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‘Scope of welfare changes with time’

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SummaryCJI asked if the scope of welfare and aspirations of the people change with the passage of time.

While Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam Monday agreed that the country was “experiencing an agonising crisis of identity for the past few years on account of various issues like scams, sexual discrimination, terrorism, extremism, etc”, he asserted that the general perception of the citizens being cornered to believe that governance in India is lagging behind and losing the sight of the objectives of the Constitution may not be completely true.

Delivering the keynote address at a function to release Reclaiming the Vision — Challenges of Indian Constitutional Law and Governance, a collection of the writings of jurist and senior lawyer P P Rao, the CJI asked if the scope of welfare and aspirations of the people change with the passage of time.

“The ultimate aim of the makers of the Constitution was to have a welfare state and an egalitarian society projecting the aims and aspirations of the people of India who sacrificed everything for the attainment of country’s freedom. But doesn’t the scope of ‘welfare’ and ‘aspirations of the people’ itself change with the passage of time?” he observed.

“The individual liberty, social justice, equal opportunity and fraternity or a sense of community that are articulated in the Preamble, the fundamental rights, and the directive principles of the Constitution take their own shades with the passage of time. So we should never be looking forward to guaranteeing static welfare to the people of India. This will be dangerous to the progress of the country,” he said.

He also said the “ultimate source of authority” is not legislators, administrators or the judiciary. “The people are the ultimate source of authority. Therefore, as long as people of India are ensured good governance, which according to me is inclusive of active participation, upholding rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus, orientation, equality, effectiveness and efficiency and accountability, we can rest assured that the will of the Constitution is still thriving,” he said.

Addressing the gathering, P P Rao said the legal profession has an important role in tackling the problems confronting the nation. Among others, senior Supreme Court lawyers Fali S Nariman and Soli Sorabjee also spoke.

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