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Institutional Design

A constitution is not merely a statement of values and philosophy. A constitution is mainly about embodying these values into institutional arrangements. Much of the document called Constitution of India is about these arrangements. It is a very long and detailed document.

Therefore it needs to be amended quite regularly to keep it updated. Those who crafted the Indian Constitution felt that it has to be in accordance with people’s aspirations and changes in society. They did not see it as a sacred, static and unalterable law. So, they made provisions to incorporate changes from time to time. These changes are called constitutional amendments.

The Constitution describes the institutional arrangements in a very legal language. If you read the Constitution for the first time, it can be quite difficult to understand. Yet the basic institutional design is not very difficult to understand. Like any Constitution, the Indian Constitution lays down a procedure for choosing persons to govern the country. It defines who will have how much power to take which decisions. And it puts limits to what the government can do by providing some rights to the citizen that cannot be violated. The remaining three chapters in this book are about these three aspects of the working of Indian constitution.

The official policy of racial separation and ill treatment of blacks followed by the government of South Africa between 1948 and 1989.

A distinct section of a document.

Constituent Assembly
An assembly of people’s representatives that writes a constitution for a country.

Supreme law of a country, containing fundamental rules governing the politics and society in a country.

Constitutional Amendment
A change in the constitution made by the supreme legislative body in a country.

A preliminary version of a legal document.

The most fundamental principles underlying one’s thought and actions.

An introductory statement in a constitution, which states the reasons and guiding values of the constitution.

The offence of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance.

A meeting or meeting place that has been agreed upon. Here are some false statements. Identify the mistake in each case and rewrite these correctly based on what you have read in this chapter.


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