Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana said the political party in power believes that every governmental action is entitled to judicial endorsement, and the opposition expects the judiciary to advance their political positions. However, it is only the judiciary that is answerable to the Constitution.
The CJI was speaking at a felicitation organised by the Association of Indian Americans in San Francisco on Friday.
Justice Ramana said with the change in government, policies do change, however no sensible government would alter the policies to slow down the growth of its own territory.
“Unfortunately, we do not come across such sensibility and maturity in India too often, whenever there is a change in government,” he added.
Citing the 75th year of gaining independence, Justice Ramana said: “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.”
He added that the party in power believes that every governmental action is entitled to judicial endorsement, and the Opposition expects the judiciary to advance their political positions and causes.
Justice Ramana said this flawed thinking of all hue’s 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.”
The Chief Justice further emphasized on promoting constitutional culture and also spread awareness about the roles and responsibilities of individuals and institutions.
He said, under the Constitution, people 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.”
CJI Ramana added 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.
“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,” he said.
He said the Constitution should not be viewed as a static, unchanging document. “I am reminded of what I read on the wall of Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. a few days ago, and I quote: ‘laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times’.”