India dispatch: ‘people’s march’ planned to show popular solidarity with an Indian judiciary under increasing pressure from government Dispatches
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India dispatch: ‘people’s march’ planned to show popular solidarity with an Indian judiciary under increasing pressure from government

Indian law students are reporting for JURIST on law-related developments in and affecting India. This dispatch is from Nakul Rai Khurana, a law student at Jindal Global Law School. 

‘Mission Save Constitution’, an organization headed by Indian advocate Mehmood Pracha, has called for a people’s protest march on April 14, 2023 to ensure and uphold the “Independence of the judiciary” in India. The peaceful protest march aims to showcase resistance against recent attacks on the Indian judiciary. The organization ‘Mission Save Constitution’ professes to protect and uphold the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

To symbolically stand up for judicial independence, a letter dated 30 March, 2023 by advocate Pracha states that ‘Mission Save Constitution’ is organizing a peaceful march consisting of lawyers, doctors, social workers, engineers, religious leaders, and academics on ‘Ambedkar Jayanti’ (the birthday of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, popularly regarded as the Father of the Indian Constitution) at 4 p.m. IST, starting from New Delhi’s Patiala House Court’s Gate No. 6 and ending at Gate D of the Supreme Court of India.

In the letter, posted on his Twitter handle, Mehmood Pracha has called for a realization of the duties under Article 51A of the Indian Constitution, which enshires certain fundamental duties of a citizen, in semblance to the ideals of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. According to Mehmood Pracha, the Indian judiciary is currently facing an “unprecedented onslaught from the present dispensation, including Ministers holding Cabinet Ranks.” It is crucial for a healthy democracy to have a free, fair, and independent judiciary, without any indirect interference in its functioning, especially from those holding ranks of constitutional significance, as emphasized by Mehmood Pracha in his letter. Such indirect interferences in the form of personal reprimands, attacks, insinuations or “even suggestions” can sever the roots fundamental to judicial independence. Since positions of power also carry with them a representation of voters behind, it can also dissuade public opinion within a larger spread.

In a conversation with The Leaflet, Mehmood Pracha opined, “Since the present government is deliberately acting in a criminal manner, strong public presence in the form of peaceful protests on the streets is required.” The solidarity of the people against the ruling government’s entrenchment on the basic structures of our democracy is what serves as the crux for the peaceful protests.

Choosing ‘Ambedkar Jayanti’ as the date of the peaceful protest, the letter explains that it represents a “deep significance for the saving and strengthening of the Constitution of India and nation itself.” Dr. Ambedkar’s philosophies and wisdom were translated into the fundamental concepts within the Indian Constitution as it exists today. Mehmood Pracha reflects on how there can be no day more appropriate to stand up for Constitutional guarantees. uphold the democratic fabric of India, and raise voices against any action(s) that go against the ideals of the Constitution than April 14.