The Constituent Assembly was established for framing the Constitution of India. The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly was held on 9th December 1946 and was attended by 211 members. Based on the French tradition of electing the oldest member as the President of the Assembly, Dr. Sachchidanand Sinha was nominated as the temporary President of the Constituent Assembly. Thereafter, elections were held and Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the Constituent Assembly. Along with him, HC Mukherjee and VT Krishnamachari were elected as the Vice Presidents of the assembly.
‘OBJECTIVE RESOLUTION’ PRESENTED BY JAWAHAR LAL NEHRU
While the Assembly was still settling, within four days of the establishment of the assembly Jawahar Lal Nehru presented an ‘Objective Resolution’ in the Assembly. The ‘Objective Resolution’ was the vision of Jawahar Lal Nehru of the new democratic nation. It defined the fundamentals and philosophy of the Indian Constitution that was being drafted. It also defined the territorial area of independent India and said that India will be a union of states which were part of British India, and the princely states that are willing to be part of India. In the same Resolution, he stated his vision of making India an Independent Sovereign Republic, and in the independent India, the citizens can expect social, economic, and political justice. There shall be equality of status and opportunities, and freedom of thought, expression, faith, and worship. Not only this, it also promised to safeguard and uplift the minority, backward, and tribal communities. This Resolution was duly accepted and passed by the Constituent Assembly on 22nd January 1947. At present, we can see all these rights and safeguards incorporated in the Constitution of India and the Preamble to it. After this, different princely states started nominating their members to the Constituent Assembly, and the total membership reached to 389 Nominated Members. While all of this was going on in India, the government in Britain was changed. On 20th February 1947, the new Prime Minister of Britain, Mr. Clement Richard Attlee declared in the House of Commons of the British Parliament that “British would quit India after transferring power into the responsible hand not later than 3rd June 1948”. On the next day i.e., 21st February 1947, the Viceroy of India was changed from Lord Wavell to Lord Mountbatten.
CHANGES IN THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY DUE TO THE MOUNTBATTEN PLAN AND THE INDIAN INDEPENDENCE ACT, 1947
On 3rd June 1947, Lord Mountbatten proposed a plan namely the Mountbatten Plan. In this Plan, the partition of India and Pakistan was accepted, and the date of partition was decided to be 15th August 1947. In July 1947, the Independence of India Act, 1947 was passed in the British Parliament due to which the Constituent Assembly became a Sovereign Body which means that it could frame any Constitution that it deems fit without any interference from Britain but due to the partition, the strength of the Constituent Assembly was reduced from 389 to 299 as many provinces went to Pakistan after partition.
ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES GIVEN TO THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
Now, the Constituent Assembly was assigned an additional function of legislating along with framing the Constitution of India which means that the Constituent Assembly could frame and implement its own laws which is why it was also knowns as the First Parliament of India. So, when this Assembly performed the function of framing the Constitution, the President used to be Dr. Rajendra Prasad, and when this Assembly used to perform a legislative function then the Chairman used to be GV Mavalankar. These two functions of the Constituent Assembly continued till November 26, 1949, when the framing of the Constitution of India was completed. Along with these functions, it also adopted Indian National Flag, Tiranga on 22nd July 1947, and on 24th January 1950, the National Anthem and the National Song were also adopted. On the same day, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first President of India.
The framers of the Constitution of India went through the Constitutions of around 60 countries to perfect the Constitution of India. The framing of the Constitution was a time-consuming process and it took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days to frame the Constitution of India and incurred a total expenditure of around INR 60 lakhs. The Indian Constitution has been amended many times through Constitutional Amendments and judicial precedents and has adapted to the changes with the passage of time.