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CBSE Notes | Class 11 | Political Science | Indian Constitution at Work
Chapter 10 - The Philosophy of The Constitution

The chapter comes up with the philosophical approach of the Indian constitution, it explains the democratic transformation and the concept of social justice. We also highlight the criticisms that the constitution of India faced also the diversity and the minority rights.

The Philosophy of the Constitution


A constitution is not only a document that contains laws but also moral values. It cannot be looked at only through a legalistic lens and needs to be supplemented through the philosophical outlook. 


How can we understand the philosophy of the Indian constitution?


The constitution as a document is based on a set of moral principles. To make sense of the constitution's substance, we need to use a political philosophy perspective. 


When it comes to the philosophy of the constitution, one must keep three things in mind. 


1. Conceptual Structure


We need to understand the conceptual structure of the constitution. Proper knowledge must be there of the terms used in the constitution such as,’ Citizenship, Minority or Democracy.


2. Coherent Vision of Society and Polity


 An attempt must be made to work out a coherent vision of society and polity conditional upon an interpretation of the key concepts of the constitution. We must have a better grasp of the set of ideas embedded in the constitution.


3. Read in Conjunction with Constituent Assembly Debates


The Indian Constitution must be read in conjunction with the Constituent Assembly debates to refine and rise to a higher theoretical plane, the justification of values embedded in the Constitution. 


A philosophical treatment of a value is incomplete if a detailed justification for it is not provided. When the framers of the Constitution chose to guide Indian society and polity by a set of values, there must have been a corresponding set of reasons. Many of them, though, may not have been fully explained.


Why philosophical approach is needed?


A political philosophy approach to the constitution is necessary not only to evaluate the moral content expressed in it and to examine its claims, but it may also be utilised to resolve disagreements over our polity's multiple vital principles.


These political concepts are interpreted in a variety of ways, and they are occasionally purposely misrepresented to achieve short-term political goals. As a result, we must assess whether the constitutional ideal and its manifestation in other spheres are incompatible.

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Which constitution is popularly known as the 'peace constitution' and why?


The post-world war II constitution of Japan drafted and adopted in 1947 is popularly known as the 'Peace Constitution'. 


The philosophy of the Japanese constitution is based on the ideal of peace. These ideals are reflected in the preamble and Article 9 of the constitution. It can be said that these values dominated the thinking of the constitution-makers post their war experience. 


Why is the Indian constitution considered a means of democratic transformation?


One of the most frequently accepted reasons for having constitutions is to limit the state's ability to exercise excess power. The regulations must be constructed in such a way that the despotic tendencies of states are constantly controlled. As a result, constitutions establish the basic norms for preventing states from engaging in such excesses. Constitutions are provide democratic means to bring peace transitions. 


The Indian constitution is considered a means of democratic transformation as it provides peaceful, democratic means to bring about social transformation. Moreover, it announced and embodied the first real exercise of political self-determination.

The Indian Constitution was designed to break the shackles of traditional social hierarchies and to usher in a new era of freedom, equality and justice. In this manner, the Indian constitution exists not only to limit people in power but to empower those who traditionall