H C Singh

Supreme Court verses the Constitution by Pran Chopra – Brief review and Comments

There was hundred percent honesty in Judiciary of India during Nehru era for more than two decades. It is well known as to why judiciary was made an instrument of government, particularly by Indira Gandhi who set aside the constitution and imposed Emergency in whole of India for the first time, and it is hoped for the last time ever. During Emergency virtually all the state governments were dissolved and all prominent political leaders of opposition including Jai Prakash Narain who never hankered for political office or ministership and who was a freedom fighter along with Gandhi and Patel.

In contrast to give a few examples of how even after Emergency politics got corrupted and some judges and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) a tool of the government. Lalu Parsad Yadav who was Chief Minister of Bihar had to resign from Chief Ministership because of Fodder Scam of thousands of crores of rupees. Despite proven charges in courts, he has not been convicted but, for political reasons, was included in Central Cabinet for a number of years. It is well known that Paswan accepted bribe of Rs 60 lakh from the then Congress PM P.V Narsimha Rao. It was proved as he had deposited huge amount in the bank and so was convicted. He too, thereafter became a minister in the Central Cabinet.

Another case is of UP Chief Minister Mayawati who is often required to save the central government of Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi. It is only on Sept 27, 2010 that Supreme Court has rapped CBI and Mayawati for getting her petition of 2008 against her prosecution for disproportionate assets case adjourned several times. The Court lashed at both Mayawati and CBI “if both of you are together then we shall not hear this case at all” Supreme Court bench added “Sometimes the petitioner (Mayawati) wants time to fill an application, sometimes you (CBI) take time file your reply to it”.

Though India under British rule had a written constitution 1935 Act, upto 1947, when India became free. But Independent India had its own constitution after prolonged deliberation in Constituent Assembly in 1951. In India constitution is supreme like USA which has the oldest written constitution in the world. Though after World War II European countries, even like defeated Germany have a written constitution which they also consider supreme. Pran Chopra rightly points out that Indias constitution is “preserver of federal system of India. No document institution or authority is Supreme to it. Our constitution has given authority to Supreme Court to interpret the constitution. Though India’s Parliament, as representative of all the people of India is supreme but it is to act within the limits of the written constitution. Parliament can make amendments but within the limit set by written constitution and are not ultra vires to the constitution.

It is in this context that I K Gujral who became later the Prime Minister of India was shocked to observe the saddening conduct of some honourable chief justices during the Emergency: “I recall the visit of two honourable chief justices to Moscow during my tenure there (as India’s ambassador to USSR) and how they defended the misdoings under emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi) of the era”.

Former chief justice of India A M Ahmadi has posed the fundamental question can the Parliament pass any constitution amendment without proper and extensive discussion in the Parliament? He cites the example of for former speaker P A Sangma and some of his successors when “guillotine is applied and a lot of legislation is passed without any discussion. The power to enact a law does not merely mean that you place a law on the table of Parliament and take it as passed”. It is a significant contribution of Chief justice Ahmadi for future Parliaments before they pass any law or constitutional amendment.

Sovereignty is with “we the people” as first line of preamble of the constitution makes it clear and not with any of the three organs mentioned above former PM of India and former Chief Justice of India as well as there are many other personalities who have expressed their similar view’s in ‘Supreme Court verses Constitution of India’, to name the few, Pran Chopra who provided a detailed article for discussion as well as for contribution of articles by eminent persons like former PM and Chief Justice of India and others. Govt of India and the Parliament have now realized that there should be transparency in Judiaciary, no corruption because of Judges having close relations with lawyers. Accordingly a comprehensive bill is being introduced in Parliament shortly for this purpose.

To sum up, Indian constitution is mainly meant, because it is a written constitution, to guard the fundamental rights of Indian citizens, right to life, freedom of speech, sanctity of democracy and for perpetuation of federal system, to keep India united, so that all federal states have freedom of having their own language and culture. Thus it is foremost duty to every member of Parliament, every member of judiciary and CBI which has come to be known as instrument of government and all the members of executive to honour and preserve the written constitution, despite the amendments which are essential because of development of society, not being static. Constitution and its spirit is thus sacrosanct.

October 5, 2010 - Posted by | Corruption, India, Indian History, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , ,

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