You are on page 1of 6



7 January 2023

We are a group of former officers of the All India and Central Services who have
worked with the Central and State Governments in the course of our careers. As members of
the Constitutional Conduct Group, we believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to
the Indian Constitution and in safeguarding its values.
It has been reported in the media that, on 25 December, 2022, while addressing a
gathering of the Hindu Jagarana Vedike’s South Region annual convention in Shivamogga,
Karnataka, Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Pragya Thakur, also known as Sadhvi
Pragya, exhorted the crowd to guard their women against men of other communities. She
urged them to keep their vegetable knives sharp so these could be used as weapons against
those who allegedly kill Hindus; these knives could also be used to cut off the heads of those
indulging in ‘love jihad’, if such an opportunity presented itself. Such action would be
construed to be in self-defence, she said, a right which every individual has. She was clearly
telling her Hindu audience that they had to be afraid of attacks from non-Hindus, and though
the word ‘Muslim’ does not seem to have been specifically used, the context and the use of
the term ‘love jihad’ leaves no doubt that it was the Muslim community that she was
targeting. It is also possible that she was sending out a warning against Christians and other
non-Hindu communities as well. Though Sadhvi Pragya Thakur appears to have cleverly
chosen her words to avoid criminal charges being made against her, the disguise is only a thin
one. She is obviously fomenting hate against non-Hindu communities, and advocating
violence against them.
By her incendiary words, Pragya Thakur has not only committed several offences
under the Indian Penal Code, she has also violated the oath taken by her as Member of
Parliament to uphold the Constitution of India, which is premised upon the rights to life and
liberty, secularism, equality and fraternity. A group of civil society organizations (the
Campaign Against Hate Speech, Bahutva Karnataka, All India Lawyers Association for
Justice and People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka) has recently circulated a petition
addressed to the Honourable Speaker of the Lok Sabha to disqualify Pragya Thakur from
being a Member of Parliament because of her recent communal utterances at Shivamogga.
We, in the Constitutional Conduct Group, also strongly believe that stern action should be
taken against her as per the rules of the Lok Sabha. By her incendiary hate speech and her
repeated acts of propagating hate, she has forfeited the ethical right to be a Member of
As a society, we seem to have become inured to hate speech against minorities. A
daily dose of venom is spewed, in the print, visual and social media against different non-
Hindu communities, primarily against Muslims, and more lately against Christians as well.
Often, these verbal attacks are accompanied by physical violence, assaults on their places of
worship, anti-conversion legislation, hurdles placed in the way of inter-faith marriages, denial
of livelihoods and a myriad other actions to lower their status in society. A compliant media
and systematic distortion of history by people in positions of authority feed this frenzy of

communal hate. Regulatory institutions are compromised through inducement or intimidation
and oversight institutions of democracy have been suborned.
In this very charged environment, it is the judiciary that has from time to time passed
orders which have helped to partly stymie the flood of hate and reclaim the republic. We
would like to quote extracts from two Supreme Court pronouncements in particular, Pravasi
Bhalai Sangathan vs Union of India, 2014 and the more recent statements of October 2022 by
Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy:
Hate speech is an effort to marginalise individuals based on their membership in a group.
Using expression that exposes the group to hatred, hate speech seeks to delegitimise group
members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within
society. Hate speech, therefore, rises beyond causing distress to individual group members. It
can have a societal impact. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on
vulnerable people that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation,
violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide. (2014)
The Constitution envisages Bharat as a secular nation, and fraternity assuring the dignity of
the individual and unity and the integrity of the country is the guiding principle enshrined in
the Preamble. . . We feel that this court is charged with the duty to protect these fundamental
rights and also protect and preserve the constitutional values and the secular, democratic
character of the nation and in particular the rule of law. (2022)
This latter order goes on to direct some of the respondents, viz. the governments of the NCT
of Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh that
whenever any speech or any action takes place which attracts offences such as those under
Sections 153A 153B , 295A and 505 of the IPC suo motu action will be taken even if no
complaint is forthcoming and proceed against offenders in accordance with law. . . . any
hesitation to act in accordance with this direction will be viewed as contempt.
(All the sections of the IPC mentioned above have to do with offences in places of worship
and against people belonging to religious and other groups.)
It is commendable that the police in Shivamogga have not been taken in by Sadhvi
Pragya’s attempt to disguise her speech as being about self-defence and have registered one
or more FIRs against her under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. We hope they will
speedily move to file a charge sheet in the court.
As a group committed to the rule of law, democracy and the checks and balances
inherent in the Constitution, we are heartened by such action and by the judiciary’s efforts to
protect the India envisaged in the Constitution. We believe that not merely the judiciary, but
every other relevant institution, should take action to protect the Constitution. A particular
responsibility devolves on the Houses of Parliament which make laws for the country. Surely
its members cannot be permitted to violate the principles of the Constitution? We therefore
urge the Honourable Speaker of the Lok Sabha to take immediate action to refer the matter to
the Committee of Ethics of the Lok Sabha for such action as may be deemed appropriate.
The very fact that an FIR has been registered by the police against the Member of Parliament
for inciting hatred should be ground enough to take action.
Constitutional Conduct Group (103 signatories at pages 3-6 below)

1. Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice
Empowerment, GoI
2. Salahuddin IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
3. S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping &
Transport, GoI
4. Anand Arni RAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
5. M.D. Asthana IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser, Planning Commission, GoI
6. Mohinderpal IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police (Jails), Govt. of
Aulakh Punjab
7. G. IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West
Balachandhran Bengal
8. Vappala IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
9. Gopalan IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
10. Chandrashekar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
11. Rana Banerji RAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
12. T.K. Banerji IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
13. Sharad Behar IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
14. Aurobindo IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Odisha
15. Madhu Bhaduri IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Portugal
16. Pradip IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Development &
Bhattacharya Planning and Administrative Training Institute, Govt.
of West Bengal
17. Meeran C IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and
Borwankar Development, GoI
18. Ravi Budhiraja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
19. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
20. R. IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary, Transport and Urban
Chandramohan Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi
21. Kalyani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West
Chaudhuri Bengal
22. Gurjit Singh IAS (Retd.) Former Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Govt. of
Cheema Punjab
23. F.T.R. Colaso IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of
Karnataka & former Director General of Police, Govt.
of Jammu & Kashmir
24. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of
25. Vibha Puri Das IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
26. P.R. Dasgupta IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
27. Pradeep K. Deb IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
28. Nitin Desai Former Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance,
29. M.G. IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
30. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
31. A.S. Dulat IPS (Retd.) Former OSD on Kashmir, Prime Minister’s Office,
32. K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Italy

33. Prabhu Ghate IAS (Retd.) Former Addl. Director General, Department of
Tourism, GoI
34. Gourisankar IAS (Retd.) Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water
Ghosh Mission, GoI
35. Suresh K. Goel IFS (Retd.) Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural
Relations, GoI
36. S. Gopal IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, GoI
37. S.K. Guha IAS (Retd.) Former Joint Secretary, Department of Women &
Child Development, GoI
38. H.S. Gujral IFoS (Retd.) Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt.
of Punjab
39. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests,
40. Ravi Vira IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
41. Wajahat IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI and former Chief Information
Habibullah Commissioner
42. Deepa Hari IRS
43. Siraj Hussain IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Agriculture, GoI
44. Najeeb Jung IAS (Retd.) Former Lieutenant Governor, Delhi
45. Vinod C. IFS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, MEA, GoI
46. Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information
Technology, GoI
47. Ish Kumar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP (Vigilance & Enforcement), Govt. of
Telangana and former Special Rapporteur, National
Human Rights Commission
48. Sudhir Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
49. Subodh Lal IPoS Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of
(Resigned) Communications, GoI
50. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
51. Amitabh IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
52. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of
53. Shivshankar IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary and Former National
Menon Security Adviser
54. Sonalini IFS GoI
Mirchandani (Resigned)
55. Malay Mishra IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Hungary
56. Sunil Mitra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
57. Noor IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Disaster Management
Mohammad Authority, Govt. of India
58. Avinash IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim
59. Satya Narayan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights
Mohanty Commission
60. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former
Ambassador to Nepal
61. Shiv Shankar IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

62. Gautam IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Myanmar
63. Nagalsamy IA&AS Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu &
(Retd.) Kerala
64. T.K.A. Nair IAS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Prime Minister of India
65. Sobha IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of
Nambisan Karnataka
66. P. Joy Oommen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
67. Amitabha IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
68. Maxwell IPS (Retd.) Former Joint Commissioner of Police, Delhi
69. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
70. Gurnihal Singh IAS Former MD, Punjab State Electronic Development &
Pirzada (Resigned) Production Corporation, Govt. of Punjab
71. R. IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, GoI
72. Rajesh Prasad IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
73. R.M. IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
74. Rajdeep Puri IRS Former Joint Commissioner of Income Tax, GoI
75. T.R. IAS (Retd.) Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj,
Raghunandan GoI
76. N.K. IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
77. V.P. Raja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory
78. K. Sujatha Rao IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
79. M.Y. Rao IAS (Retd.)
80. Satwant Reddy IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, GoI
81. Vijaya Latha IFS (Retd.) Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
82. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former
Ambassador to Romania
83. Aruna Roy IAS
84. A.K. Samanta IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police (Intelligence),
Govt. of West Bengal
85. Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister,
Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
86. G. Sankaran IC&CES Former President, Customs, Excise and Gold
(Retd.) (Control) Appellate Tribunal
87. S. Satyabhama IAS (Retd.) Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI
88. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
89. Abhijit IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
90. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan
91. Ashok Kumar IFoS (Retd.) Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation,
Sharma Govt. of Gujarat
92. Ashok Kumar IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia

93. Navrekha IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Indonesia
94. Pravesh Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya
95. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar
96. Rashmi Shukla IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya
Sharma Pradesh
97. Tara Ajai Singh IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of
98. A.K. Srivastava IAS (Retd.) Former Administrative Member, Madhya Pradesh
Administrative Tribunal
99. Parveen Talha IRS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
100. Anup Thakur IAS (Retd.) Former Member, National Consumer Disputes
Redressal Commission
101. P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights
102. Hindal Tyabji IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu &
103. Ramani IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of
Venkatesan Maharashtra

You might also like