World War II in Europe came to an end on May 9, 1945. In July, a new government came to power in the United Kingdom. The new British government announced its Indian Policy and decided to convene a constitution drafting body. Three British cabinet ministers were sent to find a solution to the question of India's independence. This team of ministers was called the Cabinet Mission.
The Cabinet Mission discussed the framework of the constitution and laid down in some detail the procedure to be followed by the constitution drafting body. Elections for the 296 seats assigned to the British Indian provinces were completed by July-August 1946. With the independence of India on August 15, 1947, the Constituent Assembly became a fully sovereign body. The Assembly began work on 9 December 1947.
The Constituent Assembly
The people of India elected the members of the provincial assemblies, who in turn elected the members of the Constituent Assembly.
The Constituent Assembly had members belonging to different communities and regions of India. It also had members representing different political persuasions. Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee were some important figures in the Assembly's discussions. There were more than 30 members of the scheduled classes. The Anglo-Indian community was represented by Frank Anthony and the Parsis were represented by H.P. Modi. The Chairman of the Minorities Committee was Harendra Coomar Mookerjee, a distinguished Christian who represented all Christians other than Anglo-Indians. Constitutional experts like Alladi Krishnaswamy Aiyer, B.R. Ambedkar, B.N. Rau and K.M. Munshi were also members of the Assembly. Sarojini Naidu and Vijaylakshmi Pandit were important women members. Dr. Sachidanand Sinha was the first president of the Constituent Assembly. Later, Dr.Rajendra Prasad was elected president of the Constituent Assembly while B.R. Ambedkar was appointed the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.
The Constituent Assembly met for 166 days, spread over a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days. Its sessions were open to the press and the public.