New Delhi: In India, a party in power believes that every governmental action is entitled to judicial endorsement and the opposition parties expect the judiciary to advance their political positions and causes but the “judiciary is answerable to the Constitution and Constitution alone” Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said on Saturday.
He also expressed disappointment that even after 75 years of Independence people have not understood the roles and responsibilities assigned by the Constitution to each Institution.
“As we celebrate 75th year of Independence this year and as our Republic turned 72, with some sense of regret I must add here that 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 Governmental action is entitled to judicial endorsement. The parties in opposition expect the judiciary to advance their political positions and causes”, the CJI said at a felicitation function organised by the Association of Indian Americans in San Francisco, USA.
He added that 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 the 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. Let me make it clear. We are answerable to the Constitution and Constitution alone, he said.
CJI Ramana said that 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”.
He quoted Abraham Lincoln and 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.
“…the people of India have done their job remarkably well so far. We should have no reason to doubt the collective wisdom of our people. Significantly, the voter in rural India is more proactive in discharging this task when compared to their urban, educated and well-to-do counterparts”, he added.
CJI Ramana said both India and the United States are known for their diversity which needs to be honoured and cherished, everywhere in the world.
“It is only because the United States honours and respects diversity, that you were all able to reach this country and make a mark through your hard work and extraordinary skills. 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”, CJI Ramana said while addressing the Indian diaspora.
He added that honouring qualified talents from diverse backgrounds is also essential to sustain the confidence of all 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, he said.
The CJI told the audience that they might have become millionaires and billionaires but to enjoy wealth, they need to have peace around them.
“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 said.
The CJI said that the Indian Diaspora in the United States has played an active role in building modern America from modest beginnings; they have transformed not only their identities but also the face of this nation.
Highly skilled Indian professionals in diverse fields are found today across the globe, the CJI said, adding that the unprecedented opportunities offered by the IT sector to women have changed how Indians perceive the role of women in our society.
Noting that more and more women from India found their wings in the emerging sector that helped them become empowered, independent and self-reliant, he said an empowered woman changes the dynamics of the family and society positively. “As they say, ‘If you empower a man, you empower an individual. But, if you empower a woman, you empower a family and the nation’.”