On 19th February 1946, the British government declared that they were sending a Cabinet Mission to India to resolve the whole issue of freedom and constitution making. The Cabinet Mission, which arrived in India on 24th March 1946, held prolonged discussions with Indian leaders. On 16th May 1946, having failed to secure an agreement, it announced a scheme of its own. It recognized that the best way of setting up Constitution-making machinery would be by election based on adult franchise; but any attempt to introduce such a step now would lead to a wholly unacceptable delay in the formulation of the new constitution. Therefore, it was decided that the newly-elected legislative assemblies of the provinces were to elect the members of the Constituent Assembly.
The idea of a Constituent Assembly for India was put forward for the first time in 1934 by M. N. Roy, a pioneer of the communist movement in India and an advocate of radical democracy. It became an official demand of the Indian National Congress in 1935; one that was accepted by the British in August 1940.
On August 8, 1940, a statement was made by the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, on the expansion of the Governor-General's Executive Council and the establishment of a War Advisory Council. The Constituent assembly was constituted in November 1946 under the scheme formulated by cabinet Mission plan. The total membership of the Constituent Assembly was 389, of which 292 were representatives of the states, 93 were representatives of princely states, and 4 were from the chief commissioner provinces of Delhi, Ajmer-Mewar, Coorg and British Baluchistan.
The Constituent Assembly, consisting of indirectly elected representatives, was set up for the purpose of drafting a constitution for India (including what are now the separate countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh). In the event, it remained in being for almost three years, acting as the first parliament of India after independence in 1947.
The Assembly was not elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage; also Muslims and Sikhs were given special representation as "minorities". The influential Muslim League initially boycotted the Assembly after having failed to prevent its creation.
While a large proportion of the Constituent Assembly was drawn from the Congress Party in a one-party political environment, it is also important to note that at that point in history, the Congress Party included a wide diversity of opinions, from conservative industrialists and radical Marxists to Hindu revivalists, all of whom participated in the process.
The Assembly met for the first time in New Delhi on December 9, 1946. Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha was the first president (temporary chairman) of the Constituent Assembly. 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.
* Dr. Sachchidanand Sinha – Temporary President of Assembly
* Dr. Rajendar Prasad – President of Constituent Assembly
* HC Mukherjee – Vice President of Constituent Assembly
* BN Rau – Constitutional Advisor towards the Assembly
Jawahar Lal Nehru moved the historic ‘Objectives Resolutions’ within the Assembly which laid on the fundamentals and philosophy from the constitutional structure.
* The Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India being an Independent Sovereign Republic.
* The territories of British India, states Asia, other territories outside India which are willing to join Independent Sovereign India, will be a Union of them. (Union of states : Article 1, that was inserted into Constitution by 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956)
* This territories with their present boundaries or such others are determined by the Constituent Assembly and based on law of Constitution, they shall get autonomous status as well as shall have all residuary powers vested together to have safe government and administration except powers or functions vested using the Union.
* All the power and also the authority of Independent Sovereign India, its constituent parts and organs of presidency shall be derived from people. (Advocating Democracy)
* People of India shall be guaranteed justice and secured social, economic and political equality of status of opportunity, before law, freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association, action and public morality. (Fundamental Rights)
* Adequate safeguards will be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas and depressed along with other backward classes. (Part X, Part XVI)
* Shall maintain integrity of the United States and its sovereign rights on land, sea and air based on civilized nations of the world.
* India is definitely an ancient heritage and honoured devote the world makes its full and willing contribution towards the promotion of world peace and also the welfare of mankind.
* After introduction of Mountbatten plan, 3 major changes were created in Indian Independence Act of 1947, they’re:
* The Assembly was made a completely sovereign body which could frame any Constitution of their wish and also has right to alter any law produced by the British in relation to India.
* The Assembly also was a legislative body. In other words, two separate functions were allotted to the Assembly i.e making of Constitution free of charge India and enacting ordinary laws for that nation. Thus, the Assembly had become the first Parliament of free India. The assembly was chaired by Dr. Rajendra Prasad when met as Constituent body and was chaired by GV Mavlankar, when met as legislative body.
* The Muslim League members who hail from Pakistan withdrew in the Constitution Assembly.
* The Constituent Assembly adopts national flag on July 22, 1947, adopts national anthem and national song on January 24, 1950.
* The Constituent Assembly had 11 sessions over 2 years. The Constitution makers choose to go through the constitutions of about 60 countries and also the Draft Constitution was considered for 114 days.
* During the time of enactment, the Constitution had 395 articles and eight schedules.
* January 26 was specifically chosen because the ‘date of commencement’ of the Constitution due to its historical importance. It was about this day in 1930 that Purna Swaraj day was celebrated, following a resolution of the Lahore Session (1929) from the INC.