Friday, April 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Freedom from sterility of old concepts: correcting constitutional weaknesses

This refers to Mr Hari Jaisingh’s above titled article (April 12). We need to move from the sterility of old concepts that have become irrelevant. Change is the law of nature and our Constitution is flexible. A review of the Constitution is the only weapon to remove loopholes to put the rule of law on a sound footing. Every problem has to be solved with the nation’s interest in mind and not that of politicians who rule the roost.

Politicians seek to uphold the right of the governing agencies to rule with impunity as in the pre-democratic times. They call into question the rule of law. Obviously the people cannot rule themselves. There would be rulers and the ruled and the twain will never meet as is evident from is Gujarat Government’s refusal to apply the rule of law. By whom justice done is more important than for whom it is done. Those for whom justice is being done have no say in the matter. Is it the rule of law?

Let me relate stages in the erosion of the rule of law that has gone on during the last five decades and more. There are occasional deviations. For instance, the manner in which Indira Gandhi’s Emergency was manipulated is a case in point. She deviated from the rule of law by bending the constitutional provisions when her political interests were under jeopardy. In 1984, when the police was instructed not to intervene when necessary. Therefore, the amendments to the Constitution by the present panel should be multi-disciplinary, comparative and objective to ensure social security and socio-economic uplift of society.


Unless concrete efforts are made through amendment by our present panel to remedy the situation, human rights will continue to be violated with impunity. People are being killed in the name of religion for the political convenience. The Constitution has become a hand-maid of political executives for their personal agenda.


Ideals: Nothing is more sacrosanct than the future of the nation and nothing more valuable than the values and ideals we as a nation are committed to and stand for. And conversely nothing can be more unfortunate than to view things through the prism of narrow and coloured personal and political interests at the cost of national good. I as an humble citizen earnestly feel that a periodical review of the working of our constitution is essential not only to correct its inadequacies and imbalances but also to impart to this vital document the necessary dynamism to make it an effective vehicle of fulfilling the ever-expanding needs and aspirations of a dynamic society aspiring to catch up and compete with the fast changing world all around, as also to put in place some sort of mechanism equipped with authority to fight back the evils and distortions that have crept in our polity in a big way.

Criminalisation and commercialisation of politics, politicisation of criminals and mafias, casteism and communalism, corruption and callous unconcern for the deprived sections of society, multiplicity of political outfits and fragmentation of society along caste and communal lines, defections and horse-trading are some of the ills that afflict the polity. They need to be curbed to make our parliamentary democracy a living and thriving institution capable of ushering in an era of harmony and homogeneity. Thus instead of being a futile exercise, a periodic review of the Constitution will be a fruitful exercise worth striving for.

M. R. GUPTA, Lehragaga

It’s biggest: India has the world’s biggest and voluminous Constitution. Still it has failed to make democracy and its tenets stronger. Today the democracy defined as government of the people, for the people and by the people, is no more serving the purpose of making of life of people easy, disciplined and growth-oriented. During the last 55 years of Independence, we have earned a name as the one of the most corrupt nations. The Constitution has failed to carry on its original objective of taking the nation forward.


Political pollution: Mr Hari Jaisingh has displayed grit and determination in exposing the political parties for their prejudiced play on caste, creed and emotional issues that make it easy for a large number of criminals to enter the portals of Parliament and the state assemblies. Such is the political tragedy that they manage to manipulate the majority through money, muscle power and misdeeds. The Constitution, as it stands today, does not properly plug such political pollution, with the result the criminals-turned-politicians carry the day by swinging the political balance to their favour. An example of this can be seen in the state of Bihar.


Defections: No doubt, the Constitution has served the needs of this country for over five decades. Initially, we had had one party stable governments. Defections were very rare. But during the past few decades Aya Rams and Gaya Rams have upset the apple-cart of India’s politics. This trend has off and on led to a downward slide in the country’s progress.

All the pros and cons of the Constitution ought to be thoroughly reviewed. Some of its provisions might have become outdated and redundant. The author rightly holds: “.... I am sorry to say, Parliament, in a way has become redundant.” The apprehensions expressed by some politicians about the review of the Constitution are ill-conceived and unfounded.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari, Hamirpur

A weakness: The Constitution of India was drawn up by persons of substance. Yet, they were not gods. How right as well as how wrong you are! The Constitution, antique or modern, is meant for the contemporary people’s good; and not the other way round viz people meant for the constitution.

The greatest weakness of our Constitution is that it has not provided an authority to discipline the politicians. Remedy lies in eternal vigilance by the people guided by a bold, free Press — the bedrock of democracy.



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