Why is November 26 observed as Constitution Day?
In May 2015, the Union Cabinet announced that November 26 will be observed as Constitution Day to promote “constitutional values amongst citizens”. This was the year that marked the 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution. Other members included Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Shayama Prasad Mukherjee, among others.
The central government’s decision was seen as a move to claim Ambedkar’s legacy, in a bid to reach out to the Dalit community. Following the Cabinet meeting in 2015, then Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot said, “Rahul Gandhi and his party never honoured Ambedkar. Neither did he get the Bharat Ratna nor was his oil painting installed in Parliament premises as long Congress was in power.”
The Constituent Assembly, the body meant to draft the Constitution of India, held its first session on December 9, 1946, attended by 207 members, including nine women. Initially, the assembly had 389 members, but after independence and the partition of India, the strength was reduced to 299. The assembly took over three years to draft the constitution, spending over 114 days considering the content of the draft alone.
On December 13, 1946, Nehru moved the “Objectives Resolution” that was later adopted as the Preamble on January 22, 1947.
The Drafting Committee chaired by Ambedkar was one among the over 17 committees of the Constituent Assembly. Their task was to prepare a Draft Constitution for India. Out of some 7,600 amendments tabled, this committee got rid of about 2,400 amendments while debating and deliberating the constitution.
The last session of the Constituent Assembly ended on November 26, 1949, when the Constitution was adopted, and two months later on January 26, 1950 it came into effect after 284 members signed it. January 26 was chosen since the Congress’ Poorna Swaraj resolution was declared on this day in the year 1930.