Everyone has a role in preserving Constitution: Justice Chelameswar

Everyone has a role in preserving Constitution: Justice Chelameswar

Everyone has a role in preserving Constitution: Justice Chelameswar

The ultimate public policy relevant for those who live under the Indian Constitution is the Constitution itself and everyone has a role in preserving it, Justice Jasti Chelameswar said on Saturday.

The second-most senior judge of the Supreme Court was speaking after the inauguration of Ramaiah Public Policy Center. "The Constitution is amenable to amendments from time to time. I am not talking about the extreme situations. But as long as we are governed by the Constitution, all our policies should be subject to broader principles laid down by it," he said.

Describing the Constituent Assembly "the greatest public policy centre relevant for us," he noted that members of that assembly had made great sacrifices in securing the freedom of the country. Hence, he said, any research into policy making must necessarily ensure the implementation of the goals enshrined in the Constitution.

Nuclear scientist and former chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar, who heads the advisory board of the policy centre, said, besides advising on policy matters with a vision, think tanks should also look at the unintended consequences of a policy. "It will be difficult for the normal governance systems to keep up with the pace of technology. Think tanks should be able to come up with solutions for tomorrow's problems," he said.

The former chief justice of India M N Venkatachaliah stressed the need for academic institutions that can help the government catch up with science to find solutions. He gave an example of the arsenic contamination of water in Murshidabad, West Bengal, when the state and central governments came up with an expensive solution of bringing water from Hoogli.

The project ended up in a stalemate due to differences between the Centre and West Bengal over cost-sharing. "At that time, one of the researches in Human Rights Commission came to me with an article in New Science Journal (published in US) on removing arsenic from water," he said, adding that the article led the state government to adopt the solution.

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