New Delhi [India], Feb 24 : Supreme Court Judge Deepak Gupta on Monday said that criticism of any institution, be it legislative, executive, judiciary or the armed forces, by anyone cannot be termed as anti-national.
Justice Gupta, who was speaking at an event on the topic of 'Democracy and Dissent', said: "Today in the country, dissent is seen as anti-national. Government and country are two different things. I see bar associations passing resolutions saying they will not appear in etc matter as it is anti-national. This is not done! You cannot deny legal aid."
"Criticism of any institution by anyone, whether it is legislative, executive, judiciary, or the armed forces, can't be termed as anti-national," he added.
The SC judge further said that the right to dissent is always there and added that new thought infuses into a society when someone challenges the old ones.
"Dissent is a human right. Dissent is the very basis of society. Each society has its own rules. If nobody challenges the norms of society, that society cannot develop. That society would be a stagnant one," he said.
Justice Gupta further said that the government has no role in suppressing the dissenters as long as they follow the rules.
"Dissent must be encouraged. We can through dialogue resolve issues... The right to dissent is one of the important rights, so long as one follows the rules and regulations. One cannot take the law into one's hands," he said.
"Dissenting for the sake of dissenting is also not correct. You have to dissent when important issues come up. It is a powerful tool with the judges, but this has to be used by them with caution and restraint," he added.
( With inputs from ANI )