Constituent Assembly Debates, India - Important Summaries

Constituent Assembly Debates (CADs) refer to the debates and discussions that the Constituent Assembly members had in the process of drafting a constitution for free India. These are important sources of material for the UPSC exam since they give an insight into the mind of the constitution-makers. 

Important Constituency Assembly debate summaries are given in the below links:

  1. Constituent Assembly debate on Untouchability
  2. Constituent Assembly debate on Federalism
  3. Constituent Assembly debate on Uniform Civil Code
  4. Constituent Assembly debate on Reservations
  5. Constituent Assembly debate on Right to Equality & Prohibition of Discrimination
  6. Constituent Assembly debate on the Preamble
  7. Constituent Assembly Debate on Ordinance Making Power of the President
  8. Constituent Assembly Debate on Abolition of Death Penalty

Constituent Assembly of India

The Constituent Assembly of India was formed with the specific objective of drafting a constitution for an independent India. It existed for three years from 1947 to 1949 when the Constitution of India was adopted. 

The Assembly sat for about 165 days to frame the Constitution of India. 

In the table below, you will find important articles related to the Indian Constitution for the IAS exam.

Constituent Assembly Debates

The Constituent Assembly debates provide a good insight into the thinking behind the making of our Constitution. The material will help aspirants in building answers for the GS 2 mains paper. Additionally, certain facts related to the CADs will also help in the UPSC prelims exam.

We can divide the CADs into four major sections, as shown below:

Stage  Work 
Preliminary stage (9/12/1946 to 27/01/1948) The guiding principles of the Constitution were outlined in reports submitted by certain committees such as the Fundamental Rights and Minorities Committee, Union Powers Committees, etc. Also, the Drafting Committee was formed to draft the Constitution.
First reading (4/11/1948 to 9/11/1948) Introduction of the draft constitution in the Assembly.
Second reading (15/11/1948 to 17/10/1949) The draft was discussed clause by clause.
Third reading (14/11/1949 to 26/11/1949) The third reading of the Constitution was completed and it was enacted on 26th November.

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Facts related to the Constituent Assembly Debates

The Constituent Assembly spent a total of about 165 days in framing the Constitution.

  • Clause by clause discussion was done for about 101 days where the members discussed the text of the Constitution.
  • About 36 lakh words were spoken in all and Dr. B R Ambedkar had the distinction of having spoken the most number of words.
  • Fundamental rights, included in Part III, was debated for about 16 days, i.e., about 14% of the clause by clause discussion.
  • The Directive Principles of State Policy (included in Part IV) was discussed for about 6 days (about 4%).
  • The concept of citizenship formed about 2% of the clause by clause discussion among the eminent members of the Assembly. This was included in Part II.
  • The members of the Drafting Committee had a higher share in the discussions since they frequently responded to what other members had to say on various issues.
  • Altogether, women members contributed to about 2% of the discussions.
    • There were only 15 women members in the Assembly and out of them, only 10 took part in the debates.
    • Freedom fighter and Congress member, G Durgabai, spoke the maximum number of words among women members.
  • Compared to members from the princely states who were nominated to the Assembly, the members from the provinces took a more active part in the debates.
    • Members from provinces contributed to about 85% of the discussions whereas princely states’ members contributed to about 6%.

UPSC 2021

Frequently Asked Questions on Constituent Assembly Debates

Q 1. What do you mean by Constituent Assembly Debates?

Ans. The debates and discussions held by the Constituent Assembly members during the process of drafting the constitution for free India are known as Constituent Assembly Debates or CADs. The Constituent Assembly sat for 165 days between December 9, 1946, and January 24, 1950, for CADs.

Q 2. What is the importance of Constituent Assembly Debates?

Ans. The Constituent Assembly Debates hold importance as during the CADs, discussion over the clauses for the draft of the constitution was held.

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