Why is Constitution such a sacred and major document? I sometimes, being a law student, wonder what must have been the scenario if there would have been no such framework, as it is now in form of our Indian Constitution. Constitution with the help of several doctrines arrays a compact structure for the governance of the nation. It mentions the practices that are very important in organizing a state. To understand the philosophy of any constitution it is important to know the basic tenants surrounding it like: constitutionalism and constitution. The spirit to have a regulated and well-balanced society through regulating the powers of the government or any supreme authority can be called as constitutionalism because, having a constitution does not ipso facto builds constitutionalism.  Thus, the Indian Constitution has throughout its text given the full weightage to the concept of constitutionalism. Some of those concepts which ensure the existence of constitutionalism in our constitution are: judicial review, rule of law, separation of power, independence of Judiciary, supremacy of the Parliament.

Mr. Justice H. R. Khanna in his ‘Making of Constitution said: “The framing of a Constitution calls for the highest statecraft. Those entrusted with it have to realize the practical needs of the government and have, at the same time, to keep in view the ideals, which have inspired the nation. They have to be men of vision, yet they cannot forget the grass roots”[1]. The Constitution is not a static or a non-living thing. It rather serves as a connecting link for the infinite generations of human race. It has to carry the same significance through every till last living generation. Thus, Constitution during its developing stage has to be framed with a practical viewpoint so that the future changes can be easily adapted by such an important text, entire state rests on this document.

The Indian Constitution is based on the philosophy of evolving an egalitarian society free from fear and bias based on promoting individual freedom in shaping the government of their choice. The Indian Constitution is a marathon effort to translate philosophical rule of law into practical set up divided into three significant estates checking each other exercising parallel sovereignty and non-egoistic supremacy in their own way. Apart from excellent separation of powers to avoid the absolute concentration, the Constitution of India envisages a distinct distribution of powers between two major levels of governments central and provincial with a fair scope for a third tier – the local bodies. However, the operation of the system came in contrast with men and their manipulations leading to different opinions and indifferent options[2].

Right from developing the Preamble of the Indian Constitution, based on America’s constitutional model to adopting the federalism, providing constitutional rights, classification of central and state powers in form of list system, ensuring the independence of judiciary and much more; the basic philosophy was to consolidate and protect the interest of all the different provincial, linguistic, cultural and religious groups. It also focused on providing every one of them an equal opportunity to stand against the arbitrary actions of the government or different bodies. The state is able to subscribe justice to its citizens only when it has an independent and efficient judiciary working for it. The Constitution provided for the supremacy of the Parliament but equipping the courts with the power of judicial review brought the concept of balance of power into picture which did nothing but highlighted the beauty of the Indian Constitution. No doubt, many of us believe Indian Constitution to be a ‘copy-paste’ version of Constitutions of other jurisdictions but actually the drafting committee for the Constitution actually did a tough research job in incorporating the right provision for the right objective.

Rule of law[3] played an important role during the construction of such a massive document in India. The mentioning of the Part-III[4] (Fundamental Rights) proved to be the landmark achievement in the constitutional history of India. It paved the way for democratic setup, equality, end against discrimination, reservations for the underprivileged, freedom to express and religion; all these features enabled the Indian Constitution to implement the nature and scope of the doctrine of rule of in its stricto sensu. The philosophy to provide an efficient governance system where everyone had a right which empowered them to pursue a powerful economic and social life got successful through the inclusion of rule of law into the Constitution.

The doctrine of precedents enabled the Indian Constitution to grow and cater to the needs of the developing society. This doctrine provided a new breathing space for the Indian Constitution. The society being dynamic in nature posed an enormous challenge before the framers and their philosophy of stable constitution. The energetic character of the society also endangered the basic tenants of our constitution (basic structure doctrine) but, the doctrine of precedents kept the torch of justice ‘lighted’- always.

Indian Constitution remains a classic example of perfect legal research, excellent drafting and upholding the spirit of law and justice. The document, over a period of time, has faced tough challenges but all the three pillars of the democracy have ensured its sustainability. Thus, the Constitution of India today justifies the philosophy behind it’s each and every article, embodied with great deliberation and utmost care.       

References:-

[1] H.R. Khanna, Making of India’s Constitution (1946)

[2] Madabhushi Sriddhar, Evolution and Philosophy behind the Indian Constitution(http://www.hrdiap.gov.in/87fc/images11/4.pdf)

[3] A.V. Dicey, Law of Constitution (1885)

[4] H.M. Seervai, Constitutional Law of India

Author: Rishabh Shrivastava (Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Analysis)

You can reach author at: eic.analysis@gmail.com 

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