Is India's constitution a weak document?
The Indian government must respect the constitution. It is a document that must be respected in letter and spirit.
The Indian constitution in about 75 years has been amended 103 times. In the recent past, the constitution has jeopardized the idea of equality for all. The constituent assembly got on with the task of drafting the Indian constitution on December 9, 1946, to meet the ambitions of millions of Indians. The assembly convened for close to three years to draw the document that would parent the newly born nation granting it political security and a future filled with prosperity.
The role of the constitution
India's constitution is very large, gives the government enormous powers to intervene in the economy, allows the government to enact laws that discriminate among citizens based on attributes such as sex, religion, and caste, restricts freedom of speech, and limits the right to property. In short, it allows deliberate political and economic exploitation.
India is a functioning democracy with the routine peaceful transfer of power following elections. Each election raises the hope that with different political leaders, governance would improve. Sadly, regardless of which party or leaders are in power, the policies hardly change. Nobel laureate economist James Buchanan wrote, "It is folly to think that 'better men' elected to office will help us much, that 'better policy' will turn things around here. We need, and must-have, basic constitutional reform, which must, of course, be preceded by basic constitutional discourse and discussion."
Future of the constitution
India needs a new constitution that is consistent with a nation of free individuals living in a complex, modern, large economy. This modern constitution has to be one that guarantees economic freedom to the individual, prohibits the government from making any laws that discriminate among citizens, guarantees freedom of speech and the press, prohibits the government from entering into businesses that are properly the domain of the private sector, and so on.
In other words, India needs a constitution that protects the comprehensive freedom of the individual: economic, social and political.
Its recent failures have been seen when it has not been able to protect the freedom of individuals.