All constitutions are heirs of the past and testators of the future. How far is this true in case of Indian Constitution?

All constitutions are heirs of the past and testators of the future. How far is this true in case of Indian Constitution?


Sir Ivor Jennings said “All constitutions are heirs of the past and testators of the future”. The very fact that the Constitution of the Indian Republic is a product not of a political revolution but of the research and deliberation of a body of eminent representatives of the people, who sought to improve upon the existing systems of administration, makes a retrospect of the constitutional development indispensable for a proper understanding of this Constitution.

  1. Most of the provisions in Indian Constitution are based on the Government of India Act, 1935. Example: Federal Scheme, Office of governor, Judiciary, Public Service Commission, Emergency provisions, Administrative details, etc.
  2. Colonial legacy: Presence of preventive detention, uncodified nature of parliamentary privileges, etc.
  3. Westminster influence: Parliamentary rules, privileges, fusion of executive and legislature, ect were inspired from British system.
  4. Inspiration from revolutions: Ideals of socialism, justice, equality, which were included in the Preamble and Directive Principles of State Policy and others are inspired from political revolutions in the West.
  5. Indian culture and civilization has long cherished the values of pluralism and tolerance. Hence, the modern version of secularism found its way into the Indian constitution but it is not a poor imitation of the western version of secularism.
  1. Universal ideals: Values such as secularism, equality of opportunity, economic and political justice is inevitable for modern society. These are enshrined in Fundamental rights, Preamble and DPSP in particular.
  2. Amendability: Though it is the Supreme Law of the Land, it has provided the power for amending the constitution to the elected representatives. It is an organic document meeting the needs and aspirations of people and has the ability to evolve with changing times.
  3. Recognition of Rights all social groups: The constitution has given special protection to the rights of the weak and vulnerable groups such as Article 15(3) provides for positive discrimination for women and children, etc.
  4. No wonder the Article 51 of the Indian Constitution bats for the promotion of international peace and security. It also supports the promotion of friendly ties between different countries of the world in the larger interest of humanity. A pacific, non-racist and anti- imperialist foreign policy of India is broadly a legacy of the virtues of the Indian national movement and cultural ethos.

Some Constitutions are a result of political revolutions whereas there are others which arise due to long years of freedom struggle. As far as India is concerned, its Constitution is a result of experiences from freedom struggle from the colonial rule. Thus, we can say that the present Constitution is a synthesis of past experiences and future aspirations of our people, and to serve as a guiding light for the better governance of the country.

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