“Reasonability” with respect to Golden Triangle of Constitution

By: Aaditya Sinha

The world has seen almost everything in the last three months, I mean we have seen those things also which we never expected. Who would have assumed that there would be a time when we have to be in our home for almost 100 days and even the future is not looking very promising either. In this lockdown period, I assume that many people would have watched “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata”. I know that these shows are related to a specific “religion”, but the thing is that even if you belong to any other religion or you can be even an atheist, but the one thing which no one can deny is that these are the stories which teach you everything about life. 

The thing is that being a law student you tend to watch the world with the lenses of “philosophy” because I believe that law itself is a philosophy. I remember when I was watching Mahabharata and that in-famous “Draupadi- Cheer Haran” episode was showing. We all know that this particular episode from the epic tale has seen much philosophical and literal analysis. It shows us the sad reality of the position of women from that time. Many writers and philosophers also use this episode and say that what happened that time still happens, but today there is no “Krishna” who can save the Draupadi today. 

While I was watching this episode something struck me very hard. I paused for a minute and then thought that whatever is happening can be understood by three articles in the Indian Constitution. Let me explain why I am saying this. When the cheer-Haran was happening, Draupadi asked many questions from almost everyone present in that room, but everybody said that we are bound by the laws by the state. 

In other words, everyone was bound by the decision of the prince, who in this case was Duryodhana. The important thing which has to be noted is that everybody thought they were following their “Dharma” or “law”, but the thing is that nobody understood the fact that in that time one has to think the whole situation “Reasonably”. 

They all had to watch that situation continuously but instead, they all observed this situation in a very discrete manner. If they would have understood that the most reasonable thing is to protect the rights of the women, then probably there would be no Kurukshetra War. This word Reasonable is also a prime reason to have a “Golden Triangle” in the Indian Constitution[1]

This is known as the Golden Triangle of the Constitution which includes article 14, article 19, and article 21. I assume that my readers have the basic idea of these articles, but even if you don’t, I will try to explain all the articles. If we first take the example of “Article 14” it talks about “Equality of before law”. In this article we understand that equality can be described in two ways, one would be Equality before the law and another one would be equal protection of the law”. The latter is known as a positive concept and it is a USA based concept while the former is the UK based concept which is known as a negative concept which was formulated by British jurist A. V. Dicey. 

While the negative concept of equality seems to be very linear but the positive concept of equality which talks about “Equal protection of the law” is very philosophical and quite important. The thing is that before giving equal rights we have to ensure that we can equally protect every citizen of the country. For this there are two ways, one is “Intelligible Differentia” and the other one is “Rational Nexus”.

We can understand this by a simple example; let’s say in a city everyone has to pay tax to the government. Here if we apply the negative concept of equality then everyone has to pay the same amount, but this model will fail if the income distribution is nonlinear. For example, we cannot take the same tax from a man who earns 5000 RS and one who earns 20000 RS. We have to “Reasonably Classify” between the two by the help of “Intelligible differentia” and “Rational Nexus”. 

Now let’s see article 19 which would be probably that article which we use in our day to day life, ‘right to freedom of speech and expression’. In the freedom of speech and expression, we can also see, that this article is also not absolute; the article may have many exceptions which are defined in article 19(2) to article 19(6). To understand article 19 we can understand it with a case, which I believe is very much relevant in today’s time. 

The case is about the Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors v. State Of Kerala & Ors[2] In this case, there were two children and these children were not singing the national anthem in the school assembly. One of the teachers filed a case in which he said that the students are insulting the national anthem because they were not singing the national anthem with every student. The High court of Kerala also found these two boys guilty of insulting the national anthem, but when this case went to the Supreme Court, the court said that the students belonged to Jehova Community, and in their religion, they can only sing to their religious songs. The court said that since the boys were standing in their school assembly they cannot be termed as “Guilty” and they have not violated the “Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971”. 

Now the third article in this golden Triangle is probably the most interpreted article in the Indian Constitution which talks about “Right to Life”, i.e. Article 21. After the landmark judgment of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India[3], we have interpreted the meaning of life. Now right to life doesn’t mean that right to live, it has a broader meaning. It means right to marry, right to move, but we also have to understand that these rights are not absolute, for example, one cannot marry anyone without the consent of the other partner, so the thing is that all these fundamental rights can only sustain if we understand that these are not absolute, and right of one person should not become a problem for another person. I believe that for understanding any law, one should understand these three articles with the utmost clarity. After understanding these three articles we can understand that everything is linked to this one word “Reasonable”, and one should think reasonably in every situation.

[1] The Constitution of India, 1950.

[2] Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors v. State Of Kerala & Ors. 1987 AIR 748.

[3] Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 1978 AIR 597.

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