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Many Constitutions

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Though the article emphasised interesting and less-known facts on our Constitution, one crucial point was not highlighted (Editorial page, “India’s enduring document of governance,” Nov. 26). The Constituent Assembly (CA)’s foresight was such that it summoned all the then-existing Constitutions, deliberated up on them and picked the most suitable features in each to govern our country. Most Constitution’s provisions adopted from the Constitutions of the U.K., the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Australia. The members of our CA showed great acumen in picking the appropriate features of each document to suit our national climate. This is one factor that has ensured our Constitution’s durability.

V. Lakshmanan,

Tirupur, Tamil Nadu

The longevity of a Constitution need not necessarily be a marker of its perpetual relevance. It is ironical that the Indian Constitution, one of the most enlightened political documents in the world, has provided little space for citizen-led interventions to influence policymaking or government formation. Conceived and drafted by educated elites who were strongly influenced by Western liberal culture, the Indian Constitution borrowed heavily from the American and British Constitutions. In hindsight, the venal and amoral nature of contemporary politics raises questions about the wisdom of choosing parliamentary democracy as the governing model for India. Representative democracy should complement elements of direct democracy like the referendum to afford citizens opportunities to make their voices heard. It is significant that Mahatma Gandhi had opposed the import of Western political systems and preferred governance under decentralised structures like the panchayats. The accountability of the elected representatives and political parties to the people remains merely a theoretical notion. It is disappointing that even visionaries who espoused republicanism as an article of faith should inadvertently have reduce the people’s political participation to a quinquennial exercise of casting the ballot.

V.N. Mukundarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 12:33:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/many-constitutions/article30091136.ece

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