Fraternity, unity achievable with justice, equality: Hamid Ansari

Jammu, April 2 (IANS) The operative principles of the Indian Constitution, fraternity, dignity, and unity can only be sought through justice, liberty and equality, Vice President Hamid Ansari said here on Saturday.

Delivering the 16th convocation address of Jammu University, Ansari underlined the centrality of the judiciary in securing the constitutional rights of citizens.

He said people increasingly turn to the judiciary for solving social problems due to its accessibility.

“Apart from the principles enshrined in the constitutional text, the policy pronouncements of public figures, often nuanced to suit the occasion and judicial pronouncements shed useful light on the matter,” he added.

Quoting eminent jurists, the vice president said: “Unless the court strives in every possible way to assure that the constitution, the law, applies fairly to all citizens, the court cannot be said to have fulfilled its custodial responsibility.”

“From this emanates the centrality of the judiciary in securing for citizens the rights bestowed by the constitution. In our own times, as an eminent judge elsewhere noted some years back, ‘people increasingly turn to the judiciary hoping it can solve pressing social problems’.”

He said an essential concomitant of this is “accessibility of the judiciary; another is affordability; a third is the confidence that justice will be dispensed speedily”.

Ansari said the basic structure doctrine relating to our constitution is now settled law. One of its ingredients is secularism”.

“Secularism has both positive and negative contents… The positive part of secularism has been entrusted to the state to regulate by law or by an executive order. The state is prohibited to patronise any particular religion as state religion and is enjoined to observe neutrality.

“The state strikes a balance to ensue an atmosphere of full faith and confidence among its people to realise full growth of personality and to make him a rational being on secular lines, to improve individual excellence, regional growth, progress and national integrity,” the vice president added.

He said religious tolerance and fraternity are “basic features and postulates of the Constitution as a scheme for national integration and sectional or religious unity”.

“Programmes or principles evolved by political parties based on religion amount to recognizing religion as a part of the political governance which the constitution expressly prohibits. It violates the basic features of the Constitution.

“Positive secularism negates such a policy and any action in furtherance thereof would be violative of the basic features of the constitution,” the vice president said.

“The crucial question is whether Indian culture is conceived as a static phenomenon, tracing its identity to a single unchanging source, or a dynamic phenomenon, critically and creatively interrogating all that is new,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra, Chief Justice of India Justice T.S. Thakur, Vice Chancellor of University of Jammu R.D. Sharma, other dignitaries, faculty members and students were present at the function held in the General Zorawar Sngh auditorium of the University.

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