Today is Constitution Day. It is celebrated every year since 2015. But this year, it is significant because it completes 70 years since the Constitution was approved on 26th November 1949. The approved Constitution came into force from 26th January 1950. Though India achieved Independence on 15th August 1947, we are under dominion status only. Queen of Great Britain was Queen for us also. The real Independence came on 26th January 1950 with our own Constitution. That is the significance of this Day.
The modern democracy evolved over a period of centuries. The beginning of it started with approval Magna Carta charter in British Parliament which is considered as mother of all Parliaments. However, technically Britain is ruled by Emperor/Empress being Constitutional head of the Country. That means, Constitutional head is hereditary, not elected. That is why it can not be called total democratic country. In 1776, United States Of America got Independence and declared that it will be run by people alone through democratic process. The first Constitution came into force from 1789. It was the first Constitution of the people run solely by them. It is an inspiration for many other Constitutions of the world.
Dr Ambedkar was appointed as Chairman of Constitution Draft Committee by Rajyanga Parishad, the Constituent Assembly on 29th August 1947 and submitted the draft to State Assemblies and Public for suggestions on 21st February 1948. It took three years to complete the process from the day it started the work. Finally, Constituent Assembly approved the Constitution on 26th November 1949. That was the history.
Constitution of India is one of the best constitutions in the world protecting individual rights of the people. It guarantees freedom expression, self respect, justice to all and ensures fundamental rights of the people protected. It made a fine balance between Parliament, Judiciary and Executive. Since the approval of the Constitution, more than 100 times, it was amended. In our sub continent, Pakistan and Bangladesh adopted Constitution more than once whereas India continued the same constitution since Independence.
Judiciary played vital role in keeping the Constitutional propriety in high esteem in the country. There were many occasions Parliament and Executive exceeded its limits which was rectified by Judiciary. Particularly, the threat to Constitution basic structure came through 42nd amendment in 1976 during Emergency period. In 1978, Supreme Court reversed most of the clauses and restored democracy and fundamental rights of its citizens. Of course, the preamble which was altered during Emergency through 42nd amendment was not rectified there after. There was a big debate on this. Originally, preamble says that India is sovereign and democratic Republic but 42nd amendment brought Secular and Socialist words into the preamble. The famous Kesavananda Bharati case settles constitutional clarity. Though Parliament empowered to amend the provisions of Constitution, it can not change basic structure of the Constitution. National unity and integrity, Constitutional supremacy, Sovereignty, Democratic character, Secular character of Constitution, Individual freedom, Self Respect, seeking Justice etc are basic character of the Constitution.
The most controversial aspect as on now with regard to directive principle is Uniform Civil Code. Though it was mentioned in directive principle, that too after lot of debate in Constituent Assembly, there is no consensus on the issue till today. The second term elected BJP led Government promised in the Election Manifesto to implement it . That has been a dream only till today. Nation though have common criminal code, possesses different Civil codes to the people depending on their faith. It is a hurdle for strengthening modern democracy. Hope that Country will adopt common civil code soon.
The judgement of Supreme Court today on Maharashtra issue is another testimony that our Judiciary is protector and saviour of our Great Constitutional proprietary. Supreme Court came to the rescue of needy in several occasions when Executive exceeded its limits. Delivering the judgement on Constitutional Day is milestone in the Constitutional guarantee of our governance. Let us pledge once again on this Day that Come what may we will uphold Constitution which alone guarantee our individual freedom.