President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday called upon parliamentarians to correct the trend of frequent disruptions in the functioning of the House.

Inaugurating the NKP Salve Memorial Lecture series and delivering the first NKP Salve Memorial Lecture on “Constitution and Governance” at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan, he said achieving social justice required not mere governance but transformation of social ethos.

Mr. Mukherjee said: “The ultimate goal of any democracy is empowerment of the individual, irrespective of his economic, religious or social standing. This may appear to be a utopian dream for many, but the strength of a system lies in its capacity to ceaselessly work for its accomplishment. We owe ourselves to create a system in which access to politics is not limited to a privileged few but an average Indian also feels empowered enough to contribute. An egalitarian society can be created only when growth is inclusive. It is important to ensure that there is justice and equality of opportunity and the state does not create conditions in which the privileged few gain at the cost of the multitudes who suffer endemic poverty. A sustainable society can only be based on the principles of egalitarianism.”

The President said: “India cannot achieve true progress unless governance improves. Not one section is responsible for the ills. Society on the whole has to reset its moral compass.” He also drew special attention to frequent disruptions in the functioning of Legislatures and Parliament and said this trend should be corrected. He further called upon parliamentarians and legislators to spend sufficient time discussing financial matters, the budgets, the Five Year Plans, etc. If sufficient time was devoted, corruption could be nipped in the bud.

The meeting was organised by the president of Confederation of Indian Bar, Pravin H. Parekh. Justice G.S. Singhvi and others spoke on the occasion.

Justice P. Sathasivam, speaking on ‘Governance and the Constitution,’ said N.K.P. Salve served the nation in various capacities as a professional, Minister and Chairman of the 9th Finance Commission. He said: “There can be no constitutional governance in a true sense unless the judiciary is vibrant to check the violations of the Constitution. Certainly, the Supreme Court as the bulwark of constitutional governance has over a period of time rendered significant judgments contributing to good governance in the arena of environment, human rights, gender justice, education, minorities, police reforms, elections and limits on constituent powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution. With increase in legal awareness, people are approaching courts to seek remedies for various grievances. Public Interest Litigation is increasingly used due to a lack of governance and legal vacuum. While the same has made positive contribution by giving voice to marginalised sections of our society, it has not translated to substantial justice. Justice will remain symbolic and declaratory unless all three institutions of governance cooperate.”

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