Constitutional morality in India
Constitutional morality is a concept that refers to the adherence to the core principles of constitutional democracy, such as individual autonomy, liberty, equality, dignity, privacy, and non-discrimination, in matters of personal choices and relations. Constitutional Morality in india
The Allahabad High Court judgment in Kiran Rawat vs State of UP is being seen as violating constitutional morality regarding denial of the protection to an inter-faith couple in a live-in relationship from police harassment, and by implying that their relationship was immoral, illegal, and against personal laws. Constitutional Morality in india
Constitutional morality plays a vital role in shaping the functioning of a democratic society governed by the principles of the constitution. While it is subject to interpretation and has its challenges, it serves as a guiding framework for upholding fundamental rights, ensuring justice, and maintaining a balance of power. Constitutional Morality in india
What is the Significance of Constitutional Morality?
Protection of Individual Autonomy and Personal
- Recognizes intimate choices and relations as inherent and inalienable aspects of human personality.
- Limits the state’s power to regulate or punish based on public or social morality.
Respect for Constitutional Values:
- Upholds secularism, pluralism, and diversity.
- Prevents imposition of religious or cultural norms on individuals who do not voluntarily accept them. Constitutional Morality in india
Promotion of Pluralism and Diversity:
- Fosters a culture of tolerance, respect, and dialogue among different groups and communities.
- Enables individuals to freely express their identities and preferences without fear or coercion.
What are the Landmark Judgments Upholding Constitutional Morality?
Lata Singh vs State of UP (2006):
- Directed protection for inter-caste and inter- religious couples from harassment and violence.
S. Khushboo vs Kanniammal & Anr. (2010):
- Declared sexual relations between consenting adults outside marriage as legal and within the right to privacy.
Naz Foundation vs Government of NCT of Delhi – (2009):
- Decriminalized consensual homosexual acts between adults, declaring Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as a violation of rights.
Joseph Shine vs Union of India (2018):
- Decriminalized adultery and declared it a violation of the rights to equality, dignity, privacy, and autonomy. Constitutional Morality in india
Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India (2018):
- Affirmed the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to express their sexual orientation and identity with dignity.
Shafin Jahan vs Asokan K.M. (2018):
- Upheld the right to marry a person of one’s choice regardless of religion or caste, nullifying the annulment of a Hindu-Muslim marriage.
Shakti Vahini vs Union of India (2018):
- Condemned honour killings and violence against inter-caste and inter-religious couples, issuing guidelines for prevention and protection. Constitutional Morality in india
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What are the Challenges of Constitutional Morality?
Lack of Clear Definition:
- Constitutional morality lacks a clear definition, leading to varied interpretations based on individual perceptions. Constitutional Morality in india
Promotion of Judicial Supremacy:
- Constitutional morality promotes judicial supremacy, which can result in the Judiciary intervening in the functioning of the legislature.
- This intervention violates the principle of the separation of powers.
Conflicts with Popular Morality and Religious Beliefs:
- Constitutional morality may sometimes conflict with popular morality or religious beliefs.
- Conflicts of this nature can lead to social unrest and resistance
- Examples of such conflicts include the Supreme Court’s verdicts on decriminalizing homosexuality and allowing women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple, which were met with protests by certain sections of society. Constitutional Morality in india
Influence of Political Considerations and Personal Biases:
- Constitutional morality may be influenced by political considerations or personal biases.
- These influences can undermine the objectivity and legitimacy of constitutional morality.
What Should be the Way Forward for Constitutional Morality?
Clear Definition and Understanding:
- Efforts should be made to establish a clear and comprehensive definition of constitutional morality, providing a solid foundation for interpretation and application. Constitutional Morality in india
Public Awareness and Education:
- Promoting public awareness and education about constitutional morality is crucial.
- This includes enhancing civic education, conducting public discussions, and engaging with various stakeholders to foster a deeper understanding of its principles.
Judicial Restraint and Respect for Separation of Powers:
- To address concerns about judicial supremacy, there should be a focus on judicial restraint and a respect for the separation of powers.
- The judiciary should exercise caution in intervening in legislative matters and maintain a balance between upholding constitutional values and respecting the roles of other branches of government. Constitutional Morality in india
Evolving and Adaptive Approach:
- Constitutional morality should be flexible and adaptive to evolving societal norms, values, and challenges.
- Courts and institutions responsible for interpreting the constitution should embrace a dynamic approach that considers contemporary issues and developments.
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