“It is also a matter for consideration whether making a change in a basic feature of the Constitution can be regarded merely as an amendment or would it be, in effect, rewriting a part of the Constitution…?” – Justice J.R Mudholkar
India is going to celebrate its 71st year of being a republic. Successively, the country has been honouring the day for seventy years. This is the day of public governance. In all these years, the country is celebrating the moment with pride of its republic and secular democracy. The ecstatic spirit of every citizen synthesized and shared to each other with the oath of consistency for the heart-cost constitution excelling the world accord. The air conjured up its speed with the unfurling tri-colour national flag. National anthem blended with the beats of the heart. This year is to experience such a mirthful moment with the further fortification of the constitution as the ‘save the constitution’ has been booming since late months.
The gravity of ‘save the constitution’ is not being weak and blunt. It’s the sense of preserving the constitution – the fundament law of people. It’s the angry voice against the provocation of its basic constitutional structures. Its makers framed it as adaptable and amendable at the prospect of running the nation with present-day pace (Article 768). Under the ambit of this provision, its ‘basic structure’ can’t be violated. The apolitical verdict of the Supreme Court prevails over the overwhelming approval of political motions in the parliament. That’s the basic feature of the Indian Constitution that the guaranteed fundamental rights of the citizens can’t be replaced either by the central or the state power. It’s a kind of flexibility and rigidity. When India gained sovereignty from the shackles of British imperialism and enacted its own Constitution, citizens came first. Therefore, the country will not call for any other era of tyranny by conferring her ‘general will’ to a special sort of elites. Till that time, the infrastructural features of the country laid out in the constitutional values will remain immortal.
There is no defined content for the basic structure of the constitution. Views have been exchanged in different observations with the relevance to issue and time by different justices. The basic framework of the constitution, at a standstill, can be marked as encompassing timely necessities, contents and objectives of the preamble and fundamental values. In the same section republic government, independent judiciary, federal and secular implementation of the constitution is more-like to count. However, it is of enough importance as deserves precedence over parliamentary supremacy. The parliament enjoys limited power of amending it as the parliament itself is the fruit of the constitution. Its provocation is alleged as unconstitutional or invalid. The apex court only is considered as an interpreter of the basic structure.
Since recent history, there are several cases depicting a conflict between the court and parliament. It started from the famous Fundamental Rights Case (1973) where the limited power of parliament was ascertained as unlimited for amending the basic constitutional features. The dissent gave birth to the basic structure doctrine.
Abrogation of the basic constitutional structure begets the atmosphere of Indian polity and heritage. Consequently, the unity of citizens experiences a harsh threat that had been restored in secularism by the Himalayan effort of Constituent Assembly and Drafting Committee of Dr B.R. Ambedkar in spite of different castes, religions and languages in the country. That’s why the unity and integrity of the nation are also considered as a basic feature of the Indian constitution. The late chaos of protests across the country for the safeguard of its Single Citizenship feature mostly spearheaded by literate sects including lawmakers is, somehow, against a case of such discriminatory and divisive power play.
The constitution of India is accredited as the world bulkiest and longest written constitution as it is the supreme law of all people from the vast diversity of faith, ritual, culture and language in India. Thus India becomes the largest democratic country in the earth. This is not a granted fame. Rather, it’s the identity of India and its heritage which is still preserved in the shield of the Indian constitution. Every civilian body of the country is responsible to defend this popularity of pure heritage. Any short jab can harm and damage it. They should stand proclaiming ‘We, the people of India…’ and imparting the spirit of consistency for the heart-cost constitution.
Government is by the people and for the people. People’s will is the general will of the nation. The value of Satyagrah is one of the principal lessons of Mahatma Gandhi – father of the nation. Silencing before asatya is the ethical and moral sin of all Indian nationals. In this count, recent agitations ranging from CAA, against Love Jihad and Farmers’ protests are not merely disagreement; rather these are voices for the sake of the country. Changes are not denied; however ensuing consequences are alarmed and fore-focused. Policies, in regard to changing circumstances, is to be modified but, in a thoughtful and productive way that a group or a community is not effected with disadvantages because of some ‘mistakes’. Then the crowd-puller call of ‘for all’ becomes in the true sense. Yet, the general will is not considered and everything is passed and allowed. Then it becomes ‘rewriting’ the constitution; not safeguarding.