News: Chief Minister of Telangana said that the governments at the Centre over the years have been suppressing the powers of the State, so there is a need for a new Constitution.
Why the demand for drafting a new constitution is not feasible?
First, Dr. Ambedkar was originally elected from the Bengal assembly, which went to Pakistan after partition. After this, at the behest of Congress, he was elected from the Bombay presidency. This shows the accommodative stance of the biggest party of that time. Despite being from a marginalized community, he was trusted and appointed as chairman of the Drafting Committee.
While today, caste and nepotism play a pivotal role in electing members. Consensus over a new constitution would be impossible.
|Read here: The evolution and framing of the Constitution|
Second, the Drafting of the constitution took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days. During this period, members read the constitution of other nations, consulted experts, drafted and debated the constitution. Value for a time was reflected in the fact that even if 5 minutes were lost in the house, the house would assemble 5 minutes early the next day and sit till night to complete the work. In terms of value, dissenters and hardcore critics were tolerated and reasonable views accommodated.
This whole thing and efforts are absent in the present scenario.
|Read here: Parliamentary debates: Significance, issues and the way forward – Explained, pointwise|
Third, Members of the constitutional assembly knew the sufferings of the nation had undergone under the foreign rule. So, they drafted the constitution by putting the nation first. But, today’s leaders tend to choose their party first.
Fourth, Constitution states that India is a “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic”, which protects the rights of every section of society. While today’s leaders give priority to particular ideologies and castes. Given this, drafting a new Constitution will be a chaotic exercise and will shut the voices of some sections, especially the vulnerable.
Last, An unelected body was trusted by the Constitution framers to declare the law. The purpose behind that body was not answerable to anyone except the Constitution. The judiciary can adjudicate disputes in an independent, free, fair, and impartial manner. Today, leaders can choose to become judges as well as rulers. For example, through the 73 Amendment Act, 1973, a proviso to clause 5 of Article 371D gave Andhra Pradesh government the power to modify or annul any order passed by the Administrative Tribunal. Fortunately, this was reversed by Supreme Court in P. Sambamurthy v. State of A.P. (1986).
What should be the way forward?
It is true that the governments at the centre is abusing their power to cripple Opposition-ruled States. Instead of making a new constitution, people can elect regional parties in general elections so that States can have dominance in the Union
States can also approach the Supreme Court under Article 131 whenever the need arises to resolve conflicts between the Centre and State.
Source: This post is based on the article ” Drafting a new Constitution is impossible” published in The Hindu on 24th February 2022.