RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today pitched for reforms in law as he stressed the need to develop a legal system based on the “ethos of the society”. Addressing the concluding ceremony of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta (Advocates) Parishad here, Bhagwat said though the new Constitution was drafted after Independence, some old laws were taken from foreign sources. “Our constitution was written based on the understanding of the ‘Bharatiya’ ethos of our founding fathers, but many of the laws that we are still using are based on the foreign sources and that laws were made as per their thinking…seven decades have passed since our independence…this is something we must address,” he said. Bhagwat demanded that entire system be based on the ethos of the society. “Our legal system should also be based on such ethos. A discussion and debate should be held on this. After a comprehensive national debate we will have to arrive at a consensus and such system should be made available to people. It should be such that it not only benefits our country but also sets an example for other countries,” he said.
“…Other nations have their own jurisprudence. But does our jurisprudence reflect the moral and value systems of our society?” he asked. The Sangh chief referred to the trial of revolutionary Birsa Munda and 400 tribals by the British for leading an armed struggle for independence. “Unfortunately, what the tribals were saying was being misrepresented by the interpreters and there was a huge gap between what the (trial) judge was saying and what the accused were saying. This gap seems to exist even today.
“Our justice system is under the ambit of the legal framework but what is legal may not be morally right. For example, during the Emergency, police had the right to shoot anyone and one could not ask a question. Legally, the police were right but morally….?” he questioned. Recalling his interaction with Pranab Mukherjee, Bhagwat said he asked the former president the definition of legality. “I recently asked Pranab Mukherjee about what is the definition of legality. He said morality is legality. Then I asked him is vice versa true?” he asked.
Appealing to utilise the wisdom of “our seers”, Bhagwat said the “Neeti Shastra” has a lot to offer which modern day law-makers should take a leaf out of. “The Westerners, including scientists and intellectuals, are studying/examining our ‘Upnishads’ which is our tradition,” he said. Underlining the importance of law and legislation in running the society, Bhagwat said a society should be built where its morality is at a level where the society in general and law are not at loggerheads with each other.
“No doubt, enforcement of law is necessary. However, it will be 100 per cent effective only when the masses are educated. This education cannot be just by information, but should include moral-based education. Unless we develop examples of honesty by living Bharatiya values by ourselves, we will not be able to transform the society,” he said. He appealed to the members of the legal fraternity to reach out to those people who are facing injustice because of weakness and “embrace them”.
“Work towards solutions that the poor and deprived are facing. Based on ‘Satyamev Jayate’ we have to helpful to them in sorting out their difficulties and problems that are arising out of injustice,” the Sangh chief said. Even in Mahabharata, Gandhari had blessed her sons with ‘Satyamev Jayate’ and not ‘Vijayi Bhava’, he recalled. “The Adhivakta Parishad was formed in 1992 under the guidance of Dattopant Thengadi during a time when the Shahbano case judgement, and the discussion on Hindutva was raging.
“The nation was in the midst of a huge debate. Couple of the key functions of the ABAP was to fight many legal issues that were cropping up during that time and also to give voices to the millions of the people who could not afford legal assistance. The gap between those to whom justice is not accessible should be reduced,” Bhagwat added. In our society, ‘dharma’ was placed highest as it stands on the pillars of truth, “unlike in the Western society which believed that the king is supreme and could do no wrong, he said.