The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It is a living document, the permanent instrument which makes the government system work. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is regarded as the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, but it was the Constituent Assembly that worked under Dr Ambedkar and his team that drafted the final copy of the Indian Constitution.
The constitution of India imparts constitutional supremacy and not parliamentary supremacy as it is not created by the Parliament but created by a constituent assembly and adopted by its people with a declaration in the preamble to the constitution. Parliament cannot override the constitution.
The Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950. The date of 26 January was chosen to commemorate the Purna Swaraj declaration of independence of 1930. With its adoption, the Union of India officially became the modern and contemporary Republic of India and it replaced the Government of India Act 1935 as the country's fundamental governing document.
Features of Indian Constitution
1. The first feature of Indian constitution is the most voluminous constitution ever created by men. In its original shape the constitution had 395 articles and several schedules.
2. Second main feature of the Indian constitution is that it is a federal constitution - All the characteristics of a federation viz. two sets of government—national government and a number of governments of the component units, division of powers between the national government and the governments of the units and a federal judiciary to act as the guardian of the constitution and to settle disputes between the centre and the units—are all present in the Indian constitution.
3. Third feature of the Indian constitution it that it provides for parliamentary form of government both at the centre and in the states.
4. Fourth feature of Indian Constitution is that though India has a written constitution which is a federal necessity, India’s constitution is far less rigid than a normal federal constitution. Truly, it is more flexible than rigid. Because of this flexibility, it has been possible to amend the constitution 99 times in less than sixty-five years.
5. Fifth important feature of Indian Constitution is that the constitution like any modern written constitution has a preamble before it. The preamble is very lucid exposition of the philosophy of the constitution. The original preamble declared India to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic. The 42nd amendment makes India “a Sovereign, Secular Socialist Democratic Republic”.
6. Sixth important feature of Indian Constitution is that the constitution guarantees fundamental rights of the citizens. Rights to equality, freedom, religion and constitutional remedies are the enumerated fundamental rights of Indian citizens.
7. Indian constitution does not sanction double citizenship as in federations like the U.S.A. There is only one uniform Indian citizenship
8. Our constitution also provides a number of Directive Principles. Such principles do not constitute any constitutional obligation for the government to fulfil; rather they are guide-lines to the government.