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The Constitution of India

A Contextual Analysis

By: Arun K Thiruvengadam
Media of The Constitution of India
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Published: 28-12-2017
Format: PDF eBook (?)
Edition: 1st
Extent: 288
ISBN: 9781849468701
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Constitutional Systems of the World
RRP: £19.79
Online price : £15.83
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About The Constitution of India

This book provides an overview of the content and functioning of the Indian Constitution, with an emphasis on the broader socio-political context. It focuses on the overarching principles and the main institutions of constitutional governance that the world's longest written constitution inaugurated in 1950. The nine chapters of the book deal with specific aspects of the Indian constitutional tradition as it has evolved across seven decades of India's existence as an independent nation. Beginning with the pre-history of the Constitution and its making, the book moves onto an examination of the structural features and actual operation of the Constitution's principal governance institutions. These include the executive and the parliament, the institutions of federalism and local government, and the judiciary. An unusual feature of Indian constitutionalism that is highlighted here is the role played by technocratic institutions such as the Election Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor General, and a set of new regulatory institutions, most of which were created during the 1990s. A considerable portion of the book evaluates issues relating to constitutional rights, directive principles and the constitutional regulation of multiple forms of identity in India. The important issue of constitutional change in India is approached from an atypical perspective.

The book employs a narrative form to describe the twists, turns and challenges confronted across nearly seven decades of the working of the constitutional order. It departs from conventional Indian constitutional scholarship in placing less emphasis on constitutional doctrine (as evolved in judicial decisions delivered by the High Courts and the Supreme Court). Instead, the book turns the spotlight on the political bargains and extra-legal developments that have influenced constitutional evolution.

Written in accessible prose that avoids undue legal jargon, the book aims at a general audience that is interested in understanding the complex yet fascinating challenges posed by constitutionalism in India. Its unconventional approach to some classic issues will stimulate the more seasoned student of constitutional law and politics.

Table Of Contents

I. The Constitution of India and Its Special Significance
II. Approach and Orientation of the Book
III. Brief Outline of Chapters
I. Introduction
II. The Mughals and the East India Company (1550–1857)
III. The British Raj and Colonial Forms of Constitutional Government (1858–1947)-A Bird's Eye View
IV. The Nationalist Movement and the Build-up of Attempts at Constitution Making (1895–1947)-A Worm's Eye View
V. Crafting a Constitution for Independent India: The Work of the Constituent Assembly
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. Brief Overview of Relevant Constitutional Provisions
III. Pre-history, Colonial Experiences and Debates within the Constituent Assembly
IV. Brief Overview of Evolution of the Indian Political Landscape through the Prism of Electoral Results
and Party Politics
V. The Changing Role of Parliament in Indian Constitutional Democracy
VI. Significant Judicial Pronouncements on Constitutional Provisions Relating to the Executive and Parliament
VII. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. The Colonial Period and Its Influence on Later Constitutional Developments Relating to Federalism
and Local Government
III. Understanding the Centralising Bias within the Constituent Assembly
IV. The Structure and Content of Provisions in the Indian Constitution on Federalism and their Evolution
Over Time
V. The Structure and Content of Provisions in the Indian Constitution on Local Government and their
Evolution Over Time
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. Relevant Constitutional Provisions: Textual Categorisation and Analysis
III. The Constitutional History of Provisions Relating to Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and the
IV. The Supreme Court and Its Role as Guardian of the Rights Provisions (1950–2016)
V. The Crisis of Backlog and Delay in the Indian Judiciary
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. Reflecting on the Motivations of the Framers for Entrenching Technocratic Constitutional Institutions
III. The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General
IV. The Election Commission of India
V. The Introduction of New Regulatory Institutions in the Aftermath of the Constitutional Moment of 1991
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. Relevant Constitutional Provisions
III. Relevant Constitution-making History
IV. Post-independence Evolution of the Law on the Markers of Indian Identity
V. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. Relevant Constitutional Provisions and Constitutional History
III. Constitutional Practice in Relation to the Amending Power in India: An Overview and Analysis of Trends
IV. Constitutional Interpretation as a Source of Constitutional Change
V. Constitutional Change through Constitutional Moments
VI. Conclusion
Further Reading
I. Introduction
II. A Brief Overview of Prime Minister Modi's Tenure (2014–17) through a Constitutional Lens
III. Assessing India's Constitutional Trajectory Across Seven Decades (1947–2017)
IV. Concluding Reflections
Further Reading


“... unlike other legal scholarship, the book is written in crisp language. Anyone seriously interested in the working of India's institutions must not miss this one.” –  Apurva Vishwanath, The Print

“[T]hough the book is written for the international audience, it is of equal interest to accomplished Indian constitutional scholars... It is a smooth read, sustaining continued interest in going through it. For all these qualities of the book the author must be congratulated.” –  Dr Mahendra Pal Singh, Socio-Legal Review

“The Hart/Bloomsbury series on contextual analyses of national constitutions has been going from strength to strength. The present volume, focusing on India, offers an accessible introduction to one of the longest and most amended constitutions in the world.” –  The Commonwealth Lawyer

“This book is a recommended read for academics of constitutional law, students, researchers and anyone who is keen to understand the underpinnings of the Indian constitutional system. It introduces the reader to the rollercoaster ride of India's constitutional journey through darker times. Woven together in a narrative form and written in accessible prose, it keeps the reader engaged throughout.” –  Sania Ismailee, LSE Review of Books

“Thiruvengadam's book is a valuable resource for students and scholars of constitutional law, especially those keen on understanding the subject beyond the realm of the courts.” –  Chintan Chandrachud, Public Law

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