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The greatest gift to every Indian

by P Vijayakumar
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The Constitution of India is a great gift to every Indian citizen. It is the Magna Carta that ensures freedom and dignity to all of us. It has drawn into itself the best features in the Constitutions of many western countries and so it is wrong to call it a “bag of borrowings.” It is big in size as it needs to encompass the varied facets of this vast country. The drafting committee headed by B.R.Ambedkar was God’s plenty as representatives from all sections of the Indian society found their rightful place in it. It was not a hastily done exercise as it took nearly three years to complete the process. The Constituent Assembly adopted it only after diligent and detailed deliberations. The Preamble to the Constitution proclaims that we belong to a sovereign nation that believes in secular, socialistic and democratic values.

The polity of India sails smoothly as the Constitution clearly demarcates the powers of the judiciary, legislature and executive. Above all, the Constitution upholds the great ideals of humanity like democracy, socialism and secularism.

The third part of the Constitution that ensures Fundamental Rights to citizens is called the cornerstone of the Constitution. Through Articles 12 to 35, the Constitution assures the people of India a fair and free society wherein their dignity and freedom are protected. Article 17 is immensely important as it nullifies untouchability, the bane of Indian society. Article 35 is considered the soul of the Constitution as it enables a citizen to move the court when any one of the fundamental rights is violated. The victim can seek a remedy through petitions like habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, quo warranto and prohibition.

Directive Principles

Directive Principles of State Policy form the fourth part of the Constitution and the provisions of this part are not enforceable by law. This fourth part of the Constitution is called the conscience of the Constitution as it directs the State to initiate welfare measures to make life pleasurable for the citizens. Through Articles 36 to 51, the Constitution gives guidelines to the State to transform India into an egalitarian and benign country. The uniqueness of the Indian Constitution lies in its emphasis on the duties of its citizens. Article 51-A enumerates various duties of the people in order to make life responsible and meaningful.

Article 352 in part eighteen of the Constitution paves way for the declaration of emergency in case of any external or internal threat to the safety and security of the country. This Article has been suitably amended so that it can’t be easily misused. Laws are not sacrosanct scriptures. If they fail to fulfil the needs of the people they can very well be removed, changed or amended. Indian Constitution provides opportunities for amendments through Article 368 of part 20 of the Constitution and it has already been amended more than a hundred times. There are three categories of requirements for amendments. Category 1 needs just 2/3 majority of the members present in each house of Parliament. Category 2 needs 2/3 majority of the total members in each house of Parliament. Category 3 needs (crucial changes) 2/3 majority of the total members of each house and also the approval of 50% of the state legislatures.

Rigid and flexible

The success of our Constitution is that it is rigid and flexible at the same time. It ensures independent judiciary free from the legislature and executive influences. Part 2 of the Constitution assures citizenship to domiciles born in India. It also assures citizenship to a person for whom any one of the parents is born in India. It also assures citizenship to persons who have been living in India for a minimum of 5 years before the adoption of the Constitution. The polity of India sails smoothly as the Constitution clearly demarcates the powers of the judiciary, legislature and executive. Above all, the Constitution upholds the great ideals of humanity like democracy, socialism and secularism. It is the duty of every citizen of India to protect and preserve the Constitution from being tampered with or harmed.

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