PHILOSOPHY OF INDIAN CONSTITUTION

PHILOSOPHY OF INDIANCONSTITUTION

On January 22, 1947 the Constituent Assembly adopted the Objectives Resolution drafted by Jawaharlal Nehru. The Objective Resolution contained the fundamental propositions of the Constitution and set forth the political ideas that should guide its deliberations. The main principles of the resolution were:

  1. India is to be an independent, sovereign republic.
  2. It is to be a democratic union with an equal level of self-government in all the constituent parts;
  3. All power and the authority of the Union Government and governments of the constituent parts is derived from the people;
  4. The Constitution must strive to obtain and guarantee to the people justice based upon social, economic and political equality of opportunity and equality before law;
  5. There should be freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action;
  6. The Constitution must provide just rights for minorities, and people from backward and tribal areas, etc. so that they can be equal participants of social, economic and political justice
  7. The Constitution should secure for India, a due place in the community of nations. The philosophy of a Constitution consists of the ideals for which the constitution stands and the policies which the Constitution enjoins upon the rulers of the Community to follow. The Constitution of India reflects the impact of our ideology in the following spheres:

(i) Democracy: We have borrowed the modern form of democracy from the West. Under this system, democracy means the periodic responsibilities of the Government to go to the people. For this purpose; elections have been held every five-year to elect a Government by the people. However, democracy covers even the economic and social aspects of life. This aspect of democracy is wellreflected in the Directive Principles of State Policy. They are aimed at human welfare, co-operation, international brotherhood and so on.

(ii) Secularism: Secularism is the hallmark of the Indian Constitution. People professing different religions have the freedom of religious worship of their own choice. All the religions have been treated alike. The fact appreciated in India was that all religions love humanity and uphold truth. All the social reformers and political leaders of modern Indian have advocated religious tolerance, religious freedom and equal respect for all the religions. This very principle has been adopted in the Constitution of India where all religions enjoy equal respect. However, the word ‘secularism’ was nowhere mentioned in the Constitution as adopted in 1949. The word ‘secularism’ has now been added to the Preamble to the Constitution through the 42nd Amendment passed in 1976.

(iii) Socialism: Socialism is not new to India. Vedanta philosophy has socialism in it. The national struggle for freedom had this aim also in view. Jawaharlal Nehru referred to himself as a socialist and republican. Almost all the parties in India profess to promote democratic socialism. These principles are included in the Directive Principles of State Policy. However, to lay emphasis on this aspect, the word ‘socialism’ was specifically added to the Preamble to the Constitution through the 42nd Amendment.

(iv) Decentralization: India has always practiced decentralisation through the Panchayat system. Mahatma Gandhi alsoadvocated decentralisation. It is on this account that he is regarded as a philosophical anarchist. We have introduced the Panchayati Raj system in India to achieve the objective of decentralisation. The concept of cottage industries as laid down in the Directive Principles of State Policy also refers to decentralisation.

 

(v) Mixed Economy: Co-existence is a salient feature of our ideology. Co-existence has manifested itself through a mixed system of economy. In this system we have allowed both the private and public sectors of economy to work simultaneously. Large scale and essential industries have been put in the public sector.

 

(vi) Humanism: Humanism is a salient feature of Indian ideology. Indian ideology regards the whole humanity as one big family. It believes in resolving international disputes through mutual negotiations. This is what we find in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

(vii) Spiritualism: Spiritualism refers to what inspires and promotes the people to be their best selves. It creates a feeling of sacrifice, peace, non-violence, tolerance and cooperation. It is the basic feature of Indian philosophy. We have tried to achieve this through equality in all spheres of life. This leads to social welfare.

(viii) Liberalism: Liberalism does not refer to the Western concept of liberalism. It refers, in the Indian context, to self government, secularism, nationalism, economic reforms, constitutional approach, and representative institutions etc. all these concepts were advocated by the modern Indian leaders. All these elements have been incorporated in the Indian Constitution by virtue of which we want to establish a Welfare State in India. Everything has to be achieved through constitutional means.

(ix) Sarvodaya: Sarvodaya refers to the welfare of all. It is different from the welfare of the majority. It seeks to achieve the welfare of all without exception. It is referred to as Ram Rajya. The concept of Sarvodaya was developed by Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Vinoba Bhave and J.. Narayan under which the material, spiritual, moral and mental developement of everyone is sought to be achieved. The

Preamble to the Indian Constitution and the Directive Principles of State Policy represent this ideal.

(x) Gandhism: Gandhism represents an ethical and moral India. Gandhi set a new example of fighting foreign rule through non-violence. He taught the importance of non-violence and truth. He advocated untouchability, cottage industry, prohibition, adult education and the uplift of villages. He wanted a society free of exploitation and decentralized in character. All these Gandhian principles have found an honourable place in the Constitution of India

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘INDIAN’ AND ‘AMERICAN’ JUDICIAL REVIEW?

Based on the principle of Judicial Review, the American Supreme Court has acquired the power to so interpret the Constitution that it has come to be known as the third chamber of the Constitution, whereas, in India the Supreme Court does not enjoy the power of adding to the Constitution but it can only strike down any act or any legislation on the ground that it is contrary to the basic framework of the Constitution or violative of the procedure established by law. As the Indian Constitution stands today, the judiciary in India has the right to review legislative enactments and executive acts provided they are brought before the courts except for a few specific acts like the discretionary powers of the governors, the privileges and immunities of the members of the legislatures, etc. In pronouncing its verdict on legislative acts and executive actions the Supreme Court primarily bases itself on what is known as the basic framework of the Constitution-a phrase which has never been spelt out so that others could know the ingredients that go into the making of the basic frame work of the Constitution. However, it is clear from the constitution as it is today that the Parliament has the right to amend the constitution as long as it does not erode the basic frame work of the constitution. Thus, making additions or deleting some Articles of the constitution is the power of the Parliament but not that of the Supreme Court as in the case of the U.S.