Dynastic system, money negate political justice, says SC judge

PTI Ahmedabad | Updated on January 10, 2018

Supreme Court Judge Jasti Chelameswar (file photo)   -  THE HINDU

Amid debate over dynastic politics, Supreme Court judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar today said money power and dynastic system “negate political justice” contemplated by the framers of Constitution.

Lamenting the “lack of political justice” in India, he said the role money and dynasty play in the electoral process undermines political justice as not everyone can effectively aspire to contest an election.

“Coming to equality and justice in political sphere, while the elementary step is achieved — we have abolished monarchy and rules of primogeniture — how far we have secured political justice in the sense that all people of the country can aspire to effectively participate in the democratic electoral process?” Justice Chelameswar said.

He was speaking on the topic - ‘The Preamble Pledge of Social, Economic, and Political Justice: Are We Out of Order’- organised here as part of the Justice P D Desai Memorial Lecture.

“The kind of role which money plays in electoral process, itself is a negation of political justice contemplated by the Constitution in its Preamble,” Justice Chelameswar said.

“Ultimately it is the money power, which determines the eligibility of a man to becoming a member of the legislative body,” he said, adding it is up to the next generation to handle the situation for “a better society, for better governance and getting a better set of people“.

“Another facet of political injustice is the age-old problem of this country — the syndrome of hierarchy, the seniority rule, the dynasties,” Justice Chelameswar further said.

“Invariably, when somebody becomes a member of the legislative body, his wife, children, everybody line up to occupy the slot.

“This is another form of political injustice. Everybody is entitled, there is nothing wrong in that. But the only determining factor has come to be a person’s relation to the existing member in the public life,” he said.

Justice Chelameswar said the framers of the Constitution were aware of the problems our society faced and ensured that issues were resolved.

Soon after achieving freedom, India had to grapple with food crisis, but the situation has improved over the years.

Untouchability and women’s equal rights were also tackled in the Constitution, and the situation is now changing, he said.

“When the Preamble of the Constitution speaks of social justice, each of these problems were in the mind of the framers.

“It is in this background that Constitution makers demand from the society that Constitution governance will provide justice in all spheres of social, economic and political area,” he said.

About the process of framing of the Constitution, Justice Chelameswar said the Constitution was required for a “clear goal for a new India.”

“It is the knowledge of history and the knowledge of mistakes committed by our ancestors and consequences of the mistakes that bring wisdom to later generation to enable them to not commit the mistakes.

“(The framers of the Constitution) realised, from the knowledge and history of this country and mankind, how power corrupts. Governments in future ought to be prevented from that kind of practice of abuse of power. Therefore, there was a need to create a Constitution, which limits the power of governments,” he said.

“In sum, the Constitution is a document which strictly prescribes the limit beyond which a government cannot function, because permitting anybody to exercise authority beyond a particular limit will be detrimental to human liberty and happiness,” Justice Chelameswar said

Published on September 16, 2017

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