Book Review: Bidyut Chakraborty, Indian Constitution: Text, Context and Interpretation

Published date01 December 2018
Date01 December 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
750 Book Reviews
discussing competitive bidding as a selection method for coal block allocation;
and minutes of the meeting taken by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation on
2 August 2004 to discuss the proposal of Air India’s aircraft acquisition.
Even though an arm of the executive, the CAG is more accountable to the
parliament to whom his office is obliged to submit the annual report than to the
executive per se. But even the parliament and its committees do not stand actively
up to the constitutional obligations of the auditing enterprise to keep a watch over
the public expenditure. The judiciary does prove to be a reasonable supportive
power to lean on. Indeed, the blurbs of the book bear a quote from a Supreme
Court judgement, which, among other things, observed:
The CAG is not a munim … (Accountant) to go into the balance sheets. The CAG
is a constitutional authority entitled to reviews and conduct performance audit on
revenue allocations relating to the centre, the states and the Union Territories and
examine matters relating to the economy and how the government uses the resources.
Don’t undermine the ofce of the CAG.
Nevertheless, Rai realistically puts his final reliance on ‘We, the people of India,
…’ as the bedrock of democratic governance: ‘I hope that “jan sunwai,” will
soon take its toll on the wrongdoers, and that ultimately transparency, probity and
good governance will indeed be brought about by, a determined people’. (p. xvi).
He adds, ‘And, hopefully, in my lifetime itself’ (ibid.). He does not go into the
reasons for this fond optimism. Nor does he reflect a Madisonian scepticism of the
‘tyranny of the majority’ and the need to temper democracy by constitutionalism.
M.P. Singh,
Editor, IJPA
Bidyut Chakraborty, Indian Constitution: Text, Context and Interpretation.
Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2017, 373 pp., B-1 to B-3 (Select Bibliography)
and 1–1 to 1–6 (index), `395.
SAGE Publications has published this book in its textbook series. Keeping this
fact in mind, its price has been kept low by SAGE Publications and the author has
provided review questions at the end of all the twenty-one chapters. However, it
is neither a standard textbook nor a research book. It does not cover all the topics
which are usually incorporated in the syllabi related to Indian Constitution.
For example, it does not include chapters on Union executive, council of ministers
in states, treats some topics like parliament or fundamental duties very briefly and
makes detailed discussion of those topics which the author deems significant.
The book, unlike other textbooks, is replete with authentic and rich references.
It has arranged chapters according to a non-standard design. So it has the makings
of a reference book without really becoming one on account of its textbookish

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