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“Constitutional Rights not yardstick to asses democracy”

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Hyderabad: “In a secular democracy it is important to see how far the majority community takes care of the rights given to the minority communities. The rights available in the Constitution of India for minorities are not the yardstick to assess the functioning of democracy. The functioning of a sound democracy could be judged by the attitude of the majority community towards minorities, how far it volunteers in the implementation of the rights given to the minorities in the constitution,” said Prof. Faizan Mustafa, vice chancellor of National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR). He was speaking during the Justice Mohammed Rafiuddin Ahmed Ansari fifth annual Memorial Lecture organized by the Justice Mohammed Rafiuddin Ahmed Ansari Memorial Trust here.

Prof. Mustafa said, “The guarantee of rights to the minorities has been ensured in the constitution of India. Articles 29 and 30 provide protection of certain rights of the minorities. However, in the script of the constitution there is no separate article guaranteeing protection of the rights of minorities but in a general context it is said in the constitution of India that if there is any discrimination against any citizen on the basis of language, religion, culture, caste, or race, he will be protected. So in this way, citizens including citizens from minority community, cannot be deprived of their rights in any field on the basis of race, caste or language.”

He further observed, “Implementation of individual rights is not enough because many individuals get their rights independently but as a member of their community they often do not get their rights. There is a need to give equal rights to a group which have been guaranteed in the constitution.” Dr. Faizan Mustafa said, “Political motives are the major factors behind all the communal riots which occur in this country.” He termed Gujarat riots as unique compared to other communal riots in India, “because introspection is being done and intention to provide justice can be seen as the culprits are being punished.”

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2012 on page no. 1

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