Court must Adhere to the Constitution of Ambedkar and Gandhi
Encourage Rule of Law and Not the Rule of Corporates

Baba Amte
Lok Biradari, Kasrawad, Dist. Badwani, MP.

The majority verdict of the Supreme Court about the Sardar Sarovar dam is beyond the rule of law and only reinforces the government's oppressive way against the people. The judges should have seen the facts for themselves; and not as Government agencies. The judgement has entrusted the monitoring work of rehabilitation to the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) while giving the go ahead to the project. This so-called watchdog are but the government bodies and have no teeth to protect the interests of Adivasis and peasants. The Judges could have gone in depth about the merits of the project, whether it really solves the problem of Kutch and Saurashtra. Instead it went on singing hyperbole for the project without any scrutiny. It has been observed that the judiciary, at times, wearing the cloak of priesthood, suffocates the human rights of the poor. Corruption and Capital are given legitimacy instead of adhering to the rule of law. But, we have different expectations from Indian judiciary. The Constitution of India, created basically for the protection of the rights of the poor and depressed, inspired by the values that Mahatma Gandhi cherished and drafted with the egalitarian passion by Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, lies sacrificed at the altar of the corporate interests and their crafty plans. Our Constitution makers envisaged the equality, democracy and the protection of the fundamental rights of the depressed classes, as the utmost values, which the Judges should have heeded.

The dissenting judgement by Jst. Bharucha is a face-saver for Indian judiciary and it does vindicate the issues raised in the court. He has asked the stopping the dam and having a new environmental clearance for the dam. It is unfortunate that his judgement is considered as minority judgement. The majority-minority issue should not have been allowed to be used against the rights of the have-nots in India.

The Judgement against the people in the Narmada valley heralds a new battle ahead for the poor and dispossessed of this country. It requires tremendous effort and resilience on the part of the people and activists in the Narmada valley to rise and fight again after such a blow from the system. When one sees the death procession of the human rights of the marginalised people, it is imperative that the President of India must intervene as his Constitutional duty. I call unto the youths with sharp teeth of this country to take bites of this injustice and restore the sanctity of the Constitution. It is a time that we strengthen another Freedom struggle for a sane, just, non-violent and sustainable society.

From my sickbed, remembering the pristine flow of Narmada and the warmth of life around it, I still hope that the judiciary recognises its commitment to the values in the Constitution as given by Ambedkar and Gandhi. Do not sacrifice the life of the last person of India for the sake of the corporate powers. The protectors should not become connivers of the crime against the depressed classes.

Baba Amte,
Anandvan, October 26, 2000