Agenda for political, economic and social democracy remains unfinished: Vice President

Bengaluru, Dec 27 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said political, economic and social democracy is still far-off due to disparities between classes and “ineptitude and unaccountability” in social and economic organisation but advised people to “educate, agitate and organise” themselves.

“The agenda for political, economic and social democracy remains unfinished because of continued disparity between the lives of the privileged and the rest and because of persistent ineptitude and unaccountability in the way the economy and society are organised,” he said in his address at the 9th National Conference of the Indian Association of Lawyers with the theme ‘Constitution, Supreme Court and Social Justice’.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President further said “the makers of our constitution were well aware of the glaring social inequalities that existed in Indian society and sought to attain justice, liberty, equality and promotion of fraternity” but noted that “even the best intentioned judicial intervention and activism on social issues has limits”.

He said that the judiciary is the guardian of the constitution and its role as the protector of civil rights has reposed the faith of the people in it.

Ansari said that the Supreme Court had given a dynamic shape to the concept of social justice and expanded the envelope of social justice by adjudicating on diverse social matters concerning education, livelihood, gender and environment.

Citing examples of how, after 70 years of legislating welfare laws and adjudicating measures to deliver social justice, the ground reality remained dismal, he said: “There is a number of reasons why attempts to litigate economic, social and cultural rights might not resulted in judicial enforcement and why, even if enforcement is achieved in formal terms, this may not necessarily protect or fulfil the right in practice.

“The requirement thus is of a broad societal rather than a just political perspective.”

While not dismissing a constructive role for courts in the enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights, he said: “It is crucial to investigate carefully who benefits from court enforcement and under what circumstances judicial enforcement is likely to advance the broader realization of the rights and benefit those whose rights are most at risk.”

“My final words of advice to you are educate, agitate and organize, have faith in yourself, and never lose hope,” he added.