Constitutional Morality: Meaning, Doctrine, Judgements and Scope

By Balaji

Updated on: February 20th, 2023

Constitutional Morality means to abide by the substantial moral entailment of the Indian Constitution. However, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar introduced the term in the Constitutional Assembly to show his doubts about the legislature. The Doctrine of Constitutional Morality ensures the functioning of a healthy democracy, one based on reconciling the needs and interests of all.

It is important for public servants to feel a sense of loyalty and dedication toward upholding the principles of democracy, even when their interests might be at stake. Below you will learn more about Constitutional Morality judgments, their meaning, doctrine, principles, etc.

What is Constitutional Morality?

In Ambedkar’s view, Constitutional Morality is the term that refers to an approach. According to him, Constitutional Morality’s essence must be unanimity of an approach. Constitutional Morality is quite visible in several well-established rights of the Constitution of India and others. It includes the following-

  • The procedure established by law
  • Due process of law
  • Social justice
  • Freedom of choice and expression
  • Right to equality
  • Individual liberty
  • The rule of law

Doctrine of Constitutional Morality

Freedom and self-restraint are the central themes of Constitutional Morality’s doctrine. The Constitutional Morality Doctrine is explained as follows-

  • Self-restraint is a major precondition for freedom for the effortless working of the Constitutional Processes.
  • According to the Constitution of India, Directive Principles in Part IV of the Indian Constitution are considered the reservoir of social welfare.
  • If Part IV of the Indian Constitution is pitted against the Fundamental Rights of a citizen, then there are chances of conflicts.
  • In one such case, the Supreme court addressed these concerns and emphasized a harmonic construction of Constitutional morality’s true spirit.

In India, populism is growing at a fast rate, and this has resulted in the following-

  • Haste action of Parliament on abrogation of Article 370.
  • Without careful treatment and proper debate, laws are being passed in Parliament.
  • For the applicability of the test of Constitutional Morality, the CAA has also stepped in.

Principles of Constitutional Morality

Constitutional Morality is a sentiment that should be nurtured in the thoughts of responsible citizens but reinforced by an unbiased court guided by principles and ethics. The principles of Constitutional Morality can be considered as the following-

  • The supreme respect for the constitution has been characterized as Constitutional Morality.
  • Constitutional Morality gives a foundation for understanding how government works.
  • It establishes standards for institutions to follow to exist and an expectation of behavior that is consistent with the Constitution’s spirit and its content.
  • It also holds governments and their officials responsible.

The principle of Constitutional Morality is not new. It is substantially contained in the Constitution explicitly, in sections such as Fundamental Rights (Articles 12-35), Fundamental Duties, Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) (Articles 36-51), and Preamble.

Constitutional Morality UPSC Notes

Constitutional Morality Judgements

Constitutional Morality is founded on ideals such as human autonomy and independence, justice without prejudice, respect for individuality with pride, and the right to liberty. Commitment to the essential ideas of constitutional democracy is defined as Constitutional Morality. Here are some Constitutional Morality Judgements by Supreme Court that defines Constitutional Morality –

  • The Supreme Court limited Parliament’s ability to breach the Constitution’s Basic Structure in the Kesavananda Bharati case.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in the Naz Foundation case that only Constitutional Morality, not Public Morality, should triumph.
  • The Supreme Court declared Constitutional Morality just like a guiding notion highlighting the need to protect people’s faith in the system of democracy in the Lt Governor of Delhi case.
  • The Supreme Court ignored the “doctrine of essentiality” in the Sabarimala case to defend Constitutional Morality.

How to Protect Constitutional Morality?

Constitutional morality’s cornerstones are freedom and restraint. To maintain one’s freedom under a properly organized government, one needs self-control. The best ways to protect Constitutional Morality can be-

  • Constitutional approaches for accomplishing social and economic goals must be adopted to maintain Constitutional Morality.
  • Adherence to the Constitution’s values and ambitions.
  • Raising awareness among the general people about their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
  • While implementing Fundamental Rights, adhere to the Fundamental Duties.

Constitutional Morality UPSC

Constitutional Morality is an important concept that needs to be studied under the Polity Syllabus for the UPSC Exam. Detailed analysis questions have been asked from the topic in the recent UPSC Mains questions. Some points to keep in mind regarding the Doctrine of Constitutional Morality are:

  • Constitutional morality refers to allegiance to or loyalty to fundamental constitutional values. It entails dedication to an open, democratic political system that serves individual and group interests.
  • The core tenet of constitutional morality is to submit to the dictates of the constitution and refrain from acting in a way that would violate the rule of law or be indicative of arbitrary behavior.
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