Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Photo Credit: File Image)
Amid nationwide protests-against the amended citizenship law, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that the institutions of India’s liberal democracy need to be strengthened and must assert themselves in defence of the Constitution. Singh further added that the young people have recently reminded the country that freedom is best secured in the custody of enlightened citizens and when it is protected for all.
During his address at the launch of former Union minister Ashwini Kumar’s book ‘Human Dignity—A purpose in perpetuity’, Manmohan Singh said institutions of “our liberal and libertarian democracy” have been put to test on several occasions when fundamental freedoms were threatened.
These institutions, nurtured over the years, need to be strengthened and must assert themselves in defence of the Constitution, he said. Indeed, the idea of freedom can acquire shape and form in the lives of our people only if they can live as equal citizens under the law, the former prime minister said.
His remarks came amid raging protests against the amended citizenship law and the Kerala government approaching the Supreme Court against the CAA. Kumar, in his remarks, said somewhere along the line, the institutional response to challenging situations has been found wanting.
“In the pages of this book, I have endeavoured to articulate the aberrations that have slowed our march towards the realization of human dignity in the hope that a purposive reflection thereon will assist to remedy the situation in these times of change and challenge,” he said. “After all, the cause of human dignity must be our purpose in perpetuity,” Kumar said.
Amid a debate over the implementation of the amended Citizenship Act, the Congress on Sunday said states have the right to challenge the Centre and cannot be "forced" to implement the "unconstitutional law" till the petition over it in the Supreme Court is decided. Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement that the CAA is an attack on India's Constitution and the people's movement against the act shall continue "courageously and fearlessly".
The Congress' assertion comes a day after senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said there is no way a state can deny the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) when it is already passed by Parliament. He, however, later asserted that every state assembly has the constitutional right to pass a resolution and seek the amended Citizenship Act's withdrawal, but if the law is declared constitutional by the Supreme Court then it will be problematic to oppose it.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel in Ahmedabad said the states ruled by his party would consider bringing in a resolution in the legislative assemblies against the enforcement of the CAA.