Indian Constitution - Is it for laymen or just for lawyers???
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean"
Every single drop matters in forming an ocean and every individual's decision matters for making a better country. Is India really a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people…???
The Indian Constitution is one of a kind and is the world’s longest written constitution. It was drafted in such a way that even the common man can understand. The constitution lays down the framework on how the country should be run, the roles of the government, directive principles, the fundamental rights and duties of the citizens. The constitution is adopted by the citizens of India with a declaration in the Preamble.
Our preamble starts with, “We the people of India…”, but how many of us Indians are actually cognizant of our constitution..?
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land. The makers of our constitution, visionaries that they are, put in great efforts to make it the best in all aspects so that future generations can have a better life.
Most of the people believe that it is a lawyer or judge’s work to read it. People may not understand the legal terms associated with other laws, but the constitution is something that can be understood easily. It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to know the basic laws of their country.
What do we mean when we say, a government of the people, by the people and for the people….?? India is in a place where most people don't even know their basic rights and are not able to fight against the government if something is wrong.
A change in this attitude is something that India currently needs desperately. And this change is needed not from the government or the legal system, but from the people. This can be achieved only when people have knowledge about the constitution and their basic fundamental rights and duties.When comes to being knowledgeable about some basic rights, people feel it like it's not their part to learn.
Unlike the olden times, in this day and age, seeking information has become very easy and affordable. All one has to do is use their smart phone and do an internet search. How many people know that they can seek information via the Right to Information Act (RTI), let alone exercise it..?? or that there is a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that they can petition through..?? A lot of people who are very upto date when it comes to technology, don’t not take the least bit of interest in being aware of the country, its governance and polity unless a personal crisis hits them. If this is the case, how can we have a successful government of the people, by the people and for the people…?
Is it important to know about the constitution?
The answer to this question is absolutely, yes. No matter what field a person is from, knowing about the constitution will help them tremendously. For example, let us say you're a businessman and you want to expand your business in another state and the traders of other states didn't allow you to trade. And you know all the basic fundamental rights given by the constitution. With reference to Article 19(1)(g) which is about freedom of business or any profession, you can register a complaint by yourself as restraint of a legal trade. You don't need any legal assistance for issues like this. This is how it works.
How does a lack of knowledge in the Constitution affect the country?
Let us take the scenario of vote for note. For as long as people vote in exchange for cash, liquor, etc. or in favour of their caste, religion or other personal vendetta our country will not be able to elect capable leaders who contribute to the benefit and development of the country. The right to vote is each and every citizen's right. People should give it as much importance as they do to their life and family. To the common man who is too busy striving to make ends meet, only the bottom lines matter and are blissfully unaware of the governance of the country or they get misled by opportunistic politicians with promise the world in the palm of their hands. Imagine the power of the masses with proper awareness and education about their role or duty towards their country. Every vote counts.
Even the educated population is not knowledgeable about the constitution. One of the biggest flaws in our education system is that there are a very few educational institutions, other than law institutions that give knowledge about the basic rights and laws. Basic legal knowledge is something that should be implemented in all the educational institutions so that it will help deliver an awareness in the children from a young age and making them better citizens who can fight for their lives and contribute to the society.
It should be a primary interest to know that the Constitution is the basic fundamental law each and every citizen of the country. Better late than never they say. Let us all educate ourselves about the constitution, its role in our lives and our role in that of the governance of this country that our ancestors fought to free from the British rule and proudly presented us, with a roadmap for a better future.
Everyone wants a better society, a better government and more accurate legal system. Every step of this journey is important and every decision we take for making a better society is very significant. It is never too late to become a part of a much needed change.
Jothi Barukula , 3/5 B.A.LLB, Dr.B.R Ambedkar College of Law, Andhra University.