The constituent assembly of India was formed based on recommendations of the Cabinet Mission to draft the constitution of India. It was founded on 6th Dec 1946, worked for about 3 years, and eventually dissolved on 24 Jan 1950. The British gave their formal acceptance for the forming of the Constituent Assembly of India on 8 Aug 1940. The members of the Constituent Assembly of India were elected by a system called a single transferable vote of proportional representation from all provincial assemblies. Initially, there were 389 elected members of the constituent assembly out of which 292 were representatives of states, 93 were from princely states, and four were from provinces of Delhi, Coorg, Ajmer, and Baluchistan (one each).
Key Facts about the Constituent Assembly of India
- The Constitution of India was framed by the Constituent Assembly which consisted of 389 members, out of which 292 were from Provinces, 93 from Princely states, 3 from Chief Commissioner Provinces, and 1 from Baluchistan.
- The constituent assembly held its first meeting on Dec 9, 1946, and elected Dr. Sachhidanand Sinha, the oldest member of the assembly as the provisional President.
- On Dec 11, 1946, the assembly elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as its Chairman and Dr. H.C. Mukherjee as vice president. B.N. Rau was appointed as a constitutional adviser.
- The strength of the assembly was reduced to 299 (229 representing Provinces and 70 representing the Princely States) following the withdrawal of Muslim League Members after the participation of the country.
- There were 9 female members of the constituent assembly. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Hansa Mehta, Durgabai Deshmukh, Dakshayani Velayudhan and G. Durgabai were the prominent one.
- Jawaharlal Nehru presented an objective resolution on 13 Dec 1946 in the assembly. This resolution served as the guideline for framing the constitution. Later this resolution was accepted as the preamble to the Indian Constitution.
- B.N. Rau made the first initial draft constitution based on his research of different countries’ constitutions.
- The Constituent Assembly set up 13 committees for framing the constitution. On the basis of reports of these committees, a detailed draft of the constitution was prepared by a seven-member Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B R Ambedkar.
- The constituent assembly prepared the first draft constitution on 26 Nov 1949.
- The draft constitution was published in Jan 1948 and people were given 8 months to discuss the draft and propose amendments.
- After discussions and suggestions received the same was finally adopted on Nov 26, 1949. Though the major part of the constitution came into effect on Jan 26, 1950, Provisions related to Election, Citizenship, Provisional Parliament, etc came into effect on Nov 26, 1949.
- The constituent assembly finalized the constitution and made it to effect on 26 Jan 1950. This day is better remembered as the Republic day of India. The constituent assembly itself became the provisional parliament of India and continued working till the first general elections were held in the year 1952.
Important Members of Constituent Assembly of India
- B. N. Rau – Diplomat and constitutional advisor, had a key role in the drafting committee.
- Jawaharlal Nehru – was later elected as Prime Minister of India.
- Vallabh Bhai Patel – later served as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister in the first cabinet.
- B. R. Ambedkar – chairman of the drafting committee, later worked as first law minister
- Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad – later served as the first cabinet minister for education
- Rajendra Prasad – served as the first President of India
- C Rajagopalachari – served as first and last Governor-General of free India.
- Sarat Chandra Bose – Barrister and freedom fighter, elder brother of Subhash Chandra Bose
- Krishna Sinha – later worked as the first Chief Minister of Bihar
- Anugrah Narayan Sinha – known as Bihar Vibhuti, served as deputy CM and finance minister of Bihar
- N Gopalaswami Ayyangar – instrumental in creating and implementing Article 370
- Rafi Ahmad Kidwai – socialist and activist, later served as the first cabinet minister of communication
- Shyam Nandan Prasad Mishra – freedom fighter turned politician, served as minister for planning
- Asaf Ali – a freedom fighter, later served as the first ambassador to the US from India.
- Syama Prasad Mookerjee – served as minister for Industries in the first Nehru cabinet. Left Congress due to differences with Nehru and established Bhartiya Jan Sangha in 1951.
- Moturi Satyanarayana – a member of the drafting committee, instrumental in making Hindi as the official language
- Amrit Kaur – freedom fighter and social activist, the first cabinet health minister, first woman minister of India.
- Hansa Mehta – writer and social activist, became Vice-Chairman Human Rights commission in the UN in 1950
- Kailashnath Katju – the famous lawyer, freedom fighter, worked as CM of MP, union minister at various posts
- John Mathai – the economist, served as the first railway minister, later as finance minister
- S. Radhakrishnan – philosopher and thinker, first vice president of India
Some other important members of the Constituent Assembly were – Binodanand Jha, N G Ranga, Deep Narayan Singh, Gopinath Bordoloi, Sir Syed Muhammad Saadulla, T T Krishnamachari, Rameshwar Prasad Sinha, KM Munshi, C Subramaniam, Durgabai Deshmukh, Krishna Ballabh Sahay, Frank Anthony, Pratap Singh Kairon, P Subbarayan
Important members of the Constituent Assembly from the Muslim League
Note these members later withdrew their candidature after the separation of Pakistan
- Md Ali Jinnah, Abdul Hamid, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Md. Akram Khan, Ebrahim Khan, Fazlur Rahman, Beghum Sahaista, Liaqat ali Khan, Khwaja Nazimuddin, Ghulam Mohammad, Mian Mumtaz Mohammad, Zafarullah Khan, Iftikhar Hussain Khan, Feroz Khan Noon, Beghum Jahan Ara, Abdus Sattar, S.B Nawab Mohammad Khan Jogezai.
- The only member representing Baluchistan was S.B Nawab Mohammad Khan Jogezai.
Important Committees of Constituent Assembly
There was a total of 23 different small and big committees for creating the constitution. The eight most important committees are enlisted as follows-