RICH tributes were paid to Comrade P Sundarayya, the founder-general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), on the occasion of his 33rd death anniversary. Delivering Sundarayya Memorial Lecture on Law, Courts and Society, at a function organised by Sundarayya Vignana Kendram at Baghlingampally in Hyderabad on May 19, Justice B P Jeevan Reddy, a former judge of the Supreme Court, explained that Sundarayya, through his simplicity and life-style, continued to be a source of inspiration for the present-day generation. By going to the first parliament by bicycle, he had shown in practice how a real representative of the people should be. Contrary to that, the present-day political leaders had given up ethical values and have been living with the aim of making money, Justice Jeevan Reddy said. Pointing out that about 80 per cent of the MLAs elected recently to the legislative assembly of Karnataka are millionaires, from this it can be understood how costlier our elections and the political system have turned, he said.
Justice Jeevan Reddy asserted that the judiciary should act as a protector of the directive principles enshrined in the Indian constitution. Recollecting that an endless discussion has been going on, on appointment of judges after the country attained independence, in which several issues, including the kind of coordination required between the judiciary and the political system, figured, he pointed out that a strange atmosphere prevailed between the central and state governments and the judiciary on the issue of appointment of judges. He explained that several problems and difficulties had arisen in the background of the central and state governments having no power relating to appointment of judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court, respectively, and the issue of independence of the judiciary also had come to the fore. A big debate had taken place on the right to life, right to equality, freedom of expression, etc. In view of the failure of the system of electing judges in the western countries, our rulers had not considered that option, he said. Having faced a critical situation in 1975, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi had tried to regulate the judiciary, he said. Subsequently, on the issue of who should appoint judges, a national judicial appointment commission was set up. Justice Jeevan Reddy felt that it would be better if collective decisions are taken by the legislative bodies and the judiciary on appointment of judges.
B V Raghavulu, chairman of the SVK trust and a member of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M), presided over the meeting. S Vinay Kumar, secretary of the managing committee of the SVK, gave a report on the activities of the Kendram. Earlier, Raghavulu garlanded the statue of Comrade Sundarayya at Sundarayya Park and addressed the gathering.
Addressing another meeting at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram at Gachibowli, Raghavulu said that Comrade Sundarayya sacrificed his life for the cause of the poor and reminded the unforgettable role played by him in the movement for independence, social service and in putting an end to the autocratic rule of the Nizam ruler. Raghavulu explained the role played by Comrade Sundarayya against exploitation of labour by landlords and the rich, untouchability, discrimination and suppression by organising the toiling agricultural workers to revolt against the landlords. Sundarayya had taken keen interest in social service, cultural activities, etc., and organised such activities even before he plunged into the Communist movement. Having realised the problem of deaths, especially due to the complications of deliveries of birth, Comrade Sundarayya had undergone special training, himself conducted deliveries to women and trained members of different organisations of women to do the same. He even ran a shop for provisions and sold them for cheaper prices, with a view to showing how cheating in trade can be curbed. When he was representing the Gannavaram constituency as MLA, Com Sundarayya used to purchase paddy from farmers and sell rice at a price of one Rupee per kilogram and endeared himself to the people. Recollecting the kind of keen interest Com Sundarayya had for books and his collection of rare books and maps on a large scale, Raghavulu said all those have been preserved in the SVK now. The details of 70,000 books in the Kendram are being made available online. Raghavulu explained the various steps being taken for development of the SVK at Gachibowli. While P Prabhakar, chief executive officer of the Kendram, presided over the meeting, Nandyala Narsimha Reddy, state secretariat member of the CPI(M), director of Dadasaheb Phalke Film Institute, Umamaheswara Rao and others participated.