SC dissent, violence over Padmaavat makes Kovind speak his mind

SC dissent, violence over Padmaavat makes Kovind speak his mind

With dissent in the Supreme Court in mind, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday  sought to caution  that a disciplined and morally upright nation is built by "disciplined and morally upright institutions."

In his first Republic Day eve address to the nation, Kovind also said these "institutions must respect their fraternal relationship with other institutions. Institutions that maintain the integrity, discipline and limits of their functioning, without compromising on excellence."

Kovind also said these bodies must be "institutions that are always more important than the individuals located there. And institutions where the holders and members make every attempt to live up to the office they occupy as trustees of the people."

His remarks were seen as very significant in the backdrop of the stalemate in the apex court after four senior  SC judges dissented against the Chief Justice of India over allocation of sensitive cases.

With hate crimes and violence over the screening of Padmaavat film hitting headlines, the President also said, "A civic-minded nation is built by civic-minded neighbourhoods, whether in our cities or our villages. Where we respect the nextdoor person's space, privacy and rights. Where we do not inconvenience our neighbours – while celebrating a festival or while resorting to a protest or on any other occasion. Where one can disagree with another viewpoint – or even with a historical context - without mocking a fellow citizen's dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action."

Uplift poor, girl child

Kovind stressed on faster upliftment of the poor, the girl child, farmers and those still burdened by denial of basic amenities.

"A happy and equal-opportunity nation is built by happy and equal-opportunity families and communities. Families where girls have the same rights and the same access to education and healthcare as boys."

Governments can bring in policies and laws to ensure justice to women. But these policies and laws can only be made effective by families and communities that must hear the voices of our daughters, he said. "We cannot shut our ears to their urgings for change."

Calling for upgrading and enlarging the education system, Kovind said, "a confident and forward-looking nation is built by confident and forward-looking young people. Over 60% of our fellow citizens are below the age of 35. It is in them that our hopes lie. Our aspiration must be to reform, upgrade and enlarge our education system, and to make it relevant to 21st century realities."

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