Constitution: salient features, its source & why do we need a constitution

Constitution: salient features, its source & why do we need a constitutionConstitution: salient features, its source & why do we need a constitution.


A document that sets out a framework having a legal sanctity and the principles functions are declared for the state and different organs of the government and also states the principles for governing the country is known as Constitution. A Constitution acts as a memorandum for the whole country and no laws can be made violating the provisions of the Constitution.

When was the Constitution adopted?

The Constitution of India was adopted on 26th November 1949 and on 26th January 1950, it came into force and that day is celebrated as Republic Day.

Who made Constitution of India?

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, under whose chairman a Drafting Committee was set up by the Constituent Assembly on 29th August 1947, drafted the Constitution of India.

Who is the first citizen of India?

President is the first citizen of India.

Nature and Scope:

There have always been different opinions between jurists regarding the nature of the Indian Constitution whether it is federal in nature or unitary in nature. It can be said that the Indian Constitution does not possess either of the qualities completely but is a combination of both federal and unitary features. Hence it can be called a quasi-federal constitution.

The central government is vested with the powers and the states are subordinate to the center in a unitary form of government. Whereas, in the federal form of government the powers are distributed between both the governments of center and state and both are independent in their areas.

On the conclusion note, the Indian Constitution can be said a harmonious mixture of both federal and unitary features as it does not vest complete control of powers in one government but has distributed the powers among the central and state government. But it has also added a safety measure in the Constitution where it may act as a unitary form of government, if in future the country faces any crises the provision of converting into a unitary mode for temporary basis until the problem has been overcome has been made in Indian Constitution.

Salient features of Constitution:

  1. Lengthiest and written Constitution: (salient features of constitution)

    It is known as the lengthiest and detailed Constitution as it is in written form. The reason behind this is it lays down the structure of both central and state government, also a long list of Fundamental Rights and Directive principles.

  2. Parliamentary form of Government:(salient features of constitution)

    The Constitution of India provides that India has a Parliamentary form of Government where the administration powers rest with the council of ministers and the President is a formal ruler.

  3. Both rigid and flexible:(salient features of constitution)

    The Indian Constitution is a combination of both rigid and flexible form which means by simple majority the Parliament can amend some part of the Constitution whereas for some part 2/3rd majority, as well as not less than ½ of the state legislatures, are needed to amend the Constitution.

  4. A federal system with unitary bias: (salient features of constitution)

    The Constitution of India has features of the federal and unitary constitutions. The Constitution has laid provisions where during an emergency the powers are automatically transferred to the central government until the crises are resolved. Hence it is not entirely federal nor unitary in nature.

  5. Fundamental rights and duties: (salient features of constitution)

    The citizens of India are provided with fundamental rights which cannot be taken away with some restrictions which they can enjoy and along with the rights the citizens are also provided with duties which they are to perform towards the country.

  6. Directive principles of state policy: (salient features of constitution)

    The Constitution provides certain directive principles for the government which they have to keep in mind while formulating policies for the citizens.

  7. Independent judiciary: (salient features of constitution)

    The independence of the judiciary is provided as is necessary to protect the Constitution and to make sure that no laws are formed beyond the provisions of the Constitution. It acts as a guardian of the citizens who make sure that they are not deprived of the rights provided to them.

  8. Single citizenship: (salient features of constitution)

    The people of India are given single citizenship which means citizenship of the country only and not the state.


Sources of the constitution:

Dr. Ambedkar said, “Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of the Constitution.” Thus, the Constitution of India is framed with the provisions sourced from the different legal systems of the world. They are as follows:

  1. The Government of India Act, 1935:

    The provisions of emergency, public service commission, judiciary, federal scheme, and office of the governor have been adopted from this act while framing the Constitution.

  2. British Constitution:

    The provisions of writs, parliamentary form of government, single citizenship, and parliamentary privileges are adopted from the British constitution.

  3. US Constitution:

    The Indian Constitution has adopted some essential provisions from the US Constitution such as provisions relating to fundamental rights, judicial review, the impeachment of the President, and removal of Supreme Court and high court.

  4. Irish Constitution:

    The ideas of Directive principles of state policy, mode to elect the president, member’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha by the President from this Constitution are borrowed and implemented from the Irish Constitution.

  5. Canadian Constitution:

    federalism with the strong central government, advisory jurisdiction of Supreme Court, center appoints the governors of the states and residuary powers vest with the center.

  6. Australia:

    Concurrent list, freedom of trade and commerce, a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament are adopted/ borrowed by the Indian Constitution which was suitable to the Indian environment.

  7. Germany:

    The Indian Constitution has adopted the idea of suspension of fundamental rights during an emergency from the German Constitution.

  8. Soviet Union (USSR):

    The Indian Constitution has borrowed the idea of fundamental duties, the ideas of social, economic, and political justice from the USSR.

  9. France:

    the ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity, and republic.

  10. South Africa:

    The amendment of the Constitution, the election of members of the Rajya Sabha are the provisions that are implemented by the Indian Constitution after adopting the idea from South Africa’s Constitution.

  11. Japan:

    the procedure established by law.

Indian Constitution borrowed/ adopted constitution?

 Indian constitution is not just borrowed Constitution it was formed by referring the constitutions of other countries and took provisions from the different constitution which were suitable to the Indian environment and made modifications accordingly. So, the Indian constitution is borrowed but modified Constitution as per the circumstances of Indian society.

Why do we need Constitution and what is its importance?

The Constitution is needed and is important as it helps to maintain harmony in a society where people of different religions live. It lays down provisions regarding the elections of the government and their duties and responsibilities.

Qualities of a good Constitution:

The Constitution can be said well if it possesses the following points:

  • The language used in Constitution should be simple, clear, and unambiguous in nature as it should be understood by any common man.
  • It must be written systematically to avoid any confusion and easy to refer to.
  • The Constitution should be such that it can be changed as per the changing environment and can be developed as per the needs of the people.
  • It must provide provisions relating to the freedom of the citizens and should also provide fundamental rights which are guaranteed to the people that they can practice.
  • The Constitution should not be completely rigid or flexible in nature.
  • The Constitutions should be crystal clear regarding the powers and functions of the organization, government, and interrelation between the organs.
  • The sovereignty of the people should be reflected in the Constitution.



  1. Sources of the Indian Constitution. | Extramarks
  2. why do we need a constitution – Civics – | 9gd76dpp
  3. Book -Dr. J.N. Pandey (constitutional law of India)

Article by- Adv. Prathi Shetty.

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