Published: 19th August 2022
Tamil Nadu: High Court seeks installation of Dr Ambedkar's portrait in all government law colleges
The judge observed, "Dr Ambedkar is the architect of the Indian Constitution. He is the very symbol of social liberation. His scholarship is unparalleled"
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court recently requested the Director of Legal Studies, Chennai to issue a circular for the installation of the portrait of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in all the Government Law Colleges in Tamil Nadu.
Even after 75 years of independence, freedom fighters are still reduced to caste symbols, the Court observed.
Justice GR Swaminathan gave the direction while hearing a petition filed by a fourth-year law student from the Government Law College in Theni. The student, who belonged to Scheduled Caste, had been demanding the installation of Ambedkar's picture in the office of the college principal. He also wanted the course to be taught in Tamil. But he was suspended on July 27, 2022, for allegedly uttering rude and defiant words to the principal and for barging into classrooms to mobilise students when the classes were in session. Challenging the suspension, the student has approached the court.
Justice Swaminathan recalled a recent case he heard, which pertained to a registered society functioning in the name of freedom fighter VO Chidambaranar. Coming to know that only persons belonging to a particular caste can become members of the said society, the judge expressed disappointment on how even after 75 years of independence, freedom fighters like VOC are still reduced to caste symbols.
Getting into the student's case, the judge initially suggested the student give a handwritten apology letter to the Principal. He also directed the government counsel to ensure that the portrait of Dr Ambedkar is put up in the Principal's office. After it was informed to the court that the portrait was installed, the student also expressed his sincere apologies, the judge noted and directed the college Principal to drop further action against him.
In addition, the judge observed, "Dr Ambedkar is the architect of the Indian Constitution. He is the very symbol of social liberation. His scholarship is unparalleled. He can be the greatest inspiration for every law student."
He requested the Director of Legal Studies to issue a circular mandating the installation of Ambedkar's portrait in all Government Law Colleges in the State.
Feeling that he dealt with the student with an element of harshness during the court proceedings, he further directed the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Advocates Welfare Board Trust to pay Rs 10,000 (which had been remitted as a cost in another case that came before the judge) to the student to buy some standard law texts.
Noticing that Ambedkar's portrait is missing in his court chamber as well, the judge resolved to rectify the same at the earliest and disposed of the petition.