Creating a United Political Community

Sarbani Sen

in The Constitution of India

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780198071600
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080045 | DOI:
Creating a United Political Community

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This chapter focuses on how the primary constitutional themes that emerged as the act of constituting a new polity redefined the popular sovereignty principle. In claiming to be a sovereign body of the people, and in seeking to construct a new political order, the Constituent Assembly faced a challenge that also went to the heart of the question of what the principle of popular sovereignty meant in the context of a pluralist society like India's. The minorities issue became one that involved a debate on a number of fundamental questions—of the openness of the polity to entrants from marginalized communities, and securing equal rights of political participation of all individuals and groups. Two major debates—how to ensure equal political rights of representation in the new Union and provincial legislatures, and the question of state affirmative action through reserving posts in state-sponsored organizations or services for minorities—examined these questions.

Keywords: Constituent Assembly; Indian constitutionalism; minorities; popular sovereignty; political rights; political participation; state affirmative action

Chapter.  3340 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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