Can we achieve the objectives of the Constitution of India?


This article cautions about the deterioration of the ideals and objectives cherished in the Indian Constitution. The article says that only giving votes is not the end of the duty of the citizens but their continuous participation in monitoring the function of the government is the need of the hour.

We are celebrating the 69th Republic Day. Exactly 68 years ago we declared ourselves Democratic Republic. Before going to discuss further, we must retrospect the situation prevailing at the time of framing the constitution and the sentiments of the people and leaders of India. 26th January also commemorates the day on which the Congress officially announced "Purna Swaraj" or Independence of India in its Lahore Session held on December 31, 1929 and January 1, 1930. The Congress asked the people of India to observe every 26 January as Independence Day. The Congress volunteers started hoisting Tricolor flag with Charakha (spinning wheel) at the centre regularly on this day every year. The freedom struggle was intensified and continued untiringly till India got freedom on August 15, 1947. India did not have its own Constitution and depended entirely on the amended colonial Government of India Act, 1935.

A constituent assembly, a body of representatives which is composed for drafting a constitution, was formed even before independence. The first meeting of the Constituent Assembly of India took place in New Delhi, on 9th December 1946. India had provincial assemblies like the current legislative assemblies of states towards the end of British Rule. The members of the Constituent assembly were indirectly elected by the members of these provincial assemblies by method of proportional representation. The fundamental objectives of the constitution were proposed in the historic Objectives Resolution. This resolution was moved by Jawaharlal Nehru. Amongst the members of the constituent assembly, there were members who held different ideological views. Initially, its total membership was 389. After partition, the Constituent Assembly of India had 299 representatives. These included 229 members from provinces and 70 from princely states. There were total nine women members also. The most of these members were of liberal ideas. Their main aim was to give India a 'Constitution' which will fulfill the cherished ideas and ideals of the people of this country. Conscious efforts were made to have consensus on different issues and principles and thereby avoiding disagreement. The Objective Resolution was almost unanimously adopted.

On the basis of the Objectives Resolution, India's Constitution institutionalised the fundamental commitments of equality, liberty, democracy, sovereignty and a secular identity. The preamble of the constitution which expresses the objectives for the Indian state and the objectives the Indian state should secure for its citizens. The Preamble of the constitution reads as follows-

We, the People of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic and to secure to all its citizens;
Justice, social, economic, political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and opportunity; and to promote among them all;
Fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;
In our Constituent Assembly this, twenty sixth day of November 1949 do hereby Adopt, Enact and Give to ourselves this Constitution.

The two laws enacted by the British Parliament, the Government of India Act 1935 and Indian Independence Act 1947. were repealed by the present constitution on 26 November 1949.
There have been many amendments in the constitution, but the main framework and objectives remained almost same. 42nd amendment tried to make some changes but 43rd and 44th amendments restored the changes.

The Preamble describes the following objectives for the Indian state:

1. A Sovereign State

The Preamble begins with the words: 'We the people of India'. These words affirm to the fact that the people of India are the supreme authority of the state. This also proclaims that India is free both internally and externally to take her own decisions and implement these for her people and her territories. We could remain a sovereign state for last 68 years. The whole credit for this goes to the spirit of freedom instilled by our long freedom struggle against the colonial rule. Fortunately, over a period we built a formidable military also which totally works under the state. We do not see any challenge to our sovereignty from externally.

2. A Socialist State

The idea of a Socialist state means to secure equitable distribution of income, resources and wealth of the country. The state stands for ending all forms of exploitation particularly economic exploitation. This objective has to be secured by peaceful, constitutional and democratic means. This also shows the way the elected government should deal with the economy.

The successive governments took care of addressing the socialistic goals of the constitution in their economic policies. But, with the introduction of market economy or liberalisation in 1991, we drifted to capitalism. Owing to this, in recent years the gap between rich and poor has been widening and contradicting to the objective of socialist state. An survey (Oxfam survey) showed that in 2017, India's richest 1 per cent held 73 per cent of the country's total wealth. Millions of children in India remain hungry every day. The government has to ensure that they should frame economic policies to bridge this gap. The change in economic environment gave rise to corporate companies. These corporate companies influence the policy of the state with the money power and increase corruption in the system.

3. A Secular State

Inclusion of the word secular expresses secular nature of the Indian Constitution more explicitly. The opening statement of the Preamble itself affirms the secular nature of the state since there is no mention of state religion in the preamble. The constitution guarantees equal freedom to all religions. All religions enjoy equality of status and respect.

Unfortunately, the subsidies given to religious groups like Haj Subsidy, Subsidy for Char Dham Yatra, and state funding of Khumbh Melas and other such religious gatherings undermine the very objective of the secular state. Over the years, some political parties have been accused of appeasing people belonging to a specific religion. For example, the Congress government diluted Supreme Court's judgment in case of a maintenance right of a divorced Muslim women to appease minority while the present ruling party is being accused of giving more importance to people belonging to majority community. Demolition of Babri Masjid was a very wrong act by the ruling party. The party got political mileage but this triggered many terrorists attacks and communal riots in the country. During freedom struggle all Indians had one goal, but post independence the politicians fanned the parochial, lingual and religious sentiments of people for their political gains. A large section of India continues to be communal and its echoes are heard time and again. If a multi-religious, multilingual, and multicultural country like ours has to progress, the rights of the minorities must not be undermined. There shouldn't be any dominance of majority over the minorities either politically or socially.

4. A Democratic State

The Preamble declares India to be a Democratic State. The people of India elect their governments at the centre and at the state level by a system of universal adult franchise popularly known as "one man one vote". Every citizen of India, 18 years of age and above is entitled to vote. The people enjoy equal political rights. The people freely participate in the democratic process election. They elect their government. The people can change their government through elections. The government enjoys limited powers. It always acts under the Constitution which represents the supreme will of the people. The word 'democratic' not only refers to political but also to social & economic democracy.

In recent years the election of governments has become a number game. There have been so many political parties. There are so many regional parties those propagate their regional agenda more. Some times the national parties form alliances with such regional parties for power. The present ruling party got only 33% of the polled votes. That means a party elected by minority of voters is ruling over 67% people of the country. This is a mockery of democracy. Such things would continue, till the voters would vote on the considerations of religion, caste and region. By and large our democracy worked well. The plurality of our country is also the strength of our country.

5. A Republic

A Republic means that the state has an elected head enjoys power for a fixed term. President of India is the elected sovereign head of the country. Any Indian citizen can be elected as the President of India. Normally, the party with majority nominates and tries to install the president of its choice. Barring one or two cases, normally the president has been a candidate of a particular choice for the ruling party.

Preamble lists the following four objectives which are to be secured by the state for all its citizens.

1. Justice

The constitution seeks to secure social, economic and political justice for its people.

Social Justice means the absence of socially privileged classes in the society and no discrimination against any citizen on grounds of caste, creed, colour, religion, sex or place of birth. Economic Justice means no discrimination between man and man on the basis of income, wealth and economic status. It stands for equitable distribution of wealth, economic equality, and securing adequate opportunities to all for earning their livelihoods. Political Justice means equal, free and fair opportunities to the people for participation in the political process. It stands for the grant of equal political rights to all the people without any discrimination.

Unfortunately, the state has been utterly failed in securing justice to all of its citizens. There are obvious reasons for that. The most important is the delay in delivering judgement. Judgment delayed is judgement denied. Till the date the judiciary system has been above doubts barring one or two incidences. The reports suggest that there is a shortage of judges in the system that causing delays in judgment and the number of pending cases is on increase. There have been nexuses between politicians and the administration and wealthy and corrupt people and administration. These nexuses are the major hurdles in the justice being given to the common citizens of the country. The rising number of billionaire shows an unjust state of the country. Those working hard, growing food for the country, building infrastructure, working in factories are struggling for two meals a day. their children's education, buying medicines. The growing divide between the poor and rich promotes corruption and deprives the majority of the population of justice. Fortunately, cautious citizens and media can pressurise the governments to take necessary steps for judicial reforms and destroy the aforementioned nexuses. There are many reports and suggestions available on judicial reforms.

2. Liberty

Liberty includes liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Liberty of faith and worship strengthens the spirit of secularism.

In recent past, we have seen how a handful goons of Karni Sena, a so called group of Rajputs, took the country to ransom on the issue of release of a film. We have observed the silence of the government and the political parties on this issue. This time the Judiciary protected the liberty of expression by passing very clear orders of the release of this film. But, the incidence is alarming. The increasing trend of Cow vigilantism, moral policing and Love Jehad is mocking the most cherished objective of Liberty of the individual as cherished in the constitution.

3. Equality

Equality includes equality of status i.e. natural equality of all persons as equal and free citizens of India and equality of opportunity i.e. adequate opportunities for all to develop.

Agriculture has been playing the prime role in Indian economy and farmers are its backbone. Even though the farmers are struggling to fulfill their everyday needs.They are unable to pay their debts, and many are committing suicides. We see that women workers often find themselves discriminated against the men working in the same job. As we have seen that there is accumulation of wealth in few hands, we can not expect equality of opportunities for all to develop.

4. Fraternity

This refers to a feeling of brotherhood and a sense of belonging with the country among its people. It has psychological as well as territorial dimensions of National Integration. In other words this leaves no room for regionalism, communalism, casteism etc, which hinders the Unity and Integrity of the country.

The government should stop appeasement of particular group or groups of people to inculcate a sense of brotherhood and belonging among the people. The state can not achieve this alone. The majority group of people should be sensitive to the demands and aspirations of the minorities. If we want to be a super power then our house should be united and we should work in unison. Fraternity among the people will eliminate most of the present social problems.

Conclusion

We see that we failed in fulfilling some of the core objectives of our constitution over the period of last 68 years. But, this is not too late to mend. Only governments are not the sole culprit of the present situation. We, the voters, are also equally responsible. We vote and we elect a government. We forget everything after that. Only few conscious citizens and a part of the conscious press monitor the working of the elected government. The government always fears the voters. On this auspicious day, we must pledge that we will vote to the political party that will appoint Lokpal, bring judicial reforms ,electoral reforms and frame economic policies for equitable distribution of national wealth and resources. We must pledge that we will not vote to any party or an individual on the consideration of religion, caste or region. If voters become conscious and start monitoring and analysing the working of the government, then to achieve the objectives of the constitution in the true sense will be a reality.


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Comments

Author: Partha K.11 Feb 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 10

The article is an excellent thought-provoking article. In the first part of the article, the author has tried to trace the genesis of the Constituent Assembly. Thereafter he discussed the Preamble, which is called the 'Soul of the Constitution', threadbare.

As far as I recall from my younger days, the Constitution of India is an extremely complex document full of dichotomies. These dichotomies have caused 122 amendments so far, and many more will come in the future. On the other hand, the oldest Constitution of the world, i.e., the Constitution of the USA, has so far been subjected to only twenty-seven Amendments. This proves that the Constitution-makers of India did not do a good job. Late D.D. Basu, the best expert of Constitution in India, has termed it as the 'haven of lawyers'.

Like many other Articles, the Preamble to the Constitution was 'influenced' by the Constitution of Sweden. This vision statement was taken without considering the applicability of the same in the Indian context. All the terms like Republic, Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Justice, Equality, Liberty, Fraternity, etc. have not been clearly defined leaving many loose ends, misinterpretation, a scope for future amendments, etc. Like the Constitution, its soul is also very complex.

Time has come to critically examine the Preamble and the entire Constitution. If necessary, we must go for a new Constitution with new Preamble, keeping in mind the actual condition of the country. Mindless copying from Constitutions of western countries has not served the purpose.

Author: umesh12 Feb 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

The author has well presented the differences between what the constitution implies and what actually is achieved in practicality in our country.

Actually constitution is a guideline and direction in which we should all work coherently to run a republic. Unfortunately the lack of good governance and evils of unemployed minds make the things worse for the country as well as it's citizens.

The recourse is an honest Govt with determination and focus on nation's growth as well as strong and stringent measures to punish the culprits who are not respecting the law and the constitution of the country.

When many countries have achieved more and less this objective in their own legislative boundaries, why we can not do it?



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