NCERT Folder 9th Civics Chapter 2 : Constitutional Design

Political Science

Class 9

Chapter 2

Constitutional Design

Revision Notes

Important Terms

  • African National Congress (ANC) : The umbrella organization that led the struggle against the policies of segregation.
  • Treason : The offence of attempting to overthrow the government of the state for which the offender owes allegiance.
  • Constitution : Supreme law of a country, containing fundamental rules governing the policies and society in a country.
  • Apartheid : The official policy of racial separation and ill-treatment of blacks followed by the Government of South Africa between 1948 and 1989.
  • Privilege : A right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right).
  • Political party : A group of people with a definite agenda and who intend to acquire power in the government.
  • Minority : A small group of people within a community or country, differing from the main population in race, religion, language, or political persuasion.
  • Clause : A distinct section of a document.
  • Constituent Assembly : An assembly of people’s representatives that drafts a constitution for a country.
  • Constitutional amendment : A change in the constitution made by the supreme legislative body in a country.
  • Draft : A preliminary version of a legal document.
  • Philosophy : The most fundamental principles underlying one’s thoughts and actions.
  • Preamble : An introductory statement in a constitution which states the reasons and guiding values of the constitution.
  • Universal adult franchise : Every adult, rich or poor, irrespective of their religion-caste or education , colour , race, economic conditions, is free to vote.
  • Philosophy : The most fundamental principles underlying one’s thought and actions.
  • Tryst : A meeting or meeting place that has been agreed upon.


Democratic Constitution In South Africa

  • There are certain basic rules that the citizens and the government have to follow. All such rules together are called the constitution. As the supreme law of the country, the constitution determines the rights of citizens, the powers of the government and how the government should function.
  • Democratic Constitution in South Africa
  • Struggle against Apartheid
    • Apartheid was the system of racial discrimination or segregation on grounds of race unique to South Africa. The white Europeans imposed this system on South Africa. The system of apartheid divided the people and labelled them on the basis of their skin colour. The white rulers treated all non-whites as inferiors.
      • The apartheid system was particularly oppressive for the blacks.
        • The non- whites did not have the voting rights.
        • They were forbidden from living in white areas.
        • They could work in white areas only if they had a permit.
        • Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets, were all separate for the whites and blacks. This was called ‘segregation’.
        • They could not even visit the Churches where the whites worshipped.
        • Blacks could not form associations or protest against the terrible treatment.
    • The African National Congress (ANC) was the umbrella organization that led the struggle against the policies of segregation. This included many workers’ unions and the Communist Party. Many sensitive whites also joined the ANC to oppose apartheid and played a leading role in this struggle.
    • Towards a New Constitution
      • Finally, at the midnight of 26 April 1994, the new national flag of the Republic of South Africa was unfurled, marking the newly-born democracy in the world. The apartheid government came to an end, paving way for the formation of a multi- racial government.
      • After two years of discussion and debate, they came out with one of the finest constitutions the world has ever had. The characteristics of the South African Constitution are :
        • This constitution gave to its citizens the most extensive rights available in any country.
        • Together, they decided that in the search for a solution to the problems, nobody should be excluded; no one should be treated as a demon.
        • They agreed that everybody should become part of the solution.

Why Do We Need A Constitution?

  • Why do we need a Constitution?
    • The constitution of a country is a set of written rules that are accepted by all people living together in a country. The constitution is the supreme law that determines the relationship among people living in a territory and also the relationship between the people and government.
    • A constitution does many things :
      • It generates a degree of trust and coordination that is necessary for different kind of people to live together.
      • It specifies how the government will be constituted, who will have power to take which decisions.
      • It lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us the rights of the citizens.
      • It expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.
      • All countries that have constitutions are not necessarily democratic. But, all countries that are democratic will have constitutions.

Making of the Indian Constitution

  • Making of the Indian Constitution
  • The Path of the Constitution
    • In 1928, Motilal Nehru and eight other Congress leaders drafted a constitution for India.
    • In 1931, the resolution at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress dwelt on how independent India’s Constitution should look like. Both these documents were committed to the inclusion of universal adult franchise, right to freedom and equality and to protecting the rights of minorities in the Constitution of independent India.
    • Our leaders gained confidence to learn from other countries, but on our own terms. Many of our leaders were inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, the practice of parliamentary democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in the US. The Socialist Revolution in Russia had inspired many Indians to think of shaping a system based on social and economic equality. Yet they were not simply imitating what others had done. All these factors contributed to the making of our Constitution.
    • The Constituent Assembly
      • The drafting of the document called the constitution was done by an assembly of elected representatives called the Constituent Assembly.
      • Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. The Assembly adopted the constitution on 26th November 1949, but it came into effect on 26th January 1950. To mark this day, we celebrate January 26 as Republic Day every year.
      • We accept the constitution made by this Assembly more than sixty years ago because :
        • The constitution does not reflect the views of its members alone. It expresses a broad consensus of its time.
        • The second reason for accepting the constitution is that the Constituent Assembly represented the people of India. There was no universal adult franchise at that time. So, the Constituent Assembly could not have been chosen directly by all the people of India. It was elected mainly by the members of the existing Provincial Legislatures.
        • Finally, the manner in which the Constituent Assembly worked gives sanctity to the constitution. The Constituent Assembly worked in a systematic, open and consensual manner.
      • The Assembly was dominated by the Indian National Congress, the party that led India’s freedom struggle.
      • Mahatma Gandhi was not the member of the Constituent Assembly.

Guiding Values Of The Indian Constitution

  • Guiding Values of the Indian Constitution
  • Philosophy of the Constitution
    • Values that inspired and guided the freedom struggle, and were, in turn, nurtured by it, formed the foundation for India’s democracy. These values are embedded in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.
    • The Constitution of India begins with a short statement of its basic values. This is called the Preamble to the Constitution.
    • Taking inspiration from American model, most countries in the contemporary world have chosen to begin their constitutions with a preamble.
  • Institutional Design
    • A constitution is not merely a statement of values and philosophy. It is mainly about embodying these values into institutional arrangements.
    • It is a very long and detailed document. Therefore, it needs to be amended quite regularly to keep it updated.
    • Those who drafted the Indian Constitution felt to make provisions to incorporate changes from time to time. These changes are called constitutional amendments.

Intext Questions

Question.1. What would have happened in South Africa if the black majority had decided to take revenge on the whites for all their oppression and exploitation?
Answer. Chaos and war. The white nations would have attacked S. Africa and perhaps she could have lost her independence once again!

Question.2. This image captures the spirit of South Africa today. South Africans call themselves a ‘rainbow nation’. Can you guess why?intext-civics-9th-chap-02-q4
Answer. It is called a ‘rainbow nation’ because this nation comprises many races — Whites, Blacks, Coloured and Indians.

Question.3. This is not fair! What was the point in having a Constituent Assembly in India if all the basics were already decided?
Answer. It is fair. The basics were decided by the Congress Party which did not at that time represent the whole country, and it was not an elected representative of the people. The Constituent Assembly was the people’s representative body and took every one’s views and opinions into consideration.

Question.4. Compare the Preambles to the Constitutions of the United States of America, India and South Africa.

  1. Make a list of ideas that are common to all these three.
  2. Note down at least one of the major differences among these.
  3. Which of the three makes a reference to the past?
  4. Which of these does not invoke God?


  1. Common Features :
    • All three begin with “We the people”.
    • All three want to establish liberty, justice and fraternity.
    • All three want to promote general welfare of the people.
  2. Difference : USA does not mention the word Republic or the word Democratic like India and South Africa.
  3. South Africa
  4. India.

Question.5. Make a poster on the life and struggle of Nelson Mandela. If available, read some portions of his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, in the classroom.
Answer. (i) Do it Yourself
(ii) Nelson Mandela

  • Nelson Mandela was born on 18th July, 1918.
  • He is a militant anti-apartheid activist and co-founder of ‘Umkhonto We Sizwe’ the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).
  • In 1962, he was arrested and went on to serve 27 years in prison.
  • He was released on 11th February, 1990 and led the party in the multi-party negotiations that led to the country’s first multi-racial elections.
  • On 10th May, 1994, he became the first black President of South Africa. He retired in 1999 and decided not to stand for a second term. In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba.
  • He has received more than 250 awards including Nobel Peace Prize (1993). Long Walk to freedom is an auto-biographical work written by Nelson Mandela. It was published in 1995.
  • The book profiles his early life coming of age, education and 27 year in prison.
  • He described political and social aspects of apartheid in South Africa and his belief that the struggle continues against apartheid in South Africa.

Question.6. Does the story of South African struggle for freedom remind you of the Indian national movement? Make a list of similarities and dissimilarities between the two on the following points:

  1. Nature of colonialism
  2. Relationship between different communities
  3. Leadership: Gandhi/ Mandela
  4. Party that led the struggle: African National Congress/ Indian National Congress
  5. Method of struggle

Answer. Yes, the story of South African struggle for freedom reminds me of the Indian National Movement.

  1. Nature of Colonialism:
    Similarities: During the 17th and 18th centuries, the trading companies from Europe occupied South Africa forcibly in the same way that they had occupied India.
    Dissimilarities : Unlike India a large number of whites had settled in South Africa and become the local rulers.
  2. Relationship between Different Communities:
    Similarities: The white rulers treated all non-whites as inferiors in both the countries. The whites regarded Indians and Africans inferior uncivilized people.
    Dissimilarities: Different religions and regional communities in India were united despite of their diversities. They all believed themselves to be Indians. But in South Africa, different communities like the whites, blacks, coloured people relations are different, they respect for each other.
  3. Leadership: Gandhi/Mandela
    Similarities : Both were apostles of truth and non-violence.
    Dissimilarities : Nelson Mandela was put behind bars and sentenced to life imprisonment. Gandhiji was also put behind the bars several times, but he was not sentenced to life imprisonment.
  4. Party that Led the Struggle: ANC/INC
    Similarities : Both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Indian National Congress (INC) were umbrella organizations working on national level.
    Dissimilarities : The purpose of both the parties was different. ANC was fighting against apartheid and the segregation policies of the racial African Government. Whereas the INC was fighting against the British rule in India.
  5. Method of Struggle:
    Similarities : Both the South African struggle and Indian National Movement followed the same policy, i.e., the policy of non-violence.
    Dissimilarities : In South Africa, there was only one group, that of the moderates, who adopted peaceful means against the government, whereas in India besides the moderates, there were also the extremists, who used violent methods to attain their goal of freedom.

Question.7. Approach a club or cooperative society or union or political party in your locality. Get a copy of their rule book (it is often called Rules of Association) and read it. Are these rules in accordance with principles of democracy? Do they give membership to any person without discrimination?
Answer. A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled enterprise”.

  1. Cooperatives may include: Non-profit community organizations/businesses owned and managed by the people who use their services (a consumer cooperative) or organizations managed by the people who work there (worker cooperatives) or organizations managed by the people to whom they provide accommodation (housing cooperatives) hybrids such as worker cooperatives that are also consumer cooperatives or credit unions multi-stakeholder cooperatives such as those that bring together civil society and local actors to deliver community needs second- and third-tier cooperatives whose members are other cooperatives.
    Research published by the World watch Institute found that in 2012 approximately one billion people in 96 countries had become members of at least one cooperative.
  2. The turnover of the largest three hundred cooperatives in the world reached $2.2 trillion – which, if they were to be a country, it would make them the seventh largest.

Question.8. Speak to your grandparents or some other elders in your locality. Ask them if they have any memory of partition or independence or the making of the constitution. What were their fears and hopes about the country at that time? Discuss these in the classroom.
Answer. I spoke to my grandfather who is 89 years old. He told me that at the time of Partition of India, they feared the British people and other influences that occupied the country though our own leaders were fighting bravely for our rights and free the country from the British rule.
The struggle of freedom was to rejuvenate our country and to transform our society. The constitution was being drafted. There was a general consensus on issues like inclusion of universal adult franchise, right to freedom and equality and to protecting the rights of minorities in the constitution of independent India.
There were fears and anxieties too. The constitution was to be drafted for a huge and diverse country. It was not going to be easy for a country already traumatised by division on religious differences. There was also the challenge of the merger of these princely states, which were independent to decide whether they wanted to merge with India or with Pakistan or remain independent.

Question.9. Find out more about any member of the Constituent Assembly from your state or region who is not mentioned here. Collect a photograph or make a sketch of that leader. Write a short note on him or her, following the same style as used here: Name (year of birth-year of death), place of birth (by current political boundaries), brief description of political activities; role played after the Constituent Assembly.Alladi krishnaswamy IyerAlladi krishnaswamy Iyer (14 May 1883- 3 October 1953):


  • Born to a priest’s family in Pudur village (in SPSR Nellore district, AP), Sri Iyer pursued history as a major from Madras Christian College, and studied law in his free time. Despite his chronic ill-health, he contributed to the following topics in drafting of the Constitution of India citizenship, fundamental rights, directive principles, judiciary in the Union and the States, distribution of legislative powers, articles dealing with the powers of the President and the Governor, and adult suffrage. He was vocal supporter of strong Centre, and said the following during the Constituent Assembly debates.
  • He also cautioned that the legislative, and executive should not leave the judiciary to do their job.
  • A Statesman Among Jurists, A biography of Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Aiyar was authored by his son, Alladi Kuppuswami, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, and published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (1993).

Question.10. Read the information about all the makers of the Indian Constitution given in the side columns here. You don’t need to memorise this information. Just give examples from these to support the following statements:
A. The Assembly had many members who were not with the Congress.
B. The Assembly represented members from different social groups.
C. Members of the Assembly believed in different ideologies.
A. Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (1875-1950), Jaipal Singh (1903-70), Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956), Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (1901-53).
B. Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel – Leader of Peasants Satyagrgha. Abul Kalam Azad – Theologian, Scholar of Arabic. Jaipal Singh – President of Adivasi Mahasabha. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar – Social revolutionary thinker and agitator against caste divisions and caste-based inequalities., Shyama Prasad Mukherjee – Active in the Hindu Mahasabha.
C. Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963), HC Mukherjee (1887-1956). Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949), Somnath Lahiri (1901-1984), Baldev Singh (1901-1961).

Question.11. Read the three quotations carefully.intext-civics-9th-chap-02-1intext-civics-9th-chap-02-2intext-civics-9th-chap-02-3A) Can you identify one idea that is common to all these three?
B) What are the differences in their ways of expressing that common idea?
A) The one idea that is common to all these three quotations is the ending of inequality in Indian society.
B) In the first quotation, Gandhiji strived for an India in which there should be no higher or lower class of people and all communities should live in perfect harmony.
In the second quotation, BR Ambedkar said, “We are going to enter a life of contradictions. In politics, we will have equality but in social and economic life, we will have inequality.”
In the third quotation, Jawaharlal Nehru said about the ending of poverty, inequality, “the service of India means the ending of poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity.”

NCERT Solution

Question.1. Here are some false statements. Identify the mistake in each case and rewrite these correctly based on what you have read in this chapter.
(a) Leaders of the freedom movement had an open mind about whether the country should be democratic or not after independence.
(b) Members of the Constituent Assembly of India held the same views on all provisions of the Constitution.
(c) A country that has a constitution must be a democracy.
(d) Constitution cannot be amended because it is the supreme law of a country.
Answer. (a) Leaders of the freedom movement were decided on certain basic values and wanted India to be a democratic republic.
(b) No. There were sharp differences on many issues. They were solved after long discussions and debates and a consensus was reached.
(c) Not necessarily. Every country has a Constitution but all are not democracies — some are dictatorships, theocracies or monarchies.
(d) A Constitution is not inflexible. It has to change according to the changes in society and reflect people’s aspirations.

Question.2. Which of these was the most salient underlying conflict in the making of a democratic constitution in South Africa?
(a) Between South Africa and its neighbours.
(b) Between men and women
(c) Between the white minority and the black majority
(d) Between the coloured minority minority and the black majority.
Answer. (c) between the white minority and black majority.

Question.3. Which of these is a provision that a democratic Constitution does not have?
(a) Powers of the head of the state
(b) Name of the head of the state
(c) Powers of the legislature
(d) Name of the country
Answer. Name of the head of the state.

Question.4. Match the following leaders with their roles in the making of the Constitution:

Column AColumn B
(a) Motilal Nehru(i) President of the Constituent Assembly
(b) B.R. Ambedkar(ii) Member of the Constituent Assembly
(c) Rajendra Prasad(iii) Chairman of the Drafting Committee
(d) Sarojini Naidu (iv) Prepared a Constitution for India in 1928

Answer. (a) — (iv); (b) — (iii); (c) — (i); (d) — (ii).

Question.5. Read again the extracts from Nehru’s speech ‘Tryst with Destiny’ and answer the following:
(a) Why did Nehru use the expression “not wholly or in full measure” in the first sentence?
(b) What pledge did he want the makers of the Indian Constitution to take?
(c) “The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye.” Who was he referring to?
Answer. (a) He says this because India was partitioned into India and Pakistan.
(b) The pledge of service of the millions who suffer.
(c) Mahatma Gandhi.

Question.6. Here are some of the guiding values of the Constitution and their meaning. Rewrite them by matching them correctly.

Column AColumn B
(a) Sovereign (i) Government will not favour any religion
(b) Republic(ii) People have the supreme right to make decisions
(c) Fraternity(iii) Head of the state is an elected person
(d) Secular (iv) People should live like brothers and sisters

Answer. (a) — (ii); (b) — (iii); (c) — (iv); (d) — (i).

Question.7. Here are different opinions about what made India a democracy. How much importance would you give to each of these factors?

  • Democracy in India is a gift of the British rulers. We received training to work with representative legislative institutions under the British rule.
  • Freedom struggle challenged the colonial exploitation and denial of different freedoms to Indians. Free India could not be anything but democratic.
  • We were lucky to have leaders who had democratic convictions. The denial of democracy in several other newly independent countries shows the important role to these leaders.

Answer. I would give the maximum importance to the second opinion. Freedom struggle was the biggest factor in teaching us the values of freedom of thought, expression and belief. It taught us that we had to be united, live as brothers and sisters to fight the common enemy. It taught us the democratic value of equality, how social equality was as important as political one. It taught people that inspite of differences, some basic values are accepted by all.
Second important factor was the quality of leadership. Gandhiji, Nehru, Bose, Azad, to name a few, were great democrats who believed in equality, liberty and fraternity. They believed that the suffering of the people had to be alleviated.
The British gave the Indians training to work with legislative institutions, but they were certainly not believers of democracy. They did not allow every one to vote, they had all the power in their hands, they created divisions among Hindus and Muslims, did not treat Indians as equal to them. In fact it was the freedom struggle which taught Indians to value democracy.

Question.8. Read the following extract from a conduct book for ‘married women’, published in 1912.
‘God had made the female species delicate and fragile both physically and emotionally, pitiably incapable of self-defence. They are destined thus by God to remain in made protection – of father, husband and son — all their lives. Women should, therefore, not
despair, but feel obliged that they can dedicate themselves to the service of men.’
Do you think the values expressed in this para reflected the values underlying our Constitution? Or does this go against the constitutional values?
Answer. They certainly go against our constitutional values. The Constitution makes no gender differences. Equal rights are given to women. They can vote, take up any job, have property rights and are paid (according to the constitution) equal wages for equal work. The statement of 1912 makes women inferior to men and does not give them equal status.

Question.9. Read the following statements about a Constitution. Give reasons why each of these is true or not true.
(a) The authority of the rules of the constitution is the same as that of any other law.
(b) Constitution lays down how different organs of the government will be formed.
(c) Rights of citizens and limits on the power of the government are laid down in the Constitution.
(d) A Constitution is about institutions, not about values.
Answer. (a) Not true. Constitution is the supreme law. Its authority cannot be challenged even by the government. It is not like an ordinary law.
(b) Yes, it is true. It defines the role of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary and how they should be formed and by whom.
(c) Yes, true. The Fundamental Rights state clearly the rights of the citizens. They also state the power of the executive, lay down the rules of how the legislature and the judiciary can control the government.
(d) Not true. The Constitution contains all the values which the institutions have to promote. The Preamble to the Constitution is a shining example of this and states clearly that justice, liberty, equality and fraternity have to be promoted. Secularism has to be followed and socialism and democracy should be the basis of the government.

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