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CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

An Assembly was formed to develop a Constitution for Independent India in 1946. This assembly is famous as the Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly met for the first time in New Delhi on 9 December, 1946 in the Constitution Hall which is now known as the Central Hall of Parliament House.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Acharya J.B. Kripalani, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Smt. Sarojini Naidu, Shri Hare-Krushna Mahatab, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Shri Sarat Chandra Bose, Shri C. Rajagopalachari and Shri M. Asaf Ali sat in the front row. Two hundred and seven representatives, including nine women were present in the session. 

The inaugural session began at 11 a.m. with the introduction of Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha, the temporary Chairman of the Assembly, by Acharya Kripalani.  The First Day's proceedings ended after all the 207 members present submitted their credentials and signed the Register.  Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the President of the Constituent Assembly and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar became the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.

The Constituent Assembly took two years, eleven months and seventeen days to complete the Constitution for Independent India. During this period, the Assembly held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution. 

The members of the Constituent Assembly were chosen by indirect election by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies, according to the scheme recommended by the Cabinet Mission. The arrangement was:

  1. 292 members were elected through the Provincial Legislative Assemblies;
  2. 93 members represented the Indian Princely States; and
  3. 4 members represented the Chief Commissioners' Provinces.

The total membership of the Assembly thus was to be 389 but  as a result of the partition under the Mountbatten Plan of 3 June, 1947, a separate Constituent Assembly was set up for Pakistan and as  a result, the membership of the Assembly was reduced to 299.Late in the evening of 14 August, 1947 the Assembly met in the Constitution Hall and at the stroke of midnight, took over as the Legislative Assembly of an Independent India.  On 29 August, 1947, the Constituent Assembly set up a Drafting Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to prepare a Draft Constitution for India. While deliberating upon the draft Constitution, the Assembly moved, discussed and disposed of as many as 2,473 amendments out of a total of 7,635 tabled. The Constitution of India was adopted on 26 November, 1949 and the hon'ble members appended their signatures to it on 24 January, 1950. In all, 284 members actually signed the Constitution. The Constitution of India came into force on 2 6 January, 1950 to commemorate the historic day of 26th Jan., 1930. On that day, the Assembly ceased to exist, transforming itself into the Provisional Parliament of India until a new Parliament was constituted in 1952. 

IMPORTANT COMMITTEES OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY AND THEIR CHAIRMEN

Name of the Committee            

Chairman 

Committee on the Rules of Procedure

Rajendra Prasad

Steering Committee                         

Rajendra Prasad

inance and Staff Committee            

Rajendra Prasad

Credential Committee                      

Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar

House Committee                      

B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya

Order of Business Committee           

K.M. Munsi

Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag

Rajendra Prasad

Committee on the Functions of the Constituent Assembly

G.V. Mavalankar

States Committee                            

Jawaharlal Nehru

Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas

Vallabhbhai Patel

Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee

J.B. Kripalani

North-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded & Partially Excluded Areas Sub-Committee

Gopinath Bardoloi

Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than those in Assam) Sub-Committee

A.V. Thakkar

Union Powers Committee

Jawaharlal Nehru

Union Constitution Committee

Jawaharlal Nehru

Drafting Committee                          

B.R. Ambedkar





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