VALUES ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION AND CONSTITUTIONAL ASPIRATIONS OF ‘WE THE PEOPLE’
The Constitution of India is the lengthiest and definitely one of the best constitutions in the world. The numerous Articles engraved in it see to it that, every possible measure is taken up by the State in making India an ideal welfare state. Each article just does not speak about what is to be done but also embodies within itself numerous values, philosophical thoughts, the experiences of the founding fathers, objectives, etc. The constitution was not formed in just a day. Various factors have been considered to make a single constitution for a country with huge diversity. But, is our constitution perfect- is the question that arises. Each article of the constitution along with values also carry the burden of aspirations of people to improve. This article focuses on the values of our constitution and also the aspirations which the people of the country have from the constitution.
VALUES ENSHRINED IN THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
Values in a day to day language means those which are necessary for an individual to exist as an individual. They are the means required to achieve ends. The constitution of India is not just a set of rules, laws and regulations which provide the foundation for governance but a book with values, philosophies and objectives. These values and objectives are found and enshrined in various articles, provisions of our constitution. Some of these values include fairness, justice, the importance of life with dignity, freedom, development, democracy etc.
- VALUE OF FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE
The value of fairness and justice is present in almost every article of the constitution. The main aim of the constitution framers was to ensure that the laws are framed in a fair manner and not arbitrary or unjust. Article 14 guarantees equality before the law and equal protection of laws. It prohibits discrimination and prohibits discriminatory laws and arbitrary administrative action. Right to a speedy trial, right to legal aid envisaged in article 39 A, the rights of the accused, protection against arrest under art 22, rights of the persons arrested all portray the value of fairness and justice. The natural justice principle has been incorporated in the constitution. The concept of natural justice include: That no one shall be a judge in his own cause; Right to be heard; No bias either arbitrarily or judicially. It was held in the case of Delhi transport corp v. Mazdoor Union that the constitution guarantees the right of hearing. The other articles include the constitutional remedies in article 32 i.e writ petition in the supreme court, 226 i.e writ petition in the high court and 227 i.e supervisory power of the high courts.
- REVERANCE OF LIFE WITH DIGNITY
If anybody wants to know what is the importance of living with dignity, they have to read article 21 of our constitution. It covers enormous areas within its ambit. The areas include right to life, right to health, right to privacy, right to livelihood, rights of a convict, right to a speedy trial, right to work, right to medical treatment, right to reputation, right to speedy justice, right against public hanging, right to pollution-free water, right to liberty, right to be defended by a lawyer. These areas show that life is not just breathing but to live with dignity and other basic amenities. The recent judgment in the Aruna Shanbogh paved a new way to decipher the meaning of the right to life by legalizing the passive euthanasia and treating it not as a violative of Article 21.
- VALUE OF DEVELOPMENT
A nation’s growth depends upon the growth of its citizens and each individual’s growth is directly proportional to their education. Article 21-A recognizes the Right to Education. The right of a child to free and compulsory education is one of the Fundamental Right. The word ‘Education’ here means safe and quality education without discrimination on economic, social and cultural backgrounds. Apart from Article 21-A, the Directive Principles of State Policy, specially Article 45 which says, that the state shall ensure to provide early childhood care and education for all children and 46 which says that, the State shall promote with special care, the educational and economic interests, of the weaker sections, particularly the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of the constitution direct the state to ensure that educational interests of all people, specially to the weaker sections are protected. The prohibition of traffic in human beings, forced labour and child labour envisaged in Article 23 and 24 of the constitution help in the development of an individual.
- VALUE OF INDEPENDENCE
For a country which has been under rule or control of external power for over 200 years with no identity of itself, it’s independence and freedom will be greatly respected and valued. Just a look at Article 19 of our constitution will explain how important the freedom of individuals was considered by the makers of our constitution. Article 19 includes right to freedom of speech, expression, right to form associations, right to move freely, right to residence and settle and right to assemble peacefully. Apart from Article 19, enormous freedom is granted to the citizens which include, right to vote, right to stand for elections, right to marry the person of your choice, right to criticize the government, right to employment, right to leisure, right to approach the Apex Court for violation of fundamental rights, right to information, right to privacy, right to the living wage, right and the list goes on.
For a diverse country, with the population consisting of different religions, different caste, creed opinions, beliefs etc it would have been impossible to exist with harmony without the presence of tolerance. The value of tolerance has been embedded in our society. The constitution of India has not failed in embedding this value in it. The addition of the term “SECULAR” in the preamble of the constitution by the 42nd amendment was a great step in treating tolerance a basic value which cannot be removed. The other articles where we can find the value of tolerance is from article 25 to 28 which deal with the right to religion. No single faith can be imposed on one another. Everyone shall be allowed to practice, profess and propagate their faith. There have been sections which have been marginalized from many years due to their caste and were left backwards in the society. Our constitution framers did not let this discrimination continue and have specially taken care of their rights in both the social and economic sphere. Article 15 and article 16 provide reservations for the sections who are backward socially and economically in educational institutions and employment sectors. The fundamental duties which are enshrined in our constitution namely article 51(a) and (h) emphasize on spreading harmony and brotherhood amongst the citizens which is very necessary for the smooth functioning and the stable running of any country.
- THE PREAMBLE
Apart from all the values enshrined above, the Preamble of the constitution of India also consists of a certain set of values. As it was held in the case of Pradeep Jain v. Union of India [ AIR 1984 SC 1420 ], the preamble of the constitution is framed with great care and deliberation so that it reflects the high purpose and noble objective of the constitution-makers. The values in the preamble include equality, fraternity, secular, social, republic, sovereign and democratic. These values form the basic structure of our constitution and cannot be amended easily. If ever they have to undergo an amendment, it is a very rigid process.
One of the Ministers of Singapore, who had visited our country on the Republic Day, rightly quoted that, “ At the time when the whole world seems to be more fractured, the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution are more important than ever.”
CONSTITUTIONAL ASPIRATIONS OF WE THE PEOPLE
The very phrase ” We The People”, mentioned in the preamble of our constitution, expresses the collective acceptance of the constitution by its citizens. The Indian Constitution is prepared in such a way that it aptly reflects the hopes, the desires, the requirements of the people to have a decent living in a state. Our External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, rightly quoted on our constitution that, “The Indian Constitution is more than just a set of articles and schedules. It represents the hopes and aspirations of the people, an ideal of the society that we are striving to be”. Indian Constitution is recognized worldwide for its vast recognition of its people’s needs. By a great percentage, the constitution has fulfilled the aspirations and expectations of its people. But with changing times, the requirements of the society also change and it expects more from its constitution. The constitutional aspirations of the people can be discussed under various heads: –
- ASPIRATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ECONOMIC GROWTH
Even before independence, the nation underlined it’s objective of economic development. It was one of the main cornerstones of the national movement. The resolution of the Karachi Congress (1931), clearly realized that if the exploitation of the masses had to be stopped, freedom must include economic freedom too. The presence of the word ‘Economic’ in the preamble of our constitution shows it’s importance. In order to achieve this aim of 10% growth in a decade that India aspires for there must be joint efforts from the government and the private sector. Various articles recognize the economic rights of the citizen. Article 19, which includes freedom of profession, Article 21, which includes the right to development, Article 39, Article 41, Article 43 uphold the aim of economic development. The Directive Principles of State Policy have played a huge role in fulfilling economic demands. The Father of Our Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, stated that the DPSP have a great value for they lay down economic democracy. Under the direction of the Planning Commission, the parliament and the state legislators have passed various acts to implement the ideals of economic justice. Some of these acts include the Trade Unions Act (1926), Payment of Gratuity Act(1972), Payment of Bonus Act(1965), Payment of Wages Act (1936). Recently some of the acts of the government were passed keeping in view the economic growth of the country. The 103rd amendment provides 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections. Transferring of money directly to the farmers account via the PM- KISAN SCHEME aids the farmers in receiving their payments duly and directly with any delay and the involvement of middlemen. With all the provisions of the constitution, there are still certain requirements or aspirations. These include the creation of employment which is the most sought after due to the COVID situation, pension, improvement in work conditions, job security. It was held in the case of State of Karnataka v.Ranganatha Reddy[ State of Karnataka v.Ranganatha Reddy AIR 1978 SC 215] that ” The task of the constitution is to distribute its resources, it’s goal is to undertake distribution as best to subserve the common good”. Hence the equal distribution of resources, wealth is the need of the hour.
- ASPIRATIONS WITH RESPECT TO SOCIAL GROWTH
Diverse people dwell in India. The concept of Unity in Diversity has failed to make a positive impact on certain aspects. There have been certain sections of the society who have been marginalized through the ages based on their sex, caste, religion. The main hopes from the constitution of the people are in the reduction of the social gap and granting of social rights. Social rights refer to those rights that protect the constitution to erase the social disparity among its people. Numerous articles can be found in our constitution which are in the path of achieving the aspiration of social development. The first and foremost article which has to be mentioned in Article 14 which grants the right to equality. The right to equality is a basic feature. The right to freedom of speech, forming associations or unions envisaged in Article 19, the provisions of reservations for the SC’s and ST’s under Articles 15 and 16, all help in the social promotion of the backward sections. The Indira Sawhney [Indira Sawhney etc. V. Union of India AIR 1993 SC 477] case provided 50% reservations for the backward sections. Article 21 also upholds the spirit of social development. Education plays an important role in gaining acceptance and equal importance in society. It also helps in individual growth. Article 21- A recognizes the right to education. The law relating to equal pay for equal work, 33% reservation for women, equal rights of inheritance, the eradication of the triple talaq helped in the eradication of the gender disparity. The partial abolition of Section 377 and the recent judgments of the Allahabad and Karnataka courts regarding the right to choose one’s life partner have raised the spirit of one of the basic social institution-marriage. Some of the constitutional aspirations on the social development of the people are more stringent laws with respect to honour killing, marital rape, forceful conversion and laws to improve the social status of the backward classes, transgenders, women and improvement in the cultural life.
- ASPIRATIONS WITH RESPECT TO POLITICAL GROWTH
The constitution of India gives it’s citizens a very active role to play in the political scenario. The members of the elected Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly are elected by the citizens of India by adult suffrage. People are also granted the rights to participate in the elections and represent themselves. This ensures that no law is passed against the will of the people. The numerous political parties contesting in the elections with various ideologies and promises give an array of options for the people to choose from. Though these aspects are fulfilled, there are still numerous aspirations left that the people expect from the constitution regarding the political scenario. It includes the transparency of the working of the government, the utilization of our taxes and the qualification of our leaders and their criminal background. There need to be laws regarding the prevention of power tussle, specification of minimum educational qualification, a clean background and also disqualification of ministers without any complicated procedures.
- OTHER ASPIRATIONS
The other constitutional aspirations which we as the people have are new provisions and amendments in the constitution regarding an improvement in the health sector, excellent treatment facilities made available in the government hospitals, an improvement in the quality of education, enhancing the quality of the infrastructure and teaching in government schools, improvement in the crop qualities and reduction of adulteration and providing the citizens with a cleaner and healthier environment.
There is no doubt that the Indian constitution is one of the best in the world, but there is still a wide scope of improvement as the aspirations of people with the constitution will only grow with time and not recede with it. Hence the Constitution must keep itself ready for improvements and changes to meet the growing aspirations of WE THE PEOPLE.
AUTHOR: POOJA UMASHANKAR
COLLEGE: BANGALORE INSTITUTE OF LEGAL STUDIES
YEAR:5TH YEAR B.A., L.LB
 Delhi transport corp v. Mazdoor Union 1991 AIR 101
 Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug v. Union of India, (2011) 4 SCC 454
 Pradeep Jain v. Union of India AIR 1984 SC 1420
 State of Karnataka v.Ranganatha Reddy AIR 1978 SC 215
 Indira Sawhney etc. V. Union of India AIR 1993 SC 477