Social exclusion causes poverty by hurting materially as well as emotionally, says Justice Sathasivam

Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam on Saturday said Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy needed to be balanced and harmonised if they were to reap social order and empower people.

Presiding over a seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Bar, the CJI said: “In a sense, the Directive Principles of State Policy epitomise the ideals, aspirations, sentiments, precepts and goals of the entire freedom movement. The Directive Principles impart a sort of continuity in our national policies.”

The Supreme Court had held on various occasions that the Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights were meant to supplement each other, Justice Sathasivam said. The two had to be “balanced and harmonised in order to achieve the goal of securing the dignity of an Indian citizen. In the landmark verdict in the Minerva Mills case, the Constitution Bench had held that the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles are two wheels of the chariot in establishing the egalitarian social order”.

Inclusive development

The CJI mentioned the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, among other laws the government had enacted for public welfare. This Act was to provide for compulsory education to children between the ages of 6 and 14. He spoke of the challenges posed to the inclusive development: poverty, educational apartheid, caste- and gender-based discrimination. “Domination, discrimination and deprivation [are] three important determinants of social exclusion. Social exclusion causes poverty by hurting in two ways, materially as well as emotionally.”

Calling for more projects on the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act for promoting inclusive development, Justice Sathasivam said: “It is not necessary to maximise the target while we aim for inclusive growth but it is important to include people in a manner so that everybody contributes equally to growth that occurs across all the sectors of the economy. To ensure this, equitable access to land, credit, basic services — like shelter, health, education — have to be ensured.”

President of the Confederation P.H. Parekh and senior lawyer Harish N. Salve spoke.

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