Speech by H.E. Mr. V. Mahalingam at the celebration of Constitution...
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HC's Remarks at Constitution Day 30.11.2016

 

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Donald Trotman, President, United Nations Association of Guyana;

Mr. SaseGunraj, Attorney at Law;

Former Chief Security Adviser of Govt. of West Bengal and Special IG, Mr. ShyamadasMallick;

Distinguished invitees;

Members of the Media;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

My fellow citizens of India,

Good Evening.

 

Today we are celebrating the first Constitution Day of India. In India, Constitution Day was celebrated four days back on 26th November 2016. It was the day on which  the Constitution Assembly  adopted the Constitution on 26th November 1949.

 

The celebration of Constitution Day can never happen without glorifying the principal architect of the Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar who was the first Law Minister of India is a model and inspiration to many, given his poor socio-economic background though he belonged to the lowest strata of sudra community,. He never gave up to educate himself to become the first Indian ever to pursue a doctorate in economics abroad. When he was at school, he was segregated from the other higher caste Hindu students and was asked to sit outside the class to listen to the teacher. He was not allowed to share the glass which was used by the  other students. Considering the achievements of Dr. Ambedkar, he was voted “Greatest Indian” in 2012 by a poll organized by History TV 18 and CNN- IBN, in which nearly 20 million votes were cast making him the most popular Indian figure since the launch of this initiative.

 

The credit for much of the acclaim to the Indian Constitution, which stood the test of time, should go to Dr. Ambedkar, who laid the solid foundation. I would like to highlight some of the facts about the Indian Constitution which may be known to many of you.

 

The Indian Constitution is supposedly the longest Constitution in the world. The original Constitution was hand-written and caligraphed both in English and in Hindi and the original is still preserved in the Parliament of India. The Indian Constitution is called “bag of borrowings.” The Indian Constitution has taken various good features from other Constitutions. The concepts of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity were taken from the French Constitution. The idea of Five Year Plans was from USSR and the concept of socio-economic right was taken from Ireland. Most importantly, the law on which the Supreme Court works was taken from Japan. There are many other concepts from other nations which are incorporated into the Indian Constitution.

 

Dr. Ambedkar and the framers of the Constitution had a good foresight with the result the Indian Constitution even today remains as relevant as the time it was enacted. The Preamble of the Constitution, which provides the basic foundation for the Constitution was amended for the first  time  in 1976 through the 42nd Amendment and the Amendment itself called “Mini Constituion”.  It amended the Preamble and changed the description of India from “Sovereign Democratic Republic” to “Sovereign, Socialist, Secular Democratic Republic” and the changed the phrase “Unity of the Nation” to “Unity and Integrity of the Nation.”

 

As of September 2016, there have been 101 Amendments to the Constitution, including the latest GST Bill. Considering the societal complexities and the changing world scenario  and given the great diversity of India, the 101 Amendments to the Indian Constitution without change in the basic structure of the Constitution is a great achievement and the credit should go to Dr. Ambedkar, who is also known as the Father of the Constitution.

 

Friends , I have not ventured into making comparison between the Indian Constitution and the Guyanese Constitution. I am sure that the two distinguished speakers who have kindly consented to be present here today will do it ably and with legal finesse.

Thank you.

 

 



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