Constitution doesn’t need a revamp: Experts

Does the rise of judicial activism, the conflict between the judiciary and the executive and the inability of parliament to properly carry out its mandate imply the Indian Constitution warrants a relook? And why is it so long anyway?

On the contrary, the conflict signifies the constitution is working and fulfils the vision of its makers’, especially its father Dr B.R. Ambedkar, that it doesn’t become the preserve of any branch of the government and there is no single final authority or institution that can claim its exclusive custodianship, contended legal and policy experts at a session entitled “We The People” on the opening day of the 10th Jaipur Literature Festival here on Thursday. 

And while the future of the Constitution is contingent on the functioning of Indian democracy, it must be noted that there are no constitutional disputes in the Indian political scenario like the disputes between political parties, they said, 

Also rather than being concerned about its length, we should give ourselves a pat on the back for “the most successful constitutional experiment in history” for the length of time it has been in service and that it is still an evolving document, “given that the average life span of a constitution is 20 years” and witnessing the struggles that Iraq and Nepal are having over it, said lawyer Chintan Chandrachud, who holds a doctorate in the subject from Cambridge and is the author of the recently-released “Balanced Constitutionalism: Courts and Legislatures in India and the United Kingdom”. 

However, he faulted the apex court’s refusal to “abide by any coherent form of jurisdiction, terming it” a sort of Panchayti Adjudication”, where they “sit in panels without any reference to doctrine and come up with incoherent judgments”, citing one bench upholding the legality of a penal provision against gay sex and another says that transgender persons need protection.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Ashok Desai observed that the tensions between the three wings of government in India also arise because “today, executive is not prompt, parliament doesn’t want to function as parliament, and courts are handling functions that don’t belong to them”. 

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