In 1934, an idea for a Constituent Assembly was proposed by Manabendra Nath Roy (M.N. Roy).
Note: Narendra Nath Bhattacharya known as Manabendra Nath Roy was an Indian revolutionary, radical activist, and political theorist, as well as a noted philosopher.
Note: M.N. Roy was a founder of the Mexican Communist Party and the Communist Party of India (Tashkent group).
In 1935, The Indian National Congress official demanded a Constituent Assembly – C. Rajagopalachari voiced.
The demand was finally accepted in principle by the British Government in what is known as the ‘August Offer’ of 1940.
In 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps, a Member of the Cabinet, came to India with a draft proposal of the British Government on the framing of an independent Constitution to be adopted after World War II.
The Cripps Proposals were rejected by the Muslim League, which wanted India to be divided into two autonomous states with two separate Constituent Assemblies.
Finally, a Cabinet Mission was sent to India. While it rejected the idea of two Constituent Assemblies, it put forth a scheme for the Constituent Assembly that more or less satisfied the Muslim League.
The Constituent Assembly of India setup under Cabinet Mission Plan of (may 16 1946).
The Cabinet Mission Plan was a statement made by the Cabinet Mission and the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, on May 16, 1946, that contained proposals regarding the constitutional future of India in the wake of Indian political parties and representatives not coming to an agreement.
In September 1945, the newly elected Labour government in Britain (Clement Attlee) expressed its intention of creating a Constituent Assembly for India that would frame India’s Constitution. The Mission had to deal with a major obstacle: the two main political parties – the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League.
Note: The Cabinet Mission came to India aiming to discuss the transfer of powers from the British government to the Indian leadership, with the aim of preserving India’s unity and granting its independence.
Composition of the original constituent assembly
- The total membership of the Constituent Assembly was 389
- Out of which 292 were representatives of the provinces. (elected by own Provincial representatives)
- 93 represented the princely states. (Nominated by itself)
- Four were from the chief commissioner provinces of Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg, and British Baluchistan.
- The seats were distributed among three main communities – Muslim, Sikh, and General.
- 26 November is celebrated as – Constitution Day, Samvidhan Divas, or, National Law Day.
On 9 Dec 1946 – The first meeting was held in the constitution hall (now the Central Hall of Parliament House) in New Delhi, on Monday, the 9th December 1946,
- at Eleven of the Clock.
- The 1st person to address was Acharya J. B. Kripalani,
- Sachchidananda Sinha became temporary president (oldest member).
- Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected president.
- H.C. Mukherjee was elected as Vice-president.
Note: Demanding a separate state, the Muslim League boycotted the meeting.
On 11 December 1946 – B.N. Rao was appointed the constitutional advisory of the assembly.
13 December 1946: An ‘Objective Resolution’ was presented by Jawaharlal Nehru, laying down the underlying principles of the constitution.
On 22nd January 1947, the objective resolution became the Preamble of the Constitution.
Other important Functions
- Sign India’s Membership of the commonwealth in May 1949.
- 22nd July 1947 – National Flag
- The idea of the flag was laid by Indian National Congress.
- a horizontal rectangular tricolour of India saffron, white and India green.
- Navy blue Ashoka Chakra at its centre with 24-spoke wheels. Ashok Chakra is called the wheel of duty.
- The size of the flag is in the ratio (3: 2).
- 24th January 1950 – National Anthem
- Jana Gana Mana
- It was originally composed as Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore.
- It was first publicly sung on 27 December 1911 at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress.
- 24th January 1950 – National Song
- Written in Sanskrit by – Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, (Novel – Anandamath)
- 24th January 1950 – Dr Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first president of India.
Major Committees of Constituent Assembly.
The Constituent Assembly appointed a total of 22 committees to deal with different tasks of constitution-making. Out of these, eight were major committees and the others were minor committees.
Drafting committee members (29 august 1947)
The drafting committee bore the responsibility of drafting the constitution.
Chairman – Dr BR Ambedkar
- N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar
- Muhammad Saadullah
- Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
- KM Munshi
- BL Mittar was substituted by N Madhava Rao following his resignation on health issues
- Dr DP Khaitan (died in 1948 and was substituted by TT Krishnamachari)
The Committees of substantive affairs include
|Major Committees of the Indian Constituent Assembly||Chairmen|
|Ad hoc Committee on the National flag||Rajendra Prasad|
|Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights,||Vallabhbhai Patel|
|Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly||G.V. Mavalankar|
|Committee on Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas||Vallabhbhai Patel|
|Committee on the Rules of Procedure||Rajendra Prasad|
|Special Committee to Examine the Draft Constitution||Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar|
|Provincial Constitution Committee||Vallabhbhai Patel|
|Drafting Committee||B.R. Ambedkar|
|Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee||A.V. Thakkar|
|Finance and Staff Committee||Rajendra Prasad|
|Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee||J.B. Kripalani|
|House Committee||B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya|
|Minorities Sub-Committee||H.C. Mukherjee|
|North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam, Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee||Gopinath Bardoloi|
|Order of Business Committee||K.M. Munshi|
|States Committee||Jawaharlal Nehru|
|Steering Committee||Rajendra Prasad|
|Union Constitution Committee||Jawaharlal Nehru|
|Union Powers Committee||Jawaharlal Nehru|
Timeline of Making of the Indian Constitution
|6 December 1946: Formation of the Constitution Assembly (in accordance with French practice).|
|9 December 1946: The first meeting was held in the constitution hall (now the Central Hall of Parliament House). The 1st person to address was J. B. Kripalani, Sachchidananda Sinha became temporary president. (Demanding a separate state, the Muslim League boycotted the meeting.)|
|11 December 1946: The Assembly appointed Rajendra Prasad as its president, H. C. Mukherjee as its vice-chairman, and B. N. Rau as constitutional legal adviser. (There were initially 389 members in total, which declined to 299 after partition. Out of the 389 members, 292 were from government provinces, 4 from chief commissioner provinces, and 93 from princely states.)|
|13 December 1946: An ‘Objective Resolution’ was presented by Jawaharlal Nehru, laying down the underlying principles of the constitution. This later became the Preamble of the Constitution.|
|22 January 1947: Objective resolution unanimously adopted.|
|22 July 1947: National flag adopted.|
|15 August 1947: Achieved independence. India split into the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.|
|29 August 1947: Drafting Committee appointed with B. R. Ambedkar as its Chairman. The other 6 members of the committee were Munshi, Muhammed Sadulla, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Khaitan, and Mitter.|
|16 July 1948: Along with Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, V. T. Krishnamachari was also elected as second vice-president of the Constituent Assembly.|
|26 November 1949: The Constitution of India was passed and adopted by the assembly.|
|24 January 1950: Last meeting of Constituent Assembly. The Constitution was signed and accepted. (with 395 Articles, 8 Schedules, and 22 Parts)|
|26 January 1950: The Constitution came into force. (The process took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days – at a total expenditure of ₹6.4 million to finish.)|
|G. V. Mavlankar was the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) after India turned into a republic.|