The Bold Voice of J&K


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Dear Editor,
Congress is the protagonist of religion-based reservation. There is no provision for religion-based reservation in the Constitution of India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly expressed his apprehension that if INDIA bloc comes to power, the Constitution is going to be rewritten. Religion based reservation is against Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution. Dr. Ambekar’s Constitution is not replete with reservation based on religion. Congress is on its toe to create reservation for Muslims. The Calcutta High Court has cancelled the Muslim reservation under OBC Sub category. Infuriated Mamata Banerjee has shouted that she would not follow the High Court order. Reservation has become such a point of attraction that everyone wants backward tag. The space for meritorious candidates has been fast shrinking in education and employment opportunities. Reserved candidates have edge over the deserved candidates. Much hue and cry was raised by the opposition parties when Ananthakumar Hegde favoured changed Constitution. He was not supported by BJP also when the opposition parties attacked him. Rather, BJP cornered him and he has been denied ticket for Lok Sabha election inspite of all his previous elections registering huge margin of victory. His statement was blown out of proportion. A single person’s statement cannot change or prevent the change of Constitution. If the people desire for a change nothing can prevent it. If they do not want a change nobody can change it. Former Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had also voiced the same views but with a different intent. If Hegde suggested for changed Constitution it is because of the raw deal the ‘upper caste’ has been suffering from. If Rao suggested for changed Constitution it is because the facilities given to the backward class community are inadequate. Nobody took note of the statement of Rao. But every segment of INDIA bloc has been consistently attacking BJP for Hegde’s suggestion for Constitution change. The Constitution has undergone 106 amendments to suit the changing times and needs. However, there is a Supreme Court bar from altering the basic structure of the Constitution as ruled in the Keshavananda Bharti case. Basic structure of the Constitution mainly includes (1) Supremacy of the Constituion. It is unassailable even if the Constitution is changed in deference to the wishes of people. (2) Rule of Law. It will prevail even if the Constitution is changed. (3) Judicial review. The powers of judiciary cannot be abrogated. (4) Articles 32 and 226. Article 32 confers the Supreme Court with the exclusive authority to enforce fundamental rights across the country whereas Article 226 empowers the High Courts to issue writs and directions primarily within their jurisdiction. These Articles may be reflected with different number and even with improvement in the authority vested into the hands of courts in the changed Constitution. (5) Federalism. Federalism cannot be given a go-by because the Centre alone cannot rule the nation with states having different languages, different culture and different style of living. (6) Secularism. Secularism was not included in the Constitution framed by Dr. Ambedkar. This was surreptitiously added in the seventies by Indira Gandhi. (7) Sovereign, Democratic Republic culture. Even a new Constitution cannot remain aloof from these. (8) Freedom and dignity of the individual. Gross misuse of freedom of speech and expression is being witnessed. Freedom of speech should not be absolute. Some degree of restraint must be imposed on the speech and expression if the good atmosphere has to prevail among people. (9) Unity and Integrity of the Nation. A new Constitution cannot be insulated from it. (10) Principle of Equality. Principle of equality at present can be seen only in voting rights. Though it is said all are equal in the eyes of law, equality is not being enjoyed by all in the letter and spirit. Ruling parties are taking undue advantages of the law in discriminating one against the other in the implementation of the provisions of law. New Constitution can address this issue. (11) Social and Economic justice. With the introduction of 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections, economic justice is extended to the needy upper class people. Opposition parties opposed the reservation for economically weaker sections tooth and nail fearing that it would give coverage to the ‘upper caste’. But when the Supreme Court upheld the reservation for economically weaker sections, the political parties hostile to ‘upper caste’ want share in it for those who are already enjoying the benefits of reservation. Reservation under Economically Backward Sections should be given only to those who are in and below the poverty line and who were hitherto in unreserved category. (12) Parliamentary system: Debate can be held over Parliamentary system as adopted from the UK or the Presidential system prevailing the US. (13) Independence of Judiciary. It is absolutely essential. Many other issues can also be included in the new Constitution. It is upto the people to retain or dispense with the existing Constitution. Change is the order of nature. If not today, may be anytime in the long run.

K.V. Seetharamaiah

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