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First four amendments meant to curtail citizen’s rights, says judge

KALABURAGI

Providing interesting insights of the history of Constitutional amendments in India, Krishna S. Dixit, judge of the High Court of Karnataka, said that the first four amendments made to the Constitution were actually made to curtail citizen’s rights, contrary to the very objective of the Constitution. He compared the initial amendments made to the Constitution with those made to the American Constitution in support of his argument.

“The amendments made to the American Constitution had widened the ambit of citizen’s rights [in that country]. They [amendments] went on to widen the scope of the citizen’s rights from one amendment to another and from one President to the other. But in India, the first four amendments were made to curtail the citizen’s rights. The interesting thing is that the very same people who were part of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution were part of these amendments,” he said, while delivering a special lecture on the role of citizens in the working of the Constitution organised at the auditorium of Hyderabad Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HKCCI) here on Wednesday.

The event was organised jointly by HKCCI and Advocate V B Deshpande Foundation as part of an annual series of special lectures.

Equating the Indian Constitution with the doctrine of ideas intensely advocated by 12th century social reformer and saint-poet Basaveshwara, Dixit expressed displeasure with the fact that the Constitution-makers did not make any reference to Basaveshwara in the making of the Constitution.

“The noble values such as liberty, equality, fraternity, social justice and democracy were all fiercely advocated by Basaveshwara in the 12th Century. Though all these values have been incorporated in the Indian Constitution, his name is referred to nowhere. It is a sad thing that the Constitution referred to Rama, Babar, Tipu, Magna Carta and all others but forgot Basaveshwara despite having incorporated the core values from his doctrine,” he said.

Quoting historian R C Majumdar on the importance of the 12th Century social movement led by the Sharanas (poets and reformers), Dixit said that if Basaveshwara had not been born in North Karnataka, the region would have seen massive conversions from Hinduism. “The oppression and exploitation of the downtrodden within Hinduism were so cruel that these marginalised sections would have converted into other religions on a massive scale. Basaveshwara, however, led a people’s movement against injustice without any armed military action and prevented them from converting by bringing in social reforms,” he said.

Stressing on the importance of an alert citizenry, Dixit said that good and quality governance in the United Kingdom and America was possible as they were populated by an aware and alert citizenry.

“The United Kingdom has no written Constitution. The American Constitution is very small. Yet, they could have achieve good and quality governance because of the awareness and alertness of their citizens,” he said.

Sunil Dutt Yadav, judge of the High Court of Karnataka, Amarnath C. Patil, president of HKCCI, Narendra Badasheshi, Anand Dandoti, P V Deshpande, Capt. Arvind Sharma and others were present.

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