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Constitutional Background

The constitution was passed by the Constituent Assembly on 26 Nov 1949 and is fully applicable since 26 Jan 1950. Thanks to the help of Prof. K.B. Agrawal, the ICL-Edition of the Constitution now incorporates all amendments until and including the 78th amendment (1995) [30 Aug 1995]; there are no newer amendments until Dec 1996.  Amendments after Dec 1996 have not yet been included.

India is a federal democratic republic of 25 states and seven Union Territories. Each state is administered by a Governor appointed by the President while each Union Territory is administered by the President through a Minister. The bicameral parliament is composed of the Council of States, Rajya Sabha, and the House of the People, Lok Sabha. The Council of States will consist of 250 members out of which the President of India will nominate 12 persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of literature, art, science and social service. The remaining 238 seats are to be filled in by the persons to be elected by the legislative assemblies of their respective states in staggered re-elections of one-third every second year. The House of People is composed of 550 members, i.e., 530 members from the States and 20 members from the Union Territories.

The states of Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharshtra, and Uttar Pradesh have bicameral legislatures while the other 20 states have unicameral legislatures. Upper houses (Legislative Councils) are re-elected to one-third of their members every two years. Legislative Assemblies are chosen by direct election.

There are some extraordinary features of the Indian system of government. For example, the Constitution encourages the states to introduce the prohibition. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, and Haryana have already banned the production, possession, and consumption of alcohol.

History and News

  • May 1996: General elections make BJP the biggest party. 
  • 1991: Elections make Hindu nationalists and their BJP the second biggest force in India's parliament. 
  • 1984: During elections, Rajiv Gandhi wins an unprecedented four-fifth of the votes. 
  • 1971: After civil war, East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh. 
  • 1947: Independence from Britain; Pakistan separates from India.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.