“Every Indian citizen has the duty to prevent abuse of the Constitution”: Justice KM Joseph On Constitution Day

Defending the core values enshrined in our Constitution is the duty of every Indian citizen, said the fourth in seniority judge of the Supreme Court

"Every Indian citizen has the duty to prevent abuse of the Constitution": Justice KM Joseph On Constitution DayImage: The Hindu

The people of our nation are charged with the duty of operating the Constitution and giving life to it by defending the core values enshrined in it and preventing it from being abused, said Justice K.M. Joseph on Saturday. The Supreme Court judge further explained, “Each generation of citizens is duty bound to remain alert and on their toes to safeguard the core value which the Constitution seeks to uphold and promote.” He added, “Every act or omission of one generation will either be a milestone marking the progress of a nation, or God forbid, the times which future generations will unerringly point to as tragic aberrations.”

Justice Joseph, as one of the senior puisne judges of the apex court, was speaking at the Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court. During his brief address, he spoke about how it was the bounden duty of citizens to protect constitutional ideals and fend off attempts of misusing the “noble instrument”. “It is a legitimate right and duty of every citizen from every walk of life to prevent the Constitution from being abused,” he said. To deliver his point home, he quoted British philosopher and statesman, Edmund Burke who had said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” Justice Joseph also pointed out that the architect of our Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar had himself reportedly said if he found the charter being misused, he would be “the first to burn it”.

Speaking about the core values of the constitution, Justice Joseph enumerated, “One of the most cherished ideals “firmly enshrined” in the Preamble to the Constitution is fraternity. Our Constitution contemplates that Bharat will be a secular nation. Liberty is also a fundamental norm. ‘Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship’ are not merely words appropriately proclaimed in the Preamble, but are meant to ignite the minds and hearts of every citizen.”

Justice Joseph also highlighted how the Constitution of India conferred a fundamental duty on every citizen to promote transcendental harmony and a spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India. He said that the adoption of the Constitution marked the culmination of a “long but uniquely peaceful struggle by millions who stood shoulder to shoulder bearing their differences based on religion, caste and the region from which they hailed”. “It is a fundamental duty to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom. Not unnaturally, therefore, citizens also have the fundamental duty to promote harmony and a spirit of harmony transcending religious, linguistic, regional, or sectional diversities,” Justice Joseph observed.


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