Is Our Constitution Archaic?

June 05, 2006
Shantanu Dutta

I don't know if criticizing constitutional provisions is blasphemy though we have amended it innumerable times since its promulgation in 1950.(The original document itself is largely based on the Government of India Act of 1935)- but the office of profit business shows us how archaic dome of our constitutional provisions are.

These were written up when all those who entered parliament were from the landed elite with independent sources of income and the desire and intellect to serve. They had no need to hold any office of profit and probably even if they never entered the portals of parliament, they would never have held an office of profit in their life, not having the need to do so. In those classes, it was actually a bit demeaning to do some real work apart from intellectual discourse.

I mean what need did Jawaharlal Nehru have to earn money and hold an office of profit? But times have changed and MPs who flow into the houses do need money for they do not hail from affluent families all the time. Yet our constitution has not kept pace with the times as rapidly as it should have. The constitution should have been amended certainly - but in a prophetic sense, knowing the mood and the times - not in this regressive fashion that makes it grossly appear that it is being done to appease self seekers or a particular family.

If there is a rule to allow our parliamentarians to enjoy profit legally their involvement in illegal activities like taking money for raising questions and underground linkages may be minimized. Especially for the MPs from poor economic background, bundles of currency notes are tempting. To give them enough honor and monetary benefits, parliament should allow them to make required earning. So there is no harm in them accepting for profit offices. The rule should prescribe the maximum number limit. It would be better for the parliament and people to fix maximum two for profit offices for each parliamentarian.

This will also help them to concentrate in their constituencies and parliament rather than shuttling between one trust meeting and the other. There is a steady decline in the attendance in parliamentary sessions. Most of the MPs come to Delhi to do their personal business than attending the debates and taking part seriously in parliamentary matters. To revive their interest in nation building and better working of our parliamentary democracy it is important to remove the hassles like for profit offices.

The Indian constitution blindly follows certain archaic and impossible ideas even today. Similarly there is a prohibition on for profit educational institutions. Who can run schools and colleges without making profit? To make law people friendly it is important to define them clearly and viably. If there was a review on obsolete constitutional provisions, the growth rate of India could have surpassed China umpteen numbers of time in every field.

Shantanu Dutta is a medical doctor by training and a development professional by vocation. His writings mostly deal with change, complexity and conversion and tries to look at a changing world through heaven's eyes.
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Is Our Constitution Archaic?


Author: Shantanu Dutta


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June 5, 2006
04:12 PM

The day is not far when people will make a government in exile.

Gaurav Sood
June 5, 2006
05:47 PM

"But times have changed and MPs who flow into the houses do need money for they do not hail from affluent families all the time." - Use everything but not this craven lie. If there ever was a time that MPs needed to do a job to pay bills, it was 50 years ago. Not now when Tata sumos, a jeep with cronies, multiple cell phones and AC offices abound...

And do make an effort to distinguish between the constitution and the other laws that we have. I believe non profit education bill, also in effect in numerous other countries, is not in the constitution.

June 6, 2006
01:19 AM

I didn't know India was lagging behind China due to Indian Constitution.

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