Study Material and Notes of Ch 1 The Indian Constitution Class 8th Civics

Topics in the Chapter

• Need of Constitution in a country
• Key Features of Indian Constitution
→ Introduction
→ Various Key Features of Indian Constitution
• Fundamental Rights

Why Does a Country Need a Constitution?

• A Constitution helps serve as a set of rules and principles that all persons in a country can agree upon as the basis of the way in which they want the country to be governed.

• The constitution also defines the nature of a country’s political system. For example, Nepal’s earlier Constitution stated that the country was to be ruled by the King and his council of ministers.

• The Constitution often lays down rules that guard against this misuse of power by our political leaders. For examples: In the Indian Constitution, many laws contained in the section on Fundamental Rights.

• In a democracy, the Constitution also ensures that a dominant group does not use its power against other, less powerful people or groups.

• The Constitution helps to protect us against certain decisions that we might take that could have an
adverse effect on the larger principles that the country believes in. For example, it is possible that many people who live in a democracy might come to strongly feel that party politics has become so harsh that we need a strong dictator to set this right however, in the long run, dictatorial rule will be not fit.

Key Features of Indian Constitution


• The long experience of oppressive rule under the colonial state convinced Indians that free India should be a democracy in which everyone should be treated equally and be allowed to participate in government.

• The Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946 which comprised of 300 members who met periodically for the next three years to write India’s Constitution.
→ Various things are kept in mind while drawing up Constitution as the country was made up of several different communities who spoke different languages, belonged to different religions, and had distinct cultures.

Various Key features of India Constitution

1. Federalism: It means existence of more than one level of government in the country. In India, there are three level of government - centre, state and Panchayati Raj. The Constitution defines the power of each government.

2. Parliamentary Form of Government: Constitution of India guarantees universal adult suffrage
for all citizens means that the people of India have a direct role in electing their representatives. Also,
every citizen of the country, irrespective of his/her social background, can also contest in elections.

3. Separation of Powers: According to the Constitution, there are three organs of the State - the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
→ The legislature refers to our elected representatives. 
→ The executive are group of people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government. 
→ The judiciary refers to the system of courts in this country.
• Each organ check other acts as a check on the other organs of the State which ensures the balance of
power between all three.

4. Fundamental Rights: These rights protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the State. These rights are given to individuals against the State as well as against other individuals.
→ The Constitution also guarantees the rights of minorities against the majority.

5. Secularism: A secular state is one in which the state does not officially promote any one religion as the state religion. India, officially do not have any religion.Directive Principles of State Policy

Directive Principles of State Policy: This section ensure greater social and economic reform. It serve as a guide to the independent Indian State to institute laws and policies that help reduce the poverty of the masses.

The Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution include:

• Right to Equality: All persons are equal before the law. This means that all persons shall be equally protected by the laws of the country.
→ It also states that no citizen can be discriminated against on the basis of their religion, caste or sex.

• Right to Freedom: This includes the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to form
associations, the right to move freely and reside in any part of the country, and the right to practise any profession, occupation or business.

• Right against Exploitation: The Constitution prohibits trafficking, forced labour, and children working under 14 years of age.

• Right to Freedom of Religion: Every person has the right to practise, profess and propagate the religion of their choice.

• Cultural and Educational Rights: The Constitution states that all minorities, religious or linguistic, can set up their own educational institutions in order to preserve and develop their own culture.

• Right to Constitutional Remedies: This allows citizens to move the court if they believe that any of their Fundamental Rights have been violated by the State.

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