Constituent Assembly of India

The idea of a  Constituent Assembly was formulated by M.N. Roy in 1936 Faizpur session of Congress, presided by Nehru. The Constituent Assembly of India was elected to write the Constitution of India, and served as its first Parliament as an independent nation.

It was set up as a result of negotiations between the leaders of the Indian independence movement and members of the British Cabinet Mission. The constituent assembly was elected indirectly by the members of the Provincial legislative assembly, which existed under the British Raj.

It first met on December 9, 1946 in Delhi. On August 15, 1947, India became an independent nation, and the Constituent Assembly started functioning as India's Parliament.

Dr. Ambedkar drafted the Constitution of India in conjunction with the requisite deliberations and debates in the Constituent Assembly. The Assembly approved the Constitution on November 26, 1949, and it took effect on January 26, 1950 - a day now commemorated as Republic Day in India.

Once the Constitution took effect, the Constituent Assembly became the Provisional Parliament of India. (It was "provisional" until the first elections under the new Constitution took place, in 1952. 

Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the temporary chairman/president of the Constituent Assembly when it met on 9 December 1946. Dr. Rajendra Prasad then became the President of the Constituent Assembly, and would later become the first President of India. The Vice-President of the Constituent Assembly was Professor Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University and a prominent Christian from Bengal, who also served as the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly's Minorities Committee; he was appointed Governor of West Bengal after India became a republic. Eminent bureaucrat & jurist Sir Benegal Narsing Rau was appointed as the Constitutional Adviser to the Constituent Assembly. He prepared the original draft of the constitution and was later appointed a judge in the Permanent Court of International Justice, The Hague.

The Assembly's work was organised into five stages:
1. Committees were asked to present reports on basic issues;
2. The constitutional adviser, B.N. Rau, prepared an initial draft on the basis of these committees and his own research into the constitutions of other countries;
3. The drafting committee, chaired by B.R. Ambedkar, presented a detailed draft constitution that was published for public discussion and comments;
4. The draft constitution was discussed and amendments were proposed and enacted;
5. The constitution was adopted.

The Interim Government of India was formed on 2 September 1946 from the newly elected Constituent Assembly.

9 December 1946 : The first meeting of Constituent Assembly was held in the constitution hall(now 'Central Hall of Parliament House'). Demanding a separate state,the Muslim League boycotted the meeting. Dr.Sanchidanand Sinha was elected as temporary President of Assembly following the French practice.

11 December 1946 : Elected Dr.Rajendra Prasad and H.C.Mukherjee as the President and Vice-President of the Assembly respectively.Appointed Sir B.N.Rau as Constitutional advisor to the Assembly.

13 December 1946 : 'Objective Resolution' was introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru.Underlying principles of Constitution were laid by Objective Resolution.

22 January 1947: Unanimously adopted the Objective Resolution.

May 1949: It ratified India's membership of the Commonwealth

22 July 1947: Adopted the national flag

24 January 1950: Adopted the national anthem,national song.Elected Dr. Rajendra Prasad as the first president of India

Assembly was chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad whenever it met as Constituent body and by G.V.Mavlankar when it met as the legislative body. Constituent Assembly completed the task of drafting Constitution in 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. The Constituent Assembly had 299 representatives, including nine women.

The last session of the Assembly was held on 24 January 1950. The Assembly held 11 sessions, sitting on a total of 166 days. The hope behind the Assembly was expressed by Jawaharlal Nehru: "The first task of this Assembly is to free India through a new constitution, to feed the starving people, and to cloth the naked masses, and to give every Indian the fullest opportunity to develop himself according to his capacity."