Image taken on 1940-01-01 00:00:00 by The Library of Congress.
A constitution is the supreme law of a free country. It is the system by which a government of a country functions. Constitution of India was adopted in the in the constituent assembly on 26th November 1949. It is document that contains set of instructions and policies that a government in power of India must follow. Indian constitution came into force on 26th January 1950, the republic day of India, defining India as a republic union of states. Indian constitution also defines the fundamental rights, directive principles and fundamental duties of a citizen of India. Constitution of India declared India as a state to be sovereign, democratic republic but later in the amendment of constitution of 1976 the India was added to be a socialist and secular state.
The constitution of India is the longest written official book than any other of an independent country. Indian constitution is considered the best constitution that an independent country has in the world. It is a well drafted book that is a result of research of years. India is still a young independent country and hence the makes of India constitution have adopted several effective articles and laws from different constitutions of other countries. It has given a permeable that is just a complete crux about it. Preamble of India is again considered the best in the world. It contains 22 sections including 395 articles, 12 schedules and 83 amendments.
The committee that drafted the constitution of India was headed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and other six members as Jahwahar Lal Nehru, C. Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. All these members were great politicians and major scholars of India. Indian constitution is written in the hand writing of Dr. Ambedkar.
Indian constitution is the best official draft one must read to know how a democratic and independent republic nation works. It will provide a deep insight of the laws and principles that Indian government follows to run the union of India.
Classic Comedy bit where Don Knotts as Barney Fife demonstrates his masterful memorization of the Preamble the US Constitution
Why quest for a new constitution
may yet prove exercise in futility
By John Nyaosi
The seismic and nightmarish convulsions Kenya went through in January and February this year may probably have been avoided had Kenyans collectively a couple of years earlier acceded to the enactment of a new constitution. The post-election chaos that killed over 1,000 Kenyans and displaced 300,000 besides the setting aflame property with billions would never have happened if the country had a foolproof, time tested , solid mechanism for resolving the disputed presidential election.
Remember the explanation given by the aggrieved parties for not seeking recourse in the courts was that the wheels of justice were pitifully slow, and their impartiality ,rightly or wrongly, perceived as not being as beyond reproach as Ceasar’s wife. What with lawsuits and petitions contesting disputed constituency elections often lasting a whole parliamentary term thereby defeating the reason for petitioning poll results!
The conflagration came as a shock to many and when it lasted, it put Kenya on the same league as ‘failed states’ like Somalia and others where the general rule is survival of the fittest, ‘might is righ’ and law and order an alien thing. As we dithered on the brink even as the political protagonists Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga stood their grounds, the world watched with consternation, the orgy of violence flashed on the screens of world television networks including CNN. It was the intervention of the Africa’s eminent personalities led by former United Nation’s secretary-general Kofi Annan that managed to save the country from total annihilation by brokering a peace deal that saw the crafting of a Grand Coalition Government.
A darling of the west at Independence and at par with the so called tiger economies like Hong Kong and the rest, Kenya under Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was particulary in good books for choosing the mixed ecomomy model as opposed to Tanzania’s Socialism or Vijiji vya Ujamaa under Julius Kambarage Nyerere. Kenya which had set off well with high expectations on it development path was nevertheless sadly later to be beset by political rivalry that led to problems of governance, graft and accountability in running of state. affairs. From the Kenyatta era, through Daniel arap Moi’s autocratic era during which the one-party de facto state morphed into a de jure one party veritable dictatorship,and Kibaki’s first one term, the Independence constitution fared badly. Through amendments the Independence document was rendered a pale shadow of that bequeathed to us at independence.
To perpetuate themselves a leader will do anything. Despots like Marcia Nguema of Equitoral Geania, Jean Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic , Mobutu Sese Seko wa Ngibendu of Zaire, Sani Abacha and the like just to mention, a few, trampled underfoot their countries’ constitutions and rode roughshod on largely docile citizens. Multiparty euphoria later emboldened citizens enough to challenge the tin gods. with demands for constitutional reforms.
As Niccol Machaivelli points out for any politician to guarantee success he or she must live by the dictum: The end justifies the means. You use any means-lies, cajoling , repression, blackmail , demagoguery, doublespeak and obfuscation, to achieve the end. Our politicians have at one time or the other been guilty of all or some of these vices. Machiavelli further counsels that the politician must besides have three important qualities viz: (a)Selfishness, (b) selfishness, and (c) selfishness. For them selfishness takes precedent over the common or national good. If destroying the Mau Catchment will endear a few voters to them , then so be it.
Ideally , a country’s constitution be one able to the see it overcome any crisis however shattering even including the demise of a leader in office. It should spell out to the finest detail how to handle a regime change , at it were , it has a list of dos and donts that safeguard the nation or national good. It should preferably be fail safe.
Even as far back as the monolithic Kenya African National Union .(Kanu ) days, now with hindsight the seeds of what befell Kenya early in the year are discernible.
Reintroduction of multipartyism through repeal of Section 2a of the constitution to allow for competitive politics, saw a proliferation of political parties make a vain bid to unseat Moi since 1992. It was only in 2002 after the opposition big guns united under National Rainbow Coaliiton (Narc) that they vanquished Moi’s Kanu.
It will be recalled that in the run-up to 2002 gereral election, the main contending parties had each promised a new constitution after 100 days in office. But when Narc took power although under its watch there was a spirited attempt to give the country a new constitution, the whole process was stillborn largely due to protracted wrangles on various issues including power Devolution at Bomas. .Then there were the Bomas Draft and Wako draft and even other quasi-official drafts. The most shocking thing was that although the opposing interest groups guzzled close to Shs 4 billion on debates, arguments and counter arguments they couldn’t agree on various issues. Even when it emerged that they were in agreement on 80 per cent of the constitution, vested interests , selfishness, bigotry, sheer greed denied the country a new constitution fours years down the line even when the matter was subjected to a referendum that the government side lost miserably. Disgruntled elements ensured they threw a spanner into the works every time the nation appeared closer to a breakthrough.
It is often said that a people get the type of government they deserve. In other words the pathetic plight of Kenya’s hoi polloi, the poorest of the poor who make up a majority of the 36 million Kenyans-and who live on less than one dollar a day and sometimes nothing- are culpable in some way for the cadre of leaders running the country at any given time as they chose them. So as they groan under the weight of a 26.5 inflation rate, food scarcity and unemployment , they should know they are as much are responsible for the status quo. Through the ballot they picked the pampered Members of Parliament who can afford Shs 3.3 m loans for Prados, and other sleek limousines even as large sections of the country’s citizenry sleep on empty stomachs, have no health insurance, and no tap water and other fairly basic needs like schools and good motorable tracks to transport farm produce. During the Bomas meetings, delegates most of them sitting MPs conspired to shoot down the recall clause that would have ensured that MPs are kept on their toes by the electorate. Granted, the recall clause may be misused by mischievous busy bodies to unnecessarily harass an elected representative, but by and large it is a useful recourse tool for a neglected constituency and can be used to eject those politicians who only go to their constituencies on election day and return their only after the five-year term.
Currently there is worrying talk to the effect that the one year timeframe for the Grand Coalition Government to deliver a new constitution is not enough. One hopes that perusal of the Waki and Kriegler reports will sober up our politicians to see the need for a new constitution before the 2012 general election. Let all patriotic leaders eschew parochial and narrow considerations to fast-track the quest for a new constitution
For as long as we are blinded by bigotry, chauvinistic tendencies to sacrifice the motherland’s national interest in favour of the selfish narrow considerations of clan , tribe or region , so long will we grope in the dark in search of a panacea that will heal the tattered and wounded national fabric.
Ghanaians asked to learn the contents of the Constitution
Effutu Nsuekyir, (C/R), May 16, GNA – Reverend Collins Adams, Effutu Municipal Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has emphasized the need for every Ghanaian to know the contents of the Constitution to serve as a guide.
Read more on Ghanaweb.com
Hey, check out these auctions:
[eba kw=”The Constitution” num=”2″ ebcat=”all”]
Cool, arent they?
Indian Constitution – A Bold Experiment
Our constitution is not a novel formation of the constituent assembly, the various parts of the constitution has been derived from the working constitutions of other nations. As we know the fundamental rights enshrined in Part 3 and our federal structure of governance with a strong centralizing tendency has been taken from the American Constitution. The fundamental duties from the Irish Constitution and the parliamentary system of democracy with an independent judiciary from the England. We have been fortunate enough that our founding fathers took the initiative to inculcate such essential freedoms and form of governance in the most sacred law of the land, without which perhaps we would have resorted to an autocratic form of government akin to the British rule in India. Our forefathers had given us the tools that were essential for building a nation that had been ravished by the scourge of multi-ethnic wars and colonialism for decades, but in my respectful submission the moot question which they possibly did not envisage was whether our diverse cultures coupled with the burden of illiteracy would be able to handle these tools effectively. Sixty years down the line we might say that our democracy is the largest in the world and has been a grand success, but if we look minutely we can find that it is working mechanically. When we look into the majority flooding our constituent assembly we can see power hungry ministers who hardly have any concern for the masses.
If we go back to history we can find a possible answer as to why we have such a gloomy situation in our country. The ideologies of democracy, federalism and fundamental rights have been taken from the Western world, where people have attained there rights through struggle. The French Revolution of 1789 resulted in the: La Déclaration des droits de l’Homme et du citoyen) which is one of the fundamental documents of the French Revolution, defining a set of individual rights and collective rights of all of the estates as one. Influenced by the doctrine of natural rights, these rights are universal: they are supposed to be valid in all times and places, pertaining to human nature itself. We can also draw inspiration from the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 which came after 8 long years of war and it declared that “…..We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….” These monumental documents arose out of an unprecedented social and political struggle.
We did recognize these rights in our constitution but our illiterate masses remained oblivious to its true meaning as they were far away from these ideologies as they struggled for their basic necessities; which were further enhanced in the aftermath to the creation of two separate countries after independence when millions were left homeless and thousands were massacred. We still have people who are unaware of their own basic rights. Our founding fathers had borrowed these principles from the Western society and had imported and transplanted them on our backward, semi-feudal society. Consequently our constitution and our society do not correspond with each other the former being modern while the later being backward. The belief that by merely importing and transplanting a modern Constitution on a backward society will result in our society quickly becoming modern has proved to be a mistake. We have still today a lot of casteism and communalism in our society.
At the same time it cannot be said that the Indian constitution is merely a paper document, by setting up modern ideals the Constitution is pulling society forward the goals of creating a modern society. No doubt that it has not done so automatically merely by its promulgation but it has reduced the pain, agony and duration which Western societies had to go through during the period of their transition from feudal agricultural society to modern industrial society. This transitional period is a very painful period and its is only after going through this fire that a transformation can be brought about
India is presently passing through this fire. We need to first bring our society and its attitude at par with the modern world, free from all the bias and inequality; after all the constitution is for the people, of the people and by the people of this nation .Our constitution makers had indeed made a bold experiment when they created the constitution in the backdrop of the society which prevails in our country. However the Constitution if implemented in its true spirit, will be a boon to us, it is up to us to give it teeth and make the dream of our founding fathers a reality.
Back your opinion with reasons/examples please 🙂
And more to ideology and should the right shut their mouths when Democrates don’t read the constitution with the same bias as a right winger
ACTUALLY the constitution does allow congress to regulate interstate business. What that really means is up to you
ACTUALLY the constitution does allow congress to regulate interstate business. What that really means is up to you
ACTUALLY the constitution does allow congress to regulate interstate business. What that really means is up to you
The word constitution is derived from the Latin constituere means an action of decreeing or ordaining. According to The Oxford English Dictionary (London, 1933, 2:876), “It is a decree, ordinance, law, regulation usually one made by a superior authority, civil or ecclesiastical.” In the broad sense, a Constitution is a body of rules governing the affairs of an organized group.
It is within the core of the Ismaili doctrine that the Imam guides his followers according to the developing conditions of time and society. This outlook is what made Ismailism fluid. Earlier, the traditional council, known as justi dealt the community affairs on good faith. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah formed The First Ismailia Committee in 1900 in Karachi with a set of rules and abolished the working of the justi. The founder members of the Committee were Varas Ibrahim, Varas Basaria, Mukhi Muhammad Ali, Ali Ghulmani, Kamadia Rahmatullah Lutf Ali, Kamadia Talab, Mukhi Hashuani, Mukhi Ramzan, Ali Muhammad, Asani, Fakir Muhammad, Wali Muhammad and Mukhi Muhammad Ladha Sajan. Finally, the first Ismaili Council in Bombay, comprised of 20 members, came into existence on April 9, 1906 with Varas Ibrahim Muhammad Rawjee (1862-1911) as its first President and Alijah Ahmed Devji (1859-1925) as a Hon. Secretary. Varas Ibrahim Muhammad Rawjee ordained the Constitution of the Ismaili Council on March 4, 1910, whose draft was a splendid testimonial to his scholarly mind. Thus, the Constitutions for different areas of India with certain variations were prepared. It was confined to the workings of the Ismaili Councils in different areas, but was a milestone, which sought to lay the foundation of the progress of the community. The Ismaili Council was a peculiar mixture of a semi-judicial and semi-arbitration body. It was a judicial forum because its aim was to do justice. It was a arbitration board in the sense that it tried to give quick justice without stress of techanicalities and formalities.
In Africa, it would appears from a Civil Case no, 89 of 1894 in Zanzibar, vide Zanzibar Protectorate Law Reports (London, 1919, p. 46) by William Murison and S.S. Abrahams that adjudication of communual disputes rested in the hands of a traditional council (justi) of elders, who were considered authoritative as to the Ismaili customs. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah was reported the need of the community rules during his first East African visit in 1899. On his second visit to East Africa, the Imam issued the first Ismaili Constitution on September 9, 1905 – a set of written rules and regulations, known as The Rules of the Shi’a Imamia Councils of the Continent of Africa. The Imam said, “I have framed rules and regulations for you, which are the token of my memory. If you follow it, you will acquire great benefit. I entrusted you these rules and regulations behind me as if my tongue, so follow it. If you violate the rules, it will mean you have cut my tongue” (Zanzibar, 17/9/1905). This Constitution foresaw a new administrative organization in the form of a hierarchy of councils; it also established rules for governing the personal relation in the community, especially with respect to marriage, divorce and inheritance. With the Constitution of 1905, the Ismaili community had proved itself capable of providing stability in the midst of an ever-changing and progressive community. Around the same time, the first Ismaili Council was founded in Zanzibar. This Constitution was not published in printed form until 1922 when it appeared in English and Gujrati, then in Germany. By the early 1920s, new centers of economic activity had appeared on mainland East Africa, where the Ismailis had gradually moved. Having lost its importance as the main commercial center of the region, Zanzibar had also ceased to be the seat of the Ismaili community. It was in recognition of these changes, the Imam revised the first Constitution in 1914, 1925 and 1937, instituting separate central councils in the three territories of Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda. The original council in Zanzibar continued for some time to co-ordinate the activities of the Territorial Councils in matters of common interest. These central functions were later delegated to a Supreme Council, separate from the council in Zanzibar. During the final three decades of the Imam’s Imamate, the hierarchical system of councils, with its subsidiary bodies, was further developed on the basis of periodical revisions of the Constitution for the East African jamats; the revision occurring in 1937 with the formation of the Executive Council for Africa, Ismailia Supreme Council for Africa, Provincial and Local Councils. It was further revised in 1946 under the title of Constitution, Rules and Regulations of His Highness the Aga Khan Ismailia Councils for Africa. The Constitution was again revised in 1954 after the Imam had called a special conference of the East African councilors at Evian in July, 1952 for making necessary amendments in the existing Constitution of the councils. It however remained in force until 1962 when they all were revoked and replaced by The Constitution of the Shi’a Imami Ismailis in Africa. This Constitution was ordained on the 26th of June, 1962 and came into operation on the 11th of July of the same year. It remained operative for 25 years. Accordingly, the administrative hierarchy was headed, after the Imam, by a Supreme Council for Africa, an international body that directed, supervised and co-ordinated the activities of the three Territorial Councils. The Supreme Council, with its changing headquarters in Nairobi and other major cities of East Africa, was also empowered to act as judicial tribunal of the second degree, the highest judicial authority being the Imam himself. The 1962 Constitution also established an Executive Council for Africa with the main function of allocating funds to various organizations. It was once again amended in 1974 to meet the new demands in the society. The constitutional revision was more than anything else an attempt to coordinate local interests as the Ismaili society became more complex.
When India was partitioned in 1947, a separate but still similar Constitution and council system was developed for Pakistan. On March 21, 1961, the Ismailia Federal Council for Pakistan came into existence. Another Constitution was put into effect for the Ismailis of Pakistan on July 11, 1962.. On the basis of the Constitution of 1962 for Pakistan, each Supreme Council was responsible for supervising the activities of some of the 23 Divisional. District and Local Councils throughout the country.
In India, the Federal Council, located at Bombay directed the affairs of four Regional Council for Maharashtra, Gujrat, southern India and eastern India. At the bottom of the hierarchy, there were 28 Local Councils in India, for south Bombay, north Bombay, Jamnagar, Kutchh, Surat, Hyderabad, and so forth. On March 21, 1968, a third Constitution was promulgated in India. During his visit to India, the Imam said on February 23, 1969 in Bombay that, “Last year a new Constitution was introduced for my jamat of India. Many of you may not know that the earlier Constitution was dated 1946, that is for 22 years, our jamat implemented the same Constitution. It was my view, and it is my view, that circumstances have changed sufficiently so that a new Constitution should be introduced. If I have seen fit to introduce a new Constitution in 1968, this means that I may see fit to introduce a new Constitution in 1970, or 72, or 74. This means that no Constitution for our jamat is a firm, solid, immovable document. It is a document, which is created to assist the jamat to administer its affairs satisfactorily and in keeping with the times. Thus, I wish my spiritual children to understand that if through the implementation of this Constitution, it is found that certain matters could be better pharsed, could be amended, could be improved, the Constitution will be continuously amended. The Constitution of our jamat here in India, like in East Africa, like in Pakistan, is a living document and where it is not in keeping with the tradition of the jamat, or in keeping with what the times require, amendment will be introduced.”
The Constitutions of East Africa, Pakistan and India were alike in spirit, but differed in several points according to the different circumstances prevalent in these countries. This was explained by the Present Imam upon his sanctioning The Constitution of the Councils and Jamats of Shi’a Imami Ismaili Muslims of Pakistan that, “Look to the spirit and not the letter of the Constitution.”
On July 11, 1977, a Syrian delegation led by President al-Haek of the Syrian Council visited France. The Imam gave them a special message for the Syrian jamat, in which the Imam said, “On the occasion of Imamate Day, I will be introducing for formal application from now onwards, a new Constitution for my jamat in Syria. I believe this Constitution will assist in improving the administration of my jamat.”
The New Constitution of 1986
The Ismailis are spread in all over the world in different culture and society, and a need arose to ordain one universal Constitution applicable in common for all the Ismailis to improve the organizational structure of the institutions. In March, 1964, the Imam formed a Constitution Review Committee (CRC) under Wazir Anil Ishani (Convenor) with the members, Wazir Mohammad Jaffar, Wazir Ashiqali Hussain, Wazir Abdul Mohammad Furniturewala, Wazir Amirali Rahimtoola, Wazir Zaher Ahmed, Wazir Amir Bhatia, Wazir Zool Nimji and Huzur Mukhi Mahmood Ahmed. The CRC started its working in April, 1984 with a number of field visits in different countries. It submitted reports of its working regularly to the Imam after firs discussing them with the jamati leaders and group of the Imam’s secretariat at Aiglemont. CRC had ten meetings with the Imam, culminating on December 13, 1986, the 50th Salgirah of the Imam with the ordaining ceremony at Merimont, Imam’s secretariat in Geneva. The members of the Imam’s family, including Begum Salimah, Princess Tajudawla, Mata Salamat, Prince Amyn Muhammad and Princess Zahra were present in Geneva during this historical ceremony. The members of CRC and those members from the secretariat at Aiglemont also participated. At 11.00 a.m., the Imam ordained, signed and sealed The Constitution of the Shi’a Imami Ismaili Muslims.
Before the ceremony, the Imam sent his message to the jamat on December 10, 1986, and said, “On the 13th December, I will ordain a new Ismaili Constitution, which will be known as The Constitution of the Shi’a Imami Ismaili Muslims. The Ismaili Constitution will be applicable throughout the world, linking all members of my jamat wherever they are to the Imamate. Islam is a community of faith and throughout the 1400 years of our history, our jamat has lived by the rules and practice of our tariqah as a frontierless brotherhood of men and women. The permanent bond, linking the murid to the Imam and subsisting irrespective of the geographical location of the individual murid, has been and will continue to remain the cornerstone of our jamat’s identity. In our tariqah, the Imam of the Time has always concerned himself with the spiritual advancement as well as with the improvement of the quality of life of the jamat. In this century, in accordance with the needs of the time, my grandfather gave during his Imamate, and I have given in the past 30 years, Constitutions to the jamat in different areas of the world. The ordaining of this Constitution has been preceded by detailed examination of the existing separate Constitutions of the jamat, all of which will be superseded, when the Rules and Regulations applicable to the respective countries come into force. I have recognized that in view of the change in the demography of the jamat, it is necessary to establish new councils and for the same reason to discontinue others. This has been done. In providing the new Constitutional structure, I have also taken account of recent significant developments, such as the increasingly international dimension of the jamat’s settlement and especially my aspiration for the jamat to play an even more active part than in the past in the mainstream of life in the societies in which it lives.” The Imam also said, “It is my belief that the Ismaili Constitution will provide a strong institutional and organizational framework through which my jamat will be able to contribute to the harmonies development of the ummah and of the societies in which the jamat lives.” Besides, the Imam said, “The Ismaili Constitution recognizes and addresses many of the jamat’s present and future needs, but it is to be expected that some adjustment will need to be made in the practical application of the Constitution to meet local circumstances. These adjustment will be made on a case by case basis, in the rules and regulations which will be provided in respect of each country. I am confident that the Ismaili Constitution will give stronger integrated identity to my jamat worldwide, and that in abiding by it in letter and spirit, the jamat will achieve greater peace, unity, happiness, security and well-being.”
The New Constitution is a single unified paramount constitution, which applies to all Ismailis wherever domiciled or resident and superseded constitutions applicable to Ismailis in different countries. The jamat in individual countries, however, have their own rules and regulations by virtue of the Constitution, which makes detailed provisions for their governance and their institutions.
The Preamble to the new Constitution affirms all the fundamental Islamic beliefs and then clearly focuses on the doctrine of the Imamate. It sets out the essence of the Ismaili beliefs as Shi’a Imami Ismaili Muslims who affirm the Shahadah and that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) is the last and final Prophet of God, and that Islam, as revealed in the Koran, is the final message of God to mankind, and is universal and eternal. The Preamble states the authority of the Imam in the Ismaili tariqah and that allegiance to the Imam unites all Ismaili Muslims worldwide in their loyalty, devotion and obedience to the Imam within the Islamic concept of universal brotherhood. It further states that from the time of Ali bin Abu Talib, the Imams have given rules of conduct and constitutions in conformity with the Islamic concepts of unity, brotherhood, justice, tolerance and goodwill.
Complete at Source: