Constitutional Morality: Meaning, Doctrine, Cases, Constitutional Morality UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 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. Constitutional Morality requires individuals and institutions to act in accordance with constitutional norms and principles, ensuring the effective functioning of constitutional democracy.

Understanding the importance of Constitutional Morality is crucial for aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam as it plays a significant role in upholding the principles and values of the Indian Constitution. It encompasses adherence to constitutional principles, respect for the rule of law, protection of individual rights, and the promotion of social justice. Candidates can check constitutional morality judgments, their meaning, doctrine, principles, etc. in detail below.

Constitutional Morality

Constitutional Morality is a concept that emphasizes the adherence to the principles and values enshrined in the constitution of a country. It entails a commitment to upholding the rule of law, protecting individual rights and freedoms, promoting equality and justice, and maintaining the democratic structure of a nation.

Constitutional Morality serves as a guiding principle for governance and decision-making, ensuring that the actions and policies of the government are in line with the constitution and the values it upholds. It provides a framework for resolving conflicts, protecting minority rights, and maintaining the overall integrity and stability of the constitutional system.

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

Doctrine of Constitutional Morality refers to the adherence to constitutional principles and values in the interpretation and application of the constitution. It emphasizes the importance of self-restraint, respect for the constitution, and harmonious construction of constitutional provisions. The doctrine ensures the effective functioning of constitutional processes and promotes a sense of responsibility among citizens and institutions towards upholding the spirit of the constitution.

  • Constitutional Morality emphasizes self-restraint for the effective functioning of constitutional processes.
  • Directive Principles in the Indian Constitution are important for social welfare.
  • Conflicts may arise when Directive Principles clash with Fundamental Rights.
  • The Supreme court has stressed the need for a harmonious construction of Constitutional Morality.
  • Populist actions, such as the abrogation of Article 370 and hasty lawmaking without proper debate, have raised concerns about Constitutional Morality.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has also raised questions regarding its compatibility with Constitutional Morality.

Principles of Constitutional Morality

The principles of Constitutional Morality encompass the supreme respect for the constitution, serving as the foundation for the functioning of government institutions. Constitutional Morality also holds governments and their officials accountable for upholding constitutional principles and values. The principles of Constitutional Morality can be considered as the following:

  • Constitutional Morality requires a deep respect for the constitution and its principles.
  • It provides a foundation for understanding the functioning of the government.
  • The principle sets expectations for institutions to adhere to constitutional values.
  • Constitutional Morality holds governments and officials responsible for their actions.
  • It is explicitly outlined in sections like Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties, Directive Principles of State Policy, and the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

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.

Constitutional Morality UPSC Questions

Question: Why is constitutional morality important in a democracy? (A) It ensures the supremacy of the executive branch, (B) It safeguards individual liberties and promotes social justice, (C) It restricts the powers of the judiciary, (D) It promotes partisan politics and political dominance

Answer: (B) It safeguards individual liberties and promotes social justice

Question: Constitutional morality is essential for: (A) Protecting individual rights and freedoms, (B) Ensuring social harmony and justice, (C) Safeguarding the sovereignty of the state, (D) All of the above

Answer: (D) All of the above

Question for UPSC Mains: Discuss the concept of constitutional morality and its significance in upholding the principles of justice, equality, and democracy in India.

Question for UPSC Mains: Analyze the challenges to constitutional morality in contemporary times and suggest measures to strengthen its importance in the functioning of the Indian democratic system.

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