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Explained: Why is November 26 celebrated as Constitution Day of India?

On November 19, 2015, Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment notified the decision of Narendra Modi -led Union government to observe November 26 as Constitution Day every year to promote constitutional values among citizens.

November 26, 2021 / 11:56 AM IST

Since 2015, the Constitution Day or the Samvidhan Diwas is being celebrated every year on November 26. The day, also called the National Law Day, marks the formal adoption of the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949.

The Constitution of India, however, came to force on January 26, 1950 - celebrated as the Republic Day.

The Constitution Day 

On November 19, 2015, Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment notified the decision of Narendra Modi -led Union government to observe November 26 as Constitution Day every year to promote constitutional values among citizens.

The year 2015 marked the 125th anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution.  Prior to that, the day was observed as National Law Day as a tribute to Ambedkar, the first law minister of the country.

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History: The Constituent Assembly

The first session of the Constituent Assembly, the panel set up to draft the Constitution of India, held on December 9, 1946 in Constitution Hall, now Central Hall of the Parliament, was attended by 207 members, including nine women.

READ: Constitution Day Today | Congress, TMC join in Opposition unity to boycott Parliament event

Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, was elected as the President of the Assembly. The panel met for two years, 11 months and 18 days to draft the Constitution.

The Constituent Assembly took almost three years (two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise) to draft the Constitution for Independent India. During this period, it held eleven sessions spanned over 165 days, according to the Lok Sabha website. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the content of the Draft Constitution.

Initially, the Assembly had 389 members, but after partition, a separate Constituent Assembly was set up for Pakistan and the membership reduced to 299.

The “Objectives Resolution” passed by Jawaharlal Nehru on December 13, 1946 was unanimously adopted as Preamble on January 22, 1947. On the evening of August 14, 1947, the Assembly met in the Constitution Hall again and took over as the Legislative Assembly of an Independent India.

On August, 29, 1947, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee, one of its 17 committees, under the chairmanship of BR Ambedkar to prepare a Draft Constitution for India. Of the 7,635 amendments tabled, the committee disposed of as many as 2,473 of them.

Eventually, the Constitution of India was adopted on November 26, 1949, the last day of the Assembly’s last session. It came to effect next year on January, 24 1950 after all 283 members signed it. On that day, the Constituent Assembly ceased to exist, transforming into the Provisional Parliament of India until a new Parliament was constituted in 1952.

Constitution of India

The Constitution of India is one of the longest hand-written documents in the world with 1,17,369 words in the English version.

Also, read: READ: Constitution Day: PM Narendra Modi to participate in programmes in Parliament, Vigyan Bhawan on Nov 26

The Constitution of India is a set of written principles and precedents of the Union of India that comprises fundamental political principles, procedures, rights, directive principles, restrictions, and duties of the government and the citizens.

Some features of the Indian Constitution have been borrowed from ten countries, including Britain, Ireland, Japan, USA, South Africa, Germany, Australia, and Canada.

The Preamble of the Constitution declares India to be a sovereign, secular, socialist, and democratic republic and assures its citizens' equality, liberty, and justice.

The word “socialist” was added to the Preamble of the Constitution during emergency, by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976.The Preamble has been amended only once so far.
Gulam Jeelani is a journalist with over 12 years of reporting experience. Based in New Delhi, he covers politics and governance for Moneycontrol.
first published: Nov 26, 2020 11:46 am
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