Indian Constitution and Democracy

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSLG1FC1214

Semester and Year Offered: First semester (Monsoon Semester 2018)

Course Coordinator and Team: S.R.Prabakaran

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Aim of the course

  1. to appreciate the meaning of values and specific terms enshrined in the
  2. Constitution;
  3. to draw linkages between the theory and practice of the Constitution;
  4. to expose students to the working of Indian democracy.


Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course. The students will be able to

  1. develop a basic understanding of Indian political structures and its interactions with democracy. The Constitution is believed to be a living document so the idea is not to just focus on the legal mechanism of the Constitution rather how it engages with social and political processes.
  2. Concepts of federalism, sovereignty, rights, equality, justice and decentralization have been introduced by drawing upon experiences from Indian politics.
  3. The Course focused on the evolution and features of the Indian Constitution. It discussed Constitutional practices through roles, functions, checks and balances of the national and federal Government.
  4. The democratic struggles of a segmented Indian society were discussed. The Students learned on fundamental rights experienced by citizens and brings in debates on reservation issues, gender representation in politics and expansion of decentralized local governance.


Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1 (Week 1 and 2): The Constituent Assembly and the Constitution - The module talks about the political history of framing the Constitution and the formation of Constituent Assembly. It focuses about how past and present, aims and events, ideals and personalities moved the members of the Constituent Assembly to write the constitution as they did. It shall discuss the Indian model of Constitutionalism.


  1. Austin, Granville (1999): Selected Chapters in Working a Democratic Constitution- A History of the Indian Experience (Oxford: OUP).
  2. Selected Chapters in udit Bhatia, The Indian Constitutional Assembly: Deliberations on Democracy (Routledge India 2017)
  3. Bare Text of the Constitution of India: Mapping of the Indian Constitution


Module 2 (Week 3 and 4): Features of the Constitution -In this module, the Preamble of the Constitution of India will be taken as the basic text. The fundamental Constitutional principles and concepts like Individual freedom, Justice, Equality etc will be discussed.


  1. Shukla V.N.: Constitution of India, Eastern Books Company, Lucknow.
  2. Pandey J.N.: Constitutional Law of India, Central Law Agency, Allahabad.
  3. Basu D.D.: Introduction to the Constitution of India, Prentice Hall of India, New Delhi.


Module 3 (Week 5): Separation of Power -The separation of power is generally the mode of governance of democratic states, in a way to check and balance the Legislature and the Executive. This module shall introduce to concept of Parliamentary Executive. It shall focus on functions, accountability, political relationship and limitations of the Parliament and the Government, including role of Presidency.


  1. Chakrabarty, Bidyut and Pandey, Rajendra Kumar (2008): "Executive System in Theory and Practice", "Parliament" , "The Judiciary" and "Federalism" in Indian Government and Politics (New Delhi: Sage) 55106, 129-163, 35-51.


Module 4 (Week 6): Indian Judiciary- The role of the judiciary is also analogous to the separation of power along with the executive and the legislature. The module discusses the independence, uniformity and integrated judicial system of India. The module takes further than formal allocation of power to discuss how the role of judiciary has been evolving and expanding.


  1. Kapur, Devesh and Mehta, Pratap Bhanu ed. (2005): "The Indian Parliament", " India's Judiciary: The Promise of Uncertainity" inPublic Institutions in India: Performance and Design (New Delhi: OUP) 77102, 158-193.


Module 5 (Week 7): Federalism and Centre-State Relations -India's commitment to federalism strengthened in the wake of demands from States, strong assertion of regional politics and decentralisation needs. The module shall introduce to the students the design and working of the Indian federal system. It shall discuss the political and administrative relation between Centre and states and introduce briefly the third tier of federalism.


  1. Jain, M.P.: Indian Constitutional Law, Wadhwa & Co., Nagpur.
  2. SubbaRao,: Indian Constitutional Law, Eastern Books Company, Lucknow.


Module 6 (Week 8 and 9): Fundamental Rights - Any democracy is strengthened by the charter of rights that it provides to its citizens. India has made historic commitments by expanding its constitutional provision of rights. The module shall discuss the meaning of rights and probe its importance in everyday life, discuss in details the Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution and parallel to it debates on its realization and restrictions will be further probed.


  1. Shukla V.N.: Constitution of India, Eastern Books Company, Lucknow.
  2. Pandey J.N.: Constitutional Law of India, Central Law Agency, Allahabad.


Module 7 (Week 10): Reservation as a Constitutional provision- The Constitutional scheme of compensatory preference was initiated to undo the unequal social structure. Reservation is given as a Constitutional right however the matter doesn't rest by the very fact that it is given. The module shall introduce to students the idea of reservation and affirmative action; and throw light of its various dimensions of understanding in the present context. The issue of women's reservation will also feature in this module.


  1. Rai, Shirin M. and Sharma, Kumud (2000): "Democratising the Indian Parliament: The Reservation for Women Debate" in Shirin Rai ed., International Perspectives on Gender Macmillan Press) 149-165.
  2. Sharma, Arvind (2005): Selected Chapter in Reservation and Affirmative Action (Delhi: Sage Publishers).


Module 8 (Week 11): Social Movements- Various movements and struggles have been waged by socio-economic groups like peasants, farmers, women, dalits, workers', etc since independence. The idea of this module is to explore the social and political context in which the movements arose and how they have been shaped by the push and pull of democratic practices in India. A detailed discussion of any one genre of social movement will be focused.


  1. Tyagi, S. (2009): "Social Movements challenges and opportunity" in NeeraChandoke and Praveen Priyadarshi ed., Contemporary India: Economy, Society, Politics (New Delhi: Pearson Publication) 184 - 211.


Module 9 (Week 12): Grassroots Democracy- The module discusses about history, importance and Acts of local governance. The grassroots aspirations, realities and working of panchayats and Gram Sabha shall be discussed. It shall focus on the renewal of Panchayati Raj with special attention to women's empowerment in the local self-government.


  1. Bates, Crispin (2005): "The Development of Panchayati Raj in India" and Evelin Hust " Political Representation and Women's Empowerment: Women in the Institutions of LSG" in Crispin Bates and SubhoBasu ed., Rethinking Indian Political Institutions (London: Anthem Press) 169-210.



Instructional design

  1. The course will be a combination of lectures, thematicdiscussions and presentations.
  2. Special needs (facilities, requirements in terms of software, studio, lab, clinic, library, classroom/others instructional space; any other – please specify) None
  3. Expertise in AUD faculty or outside The core faculty has academic training in the field of Constitutional Law. None


Assessment structure (modes and frequency of assessments)

The course will have four types of assessment:

  1. End-term: 40%
  2. Class participation: 10%
  3. Oral presentation: 20%
  4. Assignment: 30%


Signature of Course Coordinator(s)


  1. Modifications on the basis of deliberations in the Board of Studies may be incorporated and the revised proposal should be submitted to the Academic Council.
  2. Courses which are meant to be part of more than one programme, and are to be shared across schools, may need to be taken through the Boards of Studies of the respective schools.
  3. In certain special cases, where a course does not belong to any particular school, the proposal may be submitted directly to the Academic Council.


Recommendation of the School of Studies:

The proposal was discussed by the Board of Studies in its ………………………meeting held on…………………………and has been approved in the present form.


Signature of the Dean of the School