Chief Justice of India emphasises on unity
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Saturday said India needed to focus “on issues that unite us. Not on those that divide us” as he sought to dismiss the “flawed” reasoning of the government and political parties that courts must endorse their respective agendas and asserted that the judiciary was answerable only to the Constitution.
The CJI’s remarks at his felicitation ceremony by the Association of Indian Americans in San Francisco come in the backdrop of the growing fissures and intolerance in the country due to ideological and communal hatred.
“Please remember. It is the tolerance and inclusive nature of American society that is able to attract the best talents from all over the world, which in turn is contributing to its growth. Honouring qualified talents from diverse backgrounds is also essential to sustain confidence of all the sections of the society in the system. This principle of inclusivity is universal. It needs to be honoured everywhere in the world, including in India.
“Inclusivity strengthens the unity in society, which is key to peace and progress. We need to focus on issues that unite us. Not on those that divide us. In the 21st century, we cannot allow petty, narrow and divisive issues to dictate human and societal relationships. We have to rise above all the divisive issues to remain focused on human development. A non-inclusive approach is an invitation to disaster,” Justice Ramana remarked.
He said a nation that welcomed everyone with open arms, a nation that assimilated all cultures and a nation that honoured every language was bound to be progressive, peaceful and vibrant. It is this character that promotes prosperity.
“You all might have become millionaires and billionaires. For you to enjoy your wealth, you need to have peace around you. Your parents back home also should be able to live in a peaceful society, which is free from hate and violence. If you cannot take care of the well-being of your family and society back home, what is the use of your wealth and status here? You have to contribute your own way to improve your own society. What really matters is the honour and respect that you command in your homeland. This is the litmus test for your true success,” he told the Indian diaspora.
Justice Ramana said as the country celebrated its 75th year of Independence, we still haven’t learnt to appreciate wholly the roles and responsibilities assigned by the Constitution to each of the institutions.
“The party in power believes that every government action is entitled to judicial endorsement. The parties in Opposition expect the judiciary to advance their political positions and causes. This flawed thinking of all hues flourishes in the absence of proper understanding among people about the Constitution and the functioning of the democratic institutions. It is the vigorously promoted ignorance among general public, which is coming to the aid of such forces whose only aim is to run down the only independent organ i.e., the judiciary,” Justice Ramana said.
He added: “Let me make it clear. We are answerable to the Constitution and Constitution alone. To enforce checks and balances envisioned in the Constitution, we need to promote constitutional culture in India. We need to spread awareness about the roles and responsibilities of individuals and institutions. Democracy is all about participation.”
The CJI quoted Abraham Lincoln, to say that: “The people... are the rightful masters of both congresses, and courts… not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”
Hence, the CJI said: “Under the Constitution of India, it is the people who are entrusted with the task of passing judgment on the rulers, once every five years. As I stated earlier on a different occasion, the people of India have done their job remarkably well so far.”