Updated: November 27, 2019 7:39:00 am
On this day 70 years ago — November 26, 1949 — the Constituent Assembly of India adopted our Constitution. Since 2015, this day has been observed as the Constitution Day of India, also known as Samvidhan Divas.
The Constitution came into effect two months later, on January 26, 1950 — celebrated as Republic Day.
In May 2015, the Union Cabinet announced that November 26 would be observed as Constitution Day to promote “constitutional values amongst citizens”.
This was the year that marked the 125th birth anniversary of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution.
The central government’s decision was seen as a move to stake claim to the legacy of Ambedkar — in line with the BJP’s overt attempts to co-opt several non-Sangh icons, including Bhagat Singh and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia.
On November 19, 2015, the government formally notified November 26 as Constitution Day. Before this, the day was observed as National Law Day. Ambedkar was also the first Law Minister of India.
“This year, the country is celebrating 125th birth Anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar . The ‘Constitution Day’ will be a part of these year-long nationwide celebrations. This will be a tribute to Dr Ambedkar, who played a seminal role in the framing of the Indian Constitution as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of Constituent Assembly,” the government said in an official release.
The Constituent Assembly, the body set up to draft the Constitution of India, held its first session on December 9, 1946, and was attended by 207 members, including nine women.
Initially, the Assembly had 389 members; however, after Independence and Partition, its strength was reduced to 299. The Assembly took over three years to draft the Constitution, spending over 114 days considering the content of the draft alone.
The Drafting Committee, chaired by Ambedkar, was one among over 17 committees of the Constituent Assembly, and was formed on August 29, 1947. Their task was to prepare a Draft Constitution for India.
Out of some 7,600 amendments that were tabled, the committee got rid of about 2,400 while debating and deliberating on the Constitution. The last session of the Constituent Assembly ended on November 26, 1949 when the Constitution was adopted.
It came into effect on January 26 the following year after 284 members signed it. January 26 was chosen since the Poorna Swaraj resolution of the Indian National Congress was declared on this day in 1930.
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