The President said that the Constitution is not just an abstract ideal. It has to be made meaningful to the lives of ordinary people in every street, every village and every mohalla of our country. It has to somehow connect with their everyday existence and make it more comfortable. The President said that at the heart of the constitutional project was trust – trust in each other, trust between institutions, trust in the goodness of fellow citizens, and trust in the wisdom of future generations. This sense of trust is inherent in constitutional governance. When the Government trusts citizens to attest their documents themselves, it is in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution. When the Union government trusts state governments by devolving financial powers to them, and taking ahead the mission of cooperative federalism, then too we are working in the spirit of the Constitution.
The President said that our Constitution framers realised that a Constitution, no matter how well written and how detailed, would have little meaning without the right people to implement it and to live by its values. And in this, they placed their faith in generations that would follow. The Constitution empowers the people as much as the people empower the Constitution. When individuals and institutions ask what the Constitution has done for them and how it has built their capacities – they must also consider what they have done to uphold the Constitution. And what they have done to support its value system. The Constitution is ‘We, the People’ as much as ‘We, the People’ are the Constitution.
The President said that our Constitution builds a superstructure of political, economic and social democracy. This superstructure rests on three principles or pillars: liberty, equality and fraternity. It is critical to keep this intricate and delicate balance in mind when exploring the relationship between the three branches of the state – that is, the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. They are all equal. They should all be conscious of their liberty and strive to protect their autonomy. And yet, they should be careful not to disturb the fraternity of the separation of powers by even unknowingly intruding into the domain of either of the two other branches. Sobriety and discretion in communication between the three branches is also extremely advisable. This will promote and enhance fraternity between three equal branches of the state, all of which have a certain responsibility to the Constitution.
The President said that our fundamental commitment must continue to be to take the values of our Constitution – and the fruits of our social, economic and political development – to the very grassroots of our society. For this we must make constant efforts to raise standards of subordinate institutions and bring them at par with apex institutions in all spheres. The President received the first copies of books – ‘The Constitution at 67’ and ‘Indian Judiciary: Annual Report 2016-17’ from the Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Dipak Misra.