“The vision and values of the Constitution are facing challenges. It is up to us to safeguard the Constitution and its values from such challenges. As has been said the Constitution has not failed us. We have to ensure that we do not fail the Constitution”, said Shri Mukul Wasnik, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment while welcoming Shri K. G. Balakrishnan, Chief Justice, who delivered the Ambedkar Memorial lecture on ‘Constitutional Values and the Promotion of Labour Welfare’, here today.
“The nation proudly recollects the vision and genius of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, one of the chief architects of the Indian Constitution as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949”. Shri Wasnik further said, “ the role played by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in his different capacities has left a lasting imprint on the social and Political tapestry of India. He ignited the imagination and dreams of millions through the concepts he deployed and the intellectual clarity with which he negotiated with the world”.
“Six decades after its adoption, the Constitution has become the uniting spirit of our nation, guiding it through challenging times and unprecedented global, national and local social and political change. It draws its strength today from the hearts and minds of common people whose aspirations find voice in its preamble and in each of its provisions. Its dream of social justice, liberty, equality and fraternity continues to inspire not only India but developing countries across the world”.
While delivering the lecture, Chief Justice of India Shri K.G. Balakrishnan held that the vision and foresight shown by the drafting committee under the leadership of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has stood the test of time. The textual incorporation of principles such as rule of law, equal protection before the law and a wide array of individual and group rights have proved to be the pre-conditions for creating the world’s largest democracy. Like any deliberative democracy, the contents of the constitution have been frequently debated upon and even amended – but no one can deny the fact that Dr. Ambedkar was the main architect of our constitutional democracy.
As suggested by the title of the lecture, he spoke about the provisions in the Constitution which have a bearing on labour welfare. Being a representative of the judicial system, he outlined how the courts have interpreted and expanded the meaning of some fundamental rights, while often stepping into an activist mould. He also emphasised the substance of the Directive Principles of State Policy which touch on the area. Further he briefly examined how some legislations have been passed in recent years with the objective of improving the conditions of those engaged in the unorganised sector.
While concluding he mentioned, “Despite the potential problems with implementation, these progressive measures have created some attainable targets for our public institutions. If we can successfully expand our social security system to make it more inclusive and reliable, it will indeed be a major achievement for our democracy”.
Ambedkar Memorial lecture provides a platform to articulate views on subjects and topics which Dr. Ambedkar himself had addressed and those which continue to be relevant today.
Besides Shri D. Napoleon, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, the lecture was attended by the Secretary, Shri K M Acharya, senior officials of the Ministry and trustees of the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Foundation.