The Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) organized 3rd in series online Extension Lecture on October 1, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. as a part of continuing legal education. The title of the Lecture was “Sustainable Development Goals and the Implementation of Socio-Economic Rights in India” which was delivered by Dr. Uday Shankar, Associate Professor, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Rights Law, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Theevent was Chaired by Prof. (Dr.) Eqbal Hussain, Dean, Faculty of Law, JMI and moderated by Miss Shafaq Zooni, a fourth year student of B.A.LL.B (H).
The Lecture was attended by around 200 participants, comprised mostly of students, faculty membersand research scholars on both Google Meet platform and Facebook live on the Facebook page of Faculty of Law,JMI.At the very outset, the moderator welcomed and introduced the Guest Speaker to all the participants with his brief introduction. The formal deliberation commenced with the opening remarks of Prof. (Dr.) Eqbal Hussain, in which he briefly dwelt upon the outline and contours of the subject chosen for the discussion. He pointed out the need of development in terms of inventions and innovations just to cater to the needs of the hour and it’s inevitable; and everyone is rat racing for the same.
He said as development is necessary, one should also think about its consequences to make sure that the human rights of people should not be compromised with and a balance should be maintained between development and collective rights of people in tandem with the concept of sustainable development which is national and international concern of the jurists. He further said that the lecture would be divided into two important aspects i.e. the firstpart being the United Nations Declaration on Right to Development and its balancing with human rights and secondly the constitutional mandate of socio-economic rights of peopleprovided under Directive principles of state policy which are not justiciable rights; and its relation with Sustainable Development Goals policy brought forth by the international community.
The speaker of the day, Dr. Uday Shankar said in his opening line that the designing of any developmental agenda should not be done and implemented without due consideration of rights.He focused on the concept of sustainability and human rights and how to maintain the balance between these two without lagging behind in the race of development with other countries. Hetook reference of human rights concern post World War-II, as most of the international instruments like UDHR, and Covenants of Civil and Political Rights & Economic, Social and Cultural Rights came into being during that time.
According to him, development resources play a very important role for the realization of the right to development. He said that development has both positives and negatives in its dispensation. The positive is when development is taken as a tool for better living and prosperity; and negative when the development overlooks thecollective interest of the people at large. In case of development the economic interests aloneshould not be the driving force rather realization of human rights should also be taken care off. He mentioned that similarities between development and human rights should be seen from twoperspectives, first human rights perspective and second developmental perspective.
In the former, development should be understood as realization of human rights itself, and in laterhuman rights shall provide the parameters to be achieved through development. In nutshell one can say that human beings are at the core of the developmental agenda in tune with the 1986 UNDeclaration and 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. He explained the close reading of these international instruments emphasizes that human dignity and security is theconnecting threat between development and human rights.He also then highlighted the emergence and adoption of Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals in 2000 and 2015 respectively.
He pointed out the lacunae inMDGs and said that the approach was like charity based approach and not duty or accountability based approach. Since the stakeholders were not held accountable for the utilization of resources which belong to every individual equally irrespective of any status and it was difficult to identify between scarcity of resources and accumulation of resources in few hands. This paved the way for coming out with more holistic approach as Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 for inclusive growth and development; and setting accountability for the stakeholders proportionately in tandem with sustainable growth in practical sense keeping in view the availability of resources and its optimum and conservation utilization.
He also drew the relation between Sustainable Development Goals and Indian Constitution with reference to the realization of socio-economic rights of individuals by praising the framers of theConstitution of India who realized the need and importance of sustainable economic growth. The international community came up with a holistic approach only in 1986 but Indian Constitutionprovided these way back in 1950s. The apex court in India realized through its decisions in Olga Tellis case [Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corporation (1986 AIR 180)] that right to lifeincludes right to live with dignity which includes the fulfillment of necessities and livelihood in a respectable manner. He also narrated that good health and wellbeing as one of the SDGs foundmention in various Supreme Court judgments’ with special reference to right to health as fundamental right under article 21 of the Constitution of India.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Uday Shankar commented that the Sustainable Development Goals were not aspirational Goals rather of practical importance and both development and human rights should reach its destiny in harmony without giving any one aspect more weightage to any aspect. He mentioned that existence of poverty is one of the indicators of violation of human rights and there is need of justiciable rights approach. He asserted that realization of socio-economic rights is not a matter of charity rather it’s a mandate of justice in legal sense.It was followed by a brief & subtle summary of the whole lecture by Prof. (Dr.) Eqbal Hussain.
After that question-answer session was held in which the audience put forth various questions onthe subject and the same were responded comprehensively by the guest speaker to their satisfaction.Finally the formal vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Subhradipta Sarkar, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, JMI.