B.R. Ambedkar’s seminal contribution to Indian constitution-making as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee is widely celebrated and acknowledged. Less known was his initial critique of an Indian Constituent Assembly in the mid-1940s. On 6 May 1945, Ambedkar addressed a gathering of the All-Indian Scheduled Castes Federation. Instead of speaking about the sectional interests of the Scheduled Castes, he chose to speak on a ‘topic which is general and has wider appeal, namely, the shape and form of the future Constitution of India’.
4th November 1948 was a critical date in India’s constitution-making process: B.R. Ambedkar, Drafting Committee Chairman, formally introduced the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly. This ‘formidable’ (as Ambedkar referred to it) document, containing 315 Articles and 8 Schedules, was the culmination of the Assembly’s work, particularly its committees, that began on 9th December 1946. From this point onwards, all of the Assembly’s debates – 114 out of 165 sittings – centred around this Draft. These debates mark the most intense phase of Indian constitution-making.
Unlike the American constitutional founding – spearheaded by men, the Indian Constituent Assembly, that drafted the Indian Constitution, comprised women. Until recently, public memory had discarded the contribution or even the presence of these women. But what about the period before the formal constitution-making process?
As of 2020, constitutional democracy in India has taken a less recounted journey, one towards a more imperial Centre and less autonomous states. Democratically elected state governments have been dismissed, States have been demoted to Union Territories, independent constitutional bodies have been subjugated and now the most existential test of all that faces the peoples of India is one of citizenship!
The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) in collaboration with the Praja Foundation organised…
Amisha Pareek, Board Member of National Constitution Society, reports on CLPR’s workshop on Constitutional History and Freedom of Speech.
On 12th December 2018, the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) in collaboration with the Praja Foundation, conducted a 2-hour workshop on Indian Constitutional History at the Aatma Ram Sanathan Dharm College in New Delhi.
Student Delegates for the National Constitution Society (NCS) Convention 2018 will be engaging in a series of online discussions prior to the Convention on 23rd November. Prompt 1 on Illaiah Shepherd’s ‘Where are the Shudras?’
East Regional Round of ConQuest 2017 in partnership with NUJS: India’s only national level quiz on Indian Constitution, Politics and history.
Centre for Law and Policy Research’s (CLPR) CADIndia website has undergone significant changes and improvements over the past year.
Participants of the National Finals included the winners and runners-up of the four Regional Rounds that were held across the country. Over 200 hundred teams, from varied disciplines – political science, history, engineering, law, Buddhist studies etc. – participated in the Regional Rounds.
Around 50 student teams participated in the Preliminary Rounds from colleges in Orissa, Kolkata, Assam, and other states. Teams from leading law schools NUJS, KIIT Law School, and NLU, Odisha competed with teams from other prominent non-law Universities like College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneshwar.
The Preliminary Round saw intense competition. The Preliminary Round needed a sudden death elimination to decide the 6 teams which would qualify to the Final Round. In the end, two teams from Symbiosis Law College, and one team each from V.M. Salgaocar College of Law, SVKM Pravin Gandhi College of Law, ILS and New Law College Pune qualified for the Finals.
Over 50 student teams participated in the Preliminary Rounds from colleges in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. Teams from leading law schools SCLU, NLSIU, TNNLS, and NUALS competed with teams from other prominent Universities like IIT-M, St Josephs College, RVCE, APU and BITS-Hyderabad.
The launch event consisted of a discussion around ‘Constituent Assembly Debates in Contemporary Times’. Vineeth Krishna, Research Consultant/Associate Editor, at the Centre for Law and Policy Research, has written a detailed report on the discussion.
The Indian constitution used devices of liberal constitutional thought but rejected the liberal idea that constitutions had to perform the sole function of limiting state power. The Indian constitution had to empower the state to enter into the realm of Indian society and transform it by eradicating deeply embedded economic, political and social hierarchies. Whether the project of social transformation has succeeded or failed is another question. But the fact that the framers of the Indian Constitution attempted to use it as a means of revolutionizing Indian society – which no country at that time had done – is something to be proud of.
By Aparna Ravi and Apurba Kundu When it comes to tobacco control in India,…
Those following the recent controversies on the Ambedkar cartoon on constitution making in India should take notice…