'India Losing Prominence in Freedom of Speech'
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: India is losing its democratic prominence in terms of freedom of speech and expression, Prof Vesselin Popovski, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of United Nations and former Bulgarian diplomat, has said. He was speaking exclusively to ‘Express’ on the sidelines of the three-day international seminar on ‘Human rights and policing’ held at Government Law College here from Monday to Wednesday.
Citing the series of recent events at JNU in New Delhi, Popovski said that the entire fiasco was nothing but a fallout of the infringement of human rights and freedom of expression of a college student.
He also observed that there was a high level of freedom of expression and human rights protection in Europe and other countries. Freedom of expression is largely correlated with national security and liberty. A fine balance between liberty and security is the need of the hour, said Popovski. He also made it clear that the speeches and offensive statements inciting violence and hatred against national interest should be controlled.
‘Powerful’ judiciary in India
Popovski hailed India’s powerful judicial system and its pivotal role in determining the democratic development of the country. “In India, there is a crucial role for the judiciary to play. Compared to other countries, judges are powerful enough to carry out their duties without any external interference. But, at the same time, the judicial system can even reach the level of ‘judicial dictatorship’ with less of a danger,” he observed.
Corruption - a major problem
Meanwhile, Popovski expressed apprehensions over the large-scale corruption prevailing in India. Both judiciary and executive have a key role in curbing corruption, which is also a violation of human rights. Therefore, every citizen in the country should fight against corruption in order to protect human rights, he said.
On an end note, Popovski appreciated the efforts of the police in maintaining law and order during the Jat community issue in Haryana recently. Though effective policing and human rights are proportional, policing in India should be improved in terms of technology and equipment. Popovski is currently based in Haryana after taking over as the vice-dean of Jindal Global Law School there. He was earlier a Senior Academic Programme Officer in the Peace and Security section of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS). He has also held several positions as a Bulgarian diplomat. Popovski secured his PhD from Kings College, London. He undertakes research and postgraduate teaching and supervision in the fields of international relations, peace and security, international law, human rights, international criminal justice and governance.