Former President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the Indian parliamentary system “is the result of the constant struggle and did not come easily to us, nor did we get it as a gift from the British“.
On the changes in the Constitution since its adoption, he said, despite several amendments “we have kept its soul alive.”
The former President was addressing a seminar on ‘Changing Nature of Parliamentary Democracy in India’, organised for MLAs under the aegis of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Rajasthan branch) and Lokniti-CSDS.
Stating that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution, Mukherjee said it was its integral part and many important decisions had been made in the Supreme Court on this basis.
He pointed to important episodes, like the Golaknath case and the Kesavananda Bharati case, to emphasise how the Indian parliamentary system had changed regularly.
The former President asked the legislators to study the old and the new form of Article 368 seriously to know about the changes in the Constitution amendment process and work for people.
Sharing information about formation of the Commonwealth, Mukherjee said due to the Indian government’s efforts the word ‘British’ was dropped from its name.
Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister and CPA vice-president (Rajasthan), thanked the former President for his contributions to the Indian parliamentary democracy and said he was still learning from him.
On the event, he said, it was an opportunity for the legislators to know about their role in the democracy. “In the parliamentary democracy, it’s important that we contribute to the interest of people and society,” he said.
CP Joshi, Rajasthan chapter CPA president, said the seminar, being held first time in the state, would prove significant for the 15th Assembly and its members.
Highlighting the former President’s contribution in public life, Joshi said he played important roles during the tenure of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “During Singh’s tenure as the Prime Minister, the whole world was undergoing economic downturn but Mukherjee as the Finance Minister strengthened India’s economic position”.
Gulab Chand Kataria, the leader of opposition in the Assembly, said we should learn from the former President’s knowledge and experience.