Social Ethos As Basis Of Legal System



At the silver jubilee celebrations of the Akhil Bharatiya Adhivakta (Advocates) Parishad in Hyderabad, RSS chief Bhagwat cited the abuse of power during emergency as an example of immorality in our law and demanded that entire system be based on the ethos of the society rather than, assumably, jurisprudence alone.

But while citing the 1975 emergency to elicit immorality of the legal system, in true RSS fashion, Bhagwat has conveniently avoided considering the fact that the mentioned immorality was addressed by the ballot, which is part of the checks and balances of our legal system under the Constitution. Thus, immoral excesses of the emergency can never be the raison d’etre for changing our legal system. Bhagwat knows that.

So what is Bhawgat really talking about and what is he getting at? The demonstrated ethos in vogue in the RSS and BJP, and which they been promoting, is one of social and religious majoritarianism; subversion of human and constitutional rights; demonization of minorities, increased suppression of Dalits; imposition of unconstitutional diktats; muzzling of dissent, communal division of society and of denying justice, equality and liberty to citizens.

To foster this ethos, the combine has during the last three years also demonstrated the kind of morality this ethos requires: patent lies; recanting on election promises; subterfuge; manipulation of facts and data; fake news and trolling, defending criminal vigilante gangs and justifying murder.

Incidentally, this ethos and morality is not the ethos that a majority of the people subscribe to, not even most BJP voters. The BJP came into power with just 31% of the vote and those who voted for it did so largely on the basis of promises of Rs 15 Lakh in their bank accounts, development, jobs and ‘Achhe Din.’

On the other hand, our present legal system respects all human beings and religions; preserves unalienable human and constitutional rights of the individual, promotes social harmony and sets about justice, equality and liberty for all . Though justice is often delayed, some tweaking is required and total enforcement is still lacking, India is doing fairly well with its present legal system rooted in jurisprudence and the Constitution as compared to what it would be if laws are instituted on the basis of the ever changing ethos among the people. This is evident by the nation’ growth into a largely coherent, democratic state under it despite myriad problems and historical divisions.

More importantly, the present legal system and constitution is a major hurdle for the RSS in pursing its goal of instating a theocratic state. The RSS-BJP combine needs the ethos and morality it has fostered since 2014 to accomplish this goal. Bhagwat is specifically talking about having a legal system based such an ethos and morality to create a Hindurashtra unopposed.

Apparently, the recent privacy ruling by the Supreme Court , which laid waste to the BJP-RSS combine’ strategies and efforts since 2014 to instate a Hindurashtra is the trigger for the demand. It is yet another surreptitious ploy to prepare the ground for eventually instating an oppressive, theocratic Constitution, without which a Hindurashtra is untenable. It has to be firmly opposed by the legal fraternity, and by all citizens.

Oliver D’Souza is an award winning author and editor of Dalit Post


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