Our Constitution: A sacred document

It is the cornerstone of our democracy. For the smooth functioning of the parliamentary system, all organs of the State must work within the Constitution’s ambit
As we celebrate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, it is time for us to introspect on how we can contribute to the process of nation-building so that our nation can be a major player in the global economy with an inclusive and egalitarian society. I have no doubt that the Constitution of India will be our guide, friend and philosopher in this task. (HT PHOTO)
As we celebrate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, it is time for us to introspect on how we can contribute to the process of nation-building so that our nation can be a major player in the global economy with an inclusive and egalitarian society. I have no doubt that the Constitution of India will be our guide, friend and philosopher in this task. (HT PHOTO)
Published on Nov 25, 2021 08:41 PM IST
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ByOm Birla

India is the largest functioning democracy in the world by size; its pluralistic character and democratic values have stood the test of time. Democratic traditions and tenets have remained an integral part of the glorious legacy of Indian civilisation. The virtues of equality, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence have been an intrinsic part of our society for centuries. Democracy is deeply rooted in our socio-political conscience.

Our freedom struggle was a mass movement based on the doctrines of truth and non-violence. Our freedom fighters dreamt of a free and prosperous India and an inclusive society based on social and economic justice. After a long-drawn-out struggle, we gained Independence and their collective vision guided us. Post-Independence, when our founding fathers framed the Constitution, they incorporated in it the cardinal values of liberty, equality, fraternity, and justice. Given the size and diversity of the country, it was an enormous task to frame the sacred document, which would guide the nation on the path of unity and prosperity while preserving its democratic framework. The drafters had three primary goals: Safeguarding the unity and integrity of the nation; establishing the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity among the people; and laying the groundwork for institutions focused on paving the way for economic and social equality. With their prudence, wisdom, conviction and deep association with the people, our founding fathers were not only successful in drafting a modern and enlightened contract between the State and its citizens but bequeathed us a Constitution, which, while retaining an inviolable core, is at the same time flexible enough to adjust to the requirements of changing times.

We, as a nation, have faced numerous challenges of a diverse nature, but our Constitution has helped us to successfully surmount these. It not only establishes the rule of law in the country, but also serves to distribute powers between the Union and the states, strengthens democratic Institutions, and empowers the most vulnerable and marginalised. The success of India’s parliamentary democracy rests on the robust edifice and institutional framework that the Constitution lays down. November 26 holds a special significance for us as a nation, as this was the day in 1949 on which our Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution, running into 90,000 words. In 2015, on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, chairman of the Drafting Committee of Constitution, the Union Government declared November 26 as Samvidhan Divas or Constitution Day.

The most distinctive feature of the Constitution is its timeless ideals enshrined in a resilient framework. It is not merely an intangible ideal, but a living document. The Indian Constitution has enabled us to establish social, economic democracy and political democracy. It has been the most powerful instrument of social and economic change. Our Constitution has been responding to the changing hopes, aspirations and circumstances, always evolving with time.

Our parliamentary democracy has grown from strength to strength in the past 72 years. As we look back at our journey spanning seven decades, we feel proud for not only having upheld the Constitution, but also for having revitalised and strengthened its democratic tenor. People have always been at the centre of our constitutional, democratic polity and India is seen as a shining example of a vibrant and pluralistic culture flourishing in an ever-evolving parliamentary system. Our governance is focused on building an inclusive and prosperous State as envisaged in the preamble to the Constitution, an approach that has helped empower common people as confident citizens of a proud nation, not just passive observers or mere beneficiaries.

It goes to the credit of our constitutional governance structure and the credibility that it enjoys that after each of the 17 general elections and scores of state elections, the transition of power has always been smooth and seamless. Each election has only served to further strengthen our democracy and reinforced people’s faith in our Constitution.

Our Constitution lays down the road map for the process of nation-building, but it is up to us as citizens to decide the pace. It is up to us to show our true commitment to our constitutional values by contributing to the huge endeavours of governments to reach the benefits of social, economic and political development to those at the lowest rung of the society. Each of us will have to understand our Charter of Duties laid down in the Constitution, which provides for a unique balance between rights and duties. After 75 years of Independence, it is time to reaffirm our commitment to our fundamental duties.

As we celebrate “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, it is time for us to introspect on how we can contribute to the process of nation-building so that our nation can be a major player in the global economy with an inclusive and egalitarian society. I have no doubt that the Constitution of India will be our guide, friend and philosopher in this task.

Our Constitution is a sacred document and everyone should be fully committed to its ideals. It imposes a sacred duty upon all the organs of State to be sensitive to the hopes and aspirations of the citizen. For the smooth functioning of our parliamentary system, it is important for each of the three organs of the State — the judiciary, legislature and executive — to work within the ambit of the constitutional mandate without infringing on each other’s powers and in close coordination with, and due respect for the others.

On the sacrosanct occasion of “Samvidhan Divas”, let us recommit ourselves to the goals of our freedom movement and the ideals, dreams and visions of our founding fathers and resolve to fulfill them.

Om Birla is Speaker, Lok Sabha

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Monday, November 29, 2021