Justice BR Gavai: I am a Supreme Court Judge only because of Dr. BR Ambedkar

Supreme Court Judge, Justice BR Gavai, poised to become the 52nd Chief Justice of India, paid tribute to the pivotal role played by Dr. BR Ambedkar in empowering marginalized communities. Speaking alongside Justice AS Oka at the Ambedkar Memorial Lecture, Justice Gavai shared his personal journey, highlighting how Dr. Ambedkar’s vision enabled individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to rise to prominent positions in society.

“Dr. Ambedkar’s contributions to the country meant that even a person studying in schools in slum areas could rise to become a judge of the Supreme Court,” Justice Gavai remarked, emphasizing the transformative impact of Dr. Ambedkar’s advocacy for social justice.

In his address, Justice Gavai reflected on the profound influence of Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, describing it as a powerful tool for transformative justice. “Article 32 has been used as a tool for transformative justice,” he remarked, echoing Dr. Ambedkar’s view that the Constitution embodies not just legal principles, but a way of life.

Justice AS Oka echoed Justice Gavai’s sentiments, calling for a critical examination of the judiciary’s role in upholding fundamental rights. He raised concerns about the increasing backlog of cases in the Supreme Court, urging for a balanced approach to addressing the mounting caseload while ensuring equitable access to justice.

“Some may argue that the Supreme Court should entertain all Article 32 pleas without sending them to the High Courts. But we are not living in an ideal world,” Justice Oka remarked, acknowledging the practical challenges faced by the judiciary.

Highlighting the indiscriminate use of Article 32 by affluent individuals and businesses, Justice Oka proposed initiating a discourse on establishing criteria for invoking Article 32. He emphasized the need to strike a balance between addressing the grievances of common citizens and preventing the misuse of judicial resources.

The event, organized by The Leaflet in collaboration with the Society for Constitution and Social Democracy, provided a platform for engaging discussions on vital constitutional issues. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising underscored the importance of interpreting Article 15 definitively, reaffirming the Constitution as a protective framework for all citizens.

In conclusion, the legacy of Dr. BR Ambedkar continues to inspire a commitment to justice and equality in India’s legal system. As the judiciary grapples with complex challenges, fostering open dialogue and critical reflection remains crucial in advancing the principles of democracy and human rights.