Q. ‘Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets. Explain the doctrine of ‘Constitutional Morality’ with the help of relevant judicial decisions. (150 Words)08 Apr, 2022 GS Paper 2 Polity & Governance
- Introduce with defining what is ‘Constitutional Morality’.
- Explain how the doctrine of ‘Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets.
- Give some relevant judicial decisions.
Constitutional Morality is defined as the adherence to the principles of the constitutional values. It includes commitment to inclusive and democratic political process. According to Dr. Ambedkar, the concept of constitutional morality implied the harmonious interaction between the governing and governed.
Though the term ‘Constitutional Morality’ is not found in the Constitution, nevertheless it is rooted in various facets of the Constitution, such as in:
- Preamble (values like justice, liberty, equality and fraternity)
- Fundamental Rights
- Fundamental Duties
- Directive Principles of State Policy
The doctrine of constitutional morality safeguards and upholds the enforcement of rule of law in the country. It recognizes this distinction and non-homogeneity and promotes diversity, helping to make the society more inclusive. It also promotes people to be an active participant of the system and fight the inequalities and non-constitutional elements.
The Supreme Court has been vocal about constitutional morality. To illustrate:
- In the Krishnamoorthy case (2015), the Court held that democracy expects prevalence of genuine orderliness, positive propriety, dedicated discipline and sanguine sanctity by constant affirmance of constitutional morality which is the pillar stone of good governance.
- In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy case (2018), the SC held that constitutional morality ensures that courts must neutralise the excesses of power by the executive and strike down any legislation or even executive action if it is unconstitutional.
- In the Government of NCT of Delhi case (2018), the Court equated constitutional morality to a ‘second basic structure doctrine’. It said that constitutional morality acts as a check on arbitrary use of power as it implies strict and complete adherence to the constitutional principles.
- In the Indian Young Lawyer’s Association case (2018), commonly known as the Sabrimala case, the Supreme Court bypassed the doctrine of essentiality (the principle protecting the ‘integral’ religious practices of a community) to uphold the supremacy of constitutional morality.
Constitutional morality is crucial for constitutional laws to be effective. Without constitutional morality, the operation of the constitution tends to become arbitrary. However, the concept of constitutional morality need not be determined by the Supreme Court at every given instance. It is a sentiment that needs to be cultivated in the minds of citizens.
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