Constitutional Morality

André Béteille

in Democracy and Its Institutions

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780198080961
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199082049 | DOI:
Constitutional Morality

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Constitutional morality is important for constitutional laws to be effective. Without constitutional morality, the operation of a constitution tends to become arbitrary, erratic, and capricious. This chapter discusses constitutional morality in India, makes a distinction between ‘constitutional democracy’ and ‘populist democracy’, and argues that democracy has survived in India by moving away from the ideal of a constitutional democracy towards a more populist form. It looks at the Emergency of 1975–7 to show the connection between anarchy and the abuse of power as two forces that are both antithetical to constitutional morality. It also examines the link between constitutional morality and the principle of civil disobedience, which under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi became the cornerstone of India’s nationalist movement.

Keywords: constitutional morality; India; constitution; Emergency; Mahatma Gandhi; anarchy; abuse of power; civil disobedience; constitutional democracy; populist democracy

Chapter.  8584 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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