Constituent Assembly of India: History, Facts, Election, Role 

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The purpose of the Constituent Assembly of India was to draft the country’s Constitution, and its members were elected by the Provincial Assembly. After gaining independence from British rule in 1947, through the India Independence Act, these elected members henceforth functioned as the inaugural Parliament of India, known as the Provisional Parliament of India. 

Constituent Assembly of India
Founded 9th December, 1946
Disbanded25th January, 1950
Preceded by Imperial Legislative Council
Succeeded by Parliament of India (1950)Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (1947)
Chairman of the Drafting CommitteeDr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, SCF
PresidentDr. Rajendra Prasad, INC
Vice PresidentsHarendra Coomar MookerjeeSir Vangal Thiruvenkatachari Krishnamachari
Legal Advisor/Constitutional Advisor Sir Benegal Narsing Rau
Voting SystemSingle Transferable Vote 
Meeting placeCouncil House, Raisina Hill, New Delhi
Seats389 from December 1946 to June 1947299 from August 1947 to January 1950 
Political Groups INC: 208 seats Princely States: 93 seats AIML: 73 seatsOthers (ABHM, CPI, JP, SAD, independent, etc.) 15 seats

What is the Background of the Constituent Assembly of India?

The Background of the Constituent Assembly of India is as follows: 

  • In the year 1934, Manabendra Nath Roy initially introduced the concept of a Constituent Assembly, a notion which was later officially advocated by the Indian National Congress Party(INC) in 1935. 
  • Consequently, the British government after acknowledging this demand, included it in the August Offer of 1940
  • Following the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946, elections were conducted to establish the Constituent Assembly. 
  • Notably, assembly members were chosen indirectly, through a Single Transferable Vote of proportional representation exercised by Members of the Provincial Assemblies. 
  • The primary objective of the Constituent Assembly was to Draft a Constitution for a Sovereign India.

Also Read: The Making of the Indian Constitution

 How were the Constituent Assembly Members Elected? 

The members of the Constituent Assembly of India were elected by the Provincial Assembly through a Single Transferable Vote System. Initially, the Constituent Assembly comprised a total of 389 members, with 292 representing the Provinces, 93 from the Princely States, and 4 from the Chief Commissioner Provinces of Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg, and British Baluchistan.

Furthermore, by August 1946, elections for the 296 seats allocated to the British Indian provinces had ended. The INC secured a majority with 208 seats, while the Muslim League only won 73 seats. The Muslim League was displeased with the results. They declined to collaborate with INC, hence leading to a deterioration of the political situation. Consequently, the Muslim League demanded a separate Constituent Assembly for Muslims.

Thus, the inaugural session of the Constituent Assembly of India took place on the 9th of December 1946, reconvening on the 14th of August 1947 as a Sovereign body.

With the Partition of India and Pakistan, a distinct Constituent Assembly for Pakistan was established on the 3rd of June 1947. Thereafter, subsequent elections were held for East Bengal and West Punjab. East Bengal became Bangladesh and West Punjab joined Pakistan.

Following this reorganisation in August 1947, the Constituent Assembly’s membership totalled 299. They undertook the task of Drafting the Constitution of India. The Committee was presided over by Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Additionally, from the 9th of December 1946, the members deliberated for 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days which spanned over 11 sessions. 

Also Read: Constitutional Development of India from 1946 to 1950 

What were the Committees of the Constituent Assembly? 

The Constituent Assembly had 22 Committees in total, wherein there were 8 Major Committees and 14 Minor Committees. 

8 Major Committees

The 8 Major Committees were:

The Drafting CommitteeDr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar 
The Rules of Procedure CommitteeDr. Rajendra Prasad 
The Steering CommitteeDr. Rajendra Prasad 
The Union Power CommitteeJawaharlal Nehru
The States Committee (Committee for engaging in discussions with statesJawaharlal Nehru
The Union Constitution CommitteeJawaharlal Nehru
The Provincial Constitution CommitteeSardar Vallabhabhai Patel
The Advisory Committee on the Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas
Sub-Committees of the Committee:
Fundamental Rights Sub-CommitteeMinorities Sub-CommitteeNorth-East Frontier Tribal Areas and Assam Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub-CommitteeExcluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than those in Assam) Sub-Committee
Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel

Acharya Kriplani
Harendra Coomar Mookerjee
Gopinath Bardodoi

A. V. Thakkar 

14 Minor Committees

The 14 Minor Committees were:

The Committee for the Function of the Constituent AssemblyG. V. Mavlankar
The Ad hoc Committee on the National Flag Dr. Rajendra Prasad
The Finance and Staff CommitteeDr. Rajendra Prasad
The House Committee B. Pattabhi Sitaramayya
The Order of Business CommitteeK. M. Munshi
The Language CommitteeMoturi Satyanarayana
The Special Committee to Examine the Draft ConstitutionJawaharlal Nehru
The Credentials CommitteeAlladi Krishnaswami Ayyar
The Press Gallery CommitteeUsha Nath Sen
The Committee on Chief Commissioners’ ProvincesB. Pattabhi Sitaramayya 
The Ad hoc Committee on the Supreme CourtS. Varadachari (Not an Assembly member)
The Ad hoc Committee on Citizenship S. Varadachari (Not an Assembly member)
The Expert Committee on the Financial Provisions on the Union ConstitutionNalini Ranjan Sarkar (Not an Assembly member)
The Linguistic Provinces CommissionS. K. Dar (Not an Assembly member)

What is the Role of the Constituent Assembly?

Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly had numerous as well as different Roles. Here are the Roles of the Constituent Assembly: 

  • To Draft the Constitution of India to make sure that every individual in the nation is granted equal rights and opportunities. 
  • Finalising the National Flag, the assembly formally decided our National Flag on the 22nd of July, 1947. 
  • Establish Legislative frameworks, as the Assembly did in May 1949 when it advocated India’s inclusion in the British Commonwealth. 
  • Electing the First President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad was democratically elected by the committee on the 24th of January 1950, 
  • Deciding the National Anthem and National Song on the same day on the 24th of January, 1950.

Also Read: Evolution of the National Flag

What was the Criticism Towards the Constituent Assembly?

Furthermore, the Constituent Assembly faced Criticism for the following reasons: 

  • The Assembly did not function as a representative body as its members were not directly elected through the Adult Franchise. 
    • Despite this, the leaders received significant popular support. 
    • Conducting direct elections through Universal Adult Franchise during the tumultuous period of Partition and communal riots was deemed impractical.
  • Additionally, the Constitution-making process took a considerable amount of time. However, considering the intricacies and diversities of our vast Indian nation, this lengthy duration is understandable.
  • Although the Assembly lacked Sovereignty since it was established by the British, it operated as an entirely independent and sovereign entity.
  • Moreover, criticism was directed at the literary and complicated nature of the Constitution’s language.
  • The INC held a dominant position in the Assembly, which was natural given its dominance in the Provincial Assemblies. Furthermore, the INC was diversified, thus representing various sections of our Indian society.


What is called the Constituent Assembly?

The body responsible for formulating the Constitution of our nation was known as the Constituent Assembly. It comprised 299 members and the Constituent Assembly underwent elections in July 1946. Thereafter, its inaugural session occurred on the 9th of December 1946 and disbanded on the 25th of January, 1950. 

Who were the Dalit members of the Constituent Assembly?

The Dalit members of the Constituent Assembly were Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, S. Nagappa and Dakshayani Velayudhan, who happened to be the sole Dalit woman in the Constituent Assembly. 

Who are the 15 female members of the Constituent Assembly?

The 15 female members of the Assembly are:
Dakshayani Velayudhan 
Ammu Swaminathan 
Begum Aizaz Rasul
Hansa Mehta
Durgabai Deshmukh
Leela Roy
Sucheta Kriplani
Kamla Chaudhary
Purnima Banerjee
Malati Choudhury
Renuka Ray
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur
Annie Mascarene
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Sarojini Naidu

Who was the first woman member of the Constituent Assembly?

The first woman member of the Constituent Assembly was Dr. Muthu Lakshmi Reddy. 

Who were the 7 members of the Constituent Assembly?

The 7 members of the Constituent Assembly were:
Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar served as the chairman of the committee
Muhammed Saadulah
K.M. Munshi
Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer
Gopala Swami Ayyangar
T. T. Krishnamachari (who replaced D.P. Khaitan after his passing in 1948)
N. Madhava Rao (who took over for B.L. Mitter following his resignation due to ill health)

Lastly, we hope you liked what you read and gained an insight into the Constituent Assembly. Moreover, you may even read more blogs and empower yourself with knowledge regarding Civics and Polity! 

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