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The Constitution 
and Social Change
3
Chapter 3.indd   31 14 September 2022   12:03:32
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


The Constitution 
and Social Change
3
Chapter 3.indd   31 14 September 2022   12:03:32
Rationalised 2023-24
You will realise that the Constitution has the capacity to help people because 
it is based on the basic norms of social justice. For instance, the Directive 
Principle on Village Panchayats was moved as an amendment in the Constituent 
Assembly by K. Santhanam. After forty odd years, it became a Constitutional 
imperative after the 73rd Amendment in 1992.
The Constitution is not just a ready referencer of do’s and don’ts for social 
justice. It has the potential to extend the meaning of social justice. Social 
movements have also aided the courts and authorities to interpret the contents 
of rights and principles in keeping with the contemporary understanding on 
social justice.
Constitutional n orms and s oCial JustiCe : i nterpretation to 
a id s oCial JustiCe It is useful to understand that there is a difference between law and justice. 
The essence of law is its force. Law is law because it carries the means to coerce 
or force obedience. The power of the state is behind it. The essence of justice 
is fairness. Any system of law functions through a hierarchy of authorities. 
Constitution is the basis of all rules and authorities. It is the document that 
constitutes a nation’s tenets. The Indian Constitution is India’s basic norm. 
All other laws are made as per the procedures prescribed by the Constitution. 
These laws are made and implemented by the authorities specified by the 
Constitution. A hierarchy of courts (which too are authorities created by the 
Constitution) inerpret the laws when there is a dispute. The Supreme Court is 
the highest court and the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has enhanced the substance of Fundamental Rights 
in the Constitution in many important ways. The Box below illustrates a few 
instances.
? A Fundamental Right includes all that is incidental to it. The terse words of Article 21 
recognising the right to life and liberty have been interpreted as including all that goes 
into a life of quality, including livelihood, health, shelter, education and dignity. In various 
pronouncements, different attributes of ‘life’ have been expanded and ‘life’ has been explained to 
mean more than mere animal existence. These interpretations have been used to provide relief 
to prisoners subjected to torture and deprivation, release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers, 
against environmentally degrading activities, to provide primary healthcare and primary education.
 In 1993 the Supreme Court held that Right to Information is a part of and incidental to the Right to 
Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1) (a). 
? The Supreme Court read the Directive Principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work into the Fundamental 
Rights to Equality under Article 14 and has provided relief to many plantation and agricultural 
labourers and to others.
Box 3.1
Social Change and Development in India
32
Chapter 3.indd   32 10 November 2022   03:14:52
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


The Constitution 
and Social Change
3
Chapter 3.indd   31 14 September 2022   12:03:32
Rationalised 2023-24
You will realise that the Constitution has the capacity to help people because 
it is based on the basic norms of social justice. For instance, the Directive 
Principle on Village Panchayats was moved as an amendment in the Constituent 
Assembly by K. Santhanam. After forty odd years, it became a Constitutional 
imperative after the 73rd Amendment in 1992.
The Constitution is not just a ready referencer of do’s and don’ts for social 
justice. It has the potential to extend the meaning of social justice. Social 
movements have also aided the courts and authorities to interpret the contents 
of rights and principles in keeping with the contemporary understanding on 
social justice.
Constitutional n orms and s oCial JustiCe : i nterpretation to 
a id s oCial JustiCe It is useful to understand that there is a difference between law and justice. 
The essence of law is its force. Law is law because it carries the means to coerce 
or force obedience. The power of the state is behind it. The essence of justice 
is fairness. Any system of law functions through a hierarchy of authorities. 
Constitution is the basis of all rules and authorities. It is the document that 
constitutes a nation’s tenets. The Indian Constitution is India’s basic norm. 
All other laws are made as per the procedures prescribed by the Constitution. 
These laws are made and implemented by the authorities specified by the 
Constitution. A hierarchy of courts (which too are authorities created by the 
Constitution) inerpret the laws when there is a dispute. The Supreme Court is 
the highest court and the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has enhanced the substance of Fundamental Rights 
in the Constitution in many important ways. The Box below illustrates a few 
instances.
? A Fundamental Right includes all that is incidental to it. The terse words of Article 21 
recognising the right to life and liberty have been interpreted as including all that goes 
into a life of quality, including livelihood, health, shelter, education and dignity. In various 
pronouncements, different attributes of ‘life’ have been expanded and ‘life’ has been explained to 
mean more than mere animal existence. These interpretations have been used to provide relief 
to prisoners subjected to torture and deprivation, release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers, 
against environmentally degrading activities, to provide primary healthcare and primary education.
 In 1993 the Supreme Court held that Right to Information is a part of and incidental to the Right to 
Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1) (a). 
? The Supreme Court read the Directive Principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work into the Fundamental 
Rights to Equality under Article 14 and has provided relief to many plantation and agricultural 
labourers and to others.
Box 3.1
Social Change and Development in India
32
Chapter 3.indd   32 10 November 2022   03:14:52
Rationalised 2023-24
3.1 The PanchayaTi Raj and The c hallenges  
of RuRal s ocial TRansfoRmaTion i deals of p anChayati r aJ
Panchayati Raj translates literally to ‘Governance by five individuals’. The idea is 
to ensure at the village or grass root level a functioning and vibrant democracy. 
While the idea of grassroot democracy is not an alien import to our country, in a 
society where there are sharp inequalities, democratic participation is hindered 
on grounds of gender, caste and class. Furthermore, as you shall see in the 
newspaper reports later in the chapter, traditionally there have been caste 
panchayats in villages. But they have usually represented dominant groups. 
Furthermore, they often held conservative views and often have, and continue 
to take decisions that go against both democratic norms and procedures.  
When the constitution was being 
drafted, panchayats did not find a 
mention in it. At this juncture, a 
number of members expressed their 
sorrow, anger and disappointment 
over this issue. At the same time, 
drawing on his own rural experience, 
Dr. Ambedkar argued that local 
elites and upper castes were so well 
entrenched in society that local self-
government only meant a continuing 
exploitation of the downtrodden 
masses of Indian society. The upper 
castes would no doubt silence this 
segment of the population further. 
The concept of local government was 
dear to Gandhiji too. He envisaged 
each village as a self-sufficient unit 
conducting its own affairs and saw 
gram-swarajya to be an ideal model 
to be continued after independence.
It was, however, only in 1992 that 
grassroot democracy or decentralised 
governance was ushered in by the 73
rd
 
Constitutional Amendment. This act 
provided constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). It is 
compulsory now for local self-government bodies in rural and municipal areas 
to be elected every five years. More importantly, control of local resources is 
given to the elected local bodies. 
33
The three-tier system of Panchayati Raj 
Institution
? 	The structure is like a pyramid. At the base of the 
structure stands the unit of democracy or Gram Sabha. 
This consists of the entire body of citizens in a village 
or grama. It is this general body that elects the local 
government and charges it with specific responsibilities. 
The Gram Sabhas ideally ought to provide an open forum 
for discussions and village-level development activities 
and play a crucial role in ensuring inclusion of the weaker 
sections in the decision-making processes.
?	The 73
rd
 Amendment provided a three-tier system of 
Panchayati Raj for all states having a population of over 
twenty lakhs. 
?	It became mandatory that election to these bodies be 
conducted every five years.
?	 It provided reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes, 
Scheduled Tribes and thirty three percent seats for women.
?	 It constituted District Planning Committee to prepare drafts 
and develop plans for the district as a whole.
Box 3.2
The Constitution and Social Change
33
Chapter 3.indd   33 14 September 2022   12:03:33
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


The Constitution 
and Social Change
3
Chapter 3.indd   31 14 September 2022   12:03:32
Rationalised 2023-24
You will realise that the Constitution has the capacity to help people because 
it is based on the basic norms of social justice. For instance, the Directive 
Principle on Village Panchayats was moved as an amendment in the Constituent 
Assembly by K. Santhanam. After forty odd years, it became a Constitutional 
imperative after the 73rd Amendment in 1992.
The Constitution is not just a ready referencer of do’s and don’ts for social 
justice. It has the potential to extend the meaning of social justice. Social 
movements have also aided the courts and authorities to interpret the contents 
of rights and principles in keeping with the contemporary understanding on 
social justice.
Constitutional n orms and s oCial JustiCe : i nterpretation to 
a id s oCial JustiCe It is useful to understand that there is a difference between law and justice. 
The essence of law is its force. Law is law because it carries the means to coerce 
or force obedience. The power of the state is behind it. The essence of justice 
is fairness. Any system of law functions through a hierarchy of authorities. 
Constitution is the basis of all rules and authorities. It is the document that 
constitutes a nation’s tenets. The Indian Constitution is India’s basic norm. 
All other laws are made as per the procedures prescribed by the Constitution. 
These laws are made and implemented by the authorities specified by the 
Constitution. A hierarchy of courts (which too are authorities created by the 
Constitution) inerpret the laws when there is a dispute. The Supreme Court is 
the highest court and the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has enhanced the substance of Fundamental Rights 
in the Constitution in many important ways. The Box below illustrates a few 
instances.
? A Fundamental Right includes all that is incidental to it. The terse words of Article 21 
recognising the right to life and liberty have been interpreted as including all that goes 
into a life of quality, including livelihood, health, shelter, education and dignity. In various 
pronouncements, different attributes of ‘life’ have been expanded and ‘life’ has been explained to 
mean more than mere animal existence. These interpretations have been used to provide relief 
to prisoners subjected to torture and deprivation, release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers, 
against environmentally degrading activities, to provide primary healthcare and primary education.
 In 1993 the Supreme Court held that Right to Information is a part of and incidental to the Right to 
Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1) (a). 
? The Supreme Court read the Directive Principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work into the Fundamental 
Rights to Equality under Article 14 and has provided relief to many plantation and agricultural 
labourers and to others.
Box 3.1
Social Change and Development in India
32
Chapter 3.indd   32 10 November 2022   03:14:52
Rationalised 2023-24
3.1 The PanchayaTi Raj and The c hallenges  
of RuRal s ocial TRansfoRmaTion i deals of p anChayati r aJ
Panchayati Raj translates literally to ‘Governance by five individuals’. The idea is 
to ensure at the village or grass root level a functioning and vibrant democracy. 
While the idea of grassroot democracy is not an alien import to our country, in a 
society where there are sharp inequalities, democratic participation is hindered 
on grounds of gender, caste and class. Furthermore, as you shall see in the 
newspaper reports later in the chapter, traditionally there have been caste 
panchayats in villages. But they have usually represented dominant groups. 
Furthermore, they often held conservative views and often have, and continue 
to take decisions that go against both democratic norms and procedures.  
When the constitution was being 
drafted, panchayats did not find a 
mention in it. At this juncture, a 
number of members expressed their 
sorrow, anger and disappointment 
over this issue. At the same time, 
drawing on his own rural experience, 
Dr. Ambedkar argued that local 
elites and upper castes were so well 
entrenched in society that local self-
government only meant a continuing 
exploitation of the downtrodden 
masses of Indian society. The upper 
castes would no doubt silence this 
segment of the population further. 
The concept of local government was 
dear to Gandhiji too. He envisaged 
each village as a self-sufficient unit 
conducting its own affairs and saw 
gram-swarajya to be an ideal model 
to be continued after independence.
It was, however, only in 1992 that 
grassroot democracy or decentralised 
governance was ushered in by the 73
rd
 
Constitutional Amendment. This act 
provided constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). It is 
compulsory now for local self-government bodies in rural and municipal areas 
to be elected every five years. More importantly, control of local resources is 
given to the elected local bodies. 
33
The three-tier system of Panchayati Raj 
Institution
? 	The structure is like a pyramid. At the base of the 
structure stands the unit of democracy or Gram Sabha. 
This consists of the entire body of citizens in a village 
or grama. It is this general body that elects the local 
government and charges it with specific responsibilities. 
The Gram Sabhas ideally ought to provide an open forum 
for discussions and village-level development activities 
and play a crucial role in ensuring inclusion of the weaker 
sections in the decision-making processes.
?	The 73
rd
 Amendment provided a three-tier system of 
Panchayati Raj for all states having a population of over 
twenty lakhs. 
?	It became mandatory that election to these bodies be 
conducted every five years.
?	 It provided reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes, 
Scheduled Tribes and thirty three percent seats for women.
?	 It constituted District Planning Committee to prepare drafts 
and develop plans for the district as a whole.
Box 3.2
The Constitution and Social Change
33
Chapter 3.indd   33 14 September 2022   12:03:33
Rationalised 2023-24
The 73
rd
 and 74
th
 amendments to the Constitution 
ensured the reservation of one third of the total seats for 
women in all elected offices of local bodies in both the 
rural and urban areas. Out of this, 17 per cent seats are 
reserved for women belonging to the scheduled castes 
and tribes. This amendment is significant as for the 
first time it brought women into elected bodies which 
also bestowed on them decision making powers. One 
third of the seats in local bodies, gram panchayats, 
village panchayats, municipalities, city corporations and 
district boards are reserved for women. The 1993–94 
elections, soon after the 73
rd
 amendment brought in 
800,000 women into the political processes in a single 
election. That was a big step indeed in enfranchising 
women. A constitutional amendment prescribed a three-
tier system of local self-governance (read Box 3.7 on the 
last page) for the entire country, effective since 1992–93. 
p owers and r esponsibilities of p anChayats According to the Constitution, Panchayats should be 
given powers and authority to function as institutions of 
self-government. It, thus, requires all state governments 
to revitalise local representative institutions.
The following powers and responsibility were 
delegated to the Panchayats: 
 ? to prepare plans and schemes for economic 
development 
 ? to promote schemes that will enhance social 
justice
 ? to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, 
tolls and fees
 ? help in the devolution of governmental 
responsibilities, especially that of finances to 
local authorities
Social welfare responsibilities of the Panchayats 
include the maintenance of burning and burial grounds, 
recording statistics of births and deaths, establishment 
of child welfare and maternity centres, control of cattle 
pounds, propagation of family planning and promotion of 
agricultural activities. The development activities include 
the construction of roads, public buildings, wells, 
tanks and schools. They also promote small cottage 
industries and take care of minor irrigation works. Many 
A woman Panch with her reward
Social Change and Development in India
34
Chapter 3.indd   34 14 September 2022   12:03:33
Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


The Constitution 
and Social Change
3
Chapter 3.indd   31 14 September 2022   12:03:32
Rationalised 2023-24
You will realise that the Constitution has the capacity to help people because 
it is based on the basic norms of social justice. For instance, the Directive 
Principle on Village Panchayats was moved as an amendment in the Constituent 
Assembly by K. Santhanam. After forty odd years, it became a Constitutional 
imperative after the 73rd Amendment in 1992.
The Constitution is not just a ready referencer of do’s and don’ts for social 
justice. It has the potential to extend the meaning of social justice. Social 
movements have also aided the courts and authorities to interpret the contents 
of rights and principles in keeping with the contemporary understanding on 
social justice.
Constitutional n orms and s oCial JustiCe : i nterpretation to 
a id s oCial JustiCe It is useful to understand that there is a difference between law and justice. 
The essence of law is its force. Law is law because it carries the means to coerce 
or force obedience. The power of the state is behind it. The essence of justice 
is fairness. Any system of law functions through a hierarchy of authorities. 
Constitution is the basis of all rules and authorities. It is the document that 
constitutes a nation’s tenets. The Indian Constitution is India’s basic norm. 
All other laws are made as per the procedures prescribed by the Constitution. 
These laws are made and implemented by the authorities specified by the 
Constitution. A hierarchy of courts (which too are authorities created by the 
Constitution) inerpret the laws when there is a dispute. The Supreme Court is 
the highest court and the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has enhanced the substance of Fundamental Rights 
in the Constitution in many important ways. The Box below illustrates a few 
instances.
? A Fundamental Right includes all that is incidental to it. The terse words of Article 21 
recognising the right to life and liberty have been interpreted as including all that goes 
into a life of quality, including livelihood, health, shelter, education and dignity. In various 
pronouncements, different attributes of ‘life’ have been expanded and ‘life’ has been explained to 
mean more than mere animal existence. These interpretations have been used to provide relief 
to prisoners subjected to torture and deprivation, release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers, 
against environmentally degrading activities, to provide primary healthcare and primary education.
 In 1993 the Supreme Court held that Right to Information is a part of and incidental to the Right to 
Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1) (a). 
? The Supreme Court read the Directive Principle of Equal Pay for Equal Work into the Fundamental 
Rights to Equality under Article 14 and has provided relief to many plantation and agricultural 
labourers and to others.
Box 3.1
Social Change and Development in India
32
Chapter 3.indd   32 10 November 2022   03:14:52
Rationalised 2023-24
3.1 The PanchayaTi Raj and The c hallenges  
of RuRal s ocial TRansfoRmaTion i deals of p anChayati r aJ
Panchayati Raj translates literally to ‘Governance by five individuals’. The idea is 
to ensure at the village or grass root level a functioning and vibrant democracy. 
While the idea of grassroot democracy is not an alien import to our country, in a 
society where there are sharp inequalities, democratic participation is hindered 
on grounds of gender, caste and class. Furthermore, as you shall see in the 
newspaper reports later in the chapter, traditionally there have been caste 
panchayats in villages. But they have usually represented dominant groups. 
Furthermore, they often held conservative views and often have, and continue 
to take decisions that go against both democratic norms and procedures.  
When the constitution was being 
drafted, panchayats did not find a 
mention in it. At this juncture, a 
number of members expressed their 
sorrow, anger and disappointment 
over this issue. At the same time, 
drawing on his own rural experience, 
Dr. Ambedkar argued that local 
elites and upper castes were so well 
entrenched in society that local self-
government only meant a continuing 
exploitation of the downtrodden 
masses of Indian society. The upper 
castes would no doubt silence this 
segment of the population further. 
The concept of local government was 
dear to Gandhiji too. He envisaged 
each village as a self-sufficient unit 
conducting its own affairs and saw 
gram-swarajya to be an ideal model 
to be continued after independence.
It was, however, only in 1992 that 
grassroot democracy or decentralised 
governance was ushered in by the 73
rd
 
Constitutional Amendment. This act 
provided constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs). It is 
compulsory now for local self-government bodies in rural and municipal areas 
to be elected every five years. More importantly, control of local resources is 
given to the elected local bodies. 
33
The three-tier system of Panchayati Raj 
Institution
? 	The structure is like a pyramid. At the base of the 
structure stands the unit of democracy or Gram Sabha. 
This consists of the entire body of citizens in a village 
or grama. It is this general body that elects the local 
government and charges it with specific responsibilities. 
The Gram Sabhas ideally ought to provide an open forum 
for discussions and village-level development activities 
and play a crucial role in ensuring inclusion of the weaker 
sections in the decision-making processes.
?	The 73
rd
 Amendment provided a three-tier system of 
Panchayati Raj for all states having a population of over 
twenty lakhs. 
?	It became mandatory that election to these bodies be 
conducted every five years.
?	 It provided reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes, 
Scheduled Tribes and thirty three percent seats for women.
?	 It constituted District Planning Committee to prepare drafts 
and develop plans for the district as a whole.
Box 3.2
The Constitution and Social Change
33
Chapter 3.indd   33 14 September 2022   12:03:33
Rationalised 2023-24
The 73
rd
 and 74
th
 amendments to the Constitution 
ensured the reservation of one third of the total seats for 
women in all elected offices of local bodies in both the 
rural and urban areas. Out of this, 17 per cent seats are 
reserved for women belonging to the scheduled castes 
and tribes. This amendment is significant as for the 
first time it brought women into elected bodies which 
also bestowed on them decision making powers. One 
third of the seats in local bodies, gram panchayats, 
village panchayats, municipalities, city corporations and 
district boards are reserved for women. The 1993–94 
elections, soon after the 73
rd
 amendment brought in 
800,000 women into the political processes in a single 
election. That was a big step indeed in enfranchising 
women. A constitutional amendment prescribed a three-
tier system of local self-governance (read Box 3.7 on the 
last page) for the entire country, effective since 1992–93. 
p owers and r esponsibilities of p anChayats According to the Constitution, Panchayats should be 
given powers and authority to function as institutions of 
self-government. It, thus, requires all state governments 
to revitalise local representative institutions.
The following powers and responsibility were 
delegated to the Panchayats: 
 ? to prepare plans and schemes for economic 
development 
 ? to promote schemes that will enhance social 
justice
 ? to levy, collect and appropriate taxes, duties, 
tolls and fees
 ? help in the devolution of governmental 
responsibilities, especially that of finances to 
local authorities
Social welfare responsibilities of the Panchayats 
include the maintenance of burning and burial grounds, 
recording statistics of births and deaths, establishment 
of child welfare and maternity centres, control of cattle 
pounds, propagation of family planning and promotion of 
agricultural activities. The development activities include 
the construction of roads, public buildings, wells, 
tanks and schools. They also promote small cottage 
industries and take care of minor irrigation works. Many 
A woman Panch with her reward
Social Change and Development in India
34
Chapter 3.indd   34 14 September 2022   12:03:33
Rationalised 2023-24
government schemes like the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) 
and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) are monitored by members 
of the panchayat. 
The main income of the Panchayats is from tax levied on property, 
profession, animals, vehicles, cess on land revenue and rentals. The resources 
are further increased by the grants received through the Zilla Panchayat. It 
is also considered compulsory for Panchayat offices to put up boards outside 
their offices, listing the break up of funds received, and utilisation of the 
financial aid received. This exercise was taken up to ensure that people at the 
grassroot level should have the ‘right to information’ – opening all functioning 
to the public eye. People had the right to scrutinise allocation of money. And 
ask reasons for decisions that were taken for the welfare and development 
activities of the village. 
Nyaya Panchayats have been constituted in some states. They possess the 
authority to hear some petty, civil and criminal cases. They can impose fines 
but cannot award a sentence. These village courts have often been successful 
in bringing about an agreement amongst contending parties. They have been 
particularly effective in punishing men who harass women for dowry and 
perpetrate violence against them. 
p anChayati r aJ in t ribal a reas  
Kalavati, a Dalit by caste was apprehensive about standing for elections. She is a 
Panchayat member and realises that her confidence and self-esteem has grown 
ever since she became a member of the panchayat. Most importantly ‘she has a 
name’. Before she became a member of the panchayat she was only called as ‘Ramu’s mother’ 
or ‘Hiralal’s wife’. If she lost the election for the post of the Pradhan she felt ‘sakhiyan ki nak 
kat jaye’ (her friends would lose face). 
Source: This was recorded by Mahila Samakhya, an NGO working towards Rural 
Women’s Empowerment.
Box 3.3
The Constitution and Social Change
35
Chapter 3.indd   35 14 September 2022   12:03:33
Rationalised 2023-24
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook - The Constitution and Social Change - Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read) - UPSC

1. What is the role of the Constitution in bringing about social change?
Ans. The Constitution plays a crucial role in bringing about social change by providing a framework for the rights and responsibilities of citizens. It sets out fundamental principles such as equality, justice, and liberty that guide the functioning of the government and ensure social progress. The Constitution also provides for the protection of fundamental rights and the establishment of institutions to safeguard these rights. Through its provisions, the Constitution empowers citizens to challenge social inequalities and discrimination, thereby promoting social change.
2. How does the Constitution address social inequalities and discrimination?
Ans. The Constitution addresses social inequalities and discrimination through various provisions. For example, it prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. It guarantees the right to equality before the law and equal protection of laws. The Constitution also provides for affirmative action measures, such as reservations in educational institutions and government jobs, to uplift marginalized and disadvantaged sections of society. By ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, the Constitution aims to eliminate social inequalities and discrimination.
3. Can the Constitution be amended to accommodate social changes?
Ans. Yes, the Constitution can be amended to accommodate social changes. The process of amending the Constitution is outlined in Article 368. It requires a special majority in both houses of Parliament or a special majority in Parliament along with the ratification by at least half of the state legislatures. This allows for changes to be made in the Constitution to reflect the evolving social realities and address the needs and aspirations of the society. However, certain basic features of the Constitution, known as the "basic structure," cannot be amended, ensuring the core principles and values of the Constitution are protected.
4. How does the Constitution empower citizens to bring about social change?
Ans. The Constitution empowers citizens to bring about social change through various means. It guarantees fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of speech, expression, and association, which enable citizens to voice their concerns, challenge injustices, and mobilize for social causes. The Constitution also provides for the right to constitutional remedies, allowing citizens to approach the courts for the enforcement of their rights. Additionally, the Constitution establishes institutions like the National Human Rights Commission and the State Human Rights Commissions to protect and promote human rights, thus empowering citizens to seek redressal for social injustices.
5. Does the Constitution provide for the protection of minority rights?
Ans. Yes, the Constitution provides for the protection of minority rights. It guarantees the right to freedom of religion, allowing individuals to profess, practice, and propagate any religion of their choice. The Constitution also prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, ensuring equal treatment and protection for all citizens, including minority communities. Additionally, the Constitution allows minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. These provisions aim to safeguard the interests and rights of minority communities, promoting social harmony and inclusivity.
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