Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

[Video] Govt That Abides By Constitution Has Nothing To Fear From Dissent: Justice Gautam Patel

Karan Tripathi
18 Dec 2019 12:32 PM GMT
[Video] Govt That Abides By Constitution Has Nothing To Fear From Dissent: Justice Gautam Patel
x

At Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy's annual lecture yesterday, Justice Gautam Patel of Bombay High Court gave an enlightening address on the need for institutional autonomy. Titled, 'Between Scylla and Charybdis: Institutional Autonomy in Democratic Government', Justice Patel emphasised upon the significance of autonomy for the effective functioning of a republic....

At Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy's annual lecture yesterday, Justice Gautam Patel of Bombay High Court gave an enlightening address on the need for institutional autonomy. 

Titled, 'Between Scylla and Charybdis: Institutional Autonomy in Democratic Government', Justice Patel emphasised upon the significance of autonomy for the effective functioning of a republic. He said:

'Autonomy is not merely desirable, it's fundamental to the continuance of a democratic republic under a Constitution'



Justice Patel started his address by highlighting the appalling state of civil discourse that exists in the country today. While reminiscing about the high standards of civil discourse set by constitutional assembly debates, Justice Patel remarked:

'We don't have conversations anymore, we have tirades and shouting matches. Quality of discourse in this country has gone down… The quality of discourse in constitutional assembly was exemplary. Despite strong sentiments, the tone remained measured and debates were reasoned.'

Before explaining his central premise, Justice Patel clarified that the references in his speech to words such as 'government' and 'institutions' doesn't refer to any particular government or institution.

He also clarified that by arguing for institutional autonomy, he by no means imply, complete lack of regulatory oversight.

In order to argue for institutional autonomy, Justice Patel started off with the institution of education. He quoted the example of NEET examination for medical colleges, to state that colleges in India mostly have no autonomy to decide who to grant admissions to. He said:

'Providing little autonomy to education institutions adversely affect the true purpose of education. It reduces education to a mere technique acquisition exercise.'

Under the ambit of autonomy, Justice Patel also mooted for the need to let dissent freely express itself at educational spaces. He claimed:

'Educational institutions, throughout history, has been spaces for dissent and independence of thought. That's why illiberal governments first target liberal institutions'.

Critiquing the role of government in suppressing dissent, Justice Patel remarked that:

'A government that abides by the Constitution has nothing to fear from dissent.'

After education, Justice Patel then moved on the institution of film and art certification. He said that CBFC is not supposed to 'censor films'; it can only refuse to grant film certificate.

Reiterating the need to preserve the right of artists to fearlessly express themselves, Justice Patel said:

'Institutions of art should be allowed to say that their art has value even if it's directly in opposition with the ideology of the government'.

Next Story