Udayavni Special

CAA against ‘idea of India’: Shashi Tharoor


PTI, Mar 5, 2020, 10:18 AM IST

New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday, March 4 said the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was against the “the idea of India” and the framers of the Constitution explicitly rejected any idea of citizenship on the basis of religion.

Tharoor, speaking at the inaugural Dr. N R Madhava Menon Memorial Lecture by O P Jindal Global University on the theme ‘Law and The Idea of India’, said India is a “land of belonging” rather than of blood and what binds the idea of India is the rule of law contained in the Constitution.

Menon was an educationist, scholar, and the pioneering spirit behind modern legal education in India.

Menon was the founder-director of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore and headed it for 12 years. After that, he established West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) in 1998 and later presided as the founder-director of Judicial Academy (NJS), Bhopal, till 2006.

Quoting B R Ambedkar, Tharoor said, “The Constitution makers explicitly rejected any idea of citizenship on the basis of religion. It is for the Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of the law (CAA), but it goes against the very spirit, the idea of India.”

Referring to former President Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that the Indian Penal Code is full of inequities that need to be changed, Tharoor hailed the Supreme Court for delivering landmark judgments on section 377 of IPC which decriminalized gay sex.

He also expressed concern over the role of media in recent times and said that a new and disturbing trend of trial by media has emerged.

“While I am a staunch supporter of press freedom, the media in recent times has played the role of judge, jury and even executioner,” Tharoor said.

Supreme Court judge Justice S K Kaul also spoke on the occasion and said the Constitution must be elastic enough to change according to changing times.

Justice Kaul referred to the recent judgments on adultery, section 377 and the permanent commission of women in armed forces, saying that these cases have played an important role in bolstering the role of India.

Quoting Ambedkar, Justice Kaul said “constitutional morality” is not a natural sentiment and it has to be cultivated.

Professor C Rajkumar, the founding vice-chancellor of O P Jindal Global University, delivered the welcome address.

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