Princely Tripura’s constitution older than India’s

Princely Tripura’s constitution older than India’s

AGARTALA: Striking similarities have unfolded between the Constitutions of the Princely state of Tripura and India. The written constitution of Tripura has all the fundamental provisions of the present Indian Constitution.

Factual details on the same were put forward by the director of Tripura Law Training Institute and Research Centre, Sankari Das.

Tripura law minister Tapan Chakraborty while releasing the book said that the last King of Tripura, Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya, had notified the constitution having 68 articles, seven parts and three schedules in July, 1941. It came into being at least nine years before the Indian Constitution was adopted.


The king's constitution covers all important provisions and articles of the present Constitution, including The Preamble, gender neutrality, emergency provisions and judicial institutions. It appears that many things, including terms in the Indian Constitution, were borrowed from the king's constitution.

"The Tripura king's constitution had clearly described the provision of disqualification of membership in legislative assemblies for criminal offences in Article 24(i)(e). Later, this provision got a place in the Representation of People Act, 1951. But still it is not followed properly," he said.

Moreover, even when many countries did not ensure voting rights for women, Article 25(ii) of Tripura Constitution, during the British rule, made it clear that no woman shall be disqualified to be a voter or a candidate for election as member, by reason only for her sex, if otherwise qualified, said Chakraborty.


According to Tapas Dey, one of the associates of the Tripura Royal family, king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya had understood that absolute monarchy would not sustain for long after his visits to Europe and America. He had a meeting with Hitler before the World War II started.

By that time, the Indian freedom struggle had also gained momentum which made him realize that citizens need to be given limited powers to run the administration.

"With this background, the king formed a constitution drafting committee headed by him in 1939. His visionary zeal and exposure helped him to bring out such an excellent constitution in democratic spirit under monarchy," added Dey.

While comparing both the constitutions, it appears that not only the articles and provisions, even narration and terms, were similar to the Tripura constitution, Das told the media.

The Tripura Constitution also had 'interpretation' provision like that in the present Constitution (Article 367) besides resemblance with the judiciary and executive, council of ministers, chief minister, khash adalat (High Court) and many more, said Das.

"It is quite astonishing that during the British rule, the Tripura King, in his written constitution, had made a core concept of democracy, which finds its concrete manifestation through the idea of representation," added Das. (With agency inputs)

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