The Constitution of India has been India's greatest achievement since independence. The country can take legitimate pride in the fact that the Constitution has survived all the pressures, stresses and strains inflicted on the body politic by malevolent forces, both internal and external. It has emerged stronger from the many crises, conflicts and controversies. In fact, the Constitution has been in the making all through the last sixty years.
This book brings together for the first time a selection from the many contemporaneous notes and opinions on crucial issues involving interpretation of key concepts and provisions of the Constitution. These were written in response to the controversies raised or difficult conflict situations then prevailing. The author was in some ways privy to some of the conflicts and had something to do with their resolution within the constitutional framework. The views retain their relevance and appeal.
This book would be useful for all those who are interested in understanding the machanisms of the Constitution and its functioning.
Subhash C Kashyap is a widely acknowledged and well known constitutional expert. He is also a Supreme court advocate; consultant in constitutional law, political management and parliamentary affairs; honorary Research Professor at the Centre for Policy Research; president, Citizenship Development Society and Rashtriya Jagriti Sansthan; Editor, South Asia Politics (monthly); Chairman Academy of Grassroots studies and Research; and is connected with several Indian and foreign institutions, universities etc.
Earlier, Dr Kashyap Served as Secretary-General, Lok Sabha (Parliament of India); Member, National commission to Review the working of the Constitution and Chairman of its Drafting and Editorial Committee; Honorary Constitutional Adviser to Government of India on PRI Laws; Director, institute of Constitutional and Parliamentary Studies; Head. CIDP (Inter-Parliamentary Union). Geneva; Member, Board of Directors of International IDEA (Stockholm); Member, Governing Council, India Council of Social Science Research: Chairman /Member of Several high Level committees in constitutional. Parliamentary and educational fields including the Committee for Selection of the most Outstanding parliamentarians,
Search Committees for Selection of Vice-Chancellors etc; US Congressional fellow (Washington DC); Fellow, UNDP Fellow etc.
Dr Kashyap is the recipient of many honours and awards in India and aboroad, including that of Commander of the Honorary Order of the Academy of San Francisco for services to constitutional studies. He is author of over 60 Prestigious works including the Constitutional Law of India, 2 Vols; Parlitical System, Anti-Defection Law, Citizen and Judicial Reforms, Citizen and the Constitution Concise Encyclopedia of Indian constitution etc. He has also edited over 50 volumes and contributed nearly 700 research papers and articles to Indian and Foreign journals and national dailies. Several of his works have been translated into many languages. He travels and lectures widely in India and abroad and is Frequently interviewed by both Indian and foreign electronic and print media.
To have succeeded in giving to ourselves a Constitution acceptable to all parts of our vast country and all sections of our highly pluralistic society was one of our greatest achievements since Independence. We can take even greater pride in the fact that it has stood the test of time and survived many pressures, stresses and strains inflicted on the body politic by malevolent forces, both internal and external for nearly sixty years now. Some temporary aberrations notwithstanding whatever problems, conflicts and crises we faced we handled them reasonably successfully within the existing constitutional framework.
In some ways, I have been privy to several Developments related to the working of the Constitution and our polity ever since the first parliament. During the last two decades, as a private citizen, I have been making some contribution to resolution of constitutional controversies. At a personal level, I have had many occasions to advise successive leaders of the government and Opposition at the Union and State levels in times of crises and on matters of national importance. While many of the contemporaneous opinions and notes on crucial matters cannot be for public domain, my public contributions have included, besides my books, more than 700 articles and numerous addresses in Indian and abroad. Most often these related to contemporary or ongoing problems involving understanding and interpretation of some key concepts and provisions of the Constitution. I am glad to present here a selection of article. These were written at different points of time often in response to the controversies raised or conflict situations prevailing at the time. These have to be seen in that context and yet they retain contemporary relevance.
I am grateful to all the prominent national dailies like the Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Statesman, The Tribune, The Pioneer, The Deccan Herald and others for publishing several of these pieces as articles at a time when the events took place and difficult Situations arose. Hopefully, they could impact policy and decision making at appropriate levels.
Some of the relatively longer pieces were published in journals or delivered as inaugural or keynote addresses at conferences, seminars, symposia within the county or abroad. These seek to dwell upon conceptual or systemic clarifications, institutional interrelationships and the working of the Constitution. These should be of special interest to concerned citizens.
In a work of this kind, some repetition is unavoidable to present the argument and suggest the alternative ways out under different situations. The attempt, however, has been to keep repetition to the minimum and where possible, make cross references.
To make the text more readable and relevant to the present-day reader, liberty has been taken for some updating and editing by way of changing the narrative to past tense etc.
My publisher Renu Kaul Verma deserves to be complimented for her persistence and suave persuasion without which I would have never put these stray thoughts and writings together.
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