The Constitution of India: Symbol of Unity in Diversity
Mahendra Pal Singh
Delhi Judicial Academy
City University of Hong Kong
Jahrbuch des Offentlichen Rechts der Gegenwart, Yearbook of Public Law (Germany), Vol. 53, pp. 649-686, 2005
The Indian Constitution, though Euro-American in appearance, is native in its spirit. This nativity is reflected in several of its provisions, and the vision of Founding Fathers to establish a just society through constitutional means. Apart from briefly tracing the aims and objectives of the Indian Constitution, this article reviews the working of the provisions related to the following aspects: the 'trilogy' of fundamental rights, directive principles of state policy and fundamental duties; composition, structure, power and interrelation of the Executive and Legislature; role, structure, reach and independence of Judiciary, including the evaluation of judicial activism; legislative, administrative and financial relations of Centre and States in normal time as well during emergency; and the amendment of the Constitution.
Although far from perfection, the Indian constitution has succeeded in sustaining and keeping united the world's largest and most diversified democracy rooted in constitutionalism and rule of law. The Constitution also withstood India's transformation from a socialist economy to market economy. The Supreme Court proactively ensured that peoples' rights are protected, constitutional principles are respected and the deficits in governance are remedied. Moreover, the constitutional jurisprudence evolved over fifty-five years has also traveled to other countries. In sum, if in spite of numerous adversities and challenges the Indian Constitution has worked with a reasonable success (whereas many of its contemporaries have failed), credit must be given to the vision of Founding Fathers, its provisions and the Indian people.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Constitution of India; Fundamental Rights; Affirmative Action; Directive Principles of State Policy; Fundamental Duties; Independence of Judiciary; Judicial Activism; Public Interest Litigation; Nature of Indian Federation; Doctrine of Basic Structure
Date posted: April 18, 2006