The term constitution is a set of principles of a social body that decides the powers of the government and assures virtues to that frame. This political structure of the country through which the subjects are governed is laid down by the Constitution. This power of demarcating the responsibilities is defined by the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.
The term morality refers to principles of what is right and wrong. In the Indian constitution, this term has just been used in just four places.
So what is constitutional morality?
Constitutional morality cannot be defined by a single sentence but there are several notions associated with it. It is the moral obligation to keep up with the values of the constitution without compromise but with the utmost dignity and faith.
Elements of constitutional morality in India
The major elements of the constitutional morality of India are
- Rule of law
- Individual liberty
- Freedom of choice
- Freedom of expression
- Social justice
- The procedure established by law
- Due process of law
- Right to equality
Dr. Ambedkar’s approach to Constitutional Morality in India
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was an Indian jurist and economist who believed that India was undemocratic, and had a say on the constitutional morality concept. According to him, the theory suggested a harmonious relationship amongst the governing and governed body, and included the peaceful settlement of faced opinion from the latter. It settles the conflicts of interests that arise between them without the involvement of any kind of major confrontations or violent revolutions.
He highlighted the liability of solving the previous and existing inequality and injustice in the society not merely involving the Constitution and government but also on the belief system of constitutional morality.
This principle would help get rid of the existing gap and as a bridge between the administration and constitution of the country.
Sources of constitutional morality in India
As mentioned earlier, the term morality has just been mentioned four times in the Constitution. They are as follows-
- The Constitution itself is responsible for the origin of the constitutional morality of India. The fundamental rights – Articles 12 to 35, Directive Principles of State Policy -Articles 36 to 51, the Preamble, and the Fundamental Duties have extensive influence on constitutional morality.
- The events and requisites that unfolded during the constitutional history when the Constitution was framed.
- Dr. Ambedkar’s discussions, debates, and views of modern-day understanding in the Constitutional Assembly are one of the most important sources of constitutional morality.
- The Honourable Supreme Court and High Courts of India have laid down several draconian laws keeping in mind the modern-day era to uplift the spirit of constitution, morality, and strengthen the ideals of democracy.
Importance of Constitutional Morality
- The constitutional morality in India keeps up with the changing principles of the society as well as the rules enforced in the country, thus playing an important role in both parties.
- The governing ideal highlights the need to preserve the trust of the people. It also allows cooperation and coordination of people to pursue constitutional aspirations.
- Enforcement of laws to impact and change the existing morality of the society. For example, the practice of Sati is banned by legislation, the right to dignity and life was passed on to the widows who were earlier considered as bad luck. This later on affected the perception of the practice in society.
- Constitutional morality accepts all diversity and plurality in society. This is to make all individuals a part of a community in society. Constant improvement and reforms provide more scope. For example, the rights of LGBTQ gender people to dignity and identity were formulated by Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India.
- Constitutional morality promotes people for their active participation in the system, in order to fight against inequalities and non-constitutional elements rather than letting them resign from their government jobs to show their unity to certain movements.
Drawbacks of constitutional morality
- The term constitutional morality in India has not been clearly defined or mentioned in the Constitution by the Supreme Court. This leaves it with open interpretations by individuals.
- Critics often put forward that the concept of Constitutional morality was introduced to create problems amongst the powers of the Parliament amongst the three wings- judiciary, legislature, and the executive.
- Mr. K.K. Venugopal, the Attorney general of India described Constitutional Morality as “dangerous “ and an attempt of the Supreme Court to transform it into a “third Parliament Chamber”. This has sparked a lot of doubts coming from such an influential person of the Parliament.
- The separation of powers has caused a lot of issues of constitutional morality against societal morality.
- Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code decriminalizes homosexuality, but this concept appears to have come under severe criticism with the Sabarimala Temple Case which arises a lot of unsolved issues in the parliament.
While constitutional morality in India is needed to achieve the end of justice, failure of the Constitution in this endeavour will be attributed to human beings who have been assigned the duty to safeguard and implement these duties. It is important for the effectiveness of constitutional laws without which the constitution becomes whimsical. One fact lies that ‘constitutional molarity’ should be better preserved by starting and including it in the system rather than working out of the system. The combined efforts of upholding constitutional morality and moral duty are an important part of how the system works and will provide benefits to all sections of our society.