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Save country & constitution from the current govt: PB Sawant

In a call to all progressive lawyers, Justice PB Sawant says that the powers that be are inimical to the Indian Constitution that is a culturally and socially transformative document

P B Sawant 06 Jul 2020

PB sawant

There are many associations of lawyers in this country and they hold several conferences throughout the year. Their subjects are confined to their professional and legal problems. This Association has a different orientation, ever since its inception. Members of this association assemble to discuss the problems of the people and to find solutions to them. The very subject of the present conference is an ample proof of it.

I must both congratulate and thank you for holding this conference at a time, which according to me is a watershed in the history of this country. We are today required to cry out to save our constitution and our country from the present government itself. Never before, after the Independence, such a need had arisen, and the people were required to face a situation where not the rule of law, but the rule of lawlessness prevails in this land.

We have today in power at the Centre, a government which is not only hostile to our Constitution, but given an opportunity, wants to change it root and branch to the detriment of the nation. Our Constitution is a social, political, economic and cultural manifesto of the entire nation. Representatives of all the then political parties and all social groups accepted it unanimously, with varied social interests. It is not merely a fundamental, legal framework of the country. It is the solemn declaration and resolution of “We the People” of India, to create in this country a new society which is not only quite distinct from the one we have inherited but diametrically opposed to it. Instead of the unjust, unequal, exploitative, feudalistic, suppressive and divisive society, we have avowed to create a nation based on justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. The Preamble, the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles give us the blueprint of a new society. The Constitution is in essence a call for social revolution.

The Constitution is of course bête-noire to the present ruling class precisely because the new society envisaged by the Constitution is designed to hand over the power of the country to the masses. The ruling party, rooted as it is in the ideology of the RSS hates democracy, equality, liberty and fraternity. It wants one party, one leader, one religion, one culture and one language. It wants to create Hindu Rashtra of the highest caste. It believes in Manusmriti and caste system. It hates other religions and cultures. Its entire cadre consists of the members of the highest caste with some show pieces from the other communities. The “Manuwadis” (protagonists of Manusmiriti) is an appropriate description of the RSS cadre. The priestly class and the financial stake-holders have always allied with each other to dominate society. The priests preach to the masses that the social and economic structure of the society is divinely designed and hence, it cannot and should not be altered. The money lords help the priests by offering sumptuous donations for their livelihood and places of worship. To day we see this sinister alliance of Manu and Money in its starkest form.

2) The question is why, during the last 70 years, no attempt has been made to create the new society ordained by the Constitution? Who and what are responsible for this?

The social system that we have inherited has not only a graded caste system and untouchability, but till the British established their rule, had prohibited learning and acquisition of knowledge by all except the highest caste i.e. Brahmin males. The result was the entire administration was in the hands of that caste, even during the Mughal and British period, and even to day it is dominated by them. The caste system and the ban on learning was the conspiracy by the highest caste to keep the reins of society exclusively in their hands. Naturally, they resented and are even to-day resisting, any attempt to empower others for fear of the loss of their power. They have been dominating all key institutions whether it is the bureaucracy, the judiciary, educational institutions, the media and the cultural and literary institutions. The Constitution might have promised a new society for the empowerment, welfare and progress of all the sections of the society, but its implementation is entirely in the hands of the members of the high caste who are hostile to the constitutional objectives, and try their utmost to block the measures to implement them. To-day, being in political power, they are not only in charge of the entire implementing machinery, but also of designing the policies in all spheres.  

During the last six years, since 2014, vigorous attempt have been made to recruit RSS cadres in all the institutions including the judiciary, and also to pressurise the institutions to fall in line. We have been witnessing the results.

The attempt of the present BJP-RSS regime is to strengthen the caste-system and keep the society divided in thousands of small watertight separate groups, hostile to and in constant conflict with, each other. The provisions of reservations are also being used to sharpen the differences between them.  

Deliberate attempts are also being made to fan communalism by targeting, in particular, Muslims and Christian communities. To divert attention of the people from the objectives of the Constitution, non-issues like “Ghar Wapsi”, “Love Jihad”, “Beef-eating”, “Mob lynching”, “Ram Mandir” and now NCAA, NRC and NRP, are also being deliberately whipped up. The conspiracy of the ruling class is to keep the people constantly divided, to prevent them from coming on the same platform to solve their common problems, particularly the economic problems and to avoid the implementation of the constitutional goals. That is why to-day the glorification of Manusmriti and burning of our Constitution, and the shrill calls for building “Hindu Rashtra” (that is Brahmin Rashtra) and the campaign for drubbing all those opposed to these machinations, as non-patriots and traitors.

Another equally important hurdle in the implementation of our constitutional goals, is the present economic system, which is otherwise known as capitalist system, free enteprise system, free economy and so on. The socially injurious features of this system are: it is profit-oriented and not people oriented, and therefore it does not work for the benefit of the people but for the prosperity of the profit-makers; it halts work when the prospects of profits become dim, it is interested in reducing the man-power and increasing the machine power, it results in concentration of wealth in a few hands and in creating an army of the unemployed and beggars, and with its enormous financial powers it controls political, social, educational and cultural life to suit its designs. The unemployment and gross inequalities lead to criminalization of the society. The corruption, frauds and scandals are endemic to the system. The generation of black money and its use for anti-social activities is inherent in it. The elections are a principal source of black money. What is worse, it destroys and pollutes the environment indiscriminately, without regard to its adverse effect on all life forms-human, lower animal and plant. This has already raised the temperature of the earth to the ruinous point. It is disgraceful for the mankind and particularly for its present generation, which is harbouring dreams to inhabit the other planets, not to be able to devise a rational economic order which will at least ensure the minimum economic human rights to all, reduce inequalities and enable all to live with dignity.

3) As the leading lights of the society, you must note in particular, the deleterious effect the present economic system has on our democratic life. The profile of our parliament for the tenure of 2014-2019 was: out of the 543 members of Loksabha 442 were crorepatis, and 229 members faced criminal charges. Out of 78 ministers in Modi’s cabinet, 72 were crorepatis and 24 ministers faced criminal charges. The Rajya Sabha in proverbially a rich man’s club. On an average 36% of the members of the State legislatures faced criminal charge.

The figures for 2019 – 2024 parliament are that no less than 43% members of the Lok Sabha face criminal charges. The ruling BJP party has 116 out of 301 members, who have criminal cases pending against them.

Is it difficult to imagine for whom these legislators and ministers would be operating? We thus find that our democracy has been reduced to the preserve of the moneybags and the cesspool of the criminals. The Supreme Court has recently taken note of it. The Courts cannot improve the situation. It is the people led by the social engineers like you, can certainly do it, if there is a will to do it.

4) The task for social revolutionary lawyers like you is therefore cut out. We have to create the new society as envisaged by the Constitution by legal and non-violent measures. The transition has to be smooth and least disruptive.  

This Conference must therefore give a lead to the nation and place before it the following minimum agenda, for urgent implementation.

  1. Not only protect but also implement the Constitution in letter and spirit and create a new society based on justice, equality, liberty and fraternity. Eliminate social, political, economic and cultural inequalities and strengthen the roots of democracy, secularism, socialism and republicanism. Root out the seeds of communalism, intolerance, supremacism and divisiveness.

  2. Change the present speculative, profit oriented, anti-social and anti-human economic system and replace it with a rational, people oriented and planned economic system which will ensure to every man and woman all the basic economic human necessities including employment, living income, shelter, free education and free health service, abolish inequalities and enable all to live a life of human dignity.

  3. Protect and promote the environment. Prevent destruction and pollution of air, water and soil and create more and more healthy human, animal and plant life.

  4. Defeat the designs of the communal, casteist and racist elements to divide the country by practicing intolerance and hatred of other communities and promote unity and integrity of the Country.

  5. Boycott the religious bigots and all other divisive forces. They are the real anti-national and unpatriotic element. They are the untouchables of our society.

  6. Create new self-less leadership to attain the above objectives.

I have briefly tried to focus your attention on the root causes of the misery, poverty and backwardness of our country, which is blessed with enough resources of all kinds to enable everyone to live with dignity. It is the machinations of the few amongst us which has been keeping our overwhelming majority in forced distress and destitute for centuries. It was the spread of education and knowledge among the hitherto deprived and disadvantaged which was expected to turn the tide. So far, there is no sign of it. How long shall we wait?

Please give a serious thought to it.

I wish your conference all success.

 

(The author, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India was also chairman, Press Council of India. This address delivered in February 2020 at Vijaywada was on the occasion inauguration of 10th National Conference of Indian Association of Lawyers at Vijaywada. It remains relevant now)

 

 

Save country & constitution from the current govt: PB Sawant

In a call to all progressive lawyers, Justice PB Sawant says that the powers that be are inimical to the Indian Constitution that is a culturally and socially transformative document

PB sawant

There are many associations of lawyers in this country and they hold several conferences throughout the year. Their subjects are confined to their professional and legal problems. This Association has a different orientation, ever since its inception. Members of this association assemble to discuss the problems of the people and to find solutions to them. The very subject of the present conference is an ample proof of it.

I must both congratulate and thank you for holding this conference at a time, which according to me is a watershed in the history of this country. We are today required to cry out to save our constitution and our country from the present government itself. Never before, after the Independence, such a need had arisen, and the people were required to face a situation where not the rule of law, but the rule of lawlessness prevails in this land.

We have today in power at the Centre, a government which is not only hostile to our Constitution, but given an opportunity, wants to change it root and branch to the detriment of the nation. Our Constitution is a social, political, economic and cultural manifesto of the entire nation. Representatives of all the then political parties and all social groups accepted it unanimously, with varied social interests. It is not merely a fundamental, legal framework of the country. It is the solemn declaration and resolution of “We the People” of India, to create in this country a new society which is not only quite distinct from the one we have inherited but diametrically opposed to it. Instead of the unjust, unequal, exploitative, feudalistic, suppressive and divisive society, we have avowed to create a nation based on justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. The Preamble, the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles give us the blueprint of a new society. The Constitution is in essence a call for social revolution.

The Constitution is of course bête-noire to the present ruling class precisely because the new society envisaged by the Constitution is designed to hand over the power of the country to the masses. The ruling party, rooted as it is in the ideology of the RSS hates democracy, equality, liberty and fraternity. It wants one party, one leader, one religion, one culture and one language. It wants to create Hindu Rashtra of the highest caste. It believes in Manusmriti and caste system. It hates other religions and cultures. Its entire cadre consists of the members of the highest caste with some show pieces from the other communities. The “Manuwadis” (protagonists of Manusmiriti) is an appropriate description of the RSS cadre. The priestly class and the financial stake-holders have always allied with each other to dominate society. The priests preach to the masses that the social and economic structure of the society is divinely designed and hence, it cannot and should not be altered. The money lords help the priests by offering sumptuous donations for their livelihood and places of worship. To day we see this sinister alliance of Manu and Money in its starkest form.

2) The question is why, during the last 70 years, no attempt has been made to create the new society ordained by the Constitution? Who and what are responsible for this?

The social system that we have inherited has not only a graded caste system and untouchability, but till the British established their rule, had prohibited learning and acquisition of knowledge by all except the highest caste i.e. Brahmin males. The result was the entire administration was in the hands of that caste, even during the Mughal and British period, and even to day it is dominated by them. The caste system and the ban on learning was the conspiracy by the highest caste to keep the reins of society exclusively in their hands. Naturally, they resented and are even to-day resisting, any attempt to empower others for fear of the loss of their power. They have been dominating all key institutions whether it is the bureaucracy, the judiciary, educational institutions, the media and the cultural and literary institutions. The Constitution might have promised a new society for the empowerment, welfare and progress of all the sections of the society, but its implementation is entirely in the hands of the members of the high caste who are hostile to the constitutional objectives, and try their utmost to block the measures to implement them. To-day, being in political power, they are not only in charge of the entire implementing machinery, but also of designing the policies in all spheres.  

During the last six years, since 2014, vigorous attempt have been made to recruit RSS cadres in all the institutions including the judiciary, and also to pressurise the institutions to fall in line. We have been witnessing the results.

The attempt of the present BJP-RSS regime is to strengthen the caste-system and keep the society divided in thousands of small watertight separate groups, hostile to and in constant conflict with, each other. The provisions of reservations are also being used to sharpen the differences between them.  

Deliberate attempts are also being made to fan communalism by targeting, in particular, Muslims and Christian communities. To divert attention of the people from the objectives of the Constitution, non-issues like “Ghar Wapsi”, “Love Jihad”, “Beef-eating”, “Mob lynching”, “Ram Mandir” and now NCAA, NRC and NRP, are also being deliberately whipped up. The conspiracy of the ruling class is to keep the people constantly divided, to prevent them from coming on the same platform to solve their common problems, particularly the economic problems and to avoid the implementation of the constitutional goals. That is why to-day the glorification of Manusmriti and burning of our Constitution, and the shrill calls for building “Hindu Rashtra” (that is Brahmin Rashtra) and the campaign for drubbing all those opposed to these machinations, as non-patriots and traitors.

Another equally important hurdle in the implementation of our constitutional goals, is the present economic system, which is otherwise known as capitalist system, free enteprise system, free economy and so on. The socially injurious features of this system are: it is profit-oriented and not people oriented, and therefore it does not work for the benefit of the people but for the prosperity of the profit-makers; it halts work when the prospects of profits become dim, it is interested in reducing the man-power and increasing the machine power, it results in concentration of wealth in a few hands and in creating an army of the unemployed and beggars, and with its enormous financial powers it controls political, social, educational and cultural life to suit its designs. The unemployment and gross inequalities lead to criminalization of the society. The corruption, frauds and scandals are endemic to the system. The generation of black money and its use for anti-social activities is inherent in it. The elections are a principal source of black money. What is worse, it destroys and pollutes the environment indiscriminately, without regard to its adverse effect on all life forms-human, lower animal and plant. This has already raised the temperature of the earth to the ruinous point. It is disgraceful for the mankind and particularly for its present generation, which is harbouring dreams to inhabit the other planets, not to be able to devise a rational economic order which will at least ensure the minimum economic human rights to all, reduce inequalities and enable all to live with dignity.

3) As the leading lights of the society, you must note in particular, the deleterious effect the present economic system has on our democratic life. The profile of our parliament for the tenure of 2014-2019 was: out of the 543 members of Loksabha 442 were crorepatis, and 229 members faced criminal charges. Out of 78 ministers in Modi’s cabinet, 72 were crorepatis and 24 ministers faced criminal charges. The Rajya Sabha in proverbially a rich man’s club. On an average 36% of the members of the State legislatures faced criminal charge.

The figures for 2019 – 2024 parliament are that no less than 43% members of the Lok Sabha face criminal charges. The ruling BJP party has 116 out of 301 members, who have criminal cases pending against them.

Is it difficult to imagine for whom these legislators and ministers would be operating? We thus find that our democracy has been reduced to the preserve of the moneybags and the cesspool of the criminals. The Supreme Court has recently taken note of it. The Courts cannot improve the situation. It is the people led by the social engineers like you, can certainly do it, if there is a will to do it.

4) The task for social revolutionary lawyers like you is therefore cut out. We have to create the new society as envisaged by the Constitution by legal and non-violent measures. The transition has to be smooth and least disruptive.  

This Conference must therefore give a lead to the nation and place before it the following minimum agenda, for urgent implementation.

  1. Not only protect but also implement the Constitution in letter and spirit and create a new society based on justice, equality, liberty and fraternity. Eliminate social, political, economic and cultural inequalities and strengthen the roots of democracy, secularism, socialism and republicanism. Root out the seeds of communalism, intolerance, supremacism and divisiveness.

  2. Change the present speculative, profit oriented, anti-social and anti-human economic system and replace it with a rational, people oriented and planned economic system which will ensure to every man and woman all the basic economic human necessities including employment, living income, shelter, free education and free health service, abolish inequalities and enable all to live a life of human dignity.

  3. Protect and promote the environment. Prevent destruction and pollution of air, water and soil and create more and more healthy human, animal and plant life.

  4. Defeat the designs of the communal, casteist and racist elements to divide the country by practicing intolerance and hatred of other communities and promote unity and integrity of the Country.

  5. Boycott the religious bigots and all other divisive forces. They are the real anti-national and unpatriotic element. They are the untouchables of our society.

  6. Create new self-less leadership to attain the above objectives.

I have briefly tried to focus your attention on the root causes of the misery, poverty and backwardness of our country, which is blessed with enough resources of all kinds to enable everyone to live with dignity. It is the machinations of the few amongst us which has been keeping our overwhelming majority in forced distress and destitute for centuries. It was the spread of education and knowledge among the hitherto deprived and disadvantaged which was expected to turn the tide. So far, there is no sign of it. How long shall we wait?

Please give a serious thought to it.

I wish your conference all success.

 

(The author, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India was also chairman, Press Council of India. This address delivered in February 2020 at Vijaywada was on the occasion inauguration of 10th National Conference of Indian Association of Lawyers at Vijaywada. It remains relevant now)

 

 

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