The the Father of India’s depressed classes. He


The membership of the Assembly was drawn from different political parties, most important of which were the Congress and the Muslim League. In addition, independent members, representatives from the Governor’s Provinces and the Princely states were also present. The core of the Constituent Assembly was the Drafting Committee which was chaired by Dr.

B.R. Ambedkar. It should, therefore, not surprise you that Ambedkar is often described as the Father of India’s depressed classes. He had an eminent professional background and legal expertise and was, thus well- equipped to pilot the Constitution framing process and to deal with the various complexities inevitable in the Herculean task. Ambedkar influence can be particularly, seen in the special provisions for Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SCs and STs) that the Constitution came to incorporate. The various provisions of the Constitution were debated at length in the several committees that were formed for the purpose. After extensive debates and discussions, these provisions were presented to the Assembly for due consideration.

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Based on the deliberations in the Assembly, the Drafting Committee prepared the draft text of the Constitution. The final document, after amendments, was signed on November 26, 1949 and came into force two months later. The Constituent Assembly was a body of accomplished people which laboured assiduously to give to free India a Constitution that Indians would be proud of. Still the Assembly has been subjected to some criticisms.

The main criticism against the Assembly spearheaded essentially by the Muslim League was that it was a Congress/Hindu dominated body. Because of this belief and conviction, the League never participated enthusiastically in the deliberation of the Constituent Assembly and eventually stayed away. The Congress was led by Jawaharlal Nehru who was a democrat to the core. He made allowance for every opinion and never tried to bulldoze his or the Congress Party’s position on various issues. Moreover, the chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, Dr.

Ambedkar was also a democrat every inch of the way and permitted all members to have their say. The fact mat the Constitution which was eventually framed took due cognisance of the aspirations of religious minorities belies the allegations of the Muslim League. The Assembly followed the principles of consensus and accommodation on matters coming up before it.

The Constituent Assembly completed the task of Constitution-making within a period of three years, whereas several other countries took several years to have their first Constitution. Also, it goes to the credit of the Assembly that the Constitution of free India was never abrogated and a new one introduced.

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