Constituent Assembly of India
Nature of the Assembly
The Constituent Assembly, consisting of indirectly elected representatives, was set up for the purpose of drafting a constitution for India (including what are now the separate countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh). In the event, it remained in being for almost three years, acting as the first parliament of India after independence in 1947. The Assembly was not elected on the basis of universal adult franchise; plus only Muslims and Sikhs were given special representation as "minorities". The influential Muslim League initially boycotted the Assembly after having failed to prevent its gathering. The Constituent Assembly was a one-party body in a one-party country. The Congress Party had wide diversity within itself, from conservative industrialists to radical Marxists, but party members mainly drove the process.
The Assembly met for the first time in New Delhi on 9 December 1946. The last session of the Assembly was held on 24 January 1950. Over the course of this period (two years, eleven months and eighteen days), the Assembly held eleven sessions, sitting on a total of 166 days. The hope behind the Assembly was expressed by Jawaharlal Nehru: "The first task of this Assembly is to free India through a new constitution, to feed the starving people, and to cloth the naked masses, and to give every Indian the fullest opportunity to develop himself according to his capacity."
Background and election
The Constituent Assembly was set up while India was still under British rule, following negotiations between Indian leaders and members of the 1946 Cabinet Mission to India from the United Kingdom. The provincial assembly elections had been conducted early in 1946. The Constituent Assembly members were elected to it indirectly by the members of these newly elected provincial assemblies, and initially included representatives for those provinces which came to form part of Pakistan, some of which are now within Bangladesh. The Constituent Assembly had 217 representatives, including 09 women.
The Interim Government of India was formed on 2 September 1946 from the newly elected Constituent Assembly.
The Congress held a large majority in the Assembly, with 69 per cent of all of the seats, while the Muslim League held almost all of the seats reserved in the Assembly for Muslims. There were also some members from smaller parties, such as the Scheduled Caste Federation, the Communist Party of India, and the Unionist Party.
In June 1947, the delegations from the provinces of Sindh, East Bengal, Baluchistan, West Punjab, and the North West Frontier Province withdrew, to form the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, meeting in Karachi.
On 15 August 1947, the Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan became independent nations, and the members of the Constituent Assembly who had not withdrawn to Karachi became India's Parliament. Only 28 members of the Muslim League finally joined the Indian Assembly. Later, 93 members were nominated from the princely states. The Congress thus secured a majority of 82%.
Constitution and elections
See Also: Constitution of India
At 11AM on 9 December 1946, the Assembly began its first session, with 207 members attending. By early 1947, representatives of the Muslim League and princely states joined. The Assembly formally approved the draft Constitution on 26 November 1949. On 26 January 1950, the Constitution took effect, a day now commemorated in India as Republic Day. At this point, the Constituent Assembly became the Provisional Parliament of India, which continued in existence until after the first elections under the new Constitution took place in 1952.
Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the first president (temporary chairman) of the Constituent Assembly when it met on 9 December 1946. Dr. Rajendra Prasad then became the President of the Constituent Assembly, and would later become the first President of India. The Vice-President of the Constituent Assembly was Professor Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University and a prominent Christian from Bengal, who also served as the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly's Minorities Committee; he was appointed Governor of West Bengal after India became a republic. Eminent bureaucrat & jurist Sir Benegal Narsing Rau was appointed as the Constitutional Adviser to the Constituent Assembly. He prepared the original draft of the constitution and was later appointed a judge in the Permanent Court of International Justice, The Hague.
The Assembly's work was organised into five stages: (1) committees were asked to present reports on basic issues; (2) the constitutional adviser, B.N. Rau, prepared an initial draft on the basis of these committees and his own research into the constitutions of other countries; (3) the drafting committee, chaired by B.R. Ambedkar, presented a detailed draft constitution that was published for public discussion and comments; (4) the draft constitution was discussed and amendments were proposed and enacted; (5) the constitution was adopted. A committee of experts led by the Congress Party, called the Congress Assembly Party, played a critical role.
9 December 1946 : The first meeting of Constituent Assembly was held in the constitution hall(now 'Central Hall of Parliament House'). Demanding a separate state,the Muslim League boycotted the meeting. Dr.Sanchidanand Sinha was elected as temporary President of Assembly following the French practice.
11 December 1946 : Elected Dr.Rajendra Prasad and H.C.Mukherjee as the President and Vice-President of the Assembly respectively.Appointed Sir B.N.Rau as Constitutional advisor to the Assembly.
13 December 1946 : 'Objective Resolution' was introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru.Underlying principles of Constitution were laid by Objective Resolution.
22 January 1947: Unanimously adopted the Objective Resolution.
May 1949: It ratified India's membership of the Commonwealth
22 July 1947: Adopted the national flag
24 January 1950: Adopted the national anthem,national song.Elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first president of India
Assembly was chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad whenever it met as Constituent body and by G.V.Mavlankar when it met as the legislative body. Constituent Assembly completed the task of drafting Constitution in 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. The total expenditure incurred was Rs. 6.4 million.
Members of the Indian Constituent Assembly
Indian National Congress Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, 1st Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Minister for Law, Chairman of Drafting committee Maulana Azad, Minister for Education, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Chairman of the Assembly C. Rajagopalachari, Governor General Sarat Chandra Bose Sri Krishna Sinha, Chief Minister, Bihar Shyam Nandan Prasad Mishra Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister, Bihar Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Asaf Ali, Sri Sheik Galib Sahib, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, President, Hindu Mahasabha Moturi Satyanarayana, Freedom Fighter Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Minister for Health Hansa Mehta, President, All India Women's Conference Prof. N.G. Ranga Deep Narayan Singh P. Subbarayan Kailashnath Katju N. G Ayyangar T. T. Krishnamachari Rameshwar Prasad Sinha Durgabai Deshmukh K. M. Munshi Krishana Ballabh Sahay Frank Anthony, Anglo-Indian representative Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Dr. John Mathai Pratap Singh Kairon
Members of the Indian Constituent Assembly (province/state wise)
Madras O. V. Alagesan, Mrs. Amma Swaminathan, M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, Moturi Satyanarayana, Mrs. Dakshayani Velayudhan, Mrs. G. Durgabai, Kala Venkatarao, N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, D. Govinda Das, Revd. Jerome D'Souza, P. Kakkan, T.M.Kaliyannan Gounder, K. Kamaraj, V. C. Kesava Rao, T. T. Krishnamachari, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer L. Krishnaswami Bharathi, P. Kunhiraman, Mosalikanti Thirumala Rao, V. I. Muniswamy Pillay, M. A. Muthiah Chettiyar, V. Nadimuthu Pillai, S. Nagappa, P. L. Narasimha Raju, B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, C. Perumalswamy Reddy, T. Prakasam, S. H. Prater, Raja Swetachalapati Ramakrishna Renga Roa of Bobbili, R. K. Shanmukham Chetti, T. A. Ramalingam Chettiyyar, Ramnath Goenka, O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar, N. G. Ranga, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Sri Sheik Galib Sahib, K. Santhanam, B. Shiva Rao, Kallur Subba Rao, U. Srinivasa Mallayya, P. Subbarayan, C. Subramaniam, V Subramaniam, M. C. Veerabahu, P. M. Velayudapani, A. K. Menon, T. J. M. Wilson, Mohamed Ismail Sahib, K. T. M. Ahmed Ibrahim, Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur, B. Pocker Sahib Bahadur
Bombay Balchandra Maheshwar Gupte, Hansa Mehta, Hari Vinayak Pataskar, B. R. Ambedkar, Joseph Alban D'Souza, Kanayalal Nanabhai Desai, Keshavrao Marutirao Jedhe, Khandubhai Kasanji Desai, Bal Gangadhar Kher, M.R. Masani, K.M. Munshi, Narahar Vishnu Gadgil, S. Nijalingappa, S. K. Patil, Ramchandra Manohar Nalavade, R. R. Diwakar, Shankarrao Deo, G. V. Mavalankar, Vallabhbhai Patel, Abdul Kadar Mohammad Shaikh, A. A. Khan
West Bengal Monomohan Dass, Arun Chandra Guha, Lakshmi Kanta Maitra, Mihir Lal Chattopadhyay, Satis Chandra Samanta, Suresh Chandra Majumdar, Upendranath Barman, Prabhudayal Himatsingka, Basanta Kumar Das, Mrs. Renuka Ray, H. C. Mukherjee, Surendra Mohan Ghose, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Ari Bahadur Gurung, R. E. Platel, K. C. Neogy, Raghib Ahsan, Somnath Lahiri, Jasimuddin Ahmad, Naziruddin Ahmad, Abdul Hamid[disambiguation needed], Abdul Halim Ghuznavi
United Provinces Ajit Prasad Jain, Algu Rai Shastri, Balkrishna Sharma, Banshi Dhar Misra, Bhagwan Din, Damodar Swarup Seth, Dayal Das Bhagat, Dharam Prakash, A. Dharam Dass, R. V. Dhulekar, Feroz Gandhi, Gopal Narain, Krishna Chandra Sharma, Govind Ballabh Pant, Govind Malaviya, Har Govind Pant, Harihar Nath Shastri, Hriday Nath Kunzru, Jaspat Roy Kapoor, Jagannath Baksh Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru, Jogendra Singh, Jugal Kishore, Jwala Prasad Srivastava, B. V. Keskar, Mrs. Kamala Chaudhri, Kamalapati Tiwari, J. B. Kripalani, Mahavir Tyagi, Khurshed Lal, Masurya Din, Mohan Lal Saksena, Padampat Singhania, Phool Singh, Paragi Lal, Mrs. Purnima Banerjee, Prurshottam Das Tandon, Hira Vallabha Tripathi, Ram Chandra Gupta, Shibban Lal Saxena, Satish Chandra, John Matthai, Mrs. Sucheta Kripalani, Sunder Lall, Venkatesh Narayan Tivary, Mohanlal Gautam, Vishwambhar Dayal Tripathi, Vishnu Sharan Dublish, Begum Aizaz Rasul, Hyder Hussain, Hasrat Mohani, Abul Kalam Azad, Muhammad Ismail Khan, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai, Mohd. Hifzur Rahman
East Punjab Bakshi Tek Chand, Jairamdas Daulatram, Thakurdas Bhargava, Bikramlal Sondhi, Yashwant Rai, Ranbir Singh, Achint Ram, Nand Lal, Sardar Baldev Singh, Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir, Sardar Hukam Singh, Sardar Bhopinder Singh Mann, Sardar Rattan Singh Lohgarh Chaudhry Suraj Mal
Bihar Amiyo Kumar Ghosh, Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Banarsi Prasad Jhunjhunwala, Bhagwat Prasad, Boniface Lakra, Brajeshwar Prasad, Chandika Ram, K. T. Shah, Devendra Nath Samanta, Dip Narain Sinha, Guptanath Singh, Jadubans Sahay, Jagat Narain Lal, Jagjivan Ram, Jaipal Singh, Kameshwara Singh of Darbhanga, Kamaleshwari Prasad Yadav, Mahesh Prasad Sinha, Krishna Ballabh Sahay, Raghunandan Prasad, Rajendra Prasad, Rameshwar Prasad Sinha, Ramnarayan Singh, Sachchidananda Sinha, Sarangdhar Sinha, Satyanarayan Sinha, Binodanand Jha, P. K. Sen, Sri Krishna Sinha, Sri Narayan Mahtha, Syamanandan Sahaya, Hussain Imam, Syed Jafar Imam, Latifur Rahman, Mohammad Tahir, Tajamul Hussain, Choudhry Abid Hussain. Pt Hargovind Mishra.
Central Provinces and Berar Raghu Vira, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, B.A. Mandloi, Brijlal Nandlal Biyani, Thakur Cheedilal, Seth Govind Das, Hari Singh Gour, Hari Vishnu Kamath, Hemchandra Jagobaji Khandekar, Ghanshyam Singh Gupta, Lakshman Shrawan Bhatkar, Panjabrao Shamrao Deshmukh, Ravi Shankar Shukla, R. K. Sidhva, Shankar Trimbak Dharmadhikari, Frank Anthony, Kazi Syed Karimuddin, Ganpatrao Dani
Orissa B. Das, Biswanath Das, Krishna Chandra Gajapati Narayana Deo of Parlakimedi, Harekrushna Mahatab, Laxminarayan Sahu Lokanath Misra, Nandkishore Das, Rajkrishna Bose, Santanu Kumar Das yudhishir mishra
Delhi Deshbhandhu Gupta
Ajmer-Merwara Mukut Bihari Lal Bhargava
Coorg C. M. Poonacha
Rajasthan V. T. Krishnamachari, Hiralal Shastri, Sardar Singhjhi of Khetri, Jaswant Singhji, Raj Bhadur, Manikya Lal Varma, Gokul Lal Asava, Ramchandra Upadhyaya, Balwant Sinha Mehta, Dalel Singh, Jainarain Vyas
Bombay States Vinayakrao Balshankar Vaidya, B. N. Munavalli, Gokulbhai Daulatram Bhatt, Jivraj Narayan Mehta, Gopaldas A. Desai, Paranlal Thakurlal Munshi, B. H. Khardekar, Ratnappa Bharamappa Kumbhar
Cooch Behar Himmat Singh K. Maheshwari
Tripura and Manipur Girja Shankar Guha
Bhopal Lal Singh
Kutch Bhawani Arjun Khimji
Himachal Pradesh Yashwant Singh Parmar
1. 9th December1946 to 23 December 1946 2. 20th January1947 to 25 January 1947 3. 28th April1947 to 2 May 1947 4. 14 July to 31 July 1947 5. 14 August to 30 August 1947 6. 27 January 1948 7. 4 November 1948 to 8 January 1949 8. 16 May to 16 June 1949 9. 30 July to 18 September 1949 10. 6 October to 17 October 1949 11. 14 November to 26 November 1949 12. 24 January 1950
Constituent Assembly Debates were the discussions, arguments etc. that took place in order to write the Constitution of India. These discussions happened between the elected members of the assembly who later served as the nation's First Parliament.
It is said that only 28% people of the total population were eligible to vote at that time, so only this % of people participated in the elections for the assembly.
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- History of Independent India
- Constitution of India
- Central Legislative Assembly
- Indian Independence Movement
- Constituent Assembly
- M. Lakshmikanth, Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations, 3rd ed., (New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill Education Private Limited, 2011), p. 2.3
- Parliament, Indian. "Some facts [about the Constitutive Assembly]". Retrieved 15 June 2011.
- Constituent Assembly Debates (Proceedings)
- Some facts of the Constituent Assembly
- List of Members of the Constituent Assembly (as in November, 1949) Parliament of India
- Austin, Granville. The Indian Constitution, Cornerstone of a Nation. New Delhi: OUP India, 1999. ISBN 0-19-564959-1
- Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, and Aditya Mukherjee. India Since Independence, Revised Edition. New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2008.