Every year at this time, I share my deepest personal views about that most revered of documents – the Constitution of India. To my understanding, the Constitution is the equivalent of the ‘niyat’ of a devout Muslim before prayer – the purest ‘intention’ from the heart. It articulates the purest intentions of ‘We, the People’ to build a nation which cherishes the values of liberty, equality and fraternity, and endeavours to establish the basic principles of good governance – efficiency, effectiveness, subsidiarity, participation, equity, inclusion, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation and most importantly, the rule of law.
That is why the Constitution has created the following institutions/bodies to enable the delivery of good governance:
We should bear in mind that every successive parliament, assembly and government in India has taken an oath to abide by this Constitution, and consequently, every new statutory body since Independence has been created by these law-makers under the appropriate enactment, and within the spirit and framework of the Constitution of India, with necessary checks and balances from the judiciary.
The major non-constitutional bodies in India are:
So why do I say that Republic Day 2019 is pivotal for India’s Constitution? Because it is the first time since the formulation of the Constitution in 1949-50 that there are questions being raised about its relevance, coverage, ideals and mechanisms. The credibility of all the institutions either created within the Constitution or within its framework, is being systematically undermined by the Central and State Governments who seem to have forgotten their own oaths of office.
The ball is now in the court of the people of India. Who will they empower in the next election? Will they rise as one to protect this cherished aspiration of a billion people? Or will they drop all pretence of being true to its ideals and lead the country into an amoral vacuum?