V. Chitambaresh had said Brahmins should ‘always be at the helm of affairs’
A retired Kerala High Court judge, who had kicked up a row by extolling the virtues of Brahmins and stating that only members of the community should be at the helm of affairs, has joined the BJP.
V. Chitambaresh joined the party on Sunday during the “Vijaya Yatra” of Kerala state BJP president K. Surendran at a public event in Thripunithura in Ernakulam district.
Chitambaresh’s former colleague from the same high court, P.N. Ravindran, followed suit.
As a serving judge, Chitambaresh had courted a massive controversy while addressing the Tamil Brahmins’ Global Meet in Kochi in July 2019 where he had said Brahmins should “always be at the helm of affairs”.
“It may be noted that a Brahmin is never communal, he is always considerate, he is an ahimsavadi (proponent of non-violence). He loves people. He is the one who liberally donates for any laudable cause, Such a person should always be at the helm of affairs for which this Tamil Brahmin’s meet will definitely be a pointer,” the then judge had said.
A native of Palakkad in Kerala, Chitambaresh had presented a virtuous picture of the community while describing why they stood out against non-brahmins.
“Who is a Brahmin?
A Brahmin is dwijhanmana (twice born), because of poorvajanmasuhridam (the result of noble deeds in the previous birth). He has certain distinct characteristics — clean habits, lofty thinking, sterling character, mostly a vegetarian, a lover of Carnatic music — all good qualities rolled into one is a Brahmin,” he had said.
He had pushed for reservations based on economic criteria. “It is time for you (Brahmins) to deliberate as to whether reservations should be on the basis of community or caste alone,” he had said.
While Chitambaresh retired in 2019, Ravindran retired in 2018. They were among five retired Kerala High Court judges who had in January endorsed the Uttar Pradesh government’s law against “love jihad” in a letter signed by 224 retired bureaucrats, former high court judges and lawyers addressed to UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
The state BJP president has already promised to bring a UP-like law against “love jihad” if the party is voted to power.
The letter was a counter to another one signed by 104 retired bureaucrats who sought withdrawal of the law.
Chitambaresh could not be reached for comments owing to non-availability of his contact number and email.
Party spokesperson Shivasankar told this newspaper that Chitambaresh, who joined the BJP, could not be present at the event as he was caught up in Delhi.
“He joined the party in principle as he could not come here,” the spokesperson said, adding that more than 15 others, including former director-general of police Venugopalan Nair, retired admiral B.R. Menon and former general manager of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd Somachoodan, also joined the party on the occasion.
Shivasankar pleaded ignorance about Chitambaresh having made the casteist remarks in 2019. “I am not aware of any such thing. I haven’t heard about it,” he added.
Najeeb Kanthapuram, state vice-president of Muslim Youth League — an arm of Indian Union Muslim League — linked the development to the historic press conference addressed by five Supreme Court judges in January 2018.
“The nation was shocked when Justice J. Chelameswar said democracy would not survive unless corrective actions are taken in the highest court of our country. But what is on display now accentuates that claim and fear our judges had expressed,” Kanthapuram said.
“Retired judges, bureaucrats and police officers joining the BJP means only one thing. That they have been concealing their RSS colours all through their serving years. What justice can we expect from them?” asked the influential leader.
But prominent Dalit leader M. Geethanandan saw the issue from a larger perspective and expressed concern at retired judges entering politics. “Whether serving or retired, judges must maintain the judicial culture of justice throughout their life. Judicial officers are the guardians of our democracy and hence should not be part of a political system where caste, creed, religion and other considerations rule.”
This story first appeared in telgraphindia.com on MAR 02, 2021 here.