President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that the unitary bias enshrined in the Constitution was needed to strengthen the federalistic structure of the country.
“In spite of having a federal structure,the word Union is used and not a federation because of the unitary bias,” Mukherjee said at a civic reception accorded by the West
Bengal government here.
Citing the Keshavananda Bharti case during the 24th Amendment of the Constitution,he said,”Although the Parliament is vested with the Constituent power,the Supreme Court noted that this was the basic structure of the country and is best to maintain,to protect parliamentary democracy,” Mukherjee said.
He said that the apex court also observed that if the executive and the legislature made any attempt to tamper with this basic structure by amending the Constitution,then a judicial review would follow to take the necessary steps.
“Why I am saying this,if we want to make a holistic progress of the nation,then we will have to defend and protect the Constitution as well as to plug any aberration,” he observed.
Lauding the people of the country,Mukherjee said that India had been able to protect the democratic structure not because of a few political leaders,but because of the masses.
“Credit goes to the people of India,” he said. The President said that he would exercise all powers to protect and defend the Constitution,an oath which he had taken while being sworn in for the highest post.
“During fading away of the colonial era in the 50s and the 60s across the globe,some countries had become oligarchies,some military juntas and some dictatorships,” he said.
But India,which was a new independent state then,preferred the democratic form of government attracting criticisms from people like Sir Anthony Eden of UK’s Conservative Party.
Later Eden also realised that India was following the parliamentary democracy model successfully as stated in a letter written by him to Jawaharlal Nehru,Mukherjee said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that West Bengal was the first state in the country to accord a civic reception to Mukherjee after becoming President.