[Assam] The Constitution of India

Dilip/Dil Deka dilipdeka at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 1 13:32:52 PDT 2007

The following article is not perfect but it atleast has the courage to ask for amendment to the constitution of India in view of the changes that have taken place over the last sixty years. If more people talk and write about it, it is bound to produce some discussion and action in Lok Sabha.
  Paragraph marked (c) is relevant to some discussions we had in the net.
  From the Assam Tribune

    Our Constitution over the years
— Col (Retd) Manoranjan Goswami
  A Constitution, written or unwritten, is the lifeline of a nation and so is the case with India’s. In fact, sovereignty of India lies with our constitution and neither with parliament nor with the people, as some people think. Even parliament cannot amend the constitution if it purports to change its basic structure. The ultimate power lies with none but within the constitution itself and our constitution is the sole authority from where the state and the people assume power, be it executive, legislative or judicial. Indian constitution is not just a law book or a legal treaty, but it is the ultimate emanatory of our political and social existence. The constitution was drafted and written by the best brains of the country who had no political self agenda to fulfill and those two hundred and ninety nine persons of eminence and scholarship presented the best document India could have for its governance in those volatile days immediately after partition.

Three eighty nine members, the members of the constituent assembly of India met for the first time on December 9, 1946 in the constitution Hall of the parliament (now called the Central Hall). This number got reduced to 299 after partition and it took exactly 165 days of sitting to draft and finalize the Constitution of India, as we know about today. India is the world’s largest and most heterogeneous democracy of the world and as John Stuart said, in a society like that of India; democracy is almost next to impossible. But we have conquered that impossibility and whatever way this country or its politics can be criticized today, one must pay homage and respect to those framers of our constitution who went beyond any narrow limits and political objectives.

Indian Constitution is of course, an amalgamation of and compilation of constitutions of different countries at that time, that is, between 1946 and 1949. We have borrowed provisions from American constitution, British constitution, Canadian constitution, Australian constitution and many more. There was nothing absolutely wrong to incorporate the best and relevant provisions of different constitution in our own when we were just born a new republic democracy. In fact, we have borrowed what is best suited for us and at the same time Indian constitution has its own originality too, the one example of which is the effective Centre-State relation which we have developed. Having said so much about our proud constitution, a time has still come to ponder and think now after more than almost fifty-eight years of its existence and experience, whether with changed political and social scenario, there are certain inadequacies the country has experienced that our constitution is silent
 about or whether sometime the responsibilities have been unduly extended to judiciary to be the conscience keeper of the nation, going beyond what probably our constitution makers originally thought about.

Certainly it cannot be anybody’s suggestion that our constitution be redrafted to meet new demands and changed perspectives of the nation, because that would be the end of this nation if we think ever to go for a new constitution. Once it was mooted the idea of going for constitutional reforms, and rather thankfully, has not gone far. If allowed, each party will like to incorporate their own manifesto within the constitution itself. That would be most self defeating because whatever inadequacies we may find today in our constitution to meet the demand of this most diversified society of India, fact still remains that this is the most dynamic and most satisfying document a country could produce drafted just before and after independence with partition lurking. It gave our countrymen not just its constitution, but it gave India the basic spirit of constitutionalism. Still, some demands of the society, developed or experienced over the years since we became independent or a
 democratic republic and seen through political and social history of last fifty-eight years, has to be answered by our constitution and cannot be left to the whims of the politicians or even to the judiciary, extending the limit and principle of judicial activism. Some examples are –

(a) The relation between the President of India and the council of ministers may not be smooth at all circumstances, particularly, on an issue like dissolution of Parliament or a matter like return of a bill passed by Parliament.

Rather, more prominent is the duty and responsibility of the state Governor and the state council of ministers when there is ambiguity and confusion all around as we see after almost every general election. What really happens if a chief minister distinctly loosing majority support in the house recommends dissolution of the assembly to the Governor? Personal whim and political linkage has to be detached. Our constitution need to give a definite direction on this which is missing.

(b) What is the concept and practice of Reservation policy in the country today, rather what it should be or shall we leave it to the judgment of the Supreme Court all the time? We started with ten years of reservation as assessed by the framers of the constitution in the formative years of independence, but not only have we extended it time and again, now probably touching infinity both in quantity and time. Every time we go to Supreme Court thinking that court will always be the conscience keeper. It need not be always. We know our country, we know our social fabrics, and we too know our disparities. Let constitution guide us finally and there be no more politics there on the issue. This country cannot burn anymore.

(c) Unfortunately no doubt, there are people who can demand going out of India and demand sovereignty free from Indian Constitution and still there is nothing much the law of the country backed by the constitution can do about it. There are even opinions from a part of intelligentsia also that demanding sovereignty is a constitutional right and there is nothing wrong for the government to discuss it with those who demand it. The President and the Prime Minister takes oath to protect the sovereignty of the country on the name of the constitution, but it seems there are provisions within, which allow discretion to discuss why a part of the country wish to go out of India or rather why it should not be agreed if argument proved justified.. This is a paradoxical situation and it is time the dictates of the constitution should be made clear and straight that none can demand independence from India.

(d) Politics and criminalis ation has to be detached with a strong hand and probably the constitution has to come to the rescue Neither Election Commission nor judiciary has been able to curb it because constitutional ban or sanction is not so implicit and direct.

(e) Where do Human Rights and Fundamental Right meet or collide is not implicidly clear even today.

There are many issues like these and many more which requires in depth deliberation. with past and future in mind, which require the Indian Constitution to answer and somehow these have remained unanswered. There are already issues which have strained the relation between the Judiciary and the Legislature. There are also instances when Executives feel that judicial interference, as they try to term it, is taken advantage of by many to bring disloyalty and indiscipline in service. The ‘lakshmanrekha’ is getting diluted; complain some who have constitutional authority. It is , however, a blessing for the countrymen that they have ultimate faith in judiciary still. But stretching judiciary beyond a point may prove counterproductive. After almost touching six decades since our constitution was adopted, a time has come that our constitution needs, definitely not few amendments, but some review to keep pace with the aspiration of the people. Dynamic our constitution is, there is
 no doubt about it, but some changes are and review of the Constitution is called for before there are more implied or direct onslaughts on it. For this to be done, some thoughts went in between, but it seems politics and political interests overshadowed it. What is required now is to get not a ‘group of ministers’ , but a group of real intelligent, scholarly and person of proven integrity to join hands and and give new colour and new blood to our most revered constitution and give it a shape and life, that India, as was dreamt by our constitution makers, remain same and inviolable, in letter and spirit.
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