The Indian Constitution
Why does a democratic country need a Constitution?
A democratic country needs a constitution because
- In a democracy people choose their representatives and the leaders might misuse their powers. Constitution provides safeguards against this.
- In a democracy, the constitution ensures that the dominant group does not use power against less powerful groups.
- The constitution guarantees fundamental rights to the citizens for their social, economic, and political welfare.
What is the difference in who exercises Executive Power in the 1990 and Interim Constitutions of Nepal? Keeping this in mind, why do you think Nepal needs a new Constitution today?
In the 1990 Nepal constitution, the Executive powers of the Kingdom were entirely in the hands of the King. According to the Interim constitution drafted in 2007, the executive powers of Nepal are in the hands of the council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
There was a dire need for a new constitution as the ideals of the people had changed as the country had moved from a monarchy to a democracy. The old constitution was drafted when the country was under the rule of the king.
The people of Nepal fought for a democratic government for many years. So the old constitution does not reflect the ideals of the people. The new constitution will change the rules of the old constitution in order to bring in a new society with new ideas.
What would happen if there were no restrictions on the power of elected representatives?
If there were no restrictions on the power of elected representatives then:
- These leaders (representatives) might misuse their authority.
- This misuse of authority can result in gross injustice and mismanagement.
In each of the following situations, identify the minority. Write one reason why you think it is important to respect the views of the minority in each of these situations.
(a) In a school with 30 teachers, 20 of them are male.
(b) In a city, 5 percent of the population are Buddhists.
(c) In a factory mess for all employees, 80 percent are vegetarians.
(d) In a class of 50 students, 40 belong to more well-off families.
(a) 10 female teachers are in minority.
It is important to respect the views of female teachers so that male teachers do not use their power against them.
(b) 5 percent of Buddhists are in minority.
It is important to respect the views of Buddhists so that they will not be dominated by the community in the majority.
(c) 20 percent of non-vegetarian employees are in minority.
Their views should be respected as eating non-vegetarian food is their personal choice.
(d) 10 students belong to poor families and are in minority. Scholarships, special classes, and other welfare schemes like book bank, free supply of books, stationary and free uniform are to be planned to keep in view their requirements.
Listed below are the key features of the Indian Constitution. Write two sentences, in your own words, on why you think this feature is an important key feature of
- Separation of Powers
- Fundamental Rights
- Parliamentary Form of Government
means more than one level of government in the country. India has a 3 tier government. India needs a 3 tier government because of the diverse religious and cultural composition of its citizens. A government in the centre alone could not be effective for everyone.
2. Separation of Powers:
In order to prevent the misuse of power by the elected representative the constitution advocate Separation of powers. Each branch of the government has its powers fixed by the Constitution. The Constitution ensures that a balance of power is maintained between the Legislature Executive and the Judiciary.
3. Fundamental Rights:
Fundamental Rights guarantees the rights of individuals against the State as well as against other individuals. It protects minority communities and guarantees rights against the majority.
4. Parliamentary Form of Government:
In a Parliamentary form of government, the constitution guarantees universal adult franchise for all citizens. That is, all adults have a right to vote, irrespective of whether they are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, a Hindu, Muslim or a Christian. The idea of a universal adult franchise is based on equality.