges/universities. The Youth Parliament Scheme was first introduced in the Schools in Delhi in 1966-67. Kendriya Vidyalayas located in and around Delhi were incorporated into the ongoing Scheme for Delhi Schools in 1978. Subsequently, as separate scheme of Youth Parliament for Kendriya Vidyalayas at the National Level was launched in 1988. Similarly, in 1997-98, two new Youth Parliament Schemes at the national level, one for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and the other for Universities/Colleges were launched. During 2008-09, the 43rd Youth Parliament Competition for Delhi Schools was completed and 33 schools had participated. The 21st National Youth Parliament Competition for Kendriya Vidyalayas was held and 90 Kendriya Vidyalayas participated. The 12th National Youth Parliament Competition for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas was completed. The Ninth National Youth Parliament Competition for Universities/Colleges is in progress


      18 responses to “Indian Polity & Constitution

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      6. Geeta

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      10. Yadvendra


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