Majoritarian governments do not like fetters on their powers to amend the constitution. There is a reason why India is an example of this. 

India is undergoing a “deliberation backsliding”. The data and numbers confirm this. As per analysis undertaken by PRS Legislative Research, a not-for-profit think tank tracking the Indian parliament, since the current government was elected to office in 2019, only 13% of all government bills introduced in parliament were referred to Parliament Committees for detailed study, scrutiny and stakeholder consultations. The track record of the earlier government (under the same Prime Minister) was only slightly better at 28% of all government bills being referred to Parliament Committees. In contrast, the governments before 2014 (under a different Prime Minister) managed to refer 60% of all bills between 2004-09 and 71% of all bills between 2009-14 to Parliament Committees.

Now, the current government seems to have embarked on a project to revert to the “original” constitution, in which the words secular and socialist, and particularly secular, were not included in the Preamble, arguing that these were inserted during the undemocratic emergency. It has also not minced any words in making clear that it wants greater control and a say in the appointment of judges on the ground that the present system of appointments through a collegium is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution and is a judicial invention. The basic structure doctrine stands in the way of the government having its way, but it is not certain for how much longer.

Majoritarian governments do not like fetters on their powers to amend the constitution. In the recent past, the Indian judiciary has also come under much criticism for its “refusal” to live up to the expectation of being a counter-majoritarian institution, particularly on politically sensitive matters. A parliament reeling under near complete executive takeover, a government not keen on deliberations and a political party confident of mustering enough numbers to amend the constitution unilaterally present grave danger of the constitutionalism project failing in India.

by Maansi Verma


The Indian Constitution: Conversations with Power Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) Sep 17, 2022
Indian Constitution is a terrain of contestation between different—and often conflicting—visions of power. As a document that creates, shapes, and constrains power, the Constitution is not exhausted by its text; it is in ambiguities and silences, where the work of interpretation takes place, that this contest plays out. The talk will highlight some of these axes of power and then take one specific example—federalism—to argue that over time, the Constitution has been subjected to a "centralizing drift," i.e., interpretation (especially by the Supreme Court) that shifts power to the central executive, at the expense of other power holders. This "centralizing drift" was not inevitable but is the product of active judicial and interpretive choices and, therefore, can be potentially reversed in the future.

In his recent article, titled
There’s a case for ‘we the people’ to embrace a new Constitution  14 Aug 2023 Bibek Debroy,  highlighted the Hindu right's real problem with the Constitution.. ...the three recent Bills on criminal justice are examples. Partly, one reclaims our forgotten heritage; Sengol is a metaphor for that.

what about the Seventh Schedule and local bodies? If development is correlated with urbanization, why have we set up these rural-urban silos, exemplified in the 73rd and 74th amendments?

what’s the Supreme Court’s role... There are articles in the Constitution that impede executive efficiency, at least for all-India services. What about electoral reform and the Rajya Sabha’s role?

..Should one subject specific geographical areas to special laws, thereby never mainstreaming them? (This isn’t only about Article 370 as there are others.) If reforms are about markets and a refocused and reduced role for government, what sense do we make of the Directive Principles of State Policy?

All Those Demanding a New Constitution Are Fighting for a Less Equal India  Runyani .. the ideologues and leaders from the Hindu right have been asserting that this constitution is a colonial legacy, based on the Government of India Act of 1935 of the British and does not reflect ‘Indian values’

As the Constitution was implemented, the RSS mouthpiece rejected it and demanded the Manusmriti as the Constitution. An editorial in Organiser on Novemner 30, 1949 read: “But in our Constitution, there is no mention of the unique Constitutional development in Ancient Bharat. Manu’s laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparata or Solon of Persia. “The recent article by Dr @bibekdebroy was in his personal capacity. In no way do they reflect the views of EAC-PM or the Government of India,” the EAC-PM posted Thursday evening. The EAC-PM is an independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.

Lecture By Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave At Ernakulam GLC On Basic Structure  Live Law