September 25, 2022

TN: Seminar on ‘Save Constitution’ Held in Chennai

G Udayakumar

THE AILU Tamil Nadu state committee conducted a seminar on "Save Constitution" at Bar Council Meeting Hall in the high court premises in Chennai on September 17.Around 500 advocates participated in it.

The seminar was addressed by H N Nagamohan Das, former judge of Karnataka High Court and S Peter Alphonse, ex-MP and chairman of the State Minorities Commission, Tamilnadu.

N G R Prasad, state president of AILU, Tamil Nadu who presided over the seminar said that minorities are the worst sufferers in the present regime. The people of India have to be protected by the constitution. But we are in a stage where we have to fight for protecting the constitution itself. Our constitution guarantees the rights of the people. The basic features of the constitution can neither be amended nor be tampered with even by the parliament. The constitution while guaranteeing Fundamental Rights to all its citizens also guarantees the rights of the minorities. If the minorities’ rights are not enforced then democracy will not survive in this country. Just because a party having an absolute majority is ruling the country, it cannot curb the rights of minorities. The supreme court has in several judgements held that the parliament cannot abrogate the rights of the people. The ruling dispensation at the centre now wants to repeal the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, of 1991. 


S Peter Alphonse, in his address, said “We should protect the rights of real majority i.e., 85 per cent. About 35 per cent of the people were very poor and they need social protection in the country. In India, Ambanis’ and Adanis’ are the minorities in the country and they are looting the wealth of the nation. Golwalker wanted to create ‘imaginary enemies’ and that they are the minorities and the oppressed sections of the society, etc.”

Dr Ambedkar has said about majoritarianism very clearly; the majority cannot decide everything. Socrates was once given a death sentence by the majority council. But the judgement went wrong later.  Hence, the majority cannot always be right.

In England, a newspaper published the photos of three judges upside down and wrote that the three judges were old fools. A person initiated contempt proceedings against the newspaper.  But the judges retorted that a part of it was right since they were old and that the other part was the newspapers’ perception about the judges and there was no necessity to move contempt proceedings against the paper.

Even Indira Gandhi, during the emergency, suspended the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, but she realised and apologised for the mistake. The courts are the last resort for every citizen. If the court's doors are closed, then how can a citizen get relief? Nowadays Christians are restrained from conducting prayers in their meeting halls or even at their homes. A complaint is lodged to prevent such meetings citing noise as the reason.  The police immediately come to the place and ask them to close the hall because it will create a law and order problem. This is the situation prevailing now.

A section of people wants to claim justice for 500 years old disputes. What will happen if such cases are taken up? There were days when women were not allowed to cover their breasts; Dalits were not allowed to walk on the streets where upper caste people were residing. So much discrimination was there. Hence, for the wrong committed centuries ago, we cannot claim justice at present. We do not know the name of our grandfather's father. Then how will you know the real history of 500 years old disputes?

S Peter went on to add, “When a case of 23 freedom fighters was debated in the court, a man came to the defence counsel and gave a chit. But the lawyer continued the case for the freedom fighters.  The judge asked the lawyer to disclose what was in the chit given to him, the lawyer said that his wife was dead. Then the judge asked the lawyer, you could have told the same in the court and we would have adjourned the case to some other date. But the lawyer said that the case is very important for me and that he cannot bring back alive his dead wife but on the other hand he would be able to free all the accused persons. That lawyer was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.”

Former judge of the Karnataka High Court, Nagamohan Das while speaking in this seminar said that “the minorities are treated as second class citizens in the country.”

He said, because of our constitution, dalits, scheduled tribes, and backward community people have become presidents, governors, ministers, etc. But now our constitution is facing a lot of challenges.


We say that our electoral system is good for democracy. But what is happening?  The elections are fought on the basis of caste, religion, money power etc., 82 per cent of our elected representatives are crorepatis; 42 per cent of our elected representatives are facing criminal charges. In India, many of the elected members are from industrialist families, real estate owners, and black marketers and some are on a hereditary basis. In the parliament or legislature, people's issues are not allowed to be debated. 

What happened in Goa is ridiculous. Elected representatives are purchased. In Karnataka, a few years back opposition party became a ruling party by buying the MLAs. The ruling party is not bothered about anything.  Whenever a person gets elected on any party's ticket, they are purchased for crores of rupees. What is this?  Is this democracy? But all these things are not debated in the parliament or assembly. We cannot give our dissenting views. Our voices are muted by threats.  

In UP, recently we saw that the bulldozer rolled over the homes of minorities and demolished them. Democratic institutions are not functioning properly. Even the Indian judiciary is facing threat.  The supreme court is not taking the cases of UAPA, Article 370 of the constitution which affects Kashmir, Citizenship Amendment Act which is bothering minorities etc., RBI, Election Commission of India, NIA, CBI, enforcement directorates and other institutions are not functioning independently. These institutions are used against opposition party leaders. But no ruling party member is facing any such threat. The present government is outsourcing everything. Even the assembly can be outsourced in future. For the last six years, human rights commissions are not functioning.  Even the supreme court is turning a blind eye to those issues.

CONSTITUTION EMBODIMENT OF DEMOCRACY                                                             

If we cannot protect the constitution, we will lose our democracy, secularism, social justice, welfare state etc. We have amended our constitution 105 times. But what is the use?  What is the use of our electoral system?  Every five-year elections are conducted. Whoever gets the majority rules, but are the people benefitted?

We got only political democracy but not economic or social democracy. There is no debate about the agriculture crisis, unemployment, poverty, atrocities on women etc. What is secularism?  Now it is said that equal treatment of all religions is secularism.  It is not secularism. We should separate religion from politics. That is secularism. A state cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. What is Communalism?  It is mixing of religion with politics. This should not be done.  We mean social justice is only for reservation. It is not correct. Reservation is only an iota of social justice. The public sector is being dismantled and there is no reservation in the private sector. Around 60,40,000 posts are vacant in the government and public sector enterprises.  But nothing is done to fill up the vacancies.  It is the right time to raise our voices against all this social injustice and protect our constitution.

At the initiation of S Sivakumar, treasurer, AILU-TN, 16 posters highlighting the Preamble of the Constitution were released. Pandeesvari, secretary, AILU-TN read out the oath on the constitution and a gathering took the pledge.

The seminar started with Muthu Amuthanathan, general secretary, AILU- TN, welcoming the gathering. A Kothandam, executive president, AILU-TN and member of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry addressed the gathering.

K Elango, joint secretary, of AILU participated in the seminar. B Srinivasan, Chennai district secretary, AILU, delivered the vote of thanks.