Let us rewrite the constitution
The UPA government is guilty of taking this country to a fork in the road. This cannot have a happy ending. Such confrontation could have been avoided by taking a data driven approach to quota issues. See previous articles (The fork in the road has come for India, Quota confrontation )
In an interview to a private news channel, TN Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said that there is a need to setup a constituent assembly that could draft a new constitution.
Speaking to Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta on Walk the Talk, he said that India should look towards a federal form of government.
”Our Constitution has been changed many times. What should be done is that all the shortcomings of the Constitution should be addressed in one sitting. That is what I feel,” said M Karunanidhi.
External observers like Churumuri (from Karnataka) scratch their heads and wonder whats happening. They connect it with the BJP or wonder if this demand will die a natural death. They are in for a rude shock. They wonder what is so wrong with the existing constitution that requires calling for a new constituent assembly. Lets examine it :
The single most troublesome issue with the current constitution is the concept of fundamental rights. For politicians like Karunanidhi, this problem manifests itself in the form of the judicial intervention. You see, our current constitution allows the judiciary to intervene when fundamental rights are sought to be taken away or abridged. As Fali Nariman, pointed out recently – this judicial power was at its lowest ebb in the notorious case of ADM Jabalpur (1976). The then Chief Justice proclaimed that :
“Liberty itself is the gift of the law (i.e the gift of the parliament) and it may by the law be forfeited or abridged”
Source: Fali Nariman’s article from Deccan Chronicle
Lets try that again in plain language :
Our current constitution says that : Every Indian (even the cunning fox type) has certain inalienable rights such as the right to equality. This fundamental right is not derived because the laws allow it, but because of that fact that he/she belongs to the human species. This also allows room for an abridgement of these rights in the interest of social justice. The problem is, “How compelling must the circumstance be for this abridgement ?”. In other words, do we need rigorous data ? The courts have no choice but to examine the presence of compelling evidence. The politicians have no choice but to stonewall it to protect their interests (caste/religion/whatever). This is the fork in the road I mentioned earlier.
Now, imagine if we had another constitution that said : The law will vest every Indian with a right to equality. The right to equality is not because the individual is a human being, but because the law (the parliament) grants them this right. Now, laws can be made that can grant different levels of equality to different groups of people. Obviously we all agree that cunning foxes cannot be treated equally with innocent rabbits. So there we go, the power to identify cunning foxes is now with the politicians. There is no need for data, because neither the right to equality nor the right to social justice is due to nature. They both are a gift of the parliament. Can you approach the courts when you do not get a birthday gift ? (Its a rough analogy, but it illustrates the nature of gift).
Watch the program on NDTV’s Walk the Talk on Oct 20 at 7:30 PM IST.