Article Seventeen (17) of the Indian Constitution talks about the abolition of untouchability. It is the fundamental right of every Indian that he should neither be stopped from using things of public importance nor he should be treated with untouchability. But has untouchability been completely eradicated from our society?
No… still some people of our society believe in untouchability. So then should it be assumed that constitutional rights and laws made to follow them cannot eradicate any evil practice.
No. It’s not like that. Of course, the Constituent Assembly has given us fundamental rights, but it is our responsibility to know them. Only then will we be able to knock on the judicial door if these rights are neglected by anyone. It is only because of this that the need for constitutional literacy is felt.
What is constitutional literacy?
Constitutional literacy refers to the knowledge of the general public about the basic things written in the constitution like Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties. In India, a very large section does not even have a sense of the right of fundamental rights given by the Constitution. There is also such a section which has a sense of authority but does not have a sense of duty.
What can the government do?
First of all, we have to make constitutional literacy a part of our curriculum. For this our school curriculum makers have to go beyond the fundamental duty given in the front and back pages of the book and make it an essential part of the curriculum.
What the government should do is to make constitution and civics a subject at the school level and make it compulsory to pass in it. With this, students will be able to learn the basics of the constitution at the primary level itself.
After the students, the government should target the section whose formal education is yet to be completed and they live in remote areas of the country. For these also the government can make them aware by running various programs.
Programs to enhance constitutional literacy
Governments can use social media and mass media to increase constitutional literacy. The government has a huge network in the form of Doordarshan. It can be broadcast through their various channels. Governments can broadcast these programs in different regional languages of India. Apart from this, it can be explained through street plays to the people left untouched from the mainstream of the society.