Constitution Day 2018: Duty to save samvidhan a shared initiative between judiciary, executive and legislative, says President Ram Nath Kovind

Leaders across the country are observing Constitution Day on Monday to celebrate the day the Constitution of India was adopted in 1949. Although it came into effect on 26 January, 1950, every 26 November is observed in India as Constitution Day — also known as Samvidhan Divas — to celebrate the occasion the document laying down India's supreme rights was adopted. The day is also marked with respect for Dr BR Ambedkar, the chairman of the committee that drafted the Constitution.

On Monday, President Ram Nath Kovind and Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi delivered speeches in Delhi in view of the occasion, while a host of Opposition leaders, including leaders from the Congress, Left parties, Janata Dal (Secular), Nationalist Congress Party and others, are expected to attend an event commemorating the day in Delhi.

While addressing the nation at the inaugural function of Constitution Day celebrations, Kovind said the citizens of the country and the Constitution both empower each other. "The duty of safeguarding the Constitution is a shared initiative among the judiciary, executive and legislative, in partnership with the people of India," he said.

Calling the preamble of the document its "source-code", Kovind asserted that "social justice is about providing equal opportunities". "Social justice remains the touchstone of our nation-building. If a child suffers from asthma due to air pollution, it is lack of social justice," he added.

This year, India's Constitution Day fell on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. The president said, "We, as a country, are resolute for justice to the victims and their families in the terror attacks on 26 November, 2008."

CJI Gogoi also addressed the function. He began by saying Sir Ivor Jennings, a noted British lawyer of the time, had criticised the Constitution of India for being "far too long and far too rigid", adding that time "has proven him wrong".

Gogoi said it was now time to test the progress India has made since Independence. "How far we have come from 1947... Great advances have been made, but a lot more remains," he said. "The Constitution has become an integral part of the lives of people. It's the voice of the marginalised, and it guides us in the moment of crisis."

 Constitution Day 2018: Duty to save samvidhan a shared initiative between judiciary, executive and legislative, says President Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the inaugural function on Constitution Day on Monday. Twitter@rashtrapatibhvn

'We must trust and honour constitutional bodies and processes'

Several leaders also commented on the occasion of Constitution Day on Monday, including Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other politicians.

Naidu and Modi greeted people on the occasion, asserting that the values enshrined in the Constitution must be followed in both personal and public life. The prime minister recalled the contribution of the "greats" who were part of the Constituent Assembly.

"We are proud of our Constitution and reiterate our commitment to uphold the values enshrined in it," Modi wrote on Twitter.

Naidu said, "We must uphold integrity in our personal and public life, have trust and honour in constitutional bodies and processes," adding that it is our "utmost national obligation" that we live earnestly by the letter and spirit of the Constitution "in our personal and community life".

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "Innate trust in the people of India was the most significant aspect of our Constitution-making. The people of India have today proved their trust by showing that they know what they want, what they do."

Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, who welcomed Kovind at the event, said the president was not "just a very popular president but also a lawyer with a 22-year-long standing at the Bar".

Moreover, the SC Department of the All India Congress Committee organised a 'Samvidhan Divas Samaroh' with the aim to sensitise people about Ambedkar's socio-political philosophy as reflected in the Constitution.

Nitin Raut, A member of the SC Department, believes that the function would help remind the nation about how Ambedkar, as the chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, and the Congress had worked in close partnership in while framing the document.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also paid homage to Ambedkar and said it was the responsibility of every citizen to protect the spirit of the "holy book". "Today is Constitution Day. Homage to Dr BR Ambedkar and all other members of the Constituent Assembly who gave shape to the Holy Book of our democracy — the Constitution," Banerjee tweeted.

The Congress said: "Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity were values to be upheld and defended."

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2018 12:59:54 IST