Andhra Pradesh

Constitution is in peril, says Justice Chandru

Former Tamil Nadu High Court Judge Justice K. Chandru delivering a lecture in Vijayawada on Saturday.

Former Tamil Nadu High Court Judge Justice K. Chandru delivering a lecture in Vijayawada on Saturday.  

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Former Tamil Nadu High Court Judge calls for a ‘people’s movement’

Former Tamil Nadu High Court Judge K. Chandru on Saturday said that the Indian Constitution was in peril and that only a “people’s movement” could save it from “divisive forces”.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Constitution and Challenges’ on the occasion of the 105th birth anniversary of freedom fighter and Marxist leader Makineni Basava Punnaiah at MB Vignana Kendram, Justice Chandru said that the country was witnessing an undeclared emergency.

Justice Chandru said that he had visited Vijayawada for the first time as a law student back in 1975 when the country was under emergency declared by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. “Today, after 44 years, I visit this city when there is an undeclared emergency,” he said.

Recalling how emergency had pushed the country into chaos in 1975 when all opponents of Ms. Gandhi were imprisoned, freedom of expression was curtailed and newspapers were censored, Justice Chandru said the present situation was “even more dangerous, separatist and divisive, disintegrating the country”.

“It is a backward march,” Justice Chandru said referring to the recent ‘midnight coup’ in Maharashtra and the undue haste to make Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP the Chief Minister of the State.

“The situation is similar to what Ms. Gandhi had done back then. Unable to face stiff opposition to her economic policies, Ms. Gandhi had asked then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to declare a state of emergency without seeking the approval of her Cabinet — a gross violation of Constitutional provisions,” Justice Chandru said. He added that the BJP did a similar thing in Maharashtra, where Mr. Fadnavis, who did not have the numbers to form the government, had asked the Governor to dissolve the Assembly and impose President’s Rule.

Stating that he runs a school in Tamil Nadu of which he is the president, Justice Chandru said that he teaches students of Classes VI and VII about the Constitution.

He said that law colleges did not teach the students important things like the Preamble. “The Constitution guarantees all individuals liberty, equality and fraternity. In college, we were taught that these terms were borrowed from the French Revolution,” he said, adding that B.R. Ambedkar, in a radio speech in 1954, stated that he was influenced by Buddhism and that these words were taken from Buddha’s teachings.

Referring to the raging debate on the National Register of Citizens and the Citizens Amendment Act (CAA), Justice Chandru said people, especially the youth, should study the issue and understand what the Constitution says and what the Central government was doing.

“When governments fail, we need a people’s movement,” Justice Chandru said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:38:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/constitution-is-in-peril-says-justice-chandru/article30308515.ece

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