Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s statue to be unveiled on the Supreme Court premises on Constitution Day

As per sources, the President of India Droupadi Murmu is going to be the chief guest at the unveiling ceremony.

IN a historic development, the Supreme Court of India is all set to unveil a statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar on its premises on Constitution Day, that is, November 26.

This would be followed by an event to celebrate Constitution Day at the Supreme Court’s auditorium where the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, is likely to be the chief guest.

The decision to install a statue of Dr Ambedkar has come after a persistent demand by a group of Ambedkarite lawyers.

Earlier this year, on the eve of the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar on April 14, advocate-on-record Pratik Bombarde had handed over a memorandum to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud raising the demand for a statue of Dr Ambedkar.

This was not the first time that the lawyers had demanded that a statue of Ambedkar grace the Supreme Court premises.

History tells us that in the [19]70s under the leadership of [politician and social worker] Dadasaheb Gaikwad, we Ambedkarites had to struggle for the installation of his statue inside the Parliament. And we are now struggling for many years for the installation of a statue of Babasaheb inside the Supreme Court,” the memorandum stated.

While paying floral homage to Dr Ambedkar on his birth anniversary, the CJI had said that the greatest tribute one could pay to Dr Ambedkar was carrying his mission forward in the work one is doing.

Our commitment is to the constitutional values which he espoused with all his heart and mind. It is now for the future generations to take up the baton and pursue all the ideals which Dr Ambedkar fought for.

We have a true icon for our reference. All his words, whether it was in the Constituent Assembly or even in his own writing, are as significant today as they were in those times. It speaks about the great vision of Dr Ambedkar that he not only envisioned society for then when he was speaking but also for the future as well,” the CJI had said.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, who was present at the function to pay homage to Dr Ambedkar on his birth anniversary, had also demanded that a statue of Dr Ambedkar be installed on the Supreme Court premises.

At that time, the CJI had said that he would look into the matter. At present, the Supreme Court has a statute of M.K. Gandhi facing the Chief Justice of India’s court.

Noting that the Supreme Court’s premises have already installed the statues of Bal Gangadhar Tilak and M.K. Gandhi, the memorandum avers that Ambedkar is “not only revered as the emancipator of crores of downtrodden or marginalised people of India but also as the Father of the Indian Constitution and the first law minister of India”.

The installation of Ambedkar’s statute recognises one of the three prominent demands of the Ambedkarite lawyers.

As highlighted in the memorandum, the lawyers have been demanding the constitution of a caste sensitisation committee in the Supreme Court.

The setting up of the committee is demanded to ensure the protection of lawyers and registry employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities, who face caste-based discrimination.

The Ambedkarite lawyers have also been demanding the permanent inclusion of Ambedkar Jayanti, celebrated on April 14, as a “court holiday” in the Supreme Court’s calendar. 

The lawyers have raised the concern in their letter that every year, the holiday is declared a few days before April 14, causing inconvenience to the Bar members.

The eight signatories of the memorandum include advocates Pratik Bombarde, Jitendra Kumar and Abhishek Kumar.

On December 6 last year, the Ambedkarite Lawyers had written another letter to the CJI demanding the installation of Dr Ambedkar’s statute on the Supreme Court’s lawns. 

Dr Ambedkar was an Indian jurist, social reformer and political leader, who headed the drafting committee for the Constitution. He also served as the first Union Law and Justice Minister, and inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement after renouncing Hinduism. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour of India, posthumously in 1990.

We want to congratulate and express our gratitude to the CJI for taking this historical initiative,” Bombarde told The Leaflet.

It is the culmination of a decades-old struggle,” he added.

Dr Ambedkar’s statue on the court premises will serve as an inspiration to all lawyers, staff and litigants from the downtrodden and marginalised communities,” Bombarde averred.

It will be a symbol of the constitutional values and philosophy of this country,” he concluded.

The Leaflet