'Make the Indian Constitution the model'
Chief Justice of India Yogesh Kumar Sabharwal led a 60-member delegation of Indian judges and senior lawyers to the 72nd Biennial Conference of the International Law Association that concluded at the Fairmont Hotel, Toronto, Canada, on June 9.
The theme for this year’s conference was `The World is Here' and it had six key areas: International Dispute Resolution; Business Regulation; International Institutions; International Rule of Law and Human Rights; Environment and Development; and Cultural Heritage and Intellectual property.
In an exclusive interview with Senior Editor Ajit Jain, India's seniormost judge spoke about India's experience with indigenous people, the legal backlog in India, and why faith in the judiciary must never be eroded.
One of the issues before you at this conference was a recent case study of indigenous people in Canada.
Yes, and I co-chaired that session. Who are the indigenous people from the Indian point of view? They are basically tribal people. We in India are head and shoulders above others not only because of what has happened during the last 50 years.
It all started before, when our Constitution was drafted. Our founding fathers of the Constitution were wise. They knew what's going to be applied to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and how they have to be brought into the mainstream, what protection was needed for them, and how they have to be encouraged and empowered.
It is one thing to provide these people with some menial type of work, but the question is about their political empowerment, economic empowerment, and all these form part of the Constitution. The question which has come before the courts from time to time is implementation of such provisions by the executive, and also its interpretation by the Supreme Court.
All these integrated efforts have today resulted in people from these tribes coming up to a level which every human being ought to be.
One of the aspects I want to highlight to other ILA members is, if you really want to study the problem of the indigenous people, make the Indian Constitution as the model and discuss from there.
Photograph: Saab Pictures