Even bad Constitution turns out to be good if those running it are good, says CJI; quotes Ambedkar

The CJI made the observations during his keynote address at the Sixth International Conference on the ‘Unfinished Legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’ at the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, in the U.S. on October 22.

October 23, 2023 04:25 pm | Updated 05:21 pm IST - New Delhi

Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud is felicitated with the ‘Award for Global Leadership’, at Harvard Law School, in Massachusetts, USA.

Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud is felicitated with the ‘Award for Global Leadership’, at Harvard Law School, in Massachusetts, USA. | Photo Credit: PTI

However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those responsible for its functioning happen to be a “good lot,” Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud said while citing B. R. Ambedkar and hailing his idea of constitutionalism as being responsible for dismantling deeply entrenched caste hierarchy in India.

The CJI made the observations during his keynote address at the Sixth International Conference on the ‘Unfinished Legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’ at the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, in the U.S. on October 22.

The CJI highlighted the idea of constitutionalism of Ambedkar, who headed the committee tasked to frame the Indian Constitution and said it was instrumental in transforming Indian society by dismantling deeply entrenched caste hierarchy and promoting social, economic and political empowerment of marginalised groups.

"Ambedkar’s legacy continues to shape the constitutional values of modern India, serving as a beacon for social reform and the pursuit of justice for all,” he said.

He cited Ambedkar, who had said however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it happen to be a bad lot.

“However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it happen to be a good lot,” the CJI said quoting Ambedkar.

The CJI, who is in the USA, was also felicitated with the 'Award for Global Leadership' by the Center on the Legal Profession, Harvard Law School on Saturday.

The announcement about CJI Chandrachud being chosen as the recipient of the award was made on January 11, 2023 in an online ceremony.

He was present at the Harvard Law School on Saturday for a fireside chat with David Wilkins, Professor at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director, Center on the Legal Profession.

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