The flagship feature of the CADIndia website is the advanced search - that allows easy and swift access to Indian constitutional history materials.

In this series of ‘Guide’ posts, we will explore different aspects and features of the advanced search and how these are useful to generate accurate and meaningful results.

This first post in the series will introduce the core materials hosted CADIndia, the use of paragraph numbers and human tagging.

The Database

The website hosts and allows users to search through two types of Indian constitutional history materials:

Historical Constitutions (HCs): These documents pre-date the formal constitution making process - i.e. before 1946 - and are two types: British colonial legislation and aspirational documents written by Indians. As of now, the website hosts 18 Historical Constitutions.

Constituent Assembly Debates (CADs): These are proceedings of the Constituent Assembly that began on 6 December 1946 and ended on 24th January 1950. The website hosts all 167 days of the Assembly’s sittings.

The advanced search gives users the option of filtering their search results by choosing ‘Historical Constitutions’ or ‘Constituent Assembly Debates’; users looking to explore the evolution of constitutional and political ideas over a larger time period can choose both.

Paragraph Numbers

We have paragraph-numbered the materials to give every paragraph a distinct identity to facilitate sharing and citations. Paragraphs can be shared by clicking on the relevant button on the bottom left of every paragraph – this automatically copies the link into your clipboard.

Just by looking at the paragraph number, the user can glean basic information about the paragraph. Let's take an example:

Historical Constitutions:

Unlike the CADs, the historical constitutions are not organised into volumes. The scheme of paragraph-numbering for these materials is simple to understand.


Paragraph number: CLS.12   <Code for document || Paragraph>

The above citation indicates that the paragraph is the 12th paragraph of the document ‘CLS’ - code for Congress-League Scheme, 1946.

Constituent Assembly Debates:

Every paragraph of the Constituent Assembly Debates in part of a date. Every date is in turn organised as part of a volume.


Paragraph number: 12. 167.28   <Volume number ||Document number|| Paragraph>

The above citations reveal that the paragraph is paragraph 2 of the 167th day of Assembly’s proceedings, which is located in Volume 12.

A paragraph, either from the CADs or HCs, can be located instantly by entering its paragraph number into the search box and pressing enter.

Tagged and Word Search

The search engine compares keywords/phrase entered by the user against the materials’ text and also tags added by the CADIndia team. The human tagging of the materials significantly increases the accuracy of search results: paragraphs related to ‘secularism’ may not contain the term ‘secularism’ - the may contain words like ‘religion’, ‘god’ or ‘temples’. Between ‘tag’ hits and ‘word’ hits, paragraphs that contain more ‘tag’ hits are given priority.

In the next part in this series, we will focus on different aspects of ‘keywords’ and how these can be used for various types of search queries.