Establishing his identity as a torch-bearer of justice and equality, Ashwini Upadhyay is known as “PIL Man” as so far he has filed more than 100 PILs in the Supreme Court and different High Courts of India.
Upadhyay is an advocate in the Supreme Court (Delhi) and BJP’s Spokesperson. His endeavours have been recruited for public interest, gender justice, gender equality, social economic and political injustice for socially disadvantaged and economically weaker sections of society. Upadhyay believes in freedom of expression and has been fighting to bring reforms in Education, Gender Justice, Dignity and Rights of Women and National Integration.
NewsGram’s Kashish Rai got an opportunity to have a conversation with Mr. Upadhyay in which he has shared all about his journey of landing into politics and judiciary. He also talks about prevalent scenarios in India and shares his vision and ideas for the long run. Ashwini Upadhyay in his chat with NewsGram has shared some interesting and surprising escapades in this exclusive interview which you all would definitely love to know!
Here are some exerpts from the interview:
Kashish: So, You are known as ‘PIL Man’, filed more than 100 PILs for the welfare of different sections of society~ what inspired you to do the same?
Ashwini Upadhyay: Thank you so much! See, basically I am an engineer. I am an “accidental politician” and an “accidental lawyer”. I was working in a corporate firm so firstly, I thought that the services I was extending to my firm for approximately 12-14 hrs was only being added to the profit of the film; that’s why I left the job. Though my job and my package was very rewarding, I still left it and started practicing law. Secondly, I thought that the system was not at all working for the welfare of the general public and was only confined to their “vote bank politics”.
Our Constitution says that we should end casteism, communalism, linguism, sexism but the system consecutively failed in its endeavours to work on it. There have been more than 70 years since India got independence but I still see no equal opportunities for people. When I examined all of it, I read the report of the debate of Constituent Assembly of India and I found that that the dream of the makers of the Indian Constitution hasn’t been realised as they only wished for a united and integrated India. Whatever steps the system took was not in unison with the unity and integrity of India and the spirit of the Indian Constitution. That is why I started filing the PILs so that I could bring alive the actual spirit of the Indian Constitution.
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Kashish~ Alright! So, now sir I have a query. Currently you belong to a political party which is in power at the centre, then why is there a need for you to file a PIL? You also write so well, you can also bring reforms. Why don’t you talk to honourable PM Modi Ji regarding these issues?
Ashwini Upadhyay: Look, I started filing the PILs even before I joined BJP. I had told you earlier that I am an “accidental politician”. Definitely, I am an official of the party but I am also an upright and responsible citizen of India because of which I think it is my responsibility to work for the nation. For example I’ll tell you, I was the first petitioner for the issue of “triple talaq”. I also have 10 of my PILs pending for gender justice and for the issues like polygamy, early marriages. I believed that there is a need to establish a uniform ground. For the issue of gender injustice I think I have filed more than a dozen petitions.
So, all of these issues have been and would be taken up by our government by time, like when I filed the petition of triple talaq the government rendered its full support. You’ll also see that alongside our Indian courts, parallelly Sharia courts are running~ I want to say that when we have one constitution and judicial framework then why is there a need to establish another order? I think this is a drawback for a secular base. A secular base means “One Legislation, One Constitution”. Keeping that in mind I am trying to work on these issues to preserve the entity of our Constitution.
Kashish: Now, Obviously sir when you are so committed to fight for the protection of Human Rights and Dignity~ you may have encountered people who may believe that you are doing all of it with the motive to be in the limelight and become famous. What is your take on this?
Ashwini Upadhyay: See my intention is very clear~ there are many petitions I get where you can file it against an individual, but I made this my prime rule that I will not file a single PIL against any individual. I always take up social issues in consideration. Most of my PILs are against the policies of the government thus I get a better idea about what I am doing. Moreover yes, I have encountered people who have tried their level best to spoil my name.
I always file PILs keeping in consideration the “Golden Goals” mentioned in the Preamble of the Constitution, thus I am rest assured that whatever I am doing, I am doing it as my duty to my motherland hence all of the negativity doesn’t bother me. The truth is above all.
Kashish: I would like to know about your political journey. Before joining BJP you were associated with Aam Aadmi Party. I wanted to ask that~ from how long do you know Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and what was the reason to leave AAP?
Ashwini Upadhyay: I have been the founding member of AAP and I know Mr. Arvind Kejriwal from the early days since 2004 when he used to be an officer in the income tax department. I was working in a Japanese corporate firm in Gurugram. Manish Sisodiya ji used to be a journalist in Zee News, Kumar Vishwas ji used to be a lecturer, I know all of them from that time. From the year 2006 the fire of IAC started igniting, slowly and steadily Anna Andolan led its foundation, Mr. Kejriwal was leading it alongside and till that time I left my job and joined him for the cause. Not only me but many people from abroad left their everything and came to India for extending their support among them which include my very dear friend Dr. Munish Raizada who came all across from U.S.A to give out his everything.
We hadn’t even imagined that we would ever get to see Mr. Arvind Kejriwal as he is today, who is completely different from his previous identity. We joined him for this cause because he promised us to bring a fair system, but we didn’t even imagined this in our dreams that we would be cheated by him in every way. A person who said that he will bring financial transparency~himself became corrupt. He said that we will fight against Casteism but he himself started vending tickets on the basis of caste. A person who said that we will not do regionalism~ himself started practicing regionalism in Delhi. He started giving tickets to communal people. So, all of this personally hurt me in every possible way and it became the reason for me to leave the party. I have also been AAP’s National Council Member and used to look after the Party’s legal cell but still I chose to leave the party because of its falsehood.
Kashish: Even recently a documentary series is released called “Transparency: Pardarshita” which tells the whole story and backstage affairs regarding IAC and AAP. We came to know that you were also a part of that documentary! What have you shared in that?
Ashwini Upadhyay: The fire that IAC had was so intense that fellow Indians from overseas came and joined it because everyone believed that the prevalent scenario in the country will change. AAP initially was founded for this very purpose only. When the constitution of AAP was formed it was clearly mentioned that the party will not do bias on the basis of caste, gender, religion and region and it will fight against the corrupt political practices. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and AAP showed “Zero Transparency”.
They completely went against the ideal of Nationalism and this is why I was left with no option but to leave the party. I have shared such incidents in that documentary film and I also keep telling everyone personally and through my social media as well to watch Transparency: Pardarshita if they want to know the actuality of Mr. Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party. Everything shown in this documentary is accountable and true.
Kashish: Sir, now I wish you ask~ currently you may be observing the conditions in Delhi are worsening due to the Novel Coronavirus. Where do you think that the Delhi Government has failed? And what do you think is the need of the hour to improve the scenario being a person who is so much dedicated for Public Interest?
Ashwini Upadhyay: I think that the Delhi Government had already failed in its endeavours in these unprecedented times when they went under the pressure of ‘Alcohol Mafias’ and thus brought relaxation in the lockdown and opened alcohol shops. I believe that this was the most dangerous step which shouldn’t be taken. Apart from it the Delhi Government usually claims that it takes opinions from everyone before taking a decision but they always do what they themselves wish. The Delhi Government is very ill-experienced. They have already taken many steps which were just for the sake of showing on-paper and on media.. but they never implemented them.
The conditions may not have gotten worse if they took considerable precautions and steps. They could control it but they didn’t do it. The system of containment zones could have been implemented earlier and they shouldn’t have brought ease in the lockdown rules. If they really wish to curb this situation, then Delhi needs a complete lockdown again for a maximum time period of 15 days just like Phase-I.
Kashish: On the ending note I just want to ask a question~ that you have filed numerous PILs on the issues that one could not think of~ for example there was one PIL against superstition and Black Magic. Seems that you have a factor of “fearlessness” along which ignites a fire of revolution. Would you like to share some success stories related to it?
Ashwini Upadhyay: Definitely! My first success story was on the issue of triple talaq. I have closely observed the anguish and pain of the fellow sisters who were the victims of triple talaq. I wished to do something for them. See, whenever I file a petition, it’s not like I got an idea and then I file it, I cross verify the issue to know whether actually the people are affected by that issue or not. I constantly keep reading newspapers generally 3-4 newspapers per day and sometimes 5-6 newspapers on a holiday both in english and hindi to fetch information on prevalent issues that should be taken up, I get stories from there. If you look at the triple talaq case, then obviously, the judgement was given favour of Saira Bano.. but it did bring a change for all. I also got many calls from many muslim sisters after their victory. I have also filed a petition for polygamy and Halala Nikah.
Moreover, you may also remember that recently a rule was implemented to play the National Anthem of India in cinema halls before starting the movie, so it was also a success. I always say that the constitution of India is 25% left to be implemented till date. We need to work on it fully to ensure the unity and integrity of India and for gender equality. I believe that~ if the Constitution, the recommendations of law commission, Venkatchaliah Commission, election commission gets fully implemented then we can bring a gigantic reform in India. There’s still a long way to go but we will do it!
We feel thankful to Mr. Ashwini Upadhyay for taking out his precious time and speaking to us. We sincerely look forward to know him more and present his achievements and thoughts to the viewers.
– By Kashish Rai (Twitter: @KaafyyFilmyy)