I have spent considerable time going over the video of Nishant Varma and pondering over its contents, since superficially, it seems insidious and insurrectionary, calling for the dislodging of an established Govt, in the manner of Jay Prakash Narain’s call just prior to the imposition of emergency in 1975. He was arrested for it.
After due deliberations, I have decided that people of India need to hear it as our Nation’s Constitution, enjoins us not just to elect a representative Govt, but also to see that it works for their safety, welfare and wellbeing.
Apart from the elected govt(s) at the Centre and the States, there are three constitutional arms of the Nation which have been solemnly enshrined in the Constitution and charged to ensure that nothing happens which imperils the “Safety, welfare and wellbeing” of its people. These are –
> The Armed Forces.
> The Police Forces.
> The Judiciary.
For the nth time in my life, I went over the respective oaths that each of these Constitutional organs of our Nation are required to take :
OATHS OF APPOINTMENT/COMMISSION
INDIAN ARMY RULES 1954
I, …………………….., do swear in name of God that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by the law established and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully serve in the regular Army of the Union of India and go wherever ordered by land, sea or air, and that I will observe and obey all commands of the President of the Union of India and the commands of any officer set over me even to the peril of my life.
INDIAN POLICE ACT
I ………………….. do swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful and bear true
allegiance to India and to the Constitution of India as by law established; that as a member of the police in the State of……………… I will honestly, impartially and truly serve the people without favour or affection, malice or ill-will; that I will to the best of my ability, skill and knowledge discharge, according to law, such functions and duties as may be entrusted to me as a police officer, and in such a manner as to uphold and protect the dignity and rights of the citizens as proclaimed in the Constitution.
CHIEF JUSTICES/JUDGES OF THE HSCI & HHCsI
Schedule III (IV)
I, ………………….having been appointed Chief Justice (or a Judge) of the Supreme Court of India, do swear in the name of God (or affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws.
Whereas, essentially all three oaths are to the Constitution of India, there is an essential difference between the first one and the other two. It may be noticed that the difference lies in the last phrase of the last line of the Oath that a soldier is required to take, “even to the peril of my life”. That is the reason that the soldier is required to take the oath just once in his lifetime, for he remains a soldier till his last breath,
Whereas a policeman and a judge may resign and leave, a soldier cannot, till he has not completed his term of engagement.
It will, therefore, be seen that the position of a soldier as the defender of the Constitution of India, (And it is the same in other democracies too), is unique. He must defend the values of the Constitution of India with his life.
A soldier does not hold allegiance to the Govt of the day, but to the Nation and its Constitution. That is why even open discussion of politics is strictly prohibited in the Defence Forces.
It will be interesting to read what the present Army Chief said to the press on the occasion of taking office :
Responding to a question on whether the Army should have a say on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, following the comments made by his predecessor and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on protests against the new law, said that the Army’s role is to uphold the core values. “We respect the fundamental rights of the citizens. If we remember this, then we will not go wrong in the discharge of our duties.
We are an Army of the people and for the people, and whatever we do, will be for them.
The role of the Judiciary is unique too, for it sits at the Apex of the organs that are charged with the defense of our Constitution. It is the final arbiter of all that happens within the boundaries of the Republic of India, either on a petition or even suo motu.
It may also be interesting to note that on Jan 28, 2018, a senior IPS officer of the 1982 batch of the UP cadre, took an oath privately, along with a few others, to ensure the building of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, After a video of it was leaked, it created quite a furor and the IPS Association dissociated with it. I am not aware, what action, if any, was taken against him.
In my opinion, legally and otherwise, all that Nishant Varma has done is to bring to the notice of the three defending Constitutional organs, their duties as the defenders of the Constitution of India, as enshrined in our Constitution.
Samuel Dhar is an Army Engineer officer, who took premature retirement 28 years ago to practise as an engineering consultant, specialising in use of polymers in constructions. He has authored scores of Articles and book on philosophy, theology and Nationalism. He also has a collection of poetry. His Blog site, “Samuel’s World” as well as Sainik Darpan