Madras High Court Bench wants portrait of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar to be installed at all Government Law Colleges in Tamil Nadu

Portrait of B.R. Ambedkar. File

Portrait of B.R. Ambedkar. File | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has requested the Director of Legal Studies, Chennai, to issue a circular mandating installation of the portrait of Babasaheb Ambedkar in all government law colleges in Tamil Nadu.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed, “Dr. Ambedkar is the architect of the Indian Constitution. He is the very symbol of social liberation. His scholarship is unparalleled. He can be the greatest inspiration for every law student.”

The court made the observation while hearing a petition filed by a fourth-year student of Theni Government Law College. The student, who belonged to a Scheduled Caste, had challenged his suspension from the college.

The student had wanted installation of Ambedkar’s portrait in the Principal’s office room and also wanted the course to be taught in Tamil. It was alleged that he uttered rude and defiant words at the Principal and also barged into the classrooms when classes were going on.

His support mobilisation efforts were seen as acts of indiscipline and misconduct and it led to his suspension. Arguing the case in person, the law student denied the allegations levelled against him.

The judge directed the government counsel to ensure that the portrait was installed in the Principal’s office room and also indicated to the petitioner that if he was willing to apologise, the college management could be persuaded to close the matter. After the court was informed that the portrait was installed in the Principal’s room, the petitioner agreed and tendered an unconditional apology to the Principal.

Taking note of the fact that the petitioner had not indulged in any act of violence and had merely taken up a legitimate public cause, the judge observed that the principle of proportionality demanded that the matter was given a quietus and directed the college authorities to treat the matter as closed.

The judge noted that he had directed remittance of cost of ₹10,000 in another case in favour of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Advocates Welfare Board Trust and suggested that the money be spent for the welfare of a law student belonging to a Scheduled Caste.

Considering that the petitioner was treated with an element of harshness during the court proceedings, the judge called upon the Trust to pay a sum of ₹10,000 to the petitioner. It would help him buy some standard law books which could be the foundation for his library. Dr. Ambedkar said “Be Educated, Be Organised and Be Agitated.” The petitioner must focus on the first advice for the next two years, the judge said.

Disposing of the petition, the judge noted, “Charity should begin at home. As I was finalising the draft order dictated in the open court, I looked around. I confess that a photograph of Dr. Babasaheb (Ambedkar) is not on the walls of my chambers. I resolved to make good the omission at the earliest.”

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Printable version | Aug 25, 2022 9:20:06 pm |