Chapter 10 The Philosophy of the Constitution
The following are certain laws. Are they connected with any value? If yes, then what is the underlying value? Give reasons.
(a) Both daughters and sons will have share in the family property.
(b) There will be different slabs of sales tax on different consumer items.
(c) Religious instructions will not be given in any government school.
(d) There shall be no begar or forced labour.
(a) It is connected with the value of ‘social justice’ under the right to equality, no one can be discriminated on the ground of colour, race, religion or sex, etc.
(b) It is based on the principle of utility of different items only, it comes under economic justice.
(c) It is concerned with the secularism.
(d) It also refers to social justice, not to be discriminated on any grounds except capability.
Which of the options given below cannot be used to complete the following statement? Democratic countries need a constitution to:
(i) Check the power of the government.
(ii) Protect minorities from majority.
(iii) Bring independence from colonial rule.
(iv) Ensure that a long-term vision is not lost by momentary passions.
(v) Bring social change in peaceful manner.
(iii) Bring independence from colonial rule.
The following are different positions about reading and understanding Constituent Assembly debates.
(i) Which of these statements argues that Constituent Assembly debates are relevant even today? Which statement says that they are not relevant?
(ii) With which of these positions do you agree and why?
- Common people are too busy in earning livelihood and meeting different pressures of life. They can’t understand the legal language of these debates.
- The conditions and challenges today are different from the time when the Constitution was made. To read the ideas of Constitution makers and use them for our new times is trying to bring past in the present
- Our ways of understanding the world and the present challenges have not changed totally. Constituent Assembly debates can provide us reasons why certain practices are important. In a period when constitutional practices are being challenged, not knowing the reasons can destroy them.
(i) This statement shows relevancy today.
This statement is not relevant today.
It states that these are relevant even today.
(ii) Yes, I agree because it is necessary to understand and interpret the variousarticles which contain a lot of legal terms, not to be easily comprehended.
Yes, again I agree because the constitution has been amended more than 100 times till date.
Yes, I agree with this position also because the most important challenges have not been changed still.
Explain the difference between the Indian Constitution and western ideas in the light of
(a) Understanding of secularism.
(b) Articles 370 and 371.
(c) Affirmative action.
(d) Universal adult franchise.
(a) Understanding of secularism:
- The western ideas of secular states treat religion as a private matter which is not given either public or official recognition.
- In India, all religions are given equal status to be honoured and the state could also help the religious communities in the form of educational aid to institutions run by them.
(b) Article 370 and 371:
- Unlike the constitutional symmetry of American federalism, Indian federalism has been constitutionally asymmetric.
- The accession of Jammu and Kashmir was based on the commitment to safeguard its autonomy, which is governed by its own constitution under Article 370.
- The privileges of special status were accorded to the North-Eastern states under Article 371(A).
(c) Affirmative action:
- In reference of America, where the constitution was written in 18th century, finds itself unable to be accommodated with the values and standard of 21st century.
- Whereas the constitution makers of India structured the constitution in such a manner to be amended as per needs and aspirations of society without violating its basic structure.
- Constitution of India is democratic, liberal, secular and federal, etc. to maintain unity and integrity of India.
(d) Universal adult franchise:
In the western democracies the right to vote has been recently extended to women, but India exercises this from the very beginning without any discrimination.
Which of the following principles of secularism are adopted in the Constitution of India?
(a) that state will have nothing to do with religion
(b) that state will have close relation with religion
(c) that state can discriminate among religions
(d) that state will recognize rights of religious groups
(e) that state will have limited powers to intervene in affairs of religions
(a) that state will have nothing to do with religion
(d) that state will recognize rights of religious groups
(e) that state will have limited powers to intervene in affairs of religions Q6. Match the
Match the following:
(a) Freedom to criticize treatment of widows
1. Substantive achievement
(b) Taking decisions in the constituent assembly on the basis of reason, not self interest
2. Procedural achievement
(c) Accepting importance of community in an individual’s life
3. Neglect of gender justice
(d) Article 370 and 371
4. Liberal individualism
(e) Unequal rights to women regarding family property and children
5. Attention to requirements of a particular region
This discussion was taking place in a class. Read the various arguments and state which of these do you agree with and why.
Jayesh: I still think that our Constitution is only a borrowed document.
Saba: Do you mean to sav that there is nothing Indian in it? But is there such a thing as Indian and western in the case of values and ideas? Take equality between men and women. What is western about it? And even if it is, should we reject it only because it is western?
Jayesh: What I mean is that after fighting for independence from the British, did we not adopt their system of parliamentary government?
Neha: You forget that when we fought the British, we were not against the British as such, we were against the principle of colonialism. That has nothing to do with adopting a system of government that we wanted, wherever it came from.
- Jayesh senses that there is nothing original in the Constitution of India because many provisions have been borrowed from the Constitution of other countries or from Government of India Act, 1935.
- Saba argues that there are similarity in the case of values and ideas and no difference is there on equality of men and women. Hence it is not the reason to reject it.
- Again Jayesh argued not to follow the British policies after independence.
- Neha countered him that our national movement was not against the British, but it was against the principle of colonialism. Hence, we may adopt the goodness of any entity if it suits us.Conclusion-It may be concluded that there is nothing wrong in borrowing the provisions from other countries as per suitability.
Why is it said that the making of the Indian Constitution was unrepresentative? Does that make the Constitution unrepresentative? Give reasons for your answer.
- The Constitution of India was framed in November 1946 through indirect election of its members by provincial legislatures under the provisions of Cabinet Mission Plan 1946.
- The Assembly consisted of 389 members out of which 292 were to be elected from the provinces, 93 were to be nominated from princely states and four members were to be nominated from Chief Commissioner’s areas.
- Each provincial Assembly elected its own members through single transferable vote system.
- Due to declaration of partition in June 1947 under Mount batten Plan, this membership reduced to 299 and finally 28 4 members signed on the constitution on 26 November, 1949.
- On August 15, 1947, the Constituent Assembly functioned as a sovereign entity but it is considered unrepresentative because its members were chosen by restricted franchise in place of universal suffrage.
- But Constituent Assembly included the members from each and every section of society to be represented and on a thorough reading, we may find that no section is untouched on the various issues and opinions.
One of the limitations of the Constitution of India is that it does not adequately attend to gender justice. What evidence can you give to substantiate this charge? If you were writing the Constitution today, what provisions would you recommend for remedying this limitation?
On the social conditions, there may be very controversial matters which may need careful revision:
- Most important issue is gender justice, particularly within the family.
- Women enjoy unequal rights on property inheritance and children.
- Equal pay for equal work for both men and women has been inserted in the directive principles in place of Fundamental Rights.
- The empowerment of women.
- To make provisions for inheritance of property in favour of women on equal basis. (Hi) To make provisions for reservations of seats.
Do you agree with the statement that “it is not clear why in a poor developing country, certain basic socio-economic rights were relegated to the section on Directive Principles rather than made an integral feature of our Fundamental Rights”? Give reasons for your answer. What do you think are the possible reasons for putting socio-economic rights in the section on Directive Principles?
Directive Principles of state policy focus on the need of an egalitarian society:
- These principles are complementary to fundamental rights because fundamental rights ensure the political democracy while these principles aim at social-economic democracy.
- Fundamental rights are justiciable or protected by law where directive principles are moral values supposed to be followed by the government.
- Hence, in a poor country, certain basic social-economic rights were inserted in directive principles rather than making it in the fundamental rights.
- Our country was so poor at that time, when it was not possible to give much pressure on the states for socio-economic moral values.
- Under Article 37 of Constitution, “It shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws”.
- If any government overlooks these, it will lose confidence of people and cannot remain in power.
Extra Questions Solved
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Which rights are considered as a part of individual freedom?
- Right to life
- Equal access to public places
- Freedom of speech and expressions
- Freedom of religion and faith
What are the main two streams of liberalism of India?
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy emphasized on individual rights especially for women.
- Swami Vivekanand emphasized on social justice.
What is ‘Secularism’?
Secularism means state honours all the religions on equal basis
What is meant by ‘mutual exclusion’ in secularism?
Mutual exclusion in secularism means that religion and state must be strictly separated.
Why do we need constitution?
- To provide a framework, within which the government has to work.
- It demarcates between the powers of different organs of government to minimise the disputes.
- It controls the misuse of power by government.
- To safeguard Fundamental Rights of citizens.
Write the main features of Constitution of India.
- It establishes a sovereign, democratic, republic in India.
- It establishes a parliamentary form of government (Bi-cameral legislatures).
- It provides fundamental rights and fundamental duties of the citizens.
- It establishes a secular state.
‘India is a union of states’. Justify the statement.
India is a union of states in the following sense:
- Through the various lists union, state and concurrent lists, the powers have been distributed between the central and state government.
- The Constitution of India is a written document consisting the details concerning the union government and state government.
Mention four ideals to be embodied in the preamble of constitution.
- Every citizen of India will have social, political and economic justice.
- Every citizen will have the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.
- Every citizen will be provided equality of status and opportunity.
- Fraternity to assure dignity of the individual and integrity of the nation.
Short Answer Type Questions
Is India a secular state? Why do we need a secular country in modern times?
Yes, India is a secular state because:
- India has no religion of its own.
- Under Article 25 to 28, the right to freedom of religion has been granted to all the persons residing in India.
- All persons in India are equally free to progress, practicise or propagate the religion of their own choices.
Secular state is must in modern times because:
- It opposes to intra-religious domination.
- To value peace, religion and state must be kept separate.
- It promotes freedom within religions.
How can we say that the Constitution of India pays equal respect to different communities?
Every community wants to dominate the other community if they are not given an equal relationship by the state:
- It was a great challenge before the constitution-makers to foster a sense of equal respect in the conditions of hierarchy or intense rivalry.
- India is a land of multiple cultural communities to ensure community-based right to be mandatory.
- Hence, fundamental rights of religious communities to establish and run their own educational institutions as well as to receive money from the government for the same.
Mention some unique feature of Constitution of India.
- It is the written and lengthiest one to have 395 Articles and 12 schedules.
- It is federal in form but unitary in spirit.
- Constitution of India has a provision of six fundamental rights to ensure political democracy.
- It has provisions for directive principles of state policy also to ensure socio-economic justice.
- It is a blend of flexibility and rigidity both to be amended from time to time.
- By 42nd amendment 10 fundamental duties have also been inserted.
Passage Based Questions
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 227) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:
The liberalism of the Indian Constitution differs from this version in two ways. First, it was always linked to social justice. The best example of this is the provision for reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Constitution. The makers of the Constitution believed that the mere granting of the right to equality was not enough to overcome age-old injustices suffered by these groups or to give real meaning to their right to vote. Special constitutional measures were required to advance their interests. Therefore, the constitution-makers provided a number of special measures to protect the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes such as the reservation of seats in legislatures. The Constitution also made it possible for the government to reserve public sector jobs for these groups.
1. How is the liberalism of the Indian Constitution differed?
2. Who has been given the reservation by the Constitution?
3. What other provision was also made for these groups to protect their interests?
1. Because it is linked to social justice.
2. The SC’s and ST’s.
3. To reserve public sector jobs for these groups.
Read the passage (NCERT Textbook, page 226) given below carefully and answer the questions that follow:
It is not surprising therefore that freedom of expression is an integral part of the Indian Constitution. So is the freedom from arbitrary arrest. After all, the infamous Rowlatt Act, which the national movement opposed so vehemently, sought to deny this basic freedom. These and other individual freedoms such as freedom of conscience are part of the liberal ideology. On this basis, we can say that the Indian Constitution has a pretty strong liberal character. In the chapter on fundamental rights we have already seen how the Constitution values individual freedom. It might be recalled that for over forty years before the adoption of the Constitution, every single resolution, scheme, bill and report of the Indian National Congress mentioned individual rights, not just in passing but as a non-negotiable value.
1. What is an integral part of constitution?
2. Which act denied the freedom of expression?
3. Which were the non-negotiable values as per Indian national congress?
1. Freedom of Expression.
2. The Rowlatt Act (1919)
3. Individual rights only.
Long Answer Type Questions
Define duty. What are the fundamental duties given in the Constitution of India?
Duty is a positive or negative work that one is assigned to do either one likes or not. Hence 10 fundamental duties have been inserted in the Constitution of India:
- To obtain by the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, i.e. National Flag and National Anthem.
- To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired national struggle for freedom. To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of nation.
- To defend the country and national service to be rendered if required.
- To promote harmony and the spirit of brotherhood and to renounce practices derogatory to women.
- To value and preserve the rich heritage of India.
- To protect and improve the natural environment and have compassion for living creatures.
- To develop scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform.
- To safeguard public property and to adjure violence.
- To strive towards excellence to rise the nation at the constant highest level of achievements.
1. Read the cartoon ( Textbook, page 225) given below and answer the questions that follow:
1. What does the cartoon represent?
2. Who is playing the role of ‘Umpire’?
3. Why democracy has been referred to as umpire?
1. Cartoon represents the different groups and sections playing together.
2. Democracy is playing the role of ‘Umpire’.
3. Democracy refers to the involvement of people. Hence everyone has been given the due representation in the Constitution to avoid conflicts together.