The Catolic Secular Forum

‘Rights in the Constitution is not the yardstick to asses democracy’

“In a secular democracy it is important to see that how far the majority community takes care of the rights given to the minority communities. The rights available in the constitution of India for Minorities are not the yardstick to assess the functioning of democracy. The functioning of a sound democracy could be judged by the attitude of the majority community towards minorities that how far it volunteer in the implementation of the rights given to the minorities in the constitution.” These were the thoughts of Dr. Faizan Mustafa vice chancellor of National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR).

Dr. Mustafa was speaking on the occasion of Justice Mohammed Rafiuddin Ahmed Ansari fifth annual Memorial Lecture organized by the Justice Mohammed Rafiuddin Ahmed Ansari Memorial Trust in the Administrative Staff College of India Hyderabad.

In his brief speech Dr. Faizan Mustafa said, “The guarantee of rights to the minorities has been ensured in the constitution of India. Article 29 and 30 provides protection of the certain rights of the minorities in India, however in the script of the constitution there is no separate article guaranteeing protection of the Rights of minorities. But in a general context it is given in the constitution of India that if there is any discrimination meted out to a citizen on the basis of language, religion, culture, caste, or race guarantee is given to protect his rights. So in this way, citizens including citizens from minority community cannot be deprived of their rights in any field on the basis of race, caste or language.”

“Implementation of individual rights is not enough because many individuals get their rights independently but as a member of their community they often do not get their rights. There is a need to give equal rights to a group which have been guaranteed in the constitution.” Dr. Mustafa observed.

The topic of the memorial lecture was ‘Minorities and National integration’. The lecture was presided over by Justice V. Eshwarayya, Judge of A.P. High Court; the key speech in the memorial lecture was given by Justice M.N. Rao, Chairman of National Commission of Backward classes and former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court.

Ms. Fareeda Hussain secretary of the Justice M. R. A. Ansari Memorial Trust welcomed the speakers, guest speaker and the audience. Speaking on the communal riots and particularly on Gujarat pogrom of Muslims Dr. Faizan Mustafa said, “Political motives are the major factors behind all the communal riots which occur in this country,”

He termed Gujarat riots as unique compare to the other communal riots in India, “Gujarat riot is unique because introspection is being done and intention to provide justice can be seen as the culprits are being punished. A former minister has been put behind the bars, and all those who are fighting this legal battle to get justice for the Muslims are the people mainly from majority community. This communal riot, the subsequent events and providing due justice to the victims highlights the secular character of this country.”

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