Constitutional Supremacy or Whatever This Term Suggests
a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed (Oxford Dictionaries)
The other day I found that the Constitution of the United States, in its essence, only has seven articles. Compare it with that of the political reality that we are in today. Besides being the largest democracy, by number, India also holds the record for having the longest constitution, with 444 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and 118 amendments, all of which are elaborated in 146,385 words. If we go by the records of the Comparative Constitutions Project of the University of Texas, Monaco, which first adopted its version in 1911, has the shortest constitution, comprising 10 chapters consisting of 97 articles in 3,814 words.
The Constitution of India became functional on 26 January 1950, two years after that of Manipur, an erstwhile kingdom that it annexed in 1949. Well, the record-breaking length is a consequence of copying from every available sources: from those of the UK, of course; then the US, the erstwhile USSR, Australia, Japan, Ireland, Germany and Canada. Unfortunately, back then in the earliest post-independent days, the 389 members—who made up the Constituent Assembly that took two years, eleven months and eighteen days to draft the Constitution—had no access to Google or Wikipedia. Or perhaps, BR Ambedkar & Co wanted a ‘codified’ Constitution. A shame to the outspoken Dalit people.
Nevertheless, just like being a largest democracy imply nothing to many parts of the country, the length of the Constitution does not promise ‘a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty and endeavours to promote fraternity among them’, as it is mentioned in the documented principles. So, why not make an alternative Constitution in a concise way, and it could be nice considering that even schoolchildren, who are now getting away with just a rote memory of the Preamble, should be made to study the entire, yet a shortened form of, the Constitution.
Monaco is not even a nation-state and its identity, marked by the sinful gambling industry, is too sleazy for an ancient and pious civilisation called India so we can ape the Americans, the closest neoliberal partner in this new millennium. For the best result, we can reduce the 444 articles into just five. Here’s the suggestion, the five articles without sub-sections but codified.
We, the People of India, establish this Constitution for India and believe that:
All the legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the Parliament of India and no person shall be a representative, who has not reached 21 years for male and 18 for female and not been a citizen of this country for one year. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 50 thousand, but each state shall have 20 representatives; and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of Uttra Pradesh shall be entitled to choose 500, Rajasthan 300, and the entire Northeastern states one each.
The Parliament of India shall be composed of two parties: Congress and BJP; and others are freeloaders that can be taken in from time to time. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust or profit under India; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law. The Parliament may at any time by law make or alter any regulations and shall assemble at least fifty times a year.
The Parliament shall as well have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, and imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout India. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. no money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time. No state shall, without the consent of the Parliament, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except for NSCN-IM. Moreover, it is still confusing the de facto regions claimed by the armed rebels, such as the Sajik Tampak of Manipur.
The executive power shall be vested in a prime minister of India, while the president will act like the queen of our colonial master. Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of representatives but none should hold an office of trust or profit. The rule does not apply to businesspeople and criminals who stand for elections.
The Parliament will determine the schedule of elections and the day the pathetic mortals shall give their votes; after all India is the biggest democracy and to hell with those people speaking for Kashmiri and Manipuri rights. In case of an emergency, the removal of the prime minister from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the president, and the Parliament may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the prime minister and the president, declaring what officer shall then act as the prime minister, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a prime minister shall be elected.
The prime minister shall receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which s/he shall have been elected, and s/he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from India, or any of them. Before s/he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: ‘I solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of Prime Minister of India, and will to the best of my ability, preserve and protect the Constitution of India.’ Besides, the prime minister, the president and all civil officers of India shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours. It will not be different from removing Khomdram Ratan from the office of the JCILPS.
The judicial power of India shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as the Parliament may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. Cheers to the Manipuri lawyers who are busy fighting for domestic and family issues, but never listen to the Manipuri old farts who are redefining the concept of a freeloader through their squeaking for scheduled tribe demands of the Meiteis.
In the same breath, the Parliament shall have the power to declare the punishment of any treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted and except when the head of a state like a chief minister donating crores of rupees to armed organisations fighting against India for the right to self-determination.
The Parliament shall have the power to dispose of and make all rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to India; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of India, or of any particular state. The ratification of the conventions of 29 states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states and thus ratifying the same.
India shall guarantee to every state in this union a parliamentary form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence and Pakistani and Chinese threats. Poor Burma, all that it can do is to export snacks from its neighbours.
New states may be admitted by the Parliament into this union; but no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Parliament.
In this regard, a person charged in any state with treason, felony or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime. S/he should be ordered to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai five hundred times and each state shall have its equivalent translation; for instance, in Meiteilon, it can be translated crisply as ‘Namaimathu’.
The fundamental rights of the citizen are inherent in the Constitution, which offers as well a tripartite separation of powers: the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. This is also a tribute to our colonial masters, indirectly though, as preached by Baron de Montesquieu, the European lord. The Government is the organ of State exercising the executive power of government, the two houses of Parliament comprising the lower house or the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the upper house or the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).
Nevertheless, the Courts exercise a constitutional function in reviewing the constitutionality and legality of actions of the other organs of state. Under this Constitution, the members of government offices can be removed from office solely by a resolution of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state. The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states but for the sake of nationalism, as George Orwell’s pigs would say: ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others’. Some animals include the Manipuris, Kashmiris and a few Red Corridorians.
The courts established under the Constitution, the Supreme Court, and the High Court, constitute the judicial organ of government and it will also legitimise state terrorism and annexation. These powers of Government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of State established by this Constitution. There’s nothing wrong with acts like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by this Constitution.
PostScript: After almost seven decades of independence, our slave mentality is yet to be gotten rid of and thus the above five articles are lifted from the Constitutions of Ireland and the United States, though not in that order. I can also confidently say that the length of a constitution does not necessarily offer us a life of dignity. But, don’t be a motherfucking crybaby. Deal with it.