With the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act in India, a new chapter has been opened in the history of India’s constitutional development. The Constitution is a shining example of the best we can hope for and the best we are capable of achieving. It is therefore disappointing that the Indian government does not put forward any example of its own achievements.
Why Citizenship Amendment Act seen as a Problem?
In the last decade, Indian democracy has experienced many shocks. On one hand, there were the Emergency and its ill-effects on the economy. On the other, the economic meltdown of 2020 brought down the middle class to unbelievable levels. The promise of the democratic reforms under the first and second democratic governments has yet to be realized.
It was therefore necessary for the government to find some way out to recover from these failures. The way out was opened when the Constitutional Amendment Bill was introduced in the Parliament. To make the process quick and convenient, the bill was split into two parts. This has made it easier for the government to take decisions fast.
The constitution of the country guarantees the freedom of speech and expression. So, there is nothing to prevent the government from making laws, that are meant to protect the citizens from the undesirable acts that might happen. A bill like the Citizenship Amendment Act was introduced to safeguard against discrimination by private actors, which results in further discrimination in the form of poor service delivery.
The constitution has provided for the power to enact laws in the area of constitutional amendment. In order to make sure that the rights of citizens are protected, the Constitution Act was amended. However, this only applies to the basic structure of the constitution, while the fundamental rights have not been amended.
Therefore, constitutional amendments that deal with fundamental rights have not been made at all. A major problem that people have with this situation is that they feel that this constitution should have put into effect the rights they have been promised.
It is true that there are changes in the society that bring about problems but what happens to the fundamental rights? This question has to be answered before making a judicious decision on the constitutional amendments.
The Constitution was drafted and ordained by a group of people with a particular aim and with a particular set of ideals. Their concern was to ensure that the people of India would not be treated as second-class citizens.
The composition of the Constitution is also quite clear. The constitution was founded on different categories of people, who were all given equal rights and privileges. There was no distinction between classes or regional communities or in other words there was no caste system.
The right to food, the right to education, the right to education and so on and so forth are all the result of a common goal. When the constitution was enacted, all citizens were provided the right to the same rights, and a common destiny.
What does this mean for the Indians living in India?
They are in a position to see that there is no discrimination in their country. They are allowed to enjoy the same freedoms as other citizens and have the right to vote, and the right to live and work according to their preferences.
People in India have the right to live in a free society that upholds the values of the Constitution. It is the responsibility of all concerned to ensure that they follow the Constitution.