26/01/2016 …. The constitution of India guided by luminaries such as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was designed not just for a homogeneous nation but for a civilisation that has stretched across many centuries
and embraces a multiplicity of peoples, languages, religions, beliefs and cultures.
The constitution was drafted from 1946 to 1949 by a constituent assembly headed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad and the representation of talented people elected by a property based franchise and working in the shadow and aftermath of the partition of India. It was designed to accommodate the demands and aspirations of millions.
This population represented an unparalleled and colourful diversity of cultures drawn from diverse faiths and even non- believers. Such a diversity of peoples could not conceal and in fact, exhibited the social and economic differences between the haves and have nots of the society. Amidst the confusion of partition and the integration of many territories into a single republic. The constituent assembly created a strong federation divided into states and union territories.
The federation was to be governed according to the principles of a parliamentary democracy with an independent judiciary, guarantees of fundamental rights and define social justice goals to guide the nation in the form of directive principles of State policy. Many of these directives like the right to free and compulsory education, right to information have become fundamental rights in the last 66 years. The Indian constitution serves as a model for the constitutions of many emerging ex-colonial nations. It is based on the principles of peoples representation, principle of democratic Government, the principle of individual and collective human rights, civil liberties and social justices, the principle of a centralised federation, principle of judicial custodianship and the principle of change and transformation.
Certain ammendments have been made to the constitution to keep in pace with the changing times. The federal structure amendment requires not only two thirds parliamentary majority but also
ratification by the legislatures of atleast half the states. Changes by the revolutionary over throw is a part of constitutional history of other nations in South Asia and elsewhere but India has been spared that exigency except perhaps in the case of emergency in 1975. Built up on a system of universal suffrage, India is world largest active democracy with several institution like that of the Prime Minister, the President, the Chief Minister and the Panchayati Raj movement to decentralised political power to the grass root level institutions of Gram Panchayat.
More revenues have been made available to the local levels and efforts have been made to improve the revenue raising system thereby empowering the people of their rights which has become a reality. Ensuring the guaranteed fundamental rights and innumerable restrictions and refusing to allow the judiciary of broad powers to ensure the due process of law, the constitution makers gave judiciary a far more limited role than the judiciary was to
give itself in the years to come.
The constitution creates an unified judicial system with the
Supreme Court at the top of apex and High Courts in states with the subordinate judiciary. Right to free speech, equality and many others have created a level playing field for all the citizens. The aim of social justice has been made a reality through effective governance.
The journey of the constitution which began in 1950 on 26th January has undertaken six and half decades of democratisation in a big way for the millions of citizens and heralds in a lot of promise for the times ahead