By Vivekanand Pattanayak in Bhubaneswar, December 2, 2021: Each civilized society develops its norms. So does a political institution like state. As famously told by Aristotle the state comes into being for life and continues for good life. For this twin purpose, the State needs a constitution, a basic requirement of governance.

As norms evolve for a society, the constitution grows in a state. Constitution can be written or unwritten.

India after gaining independent statehood adopted a written constitution some seventy years ago inheriting a constitutional and legal system of the past and not freeing itself from the past historical facts, events, and traditions.

The constitution which we embraced included the features of the Government of India Act,1935 which was preceded by the Montford reforms which had given birth to Government of India Act of 1919 which in turn had been influenced by the Morley Minto sponsored Government of India Act of 1909 which succeeded the Government of India Act of 1892 which ultimately got inspiration from the Government of India Act 1858 which was the source of constitutional system of modern governance which the British brought to the sub-continent.

On 15 August 1947, when the British left the sub-continent, the territorial entity contained the British India partitioned by the Indian independence Act into the Indian Union and Pakistan, and more than 550 princely states with provision for each one to choose its own destiny.

Each princely state had varying degrees of autonomy on the eve of departure of the imperial British. Within the princely states there were innumerable numbers of indigenous people called tribes under tribal chiefs. The present State of Odisha had twenty-six princely states one such being Mayurbhanj. Under this princely state there were tribes like Santals, Bhumijas, Kolhas, Bathudis, Mankidias and Lodhas to name some. In the neighbouring Keonjhar had Bhuyans, Mundas and Juangas.

Needless to mention at this stage that the geographic entity did not have a homogeneous population. Diversity on the grounds of religion, caste, sects, language, and racial and ethnic origin was spectacular. Partition was traumatic. Many princely states wished to be independent or join Pakistan. World War had just ended leaving behind memories of holocaust, depredation, and destruction. The United Nations had been established to resuscitate international order based on international law .UNGA had passed Human Rights Resolution.

The mighty Churchill, the hero of the Second World War in Britain had lost the election soon after the war demonstrating the will of people as the cornerstone of democracy. The separation of power in US had a demonstrative global effect particularly after the Senate rejected Woodrow Wilson’s proposal to join the League of Nations. The US Supreme Court had declared many Congressional laws unconstitutional.

Roosevelt’s New Deal escaped this judicial assertiveness when he managed to pack the court with liberal minded judges making it clear that judiciary had supremacy in matters of interpretation of the fundamental law making it coequal with executive and legislature in the power structure.That media called fourth estate by Edmund Burke had grown to a respectable stature was implicit in right to freedom of expression in Article 19 subsequently affirmed through a numerous judicial decision. Insertion of Article 361A by constitutional amendment reinforces how media is an especially important organ of the constitutional mechanism.

Neutrality of civil service in Britain was exemplary. Modern governments in the world took note when the same civil service which served the Conservative Party under Churchill assisted Attlee under the Labor party to nationalize steel and coal. It is equally pertinent to remember the concept of village governance through Panchayats which had ancient roots.

Even the British recognized this institution by allowing local self-government which concept was first incorporated in Directive Principle of the State Policy through Article 40 and later through major constitutional amendment giving constitutional status to Panchayats and Municipalities ,thus fortifying the doctrine of decentralization of power.

Appreciating diversity for northeastern region special provisions were made for autonomous districts and regions including making provisions for Scheduled Areas. Historical background similarly created provisions like Articles 370, 371, 371 A B C D E F G H and I.

All these developments influenced in making of the constitution of India. Fundamental rights,Directive Principles of Stats Policy, principles of federalism , separation of power, constitutional status to civil service,Comptroller and Auditor General, Election Commission and Public Service Commission, protection of the ST, SC and backward caste, and minority embodied in the constitution reflect a glorious testimony of the evolutionary and historical developments in the sub-continent and in other parts of the world.

The preamble is the summary of norms of the fundamental law called the Indian constitution. Such was the magnificence of the principles enshrined in the Preamble that Prof Ernest Barker, the famous political scientist placed the entire Preamble in the preface of his book, a Magnum Opus called “The Principles of Political and Social Theory.

In the present national ambiance of uncertainty, apprehension, frustration, and lively debate of what holds in future for India that is Bharat which is a union of States, the exchange of views among all segments of society should take place to keep the flame of hope that state comes into being for life and continues for good life.

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