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Constitution:'need for introspection'

By Our Staff Correspondent

BHOPAL, SEPT. 1. The Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission Chairman, Mr. Justice Gulab Gupta, today emphasised the importance of good governance and said there is need for introspection rather than a review to ensure that promised benefits reach the people.

Delivering the inaugural address at the first consultation on the reports of the National Commission to Review the working of the Constitution organised by the National Law Institute University here, Mr. Justice Gupta said the Constitution is a living organ and has been changing. If it is failing to give effect, there is a ground for introspection and not a review. He said there arises the need for a review in public interest only to find out ``what is wrong with a document.''

Even the best Constitutions fail if people do not have the ability to perform, Mr. Justice Gupta said while giving the historical background and the inputs that went into the drafting of the Constitution. He said the one mistake committed by the founding fathers of the Constitution lay in assuming that the next generation of leaders would have the same commitment as the leaders who had gone through the freedom struggle.

Stressing the need for good governance, Mr. Justice Gupta said that some norms will have to be developed to judge what is good governance. Referring to the gap between good government and good governance, he said a Government can be good only when it delivers and keeps the promises made to the people. While reviewing the Constitution, the real focus of attention should be the people, he said adding that issues like criminality in politics, and electoral laws will have to be addressed. On the judicial front what needs attention is the fact that fewer people are seeking legal remedy, court cases linger on and even after wining a case one feels defeated due to the high cost of litigation.

Mr. Justice Gupta lashed out at the functioning of the bureaucracy and accused the bureaucratic machinery of acting as a stumbling block to redressing people's grievances. He was also critical of the track record of successive Government when it came to spreading literacy and education and protection of human rights.

In his introductory remarks, the Director of National Law Institute University, Prof. V.S. Rekhi, said the review of the working of the Constitution can be an ideological exercise to diffuse the situation. ``The big question is what more can we do and not what the State can do to see the constitutional promises become a reality,'' he asserted. Professor Rekhi said by keeping quiet, we only endorse the status quo which is not a pleasant commentary.

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