Requirements of an Ideal Constitution

Based on PR Sarkar’s talk on 22 Sep. 1986 Calcutta

The state is a vital institution which organizes a group of people in a certain area of land, rules them, promotes their welfare and oversees their good. This institution is powerful because it also enjoys sovereign power.

Accumulation of power is dangerous if it is not guided by some rules and basic principles. The guide book in which all such rules, regulations and principles for the proper conduct of a state are codified is called a constitution. A constitution guides a state with policies and principles to render all-round services to the people for their rapid progress.
The least bias on the part of the framers towards any particular ethnic, linguistic or religious group may undermine the unity and solidarity of the concerning country and thus disturb the peace and prosperity of the society as a whole. All are equal in the eye of the law.

Cardinal human values must take precedence over all other rights. Cardinal human values, with a universal approach and Neo-Humanistic spirit are the basis for equality before the law can be established in practice, and equal protection of the law for all can be guaranteed.

The spirit of secularism provides equal scope and equal avenues for all for the maximum psycho-social-economical development of every individual.

To overcome fiscal and psychological loopholes, all constitutions in the world today need to be reformed. The following reforms should be implemented:

(1) Dissolution of the ministry or parliament. The president may discharge the ministry or dissolve the parliament under certain circumstances: in case of inimical action within the country; in case of disorder or the breakdown of law and order; in case of external inimical activity; and when a democratic ministry is rendered a minority in the parliament. When a democratic ministry is discharged because it is a minority in the house, the president has to explain the reasons for his or her actions before the parliament within one month from the day of taking such action against the ministry. If the parliament is already dissolved then the president will have to arrange a general election within six months and explain the position before the newly elected parliament within one month of the election.

(2) Period of emergency. The president may continue the period of emergency with the approval of parliament for a period of six months, and with such a parliament the president may continue a period of emergency for not more that two years.

(3) Advice of a lame duck ministry. The president may or may not act on the advice of a lame duck ministry. If the advice of a lame duck ministry is not honoured by the president then the parliament will be dissolved. A new parliament will have to be formed through a general election, and the president will have to explain his or her position before the new parliament within one month of its formation.

(4) The moral standard and character of the president and prime minister. The president or prime minister must be of high moral character. The president or prime minister must not divorce his or her spouse, marry a divorcee or have more than one spouse.

(5) The power of the president to issue any statement. The president must not issue any statement under normal conditions without consulting the parliament or the prime minister. In normal conditions when there is a ministry, the president will have to act according to the advice of the ministry. In case the ministry is dissolved the president will have to act according to the advice of parliament.

(6) Parliament in the role of constituent assembly. The parliament will play the role of constituent assembly only with a majority of 7/8 of the members, because changing the constitution at regular intervals reduces the status of the constitution.

(7) Language. All living languages of a country must have equal status before the state or the government.

(8) Equal rights. All citizens must have equal rights before the law. Physical requirements are to be equally considered for all citizens so that all citizens will have equilibrium and equipoise in collective life.

(9) Review board. To review economic progress and development of different parts of the country, a high-level review board should be constituted by the president. If there is any difference between the ministry and the board, the president must act according to the advice of parliament. And if there is any difference between the parliament and the board, the president should seek advice from the supreme court of the country and act according to their official advice, according to the provisions of the constitution.

(10) A case against the prime minister or president. A case may be filed in the supreme court against any person in the country including the prime minister and president, because every citizen in the country is equal before the constitution.

(11) The right of self-determination and plebiscite. The right of self-determination for a part of the country may be recognized only on the basis of a plebiscite held in that area with the permission of the parliament functioning as a constituent assembly. If the plebiscite is to be held, it should be held under the strict control and supervision of the central government by the chief election commissioner of the country.

(12) Education. Primary education for all must be guaranteed and education should be free from all political interference.

(13) The law and the constitution should be the same. The law and the constitution should be the same for the entire country, as each and every individual is equal before the law and before the constitution. According to the constitution, each and every part of the country will enjoy the same power.

(14) Check on capitalist exploitation. Limited individual accumulation of wealth.

(15) Guaranty for increasing the purchasing capacity of every individual.

(16) President has constitutional power to check financial or fiscal matters. He/she must be able to check price level or the degree of exploitation

(17) There must be provision for local inter-regional planning for socio-economic sustainable development

(18) Clear provision for Balanced Economy:  (1) small businesses should be left to individuals; (2) big industries should be owned by the immediate government; and (3) the industries in between the big and small industries should be run on a cooperative basis.

(19) Safeguards for the lives of plants and animals.

(20) The relation between the central government and the states in a confederation should be clearly defined in the constitution. Otherwise, there will be centre-state conflict and the whole country will be psychologically affected. Among all other aspects of this relation two important aspects should be clearly defined; the right of self-determination, and the right of secession of a particular component of the confederation.

The locus standi of a nation depends on the following factors: (1) common history; (2) common tradition; (3) common territory; (4) race; (5) [common] faith; (6) [common] language; (7) [common] sentiments; and (8) common ideals. Among these factors items one to seven are relative factors and as such are of a transitory nature only. Within the scope of item eight there can be a blending of absolute with relativity.

The absolute factor is the ideal of Cosmic ownership: The universe is a creation and ownership of the Supreme Entity.  We may enjoy and utilize the objects created by the Supreme, but we cannot declare that any item is ‘mine’. Everything is our common patrimony. We are to accept this factor within the scope of relativities.

Not only will the common spiritual factor unify the inhabitants of multilingual or multi-regional countries; the entire universal society will come under the banner of this common spiritual ideal and become one.

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About Anandaramaa

Neohumanist Education coordinator, meditation teacher, educator
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