Historical Background of Indian Constitution

Historical Background of Indian Constitution or Constitution Background

The Britishers came to India as traders in 1600 in the form of the East India Company, which had the right of trading in India under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I (who was herself a shareholder of the Company).

The Charter was initially granted for a period of 15 years and later 20 years and could be terminated earlier on two-year’s notice. The East India Company set up factories or trading centers at several places after obtaining land and other concessions from local rulers in India. Until the second half of the 18th century, the East India Company continued to be primarily a trading business.

In 1757, the battle of Plassey and the battle of Buxar in 1764, the decisive victory of the British East India Company established the British rule in India. After the battle of Buxar, Shah Alam had to issue a Farman granting the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa to the East India Company. This event was the beginning of the territorial sovereignty of the Company. There are many Regulating Acts and Charter Acts between 1773 and 1853 which were enforced by the British East India Company, These Acts are discussed in the next chapter in detail.

In 1857, a mutiny rose against the British East India Company. After the mutiny, in 1858 the constitutional system underwent great changes as the company was obliged to transfer its power to the British Crown, which assumed direct responsibility for the governance of India. The British Crown which assumed direct control over the administration in India under the Government of India Act 1858. This rule continued until India was granted independence on August 15, 1947. Between 1858 and 1947, there are so many Government of India Acts enforced by the British parliament. These Government of India Acts are discussed in the next chapter in detail.

In 1935, the Indian National Congress made a demand that the people of India should have the right to frame their own constitution without outside interference. Earlier, M. N. Roy (a pioneer of the communist movement in India) had demanded a constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise. The demand of the constituent Assembly of India was not accepted by the British Government until the Second World War.

In 1940, for the first time the British Government accepted the Indian people’s demand. Finally, under the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 which suggested the setting up of a Constituent Assembly to draw the constitution of the country. Until the constitution was ready, a provisional Government was established at the center. This provisional Government was ruled by the main political parties.

In the meantime, in July 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act,1947, which provided for the transfer of power from the British Government to the Indian hands, on 15 August 1947. The Indian Independence Act divides Bharat into two countries-one is India and the other is Pakistan.

After the transfer of power to Indian hands in 1947, the first constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 and became effective on 26 January 1950. The constitution replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document, and the Dominion of India became the Republic of India. India   celebrates its constitution on 26 January as Republic Day.



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