Centre for Law and Policy Research’s (CLPR) CADIndia website has undergone significant changes and improvements over the past year.
In Phase I (2015-16) of the Constitutional and Civic Citizenship Project, the CLPR team
- Curated, coded and tagged 40% of the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly Debates (CADs) on Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
- Designed the website and user interface.
- Put together essential background information on India’s constitution-making period.
- Launched the website on Republic Day, Jan 26, 2016, at the Karnataka Judicial Academy.
In Phase II (2016 -17), we have worked onand produced a second version of CADIndia which incorporates significant changes and new features –
80% of the proceedings of the CADs have been digitised and made searchable. In addition to fundamental rights and directive principles, the augmented database now allows users to engage with debates on democracy, federalism and separation of powers.
The ‘CAD’ section presents the proceedings (organised by volume number) of the Constituent Assembly in its complete form – users can read the entire proceedings of a ‘CAD day’. The ‘Constitution of India’ section has the bare text of all articles of the Constitution. This section will also contain short ‘Debate Summaries’ around each article of the Constitution – which CLPR is currently in the process of writing.
While CADs are necessary to understand the origins of the Constitution of India, 1950, they are not sufficient. A significant addition to the website is a tranche of 10 antecedent documents that influenced the form and substance of the Constitution of India, 1950. The publication of these documents ranges between the late 1900s to mid-1940s. The ‘Historical Constitutions’ section of the website allows users to read each of these documents in full. These have been coded and tagged just like the CADs.
The materials that lie at the core of the website can be divided into two types/databases: Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly and Historical Constitutions. Users can deploy the unique search function to navigate through these materials by choosing one or both databases. When a user selects/typesina keyword – ‘freedom of speech’, and chooses to search across both databases, the search results page will show results from the Constituent Assembly Debates andHistorical Constitutions. In addition to gaining insights on ‘freedom of speech’ from the debates of the Constituent Assembly (1946 – 1950), users can also trace the articulation of the concept through Historical Constitutions like the ‘The Nehru Report, 1928’. In this way, users gain critical insights on the evolution of concepts like secularism, democracy etc. across a broader period of India’s constitutional and political history.
A blog section has been added to the website. This will be a forum for facilitating debate and discussion on contemporary political, social and legal topics through a historical prism. Apart from articles written by members of the Constitutional and Civic Citizenship Project; students, academics, lawyers, journalists etc. will be invited to contribute. The blog will serve as a portal for latest news on the CADIndia website and other related activities that come under the Constitutional and Civic Citizenship Project.
The visual design of the website has been tweaked to incorporate additional features and an improved user interface. We have to a large extent retained the aesthetic of CADIndia version 1: a minimalist design that places ease of usability and simplicity at its core.
In the coming months, the Constitutional and Civic Citizenship team will rework and edit content; test for bugs and errors. We encourage students, academics, lawyers, journalists and the general public to use the website and write to us with feedback and suggestions.