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New dimension of Indian Constitution

The Constitution of India is the principal document that formulates the rights, duties and powers of citizens, governments and its officials. The constitution came into force on 26 January 1950. It took nearly three years to complete. It is regarded to be the world’s most extensive Constitution. Our society and its needs are ever-evolving. To keep pace with it Numerous amendments have been made to the constitution.

  1. Abolition of states according to classes and the introduction of Union Territories and reorganisation of states by language (1956): This was one of the first significant reforms of the boundaries of Indian states and territories, organising them by the language spoken in those areas. This systematically arranged the states and lowered the complexity of state boundaries. It abolished the classification of states by progress and per-capita income of the states.
  2. The Constitution (42nd amendment) inserted Socialism and Secularism in the preamble, a provision on fundamental (1976): Secularism and socialism were inserted to restore the faith of the nation that minorities would be safe and not be exploited by the rich strata. Also, the rich would not be allowed to dominate the country’s economy.The main reason to add socialism was to promote social as well as economic equality in the country. Similarly, the main reason to add secularism was to imply that there was no official state religion of the country.
  3. Right to Property deleted from the list of fundamental rights (1978): The fundamental right to property in India was removed to permit the reorganisation of land and to facilitate land acquisition for developmental projects.This was carried out by the Indian government at that time since it was not affluent enough to pay people whatever they demanded their land.
  4. Lawmakers may be disqualified on the grounds of defection (Law of Defection) (1985): This was quite a controversial amendment in itself since it was felt that this law would invade on the right of free speech of lawmakers. Under the amendment, a Member of Parliament or state legislature was considered to have defected if they either on their own resigned from their party or violated the directions of the party leadership on a vote. That is, they may not vote on any issue in violation to the party’s decision. Independent members would be disqualified if they joined a political party. Nominated members who were not members of a party could choose to join a party within six months; after that period, they were treated as a party member or independent member.
  5. Voting age reduced from 21 to 18 (1989): The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi explained it as an expression of the government’s full faith in the youth of the country. The youth are aware and informed and thus, lowering of the voting age would provide an opportunity to the unrepresented youth of the nation to vent out their feelings and motivate them to become a part of the political process eventually.
  6. Introduction of Nagarpalikas and Municipalities (1993): During the early 90s local bodies in states had become ineffective in holding regular elections or the maintenance of public infrastructure, electricity and water supply. Thus, an immediate need to introduce effective authorities to execute the numerous plans and programs was felt by the government.
  7. Free and compulsory education to children between 6 to 14 years (2002): One of the most important amendments, the government directed private schools to take 25% of their class strength from economically weaker or disadvantaged groups of society through a random selection process with the help of the government funding.This initiative was taken to try and provide elementary education to all. Moreover, the local and state governments were made to ensure its proper implementation.
  8. Allowed the government to pass laws relating to reservations to socially, economically backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in public and private higher educational institutions (2014): Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have been the most neglected and exploited people in India. The curse of untouchability has always been a dark spot on Indian civilisation and culture. Despite the constitutional declaration of its abolition under Article 17, it was still quite prevalent in many subtle and not so subtle ways. Therefore, for the very integrity, survival and the nation’s unity the amendment to pass laws relating to such reservations were quite a need of the hour.
  9. Introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), to present the idea of One Nation, One Tax (2016): The most recent important amendment came with the implementation of the GST, where consumers would not be subjected to double/ multiple taxations. All taxes that are imposed while purchasing goods will include both the central government’s taxes as well as the state government’s taxes. The introduction of GST has deterred the state governments from randomly increasing taxes.

Different Dimensions of Article 21 of Indian Constitution—

No person except according to procedure established by law shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty. Deprivation of personal liberty or to intrude on another person's life is an act of private individual amounts. Such violations would not fall under Article 21 for the set parameters. Measures for victim in such a case under article 226 of the Constitution or the common law will either.

The Supreme Court has explained Article 21 which includes:

  1. Right to go abroad
  2. Right to privacy
  3. Right against solitary confinement
  4. Right against hand cuffing
  5. Right against delayed execution is correct.
  6. Right to Shelter.
  7. Right against the death in custody
  8. Right against public hanging

The right to know and the right to open trial are included in fundamental rights. The right of every child to a full development, cultural heritage, protection is included.

Part IV of the Constitution in Articles 39, 47 and 48 contain for enactment of several legislative acts. These legislative enactments cover a wide range of fields including food safety law, labor law and environmental law. Occupational Health Laws Factories Act, 1948, the Mine Act, 1952, Dock Workers (Safety, Health and Welfare) Act, 1986 regulates the provision of health care of workers in an establishment. Under the Factories Act, 1948, the physical strain or unduly long hours of manual labor are held violative of fundamental right to protect workers . Under workmen's compensation Act, 1923, if during the course of work an accident causing injury to the workman occurs, a legal obligation is cast on the employer to pay compensation.

New dimensions from time to time have been added to the scope of Article 21. The Supreme Court banned smoking in public as smoking is injurious to health and that the Constitution recognizes the right to health under 21. The right to shelter is upheld in several cases. The importance of the right to a decent environment and a reasonable accommodation is upheld. Within the ambit of the protection guaranteed by Article 21, the right to enjoy the protection of the right to a meaningful life encompasses. Residence and the right to settle in the 19 (1) (e) of Section 21 is a fundamental right under the power of life and an integral facet is seen as a meaningful right.