For the aspirants of Civil Services, it is very important to choose such readings which are more informative as well as less exhaustive to study. The textbooks provided by NCERT are of such kind which contains a complete package of any stream. Such textbooks are very important for the aspirants who are engaged in preparing for various competitive exams. The aspirants always faces challenges to completed their given syllabus of respective exams, so, NCERT textbooks have been proved as a better tools for the preparation of competitive Exams.
As per the recent trend, the Indian Polity constitute an integral part of the IAS Prelims Exam as well as in the IAS Mains Exam.
This book is about the working of the Indian Constitution. In the chapters that follow, you will read information about various aspects of the working of our Constitution. You will learn about the various institutions of the government in our country and their relationship with each other.
A constitution is not only about the composition of the various organs of government and the relations among them. As we studied in the last chapter, the constitution is a document that sets limits on the powers of the government and ensures a democratic system in which all persons enjoy certain rights. In this chapter, we shall study the Fundamental Rights contained in the Indian Constitution. Part three of the Constitution of India lists the Fundamental Rights and also mentions the limits on these rights. In the past fifty years, the scope of rights has changed and in some respects, expanded.
Have you ever played chess? What would happen if the black knight suddenly started moving straight rather than two and a half squares? Or, what would happen if in a game of cricket, there were no umpires? In any sport, we need to follow certain rules. Change the rules and the outcome of the game would be very different. Similarly a game needs an impartial umpire whose decision is accepted by all the players. The rules and the umpire have to be agreed upon before we begin to play a game. What is true of a game is also true of elections. There are different rules or systems of conducting elections. The outcome of the election depends on the rules we have adopted. We need some machinery to conduct the elections in an impartial manner. Since these two decisions need to be taken before the game of electoral politics can begin, these cannot be left to any government. That is why these basic decisions about elections are written down in the constitution of a democratic country.
Legislature, executive and judiciary are the three organs of government. Together, they perform the functions of the government, maintain law and order and look after the welfare of the people. The Constitution ensures that they work in coordination with each other and maintain a balance among themselves. In a parliamentary system, executive and the legislature are interdependent: the legislature controls the executive, and, in turn, is controlled by the executive. In this chapter we shall discuss the composition, structure and function of the executive organ of the government. This chapter will also tell you about the changes that have occurred in recent times due to political practice.
You have already studied the importance of elections and the method of election adopted in India. Legislatures are elected by the people and work on behalf of the people. In this chapter you would study how elected legislatures function and help in maintaining democratic government. You will also learn about the composition and functioning of the parliament and State legislatures in India and their importance in democratic government.
Many times, courts are seen only as arbitrators in disputes between individuals or private parties. But judiciary performs some political functions also. Judiciary is an important organ of the government. The Supreme Court of India is in fact, one of the very powerful courts in the world. Right from 1950 the judiciary has played an important role in interpreting and in protecting the Constitution. In this chapter you will study the role and importance of the judiciary. In the chapter on fundamental rights you have already read that the judiciary is very important for protecting our rights.
Look at the political maps (on next two pages) of India 1947 and 2001. They have changed dramatically over the years. Boundaries of States have changed, names of States have changed, and the number of States has changed. When India became independent, we had a number of provinces that the British government had organised only for administrative convenience. Then a number of princely states merged with the newly independent Indian union. These were joined to the existing provinces. This is what you see in the first map. Since then boundaries of States have been reorganised many times. During this entire period, not only did boundaries of State change, but in some cases, even their names changed according to the wishes of the people of those States. Thus, Mysore changed to Karnataka and Madras became Tamil Nadu. The maps show these large scale changes that have taken place in the span of over fifty years. In a way, these maps also tell us the story of functioning of federalism in India.
In a democracy, it is not sufficient to have an elected government at the centre and at the State level. It is also necessary that even at the local level, there should be an elected government to look after local affairs. In this chapter, you will study the structure of local government in our country. You will also study the importance of the local governments and ways to give them independent powers.
In this chapter, you will see how the Constitution has worked in the last fifty five years and how India has managed to be governed by the same Constitution. After studying this chapter you will find out that:
• the Indian Constitution can be amended according to the needs of the time;
• though many such amendments have already taken place, the Constitution has remained intact and its basic premises have not changed;
• the judiciary has played an important role in protecting the Constitution and also in interpreting the Constitution; and
• the Constitution is a document that keeps evolving and responding to changing situations.
In this book, so far we have studied some important provisions of our Constitution and the way in which these have worked in the last half century. We also studied the way in which the Constitution was made. But have you ever asked yourself why leaders of the national movement felt the need to adopt a constitution after achieving independence from British rule? Why did they choose to bind themselves and the future generations to a constitution? In this book, you have repeatedly visited the debates in the Constituent Assembly. But it should be asked why the study of the constitution must be accompanied by a deep examination of the debates in the Constituent Assembly? This question will be addressed in this chapter. Secondly, it is important to ask what kind of a constitution we have given ourselves. What objectives did we hope to achieve by it? Do these objectives have a moral content? If so, what precisely is it? What are the strengths and limitations of this vision and, by implication, the achievements and weaknesses of the Constitution? In doing so, we try to understand what can be called the philosophy of the Constitution.