Immediately prior to the Declaration of Indian independence on 15th August 1947, the then Assembly met with a proposal to form three committees on Fundamental Rights, Union Powers & Union Constitution. Subsequently, a Constitutional Drafting Committee came into being and Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was appointed as its Chairman. The Committee also has six other members with a separate adviser for constitutional affairs.
In November 1947, the first draft was submitted to the aforesaid Assembly. It was debated over in the Assembly for the next 2 years and more than 2,000 amendments suggested and made. It was finally in November 1949 that the Constituent Assembly formally adopted and accepted the Constitution. It was signed by 308 members, thus completing the process.
There were two copies of the final draft -- one in Hindi while the other was in English – and was written by hand using artistic calligraphy. Each page was also beautifully decorated by two very eminent painters from Shantiniketan, Acharya Nandalal Bose and B.R Sinha. The Indian Constitution was finally implemented on 26th January 1950 and bound all Indian states and Union territories. A total expense of Rs one crore was incurred in framing the Indian Constitution.
Ever since its adoption and implementation, the Indian Constitution has undergone numerous amendments and changes. Its origins are somewhat embedded in India’s long struggle for freeing itself from British rule and the dissolution of the former princely states.
From the historical point f view, in February 1946, a Cabinet Mission came to India from Britain to work out issues related to India’s freedom and drafting of the Constitution. This mission however, failed but recommended that an appropriate method of having a proper constitution-creating machinery should be by adult franchise - based election.
Subsequently a decision was made that members for the new Constituent Assembly would be elected from the provinces on the basis of 1 representative for 1 million of their population. Simultaneously, it was also decided that the Muslims and Sikhs would elect their quota of legislators from their respective populations. It was only after completion of this process that all provincial representatives as also those from the kingdoms and princely states met to settle the Union Constitution. However, the Congress pointed out that the so called Constituent Assembly would have sovereign powers which enabled it to either reject or accept certain proposals forwarded by the Cabinet Mission on specific issues.
The first Constituent Assembly, following the elections in the months of July-August 1946, comprised 208 members from the Congress and 73 members from the Mohammad Ali Jinnah-led Muslim League. On 9th December 1946, the first session of the Indian Constituent Assembly was held. This heralded the founding of the new Constitution of India and its basic framework on which the Indian government and its people would function in the years ahead. Jinnah opposed the Assembly vehemently and all Muslim League members stayed away from its deliberations.
Following India’s independence on 15th August 1947, this Constituent Assembly as a sovereign body, took full responsibility of drafting the Constitution based on the constitutions of a few selected countries as also other basic issues.
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