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Working a Democratic ConstitutionA History of the Indian Experience$
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Granville Austin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195656107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.001.0001

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Radical Constitutional Amendments

Radical Constitutional Amendments

(p.234) Chapter 10 Radical Constitutional Amendments
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

Amending the Constitution in pursuit of the social revolution was the domestic political motif of 1971. Furious debate surrounded essential constitutional issues of personal liberty and the public good and constituent powers. Four constitutional amendments, two of them radical, gave specific form to disputes simmering since the Constitution was inaugurated and bubbling since 1967. It was not only the Prime Minister's faction of the Congress Party that supported her programme of amendments — indeed, many of its members were more radical than she. This chapter discusses the constitutional amendments they produced. The citizenry had voted for Mrs Gandhi and garibi hatao in the hope that their lot might improve. But the Prime Minister's interest and that of many of her supporters was in political-economic theory, in constitutional change, and in the wielding of power — although they sincerely intended the constitutional changes to have immediate effects.

Keywords:   Indian Constitution, personal liberty, social revolution, constitutional democracy, Indira Gandhi, constitutional change

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