Social justice is a tool to end social stratification and lend dignity to human beings: CM Siddaramaiah

CM speech at the inauguration of Ninth National Conference of Indian Association of Lawyers on Constitution, Supreme Court and Social Justice in Bengaluru

 

1. At the outset, I am extremely glad to be amidst you at the National Conference of the Indian Association of Lawyers on Constitution, Supreme Court and Social Justice.

2. I don’t know whether it was mere an accident or a sheer coincidence that I was an advocate before entering into public life in 1983, the year of the formation of the Indian Association of Lawyers.

3. I wish to appreciate the objective of the association – bringing together advocates, judges and legal luminaries in the teaching profession to promote, develop and strengthen endeavors – for the speedy evolution of a democratic socialist society in India.

4. I am glad that this Conference is dedicated to the memory of Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, one of the doyens in the annals of Indian Judiciary, who had led thisassociation for three-long decades.

5. The theme of the Conference is “Social Justice” as enshrined in the Constitution of India and as propounded by the Supreme Court of India, is very apt and timely.

6. Social Justice is a modern concept, where law has come to be considered not merely as an instrument of authority to regulate social institutions, but as an instrument to bring about social justice and equity particularly to the members of the marginalized and exploited communities.

7. Social justice is a tool to end social stratification and lend dignity to human beings. The guiding principle of Social Justice is equitable distribution of resources, power and opportunity.
8. Dr B. R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, firmly believed that without social reforms, political rights have no effect. Economic reforms alone will not ensure social harmony.

9. Dr Ambedkar used the tool of law to launch a tirade against discrimination and untouchability to secure social justice to the vast sections of the Indian society. Dr Ambedkar, of course, is a great visionary, who stood on the shoulders of giants like Buddha and Basava.

10. Karnataka is the land of reformers, where the distinct voice of the backward classes and dalits was established as early as in the 12th century. Vachana movement gave voice to the thrust for equality of the downtrodden masses in Karnataka.

11. Social reformers from Maharhastra, Tamilnadu and Kerala continued this great tradition of social transformation.

12. The movement also brought together the dalits and the backward classes through social criticism and spiritual quest.

13. In the early 20th century, the Maharaja of Mysuru, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, took the historic decision to provide reservation for the backward classes. This marks a decisive phase in the history of backward classes movement in Karnataka.

14. Later, D. Devaraja Urs, one of the tallest leaders of Karnataka launched a new era in the politics of the backward classes and evolved a concrete program through reservation for backward classes. He appointed Shri L. G. Havanoor as the Chairman of the first Backward Classes Commission in Karnataka to prepare a report on the backward classes. Devaraj Urs Government successfully implemented the report, which heralded a new era in Karnataka.

15.At this juncture, let me also state most humbly that I, myself, have been inspired by the spirit of social justice movements in Karnataka and, I believe, I have contributed in my own way to the evolution of a healthy socio-political movement of the backward classes in Karnataka.

16. The movement includes the minorities, the backward classes, the dalits and also the progressive people from all castes and classes.

17. The movement has paved way for a distinct political polarization and for path breaking programs in Karnataka. The Karnataka model has also shown that the empowerment of the backward classes would also mean an emergence of a new equation between the dalits, the backward classes and the minorities.

18. The ultimate aim of all these efforts is to eradicate caste system and to achieve the goal of an ideal society based on the principles of equality and social justice

19. Our Government is committed to social justice. Concepts of social justice and modern outlook in our approach are the guiding factors of our Government.

20. Though the well accepted policy of affirmative action has provided a lot of opportunities to the deprived communities, there is much more to be done.

21. Time has come to look beyond the present Reservation policy. It is high time to think about Reservation in Private sector. It should be achieved through debate and dialogue.

22. Need of the hour is to provide education, secure employment ,housing, and health facilities for oppressed and underprivileged classes, without any further loss of time.

23. Our Government has realised the same and has taken various positive steps in this direction.

24. It may not be out of context to mention here that, our Government took the decision in January 2014 to conduct door-to-door social and educational survey of all the people of Karnataka.

25. The same is executed by the State Commission for Backward Classes. The data is awaited from the Commission. This exercise is the first of its kind, since 1931.

26. The idea behind the survey is to collect the current demographic data and on other various aspects relating to living conditions of the people of the State and accordingly to configure the developmental policies and programmes to achieve an egalitarian society through Socio-economic justice.

27. At the same time, it cannot be forgotten that socio-economic justice is not only a vast subject, but complex issue, too.

28 Nevertheless persistent endeavour to achieve the same should be continued. Because, it is the duty of every Government and citizen, under the Constitution, to see that every human being is ensured a life of dignity and freedom from any kind of discrimination.

29. On several occasions judicial pronouncements by our respected judiciary also pointed out the need for the collection of updated empirical data by conducting survey of entire populace to decide whether the reservations in favour of OBC groups are proportionate or not.

30. Our Government always earnestly feels and yearns for new ideologies and new activities for the development of the State for ensuring social justice.

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