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Restoring the Resplendence of our Republic

posted Jan 18, 2018, 9:35 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 18, 2018, 9:37 AM ]
- Fr Anthony Charanghat

The 69th Republic Day of India marks the resplendent adoption of the Constitution of India by the people. The pledge in the preamble to our Constitution reads as, "We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all citizens: JUSTICE – social, economic and political; LIBERTY – of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY- of status and opportunity; And to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and the integrity of the nation." 

Republic Day 2018 once again reminds us of the elevated values enshrined in this sacred document that we call our Constitution, and to leave no stone unturned to restore the Resplendence of our Republic, whenever we perceive a threat of erosion of these noble features that knit the fabric our nation together. 

The Constituent Assembly was believed to be the representation of the will of the people. The words 'We the people' signifies that it was a document given by the people, to the people and for the people. But the question that often arises is, does the Constitution in true terms express the will of the people, or is has it just become a tool in the hands of some hungry politicians? Is the common man today receiving justice? Does equality really prevail? Is Liberty being enjoyed by all today? Are the people of India in real terms assured of these ideals that form the foundation on which this nation is built? 

Now it is more or less a board game, and the players are the politicians with personal profits of gaining the dominance of one's own ideology, religion, caste and unbridled lucre of wealth for self. Securing justice to all — social, economic and political — has hardly been put into action. 

Our judicial system, which is responsible to provide justice to each and every individual, is one of our slowest systems. Today, we have at least 10,000 cases per day pending for each judge of a court in a city, which is at least ten times higher than the prescribed number. Criminal cases like that of Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Mattoo, Nitish Katara, Gauri Lankesh, Justice Loya case and Christians languishing in jails for unsubstantiated charges are among the many examples of delayed justice. The recent Supreme Court judges' rift is a case of a threat to trust in the integrity of the judicial system. 

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 requires major changes to redefine the term 'public purpose' for which the State can acquire land in return for some compensation. There are times when the government acts arbitrarily, and in the name of 'public purpose' acquires the land for profits. Thus in all the judicial pronouncements related to Land Acquisition Act, there is a need to include all those purposes which are purely in the interest of the public. 

The Code of a controlled rhetoric is a compelling commentary on the flawed idea of free speech in the present day, when comedians are censured for fear their talent may offend high power centres, and creative mythical films are banned on grounds of imagined hurts to culture and obscurantist religious sentiments. Now the incidents of assault on Dalits, rape of women across the country and intimidation of Muslims bring home to us the presence of terrorism among us. There is reason to believe that fascist forces have been encouraged to act with impunity. 

Whatever may have been the vision of India's founding fathers, Indian democracy has not lived up to their expectations. It appears to have added heightened violence towards the marginalised. All right thinking citizens must participate in bringing about these changes, instead of leaving the change to the selfish politicians. All this is necessary because we need to redeem the resplendence of our Republic.