Constitutionalism in Present Times

It is effortless to make laws and write them in the constitution but hard to implement them. It is imperative to understand how the constitution works at the ground level. In this paper, I would like to talk about India’s Constitution allowing this nation to be called democratic in a true sense. According to the freedom house report published in March 2021, this report deteriorated the country’s position from a free country to a partially free country.

No citizen would be comfortable to know that our country is not considered a free nation but falls under the category of a partially free nation. Civil libertarians were talking and telling about this situation for quite a long time. Accepting this report is genuinely authentic and would also be considered wrong, but ignoring India’s position in this report would also be alarming for the countrymen. I believe that there can be many contradictions in this report, but we will not be able to find these contradictions on the television news media. However, I will talk about some essential aspects of this report.

This freedom house who published this report started its functioning in 1950 and published its first report with the name of “freedom balance sheet,” and in 1972, their report was published with the name of “composite study of freedom.” Moreover, in 1978, this report’s name was changed to “freedom in the world.”

Furthermore, the categories on which the country is categorized under this report are:

  • Free
  • Partially free
  • Not-free

The total number of nations in the free category is 83, the number of nations in the partly free category is 63, and in the non-free category are 49. This report consists of 185 countries and some territories as well.

The countries are given points in the range of 0 to 4 and in which 0 being the lowest and the highest points are 4 respectively. This report is made by 125 specialists who are well-versed with the nations’ civil and political rights. They make the report based on news articles, journals, and the laws of that particular nation, and then they categorize the nations accordingly.

To win elections in the internal politics of a country is only a small part of the democratic functioning of the country. However, the country’s image is vital for international relations with other nations as well. These reports create an image in the eyes of different political leaders about the particular nation. We do not live in the era of the 1930s. We need to understand that if we even control the news media of a country, then international media and social media are free. The internal matters of any country are and can be understood by social media and international media.

No country in today’s world can isolate itself in a confined manner and manage not to leak the internal matters to the outside world; this cannot be prevented in times of such robust network connectivity. In the times of globalization and integration of trade practices, the whole world can be imagined and looked like a small village in which the information cannot be hidden for a very long time.

The government’s works either increase or decrease the country’s image in the eyes of the world, which is one of the most critical questions in times. The government should work towards improving the image in the eyes of the powerful nations of the world.

We should also understand the fact that we can create a narrative within a country, and the people of the country can even believe those narratives. However, the international audience and the watchdogs; how do they accept that narrative that is evaluated based on the ranking of India in these kinds of reports and it is constantly declining in the reports which talk about the freedom of speech, the rule of law, or the practice of fundamental rights practiced in our country.

In the last year’s report, India’s position was 71, but this year it is 67, and thus, we move from the position of a free country to a partially free country.

Based on freedom of religion United states international commission of freedom have categorized under the country of particular concern; there should be a proper discussion in the Parliament that how and what they are doing wrong that it is considered in the international relations that India is not a free country, and how and what steps should the government take to spread the freedom of religion in the country and improve the image in the international relations.

The research methodology and the standards these reports follow are about the universal declaration of human rights; they assess the rights given in the Constitution, how much, and on what level they are being implemented on the ground level.

Many things happened last year which are being included in this very report of freedom house, which included how the government managed the implementation of the citizenship amendment act. We are not able to formulate the rules of that law till now, but the image of the country is destroyed on significant levels. India faced much criticism because of this.

The vilification campaign was carried forward by the Indian media against the Tabliki Jamaat that Covid 19 was spread because of these people only. This is also included in this report. The report also included that many courts of law found these charges unsustainable and criticized the media for the wrong coverage of the whole matter.

It is also included in the report that how we deal with freedom of religious conversion and interfaith marriage in the country. That how different states of the country, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka Haryana Assam, and many other states of the country making laws such as love jihad.

It is possible by making these kinds of laws may help the internal politics and electoral gains, but can we sacrifice the image of a free country in the eyes of the world.

China’s GDP is five times more than the GDP of a country, and China has emerged as one of the strongest capital economic leaders of the world, but we, as the largest democracy in the world, can counter this power. It is not essential to just merely have a constitution, but it is more important to implement the Constitution’s supremacy over the government.

The country’s government should go through the process of introspection that what is going wrong and how and what steps they can take to make the situation better and more beneficial for the nation’s people and emerge as a political power in world politics.

Key developments that were taken into this consideration while making this report are:

  1. In Feb, over 50 people have been killed, largely Islamists, in religious and opposition incidents in Delhi, following weeks of protests against unfair reforms to the country’s immigration rules.
  2. In response to speech perceived as critical of the government, including opposition to new citizenship legislation and discussion of the official response to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities filed criminal charges against journalists, students, and private citizens under colonial-era sedition laws as well as the 2000 Information Technology (IT) Act.
  3. The government’s pandemic-related lockdown, which was introduced in March and progressively eased starting in May, caused severe difficulties for India’s internal migrant population. Many migrant workers were unable to obtain basic goods and services in cities, causing millions to travel hundreds of miles, often on foot, to their hometowns.Toughtravelrestrictionswereforciblyimposedbyauthorities and citizen vigilantes, with Muslims often victimised as potential virus spreaders.
  4. Tough travel restrictions were forcibly imposed by authorities and citizen vigilantes, with Muslims often victimised as potential virus spreaders.
  5. A special court convicted some BJP leaders who were credibly accused of orchestrating the demolition of a historic mosque in 1992 in September. Modi had indicated his intentions the previous month.
  6. And further I will discuss about the different aspects which were taken into consideration while giving this position or rank to India and further discuss my take over the questions.

Conclusion

As discussed above, India cannot be called truly a free nation because there are many aspects and policies of the government from which we can conclude the same. In India, everyone does not have a true sense of quality and equal right to be heard and understood in the court of law.

It can then be seen that the judicial system has been biased with the government and declared some decision that favors the ruling party’s political agendas. Bribery has become an integrated part of the Indian government offices where the work can be done. The license can be obtained without any verification and by greasing the palms of the government of officials.

Previously it is also seen and witnessed that the Congress party in the 1970s was kind of a dictatorship government where they tried to impeach the fundamental rights by bringing the 24th amendment and 25th amendment in order to remove the judicial review system and stop the judiciary to question the laws that were formulated in the country.

The current Modi government is also compared with the Aryan government of Hitler ruled Germany, where he wanted to suppress the lower castes by sending them into concentration. He had been biased against the Jews, the same as the Modi government, whose most decisions and laws are anti-Muslims. He has been accused of promoting a particular religion in a secular country like India.

In the last I would just like to say that whichever government is making laws and governing the country should keep certain aspects in mind while formulating the laws and those certain aspects are;

  • Equality
  • Secularism
  • Sovereignty
  • Fundamental rights

Author: Sudhanshu Singh from NMIMS School of Law, Bengaluru.


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