SOME THOUGHTS ON THE CIVIL SERVICES EXAMS — (SERIES ARTICLE 17- Polity—The Evolution of Indian constitution.)


Flaming enthusiasm, backed by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” ― Dale Carnegie

The first seed for success is to sow the seed of self trust. In the civil services exam we have competitors, we need to do measure our progress daily with our likeminded aspirants interacting learning, exchanging and constant discussions that will enhance our confidence always. Though combined studies are not advisable, after our studies if we discuss with the aspirants of compatible minds, it makes huge headway. Choosing a right friend for discussion is very important, it makes a huge role in our success, and we must strike chords with potential candidates who will be successful. When you travel in the success boat, along with them you will also reach the success shore for sure. So choosing a correct friends circle is highly essential as it is often said If you hang out with chickens, you’re going to cluck and if you hang out with eagles, you’re going to fly.

Today we are going to the see the topic of The Evolution of our Indian constitution, the important provisions, the kinds of questions which can be asked both in preliminary as well main exams. From this chapter normally some questions are asked. Laxmi kanth book does not cover, D.D Basu book covers very well on this.

After 250 years of colonial rule, nearly a century of imperialism, incessant soul-searching, and the most profound political and intellectual effort undertaken by hundreds of thousands of individuals across the length and breadth of the subcontinent, India finally became an independent nation-state on 15 August 1947. After three years of Constituent Assembly debates, on 26 January 1950 India gifted itself the chance to unlock its society and set itself free.

The likely questions and some of the points which we must keep in mind on this chapter are as follows— asking for prospective questions one should read. We are giving a few examples.

  1. Government of India Act, 1858

(a) The administration of the country was it only unitary but rigidly centralized. Though the territory was divided into Provinces with a governor or Lieutenant – Governor aided by his Executive Council at the head of each of them, the Provincial Government were mere agents of the Government of India and had to function under the superintendence, direction and control of the Governor-General in all matters relating to the government of the Province.

(b) There was no separation of functions, and all the authority for the governance of India, –civil and military, executive and legislative, was vested in the Governor-General in Council who was responsible to the Secretary of State.

(c) The control of the Secretary of State over the Indian administration was absolute. The Act vested in him the ‘superintendence, direction and control of all acts, operations and concerns which in any way related to the Government of revenues of India.’ Subject to his ultimate responsibility to the British Parliament, he wielded the Indian administration through the Governor-General as his agent and his was the last ward, whether in matters of policy or of details.

(d) The entire machinery of administration was bureaucratic, totally unconcerned about public opinion in India.

  1. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 The Indian Councils Act of 1861 introduced a grain of popular element insofar as it provided that the Governor-General’s Executive officials, should include certain additional non-official members, while transacting legislative business as a Legislative council. But this Legislative council was neither representative nor deliberative in any sense. The members were nominated and their functions were confined exclusively to a consideration of the legislative proposals placed before it by the governor-General. It could not, in any manner, criticize the acts of the administration or the conduct of the authorities. Even in legislation, effective powers were reserved to the Governor-General, such as—(a) giving prior sanction to Bills relating to certain matters, without which they could not be introduced in the Legislative Council; (b) vetoing the Bills after they were passed or reserving them for consideration of the Crown; (c) legislating by Ordinances which were to have the same authority as Acts made by the Legislative council.

Similar provisions were made by the Act of 1861 for Legislative Councils in the Provinces. But even for initiating legislation in these Provincial councils with respect to many mattes, the prior sanction of the Governor-General was necessary.

Two improvements upon the preceding state of affairs as regards the Indian and Provincial Legislative Councils were introduced by the Indian Councils Act, 1892, namely that (a) though the majority of official members were retained, the non-official members of the Indian Legislative Council were henceforth to be nominated by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and the Provincial Councils were to be nominated by certain local bodies such as universities, district boards, municipalities; (b) the Councils were to have the power of discussing the annual statement of revenue and expenditure, i.e., the Budget and of addressing questions to the Executive.

This Act is notable for its object, which was explained by the Under-Secretary of State for India thus:

“to widen the basis and expand the functions of the government of India, and to give further opportunities to the non-official and native elements in Indian society to take part in the work of the Government.”

The first attempt at introducing a representative and popular element was made by the Morley-Minto Reforms, known by the names of the then Secretary of State for India (Lord MORLEY) and the Viceroy (Lord MINTO), which was implemented by the Indian Councils Act, 1909.

The changes relating to the Provincial Legislative Councils were, of course, ore advanced. The size of these Councils was enlarged buy including elected non-official members so that the official majority was gone. An element of election was also introduced in the Legislative Council at the Centre buy the official majority there was maintained.

The deliberative functions of the Legislative Councils were also increased by this Act by giving them the opportunity of influencing the policy of the administration by moving resolutions on the Budget, and on any matter of public interest, save certain specified subjects, such as the Armed Forces, Foreign Affairs and the Indian States.

On the other hand, the positive vice of the system of election introduced by the Act of 1909 was that it provided, for the first time, for separate representation  of the Muslim community and thus sowed,  the seeds of separatism that eventually led to the lamentable partition of the country. It can hardly be overlooked that this idea of separate electorates for the Muslims was synchronous with the formation of the Muslim League as a political party.

The Morley-Minto Reforms failed to satisfy the aspirations of the nationalists in India in as much as, professedly; the Reforms did not aim at the establishment of a Parliamentary system of government in the country and provide for the retention of the final decision on all questions in the hands of the irresponsible Executive.

The India National Congress which, established in 1885, was so long under the control of Moderates, became more active during the First World War and started its campaign for self-government (known as ‘Home Rule’ movement). In response to this popular demand, the British Government made a declaration on August 20, 1917. That the policy of His Majesty’s Government was that of—

“Increasing association of India in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to progressive realization of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the British Empire.”

The questions always come on 1935 act also. We must exactly know what are the exact provisions of these acts and how slowly the elected members participation increased.

So ours is a priceless and peerless constitution. The Indians’ sense of their rich cultural heritage, their record of professional achievement in the arts and sciences of the modern world, and their faith in their ability to govern themselves, combined to give them a national maturity that allowed a reasoned approach to the creation and working of government. Equipped with the basic qualifications, attitudes, and experience for creating and working a democratic constitution, Indians did not default their tryst with destiny. More on polity we will see tomorrow.

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In civil services preparations the journey is the reward. Persist on the journey and greatness is yours! All the best!!!