Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Thursday said that while students have always been at the forefront to question injustice, the past few decades have not witnessed any big leader from the student community. He said when the youth become socially and politically conscious, the basic issues of education, food, clothing, healthcare, shelter, etc. would come into focus in the national discourse.
The CJI, who was speaking at the Eighth Convocation held at National Law University, Delhi, said it is essential that well-meaning, forward-looking, and upright students enter public life as responsive youth is vital for strengthening democracy. Justice Ramana observed that it was necessary for students to take part in current debates and have a clear vision so that they emerge as leaders to steer the nation into a glorious future as envisioned by our Constitution.
“Students are an integral part of society. They cannot live in isolation. Students are guardians of freedom, justice, equality, ethics, and social equilibrium. All this can be achieved only when their energies are properly streamlined. When the youth become socially and politically conscious, the basic issues of education, food, clothing, healthcare, shelter, etc. would come into focus in the national discourse. The educated youth cannot remain aloof from social reality,” he said.
The CJI said that the right combination of idealism and ambition in the youth would enable the country to emerge as one of the most powerful nations.
“Students are known for their readiness to fight for all the right causes because their thoughts are pure and honest. They are always at the forefront, questioning injustice. Any keen observer of Indian society would notice that in the past few decades no big leader has emerged from the student community. This appears to be correlated with diminished participation of students in social causes after liberalization. The importance of students' participation in a modern democracy cannot be played down,” he observed.
“It is essential that more and more well-meaning, forward-looking, and upright students like you enter public life. You must emerge as the leader. After all, political consciousness and well-informed debates can steer the nation into a glorious future as envisioned by our Constitution. A responsive youth is vital for strengthening democracy,” he said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel along with high court judges Justices Siddharth Mridul and Rajnish Bhatnagar were also present at the convocation ceremony.
Interestingly, the Kerala High Court had in February 2020 imposed a ban on student politics on campus, banning all forms of agitations — including strikes, rallies and gheraos by student groups in school and college campuses in the state that would disrupt or affect classes in any way. Noting that educational institutions are meant for academic-related activities and not for protests, Justice PB Suresh Kumar had said no one has the right to violate the fundamental rights of other students.