The Constituent Assembly and its Committees were critical institutions that drafted the Indian Constitution. While the constitution-making process is mostly identified with the debates of the Constituent Assembly (CADs), the Assembly’s Committees are as important and relevant to understanding the origins of the Indian Constitution.
These Committees were deliberative groups that were tasked to produce detailed reports on specific areas: minority rights, fundamental rights, federalism etc. These reports were compiled, reviewed and revised to produce a Draft Constitution of India. The Constituent Assembly spent most of its time, 114 out of 165 days, debating this Draft Constitution.
The Constituent Assembly nominated its members to different committees on the basis of expertise and community representation depending on the subject matter; In total, it appointed 30 committees and sub-committees.
B. R. Ambedkar was a part of 12 of the 30 committees – more than any member of the Assembly and is widely known for his role as the Chairman of the Drafting Committee. However, Ambedkar was a member of a number of other important committees as well that included: Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee; Minorities Sub-Committee; Advisory Committee; Union Constitution Committee.
Incidentally, Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, a prominent lawyer, came in second. He was a member of 9 committees
The Committees’ work – reports and minutes of meetings – are often cited by the Supreme Court in its judgements. For instance, the Court in the Right to Privacy judgment referred to the report of Sub-committee on Fundamental Rights to clarify that the Assembly was not:
expressly resolved to reject the notion of the right to privacy as an integral element of the liberty and freedoms guaranteed by the fundamental rights.