The Constituent Assembly Debates (CADs) are a record of the debates and proceedings in the Constituent Assembly of India which sat for 165 days from December 9, 1946 to January 24, 1950. These debates which are organised in 12 volumes are an essential guide to the process of drafting and creating the Constitution of India, 1950.
While the CADs are available in print and on the web, both expert and lay users find these existing sources complex and difficult to access and comprehend.
CONSTITUTIONOFINDIA.NET is a website designed to make these debates instantly accessible in a user-friendly manner in three ways:
- Curated and edited content to enhance readability.
- Editorial tagging of content to enable swift access to key debates
- Powerful Search Engine that can precisely locate debates based on user queries.
Phase I began in July 2015 and ended in January, 2016. In this phase we have:
- Curated, coded and tagged the CADs on Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
- Designed the website and user interface
- Put together essential background information on India’s constitution-making period.
- The website was launched on Republic Day, Jan 26, 2016.
Phase II began in January 2016 and shall end in December 2016. In this phase aim to
- To expand coverage to approximately 80% of the CAD that includes themes such as federalism, judiciary, citizenship, democratic institutions etc.
- To add to the database 10 Historical constitutions that capture the constitutional imagination of important individuals and institutions that preceded the formal drafting of the Indian Constitution.
- To revamp the design and improve functionality of the website. The new version of the website shall go live in the last week of November 2016.
- Human-tagged CAD materials which lie at the core the CADIndia website allow for users to search to navigate the CAD by taking advantage of filters: keyword, article number, speaker name, speaker referred to and country referred to.
- Search results are presented in a systematic format that allows for sorting of the results in two ways: by chronology and most relevant paragraph.
- The CAD materials on the website are also paragraph numbered which allow for easy and accurate citation of relevant paragraphs.
- The website adopts a minimalist design aesthetic which is ideal for text heavy portals. Emphasis is put on achieving a high standard of usability and functionality.
The Constitute Project has been an influence in thinking about design and functionality of the CADIndia website during the initial conceptualisation stages. Constitute allows for users to search across constitutions on topics chosen by the user. This seems to have been achieved by human-tagging of different sections of various constitutions. A similar but customized approach has been adopted for the CADIndia website.
In 2017, the CADIndia website will cover 100% of the CADs and its design and functionality will be tweaked and improved upon further.