Monday, July 22, 2024

Revitalizing India’s Constitution: Is Republic 2.0 the Way Forward?

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The recent introduction of three new laws by the BJP government has ignited a fiery discussion around the need to rewrite India’s constitution. This debate raises a crucial question: Is the existing constitution equipped to address the evolving needs of a transforming India? The sensitive subject of improvements in the constitution scares the Indian Opposition parties. However, the rising discontent among the masses reveals that it’s time for Bharat to consider a revamped version – Republic 2.0.

Understanding India’s Current Constitution

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Originating in 1949 and enforced on January 26, 1950, India’s constitution is the cornerstone of its identity on the global stage. Yet, as times change, so do the dynamics of society. The constitution, largely interpreted and upheld by the judiciary, prompts modern Indians to contemplate its relevance in shaping their identity today. With new challenges arising, it’s pertinent to question whether a fresh perspective is needed for India’s future.

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The British Footprints in the Constitution

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A significant aspect of the current constitution is its reflection of British colonial influence. Terms like ‘transfer of power’ subtly reinforce the British dominion over India. Moreover, nearly 80% of the constitution draws from the British’s 1936 Government of India Act. It represents a Western approach to the concept of religion and democracy. However, this perspective clashes with India’s indigenous ethos, necessitating court interpretation. This dichotomy between reviving India’s roots and adhering to Abrahamic-influenced laws creates a unique tension.

Influence of Abrahamic Thought on Indian Constituion

Certain terms in the constitution, like ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secularist,’ warrant revision. India’s democracy differs greatly from global standards. In view of its rich cultural, religious, and festive diversity, India should not ape the West or its laws. India’s vibrancy defies rigid black-and-white laws that originate from the Western concepts of Abrahamic religions. A revised constitution should mirror India as it stands today, free from British colonial impressions.

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Additionally, the constitution largely omits the concept of ‘Dharma,’ even though the majority of Indians identify with it. With approximately 80% of the population practicing Hinduism, the essence of Dharma should permeate the constitution, aligning with India’s unique cultural tapestry. Moreover, the concept of the mandir is limited in the constitution to a temple only. The notion of ‘mandir’ in Indian society extends beyond religion. It encompasses places of learning, art, justice, and more.

Contrarily, the constitution’s interpretation often confines ‘mandir’ to religious spaces for worship. Such limitations obstruct the holistic cultural interpretation of ‘mandir’ and hinder the practice of Sanatan Dharma.

Judiciary’s Growing Influence

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The constitution’s multiple interpretations of special acts, article 370, and more have occasionally obstructed the government’s path. The judiciary’s extensive power to review government decisions can inadvertently challenge the authority of the elected government, indirectly altering the balance of power.

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The repeated unwarranted suppression of the government by the Judiciary through stays or appeals has angered the Indian population. The role of the judiciary should be restricted to ensuring the implementation of the Constitution. It should not be used as a tool to hinder ruling governments. It should also not participate in the opposition parties to criticize the government where not required.

Debating the Need for Republic 2.0

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Critics argue that revising the Constitution is unconstitutional. However, the Constitution was crafted by the people and for the people. A majority consensus can certainly demand changes or a complete overhaul, as the Constitution isn’t a divine scripture filled with divine commandments or hadiths. This version of the constitution is a reflection of the people’s will at India’s Independence. Therefore, as India evolves into a global power, the constitution must also evolve in tandem with the nation.

Opponents claim that amending the constitution disrespects Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who is considered its architect. Firstly, the constitutional draft committee was headed by Dr. Ambedjar, but his role was limited to correcting contrast and redundancy. Moreover, Dr. Ambedkar himself expressed dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the constitution and suggested a fresh start. In 1963, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar publicly expressed his wish to burn the current version of the Constitution. Thus, abject followers of his views must also honor his notion to revise the constitution that aligns with a new vision of India.

Conclusion

Just as societies evolve, so must constitutions. France, for example, stands at Republic 5.0, showcasing adaptation to changing times. India’s journey towards Republic 2.0 should not be viewed as a threat to any community or ideology. Moreover, it must not be looked at as disrespect to the Nehru-Gandhi legacy. It should be celebrated as an opportunity to infuse renewed vigor and relevance into the core of Indian democracy. Drafting Indian Republic 2.0 isn’t about erasing history but about inviting innovation and progress into the constitution. By embracing intelligent changes, India ensures its constitution remains a living, breathing document that echoes the aspirations of each generation. This move heralds a brighter, more prosperous, and progressive future for India.

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