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Democracy and Its Institutions$
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André Béteille

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198080961

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198080961.001.0001

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Constitutional Morality

Constitutional Morality

(p.75) 4 Constitutional Morality
Democracy and Its Institutions

André Béteille

Oxford University Press

Constitutional morality is important for constitutional laws to be effective. Without constitutional morality, the operation of a constitution tends to become arbitrary, erratic, and capricious. This chapter discusses constitutional morality in India, makes a distinction between ‘constitutional democracy’ and ‘populist democracy’, and argues that democracy has survived in India by moving away from the ideal of a constitutional democracy towards a more populist form. It looks at the Emergency of 1975–7 to show the connection between anarchy and the abuse of power as two forces that are both antithetical to constitutional morality. It also examines the link between constitutional morality and the principle of civil disobedience, which under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi became the cornerstone of India’s nationalist movement.

Keywords:   constitutional morality, India, constitution, Emergency, Mahatma Gandhi, anarchy, abuse of power, civil disobedience, constitutional democracy, populist democracy

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