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Essay on “Restructuring of Indian Constitution” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Restructuring of Indian Constitution

A Constitution is generally defined as a set of documented or non-documented justifiable national frame for securing the operations of the Sovereign State in accordance with law. The Constitution of our country is the fundamental and supreme law of the land which forms the bedrock of all other laws in our country. It represents the vision and values as envisaged by its makers and is based on the social, political and economic ethos as well as the faith and aspirations of the people. It lays down the principles and practices which are considered fundamental in the governance of a sovereign State. It is its basic structure which defines the powers of the State and its organs, as well as the rights and duties of the citizens.

The present day Indian Constitution is unique in the sense that it differs from all the other administrative works. The Constitution of India was enacted by a Constituent Assembly set up under the Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946. It is the brain work of nearly 389 members. But the most unfortunate thing of Indian Constitution is that it is not Indian because the framers of our Constitution borrowed different ideologies from various corners of the world, thus making it a bag of borrowings. The main sources of Indian Constitution include the Government of India Act, 1935 and the British, American, Canadian and Irish Constitutions. Thus, it is only a compilation of different ‘isms’ that were prevalent at the time of drafting of the Constitution. Now these borrowed ideologies have become incompatible with the Indian situations. However, great may be the Founding Fathers of our Constitution, it is a historical fact that they miserably failed to give an ‘Indian face’ to it.

The comparative study of the political theory also indicates that the socio-economic conditions at the time of drafting the Constitution were totally different from the present conditions. The Post-Second World War conditions influenced the arrangement of priorities in our Constitution. Above all, at that time there was much political stability and the entire Indian political scenario was dominated by a single party, namely The Indian National Congress. Most of the framers of our Constitution Were Congressmen. Hence, much of the ideology of the Congress percolated into our Constitution, making it a glorified manifesto of the Congress Party. Due to the changed socio-economic and political conditions, our present Constitution became ineffective and often it failed to evolve lasting solutions to the emerging problems, the framers of the Constitution might not have even thought of the problems that are plaguing the present day society.

First of all, Article 356 of the Constitution is the one provision, which has been used or abused more than 100 times to dismiss the duly-elected State Governments by the Centre. It is a matter of record that not once did the Central Government dismisses the Government of a State where its own party was in power. In 1997 and 1998, President of India, Mr. K.R. Narayanan, twice rejected the recommendations of the Union Cabinets, though of different parties, relating to imposition of Article 356 in the States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and, on both the occasions, the Centre wanted to dismiss a State Government of an Opposition party. Therefore, the general opinion in the country is that Article 356 needs to be thoroughly amended or repealed altogether.

Second, the office of the State Governor is a very prestigious one like the office of the President of India. This office has fallen in the murky water of politics and has served only to lower its dignity in the eyes of the people. The Governors are appointed by the President on the advice of Central Government, which has repeatedly abused this provision to appoint its own sycophants who are always eager to dance to the tune of the Central Government, thus making a mockery of our federal democratic polity. Majority of the Governors in India have almost always behaved more as agents of the Central Government rather than the heads of democratic State Governments in a federal set-up. The reason for this is that they have not reached these prestigious seats of power and pelf because of any merit, but because of their political connections with the rulers at the Centre. Therefore, the general opinion in the country is that this system of appointment of Governors should be changed and the Governor should be elected by a procedure similar to the one followed for the election of the President of India. Such an amendment will go a long way in restoring the credibility of the State Governors in the eyes of the people. The Governors should also be debarred from occupying any ministerial berth or public office in the Central or State Government after relinquishing their gubernatorial assignment. Such a step will go a long way in ensuring the impartiality and objectivity on the part of Governor in dealing with the political affairs of the State.

Yet another important problem relates to defections on the part of the MPs and MLAs, which is popularly known as the defection menace. The Anti-Defection Law as per the Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985, was introduced by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to check this menace. But, in actual practice it turned out to be a remedy worse than the disease itself. This law provides that if a member resigns from the political party on the ticket of which he had been elected, he shall cease to be a Member of Parliament or the State Assembly concerned. But if the same member engineers a split by weaning away one-third members of his parent party, then the anti-defection law does not affect him or compel him to resign. Similarly, if two-thirds of the members of the parent party merge with any other party, then also the anti-defection law does not apply to their mass defection. The need of the hour is that the Anti-Defection Law should be amended in such a way that if an MP or MLA elected on the ticket of any particular party wants to leave his parent party, he must first resign from his membership and should then seek re-election on the ticket of the party which he now intends to join. Such an amendment will discourage those greedy and power hungry legislators who leave their parent party to join the ruling party and are rewarded with a ministerial berth and crores of rupees in cash or kind, for staging defection and thus disturbing the party position in the House concerned. The infamous JMM case shows to what extent the value and ethos of our political leaders have fallen and how low they can swoop to grab and retain power or to pocket big money by questionable means. There must be some legal and constitutional remedy against such malpractices.

There is also an urgent need to ensure that the politicians against whom criminal cases are pending in court, who have been charge-sheeted and who have criminal antecedents, should be debarred from contesting elections so as to check the infiltration of such elements into active politics. There is also an urgent need for a code of conduct for MPs and MLAs being enacted in order to prevent repetition of ugly scenes which sometimes the Hon’ble Members themselves create by shouting, hurling abuses at one another and sometimes even coming to blows on the floor of the House. The happenings inside the UP Assembly in 1997, when many members and senior Ministers sustained injuries during such an incident, are still fresh in the public mind. It is also necessary that the basic features of the Constitution are properly defined so as to remove any confusion from the public mind.

The end of one-party dominant polity in the country has resulted in the advent of an era of the coalition governments at the Centre. To start with, a coalition government is formed by a number of small and not-so-small parties, supported by a big party from outside with a promise of unconditional support. Then suddenly some real or imaginary grievance is picked up by the supporting party and the issue is dramatically converted into a prestige point, the unconditional support is unconditionally withdrawn, throwing the polity out of the gear and resulting in a mid-term poll. Again a hung Parliament is constituted and the same old game starts afresh. Little wonder, not a single coalition government has ever been able to complete its full tenure of five years. It is felt that if a provision is made to the effect that the largest single party in the House shall be invited to form the government even though it does not enjoy a clear-cut majority, and shall be allowed to run uninterrupted for one full term of five years, it may be able to put an end to the mockery which our politicians have made of the Indian democracy.

Another and basic flaw in the Constitution is that it does not ensure a truly representative government anywhere in the country. The electoral arithmetic’s are such that in certain conditions a party having barely 18-20% popular support can come to rule the country. Reservations, which were introduced for 10 years, have created a vested interest and a solid vote bank. No Prime Minister in the foreseeable future is likely to muster the courage to abolish caste-based reservations. Different Prime Ministers have tried to neutralise it by introducing further reservations and creating alternative vote banks. Vishwanath Pratap Singh succeeded in introducing 27 per cent reservations for Other Backward Classes, but successive governments have so far failed to introduce 33 per cent reservations for women.

To overcome these difficulties, many politicians have suggested a change over to the Presidential System. But this proposal is fraught with serious danger. India is not a truly homogeneous country. In the Presidential System of Government, the directly-elected President will invariably come from the Hindi belt, and will not necessarily enjoy the confidence and goodwill of all regions and sections of the country. It may lead to separatist and divisive tendencies. But the problems and shortcomings of the present Constitution are now clear and obvious. There is, therefore, urgent need to amend the Constitution in the light of the experience of the last five decades, and to provide for some solution to the bottlenecks. There is need to ensure that the successful candidates secure at least 50 per cent of the votes polled. There is also need to vest the Centre with some power to deal with a resurgent State. And above all, there is need to provide for the President’s Rule at the Centre if the Central Government cannot be run according to the Constitution. And to crown it all, there is the need to ensure that the President or the Prime Minister does not become a dictator or a tyrant.

A former President has, observed that the time is ripe for enlightened public opinion in the maintenance of our national life, to consider the steady and cumulative deterioration of standards in public life and public morality in all aspects and review the provisions of the Constitution in the light of our experience of working it over the last five decades. The National Agenda for Governance of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government at the Centre also provides for the appointment of a Commission to review the Constitution in the light of 50 years’ experience. As such a reappraisal of the Constitution is not only fully justified, but is urgently called for. The sooner it is done, the better it will be for the country and its teeming millions.

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