Bharat for a new constitution of ‘New India..
-Chandra Prakash Jha।।
Even before the Constituent Assembly of Independent India was constituted and it discussed, debated upon , formulated and finally passed draft of the Constitution of India that was adopted and came into full force with effect from 26 January 1950 , the country’s citizens had certain rights, including legal ones. Of them, the most enjoyed by the citizens, even while under rule of the one or the other monarch and Colonial Rule of the British Constitutional monarchy till 15 August 1947 , are rights termed as Natural Rights.
These natural rights are not much talked about as they are naturally owned by none but belong to all , cutting across geographies , economies , culture , languages , religions , castes, race , skin colour, physical heights and other contours , age and everything that may distinguish living beings on the entire planet called , the Earth , if not the Universe.
Science tell us that the Earth is comparatively a minute part of the Universe of one of the many Galaxies. The Earth, however, isn’t blessed with its own source of Natural Light. Those on this globe do get natural light on this planet from its own Solar System. Certain geographies, like India, do get abundant solar light others don’t. People of the geographies not blessed with abundant Solar Energy go to sea beaches by spending some money.However, no State should appropriate solar light to sell it like of which Governments, including that of India, sell and or auction scarcely available Spectrum to Telecom Companies.
Constitution of India is a bit vague , naturally ,on citizens natural rights. However, Supreme Court of India and some High Courts also have given verdicts , rulings and observations in the 2G / 3G Scams-related matters that echoes need to defend the citizen’s natural rights.
There is need to incorporate properly natural rights in the Constitution of India by bringing out a specific Constitutional Amendment to fill the obvious gaps in it in view of human kinds technological advancements.
The Constitution of India, however, is abundantly clear about the Fundamental Rights , which are essentially umbilical cord between the State and its citizens. These Fundamental Rights are included from Article 12 to Article 35 in Part-III of the Constitution of India.No government (executive) and no legislature may come in between the State and its citizens , so far as these Fundamental Rights are concerned.
During internal emergency, proclaimed on 25 June 1975 by the Indira Gandhi Government , 42nd Constitutional Amendment (1976 ) was prepared by the executive and passed by legislature , curtailing certain fundamental rights and reducing powers of the Apex Court and High Courts to pronounce upon the constitutional validity of laws, giving sweeping powers to the Prime Minister Office and unrestrained powers to the Parliament to any parts of the Constitution , without judicial review.
After the Internal Emergency was lifted on 21 March 1977 and the Lok Sabha elections of the same year in which the winner Janata Party had made a poll promise in its election manifesto to ‘ restore the Constitution to the condition it was in before the Emergency ‘ , the Morarji Desai Government brought out two Constitution Amendment , the 43rd and the 44rth Amendment , to restore the pre-1976 position to some extent.
The Supreme Court of India , however , in its judgement on 31 July 1980 declared unconstitutional two provisions of the 42nd Amendment that prevented judicial review on ‘ any ground of any Constitution Amendment ’.The message from this judicial review of the 42nd Constitution Amendment was clear and loud that if the executive and legislature wishes to curtail fundamental rights of its citizens they may have to opt for a new constitution and not just a Constitutional Amendment Act. Citizens do have many Constitutional Rights as well .
There is reportedly some murmuring in the ruling regime to do away with the current constitution and enforce an entirely new constitution abandoning the founding principles of the ‘ Sovereign, Secular , Socialist , Republic ‘ of India i.e. Bharat ‘ , as enshrined in the Preamble of its constitution.
The said murmuring in the current ruling regime is about wish to prepare and promulgate a new constitution for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s , arguably ‘ delusions of grandeur ‘ to establish what he terms ‘ New India’.
The issue is how a new constitution can be formulated and proclaimed? Will it be by simple and easy option for the Modi Government to try to convert the present parliament into a Constituent Assembly , as this regime enjoys two-thirds of majority in the lower house ( Lok Sabha ) of the Parliament and may manage things even in the upper house ( Rajya Sabha ) in which it hasn’t majority , as of now. Or will the Modi regime need to go for a Pan-India referendum to set up a constitutionally valid new Constitution Assembly?
A committee was set up under Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Government , apparently to look into these questions. Nothing came out in substance from that committee. Under the Modi Government , fresh attempts are reportedly afoot to set up such an new committee under the chairmanship of the RSS -aligned ideologue K N Govindacharya .
We must not forget India is signatory to the United Nations Declarations of Universal Human Rights’ , which for many in this global world are ‘ Mother of all the rights’. Adopted on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations , this Universal Declaration of Human Rights are aimed to facilitate all human beings basic rights and fundamental freedoms.
It’s pertinent to point out that in 1998, when the entire world was commemorating the 50th anniversary of declaration of Universal Human Rights , in Uttar Pradesh , then Chief Minister Kalyan Singh ( till recently Rajasthan Governor ) said on record in the State Vidhan Sabha that he has ordered the police to ‘ liquidate’ all the criminals. The then Speaker of the House Keshari Nath Tripathi (himself an advocate and now West Bengal Governor ) didn’t see it fit to expunge this declaration of Kalyan Singh.
Under the Constitution, the executive and even the legislature don’t have powers to encroach upon the judiciary’s powers to order to end life of any citizen , through due process of law. The wider meaning and far reaching consequences of the Kalyan Singh declaration wasn’t reported widely .
However, challenging it’s legal validity a Public Interest Litigation was filed before the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court. The PIL, attached a true copy of the written proceedings of the house and also notes of a journalist of a news agency, which were said to be deemed material evidences of the executive’s efforts to take away Fundamental Rights of the Citizens of India (Right to Life). Honorable High Court bench, however, disposed the PIL and observed that Kalyan Singh may not be knowing exactly what the word liquidation connotes.
• The author, better known as CP in media and socio-political circles, is a JNUIte journalist of about four decades experiences. He has authored some books on elections, economy, history & L
literature. He now lives in his village and may be contacted at [email protected]