Chapter

An Imperial Constitution?

Mithi Mukherjee

in India in the Shadows of Empire

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780198062509
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080151 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198062509.003.0006
An Imperial Constitution?

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The Indian Constituent Assembly met between December 1946 and December 1949 in New Delhi to draft a constitution that was finally adopted on 26 January 1950. What one sees in the Indian Constitution is the ultimate triumph of the juridico-epistemological framework of empire, grounded in the discourse of imperial justice as equity with its accompanying figure of the monarch as judge. It was in the Constitution that one can see the mutation of imperial justice as equity from a critical category of anticolonialism to the sovereign legislative category of Indian politics and the final marginalization in the post-independence political formation of the Gandhian discourse of transcendental freedom under which the struggle for independence had been largely carried out. However, it is argued that even as the Gandhian discourse of transcendental freedom came to be marginalized, its legacy survived in the form of an unqualified recognition of universal adult franchise in the Indian Constitution.

Keywords: Indian Constitution; imperial justice; monarch; equity; transcendental freedom; universal adult franchise

Chapter.  15616 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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