Right to dissent is an inherent part of democracy: Justice Deepak Gupta

Team SoOLEGAL 27 Feb 2020 5:07pm

Right to dissent is an inherent part of democracy: Justice Deepak Gupta

Justice Deepak Gupta on Monday  delivered a speech on "Democracy and Dissent” at an event organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association wherein he scrutinized the importance of dissent in democracy and criticized the tendency of categorizing people with a dissenting opinion as "anti-nationals" .

Although majority rule is an important part of democracy, the Justice Gupta stated that majoritarianism is an antithesis of democracy.

"In a country like India, where democracy is based on the 'first past the post system', more often than not, those in power will not represent the majority of the voting electorate, let alone the majority of people. Let us assume they got 51% votes of population, does that mean that the other 49% people should keep silent for next five years and say nothing? Does it mean that those 49% has no voice for the five years...that they must accept whatever is done and not protest against it? So, in a democracy, a government once elected, is the government for the 100%, and not the government for the 51% or whatever percentage voted for them. Every citizen, whether he voted for you or not voted for you, has a right to participate in the democratic process", Justice Deepak Gupta quoted. 

There has to be support for dissent. The only way we can look for new ways to run the country better is through debate, discussion and dialogue, he said. New thoughts won't come without questioning and challenging old norms. If no one questions are raised against the established norms, the progress of the society is compromised. 

"Therefore, right to dissent and right to question is not only an inherent part of democracy, it is also the inherent party of right to life itself” Justice Deepak Gupta said.

"If a country has to grow holistically, not only in terms of economic development and military might or anything, civil rights of the citizens must be protected" he added. 

Justice Gupta also spoke against the rising trend of bar associations passing resolutions vowing not to serve those convicted of cases like sedition.

"I see many Bar Association resolutions that they will not appear for such and such cases saying the act is anti national .It is wrong. When bar associations say something like that (won't appear for certain people), that is obstruction of justice" Justice quoted.

Justice Gupta recalled that the legal fraternity was always at the forefront in protecting civil liberties, and urged the present generation to uphold the bars’ constitutional traditions.

Tagged: Justice Deepak Gupta   Supreme Court   Bar Association   Democracy and Dissent  
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