The Constitution of India occupies a peculiar position in the mind of the ordinary citizen – while it closely affects each one of us, lack of understanding and interpretational hardships makes it inaccessible to a majority of India’s population. As a text, the Constitution itself cannot speak. It requires champions who can spread its message, both far and wide, as well as amongst thought leaders in India today.
Charkha, a research centre at Vidhi, is devoted to building constitutional law scholarship and a robust constitutional culture in India. Vidhi’s research in constitutional law has encompassed critical themes, such as cooperative federalism, and independence and accountability of the judiciary. Charkha continues to foray into diverse constitutional issues. For a holistic understanding of the Constitution, Charkha’s research encompasses themes such as federalism, electoral reforms, development and interpretation of fundamental rights, and independent institutions.
The Constitution cannot remain a document by, and for lawyers alone, and must truly seep into the lives of ‘We, the People’ in whose name it is enacted. To this end, Charkha’s research will enable a more nuanced understanding of the Constitution among the citizens of India, and take it closer to them.
Vidhi has also conceptualised the Samvidhaan Fellowship which is a one year, full-time and paid fellowship that will support six legal scholars to work on key issues of Indian Constitutional Law. One of the key objectives of the Samvidhaan Fellowship is to decentralise research on the Constitution and promote Constitutional Culture in India. The Samvidhaan Fellowship is supported by the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.
Vidhi Writes: Parliament Disruptions – The (missing) great Debate
That the Indian Parliament is being increasingly characterised by political grandstanding is hardly a surprise. The withering away of Parliament’s deliberative role has been gradual but significant. Questions were justifiably raised when in the preceding years, certain far-reaching legislation were passed as ‘Money Bills’ despite not strictly falling within the constitutional definition of the term. The Farm Bills of 2020 will forever bear the (dubious) distinction of being passed amid a blatant violation of the Rules of Procedure of the Rajya Sabha. And then, there is the Monsoon Session of 2021