No right is permanent as it changes with the concept of socio-economic conditions, former president Pranab Mukherjee said Saturday. He said that the architect of the Constitution, B R Ambedkar, had advised during the discussion on the statute that it will be the people of India who will decide the nature of the Constitution because it will depend on the representatives they elect to the legislatures.
“They (people) will be the final player. The nature of the Constitution will depend as and when the situation arises,” Mukherjee said, referring to the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution.
He was addressing a gathering of Delhi University (DU) professors and students after releasing the book ‘Discourse on Rights in India: Debate and Dilemmas’.
Mukherjee cited the example of environment issues like climate change and how they are impacting the life of people. “To my mind, no right is permanent but changes with the concept of socio-economic conditions.
“Sixty-nine years ago when the Constitution was finalised by the constituent assembly, was environment a major issue then? It is no longer a subject to be decided by the policy makers and rulers because it is affecting the life of the people. If it affects the monsoon, raises sea levels, it affects the life of the people,” he said.
The book had been edited by Miranda House Principal Bijayalaxmi Nanda and professor Nupur Ray.
The event was also attended by Veena Kukreja, Head of the Department of Political Science, DU, Manoranjan Mohanty, distinguished faculty of Council for Social Development, and Shashank Sinha, Publishing Director of Routledge which has come out with the book.
Mohanty said the book talks of “diversity of rights and dilemmas of our times”.
Kukreja said the book is a compelling examination of the theoretical discourse on rights and its relationship with ideas, institutions and practices in the Indian context.
“By engaging with the crucial categories of class, caste, gender, region and religion, it draws attention to the contradictions and contestations in the arena of rights and entitlements,” she said.