Justice Rajinder Sachar (1923 –2018), the leading human rights activist who with his deep knowledge of law and contemporary social world is no more. Rajinder Sachar left the world at the age of 94 but before leaving he stamped the Indian society with his remarkable work mainly in the field of human rights, succeeded in bringing out the real condition of Muslims. He was appointed by UPA government to find out the real status of Muslims, now the report is known as Sachar Committee report. Rajinder Sachar was Delhi High Court Chief Justice during 1985, remained committed to task of moral legal judgments; representing a galaxy of judges who led the socio-political corrections in the Indian state where the needs occurred. This is his contribution which has enriched the Indian society and made correction when needed. He was a writer with repute and human rights activist with legal approach. Though the generation of such activists, scholars and morally committed people are vanishing rapidly in the country as last tribe. His ideas on several issues are relevant not only for the present time but for the years to come.
Indian state faces several challenges. One challenge relates to the real nature of Indian state with respect to secularism and socialism. Neoliberal forces deny these but constitution establishes these in complete manner. Whenever this debate emerged, Sachar was always vocal on the issue. He opined in explicit way- “I have no problem with how the Ministers present themselves. But the Indian Government would be guilty of a serious constitutional lapse and cannot be allowed to continue if by its word or action it conceals the mandate of the present Preamble containing Secularism and Socialism. In that context the Union Government would be an interloper because the Supreme Court has clearly held that the “Preamble is the key to the Constitution” and therefore the objectives of “Socialism” and “Secularism” must govern any programme and policy of the Government of India.”(This Is Treason, Mr Prime Minister,Mainstream, February 14, 2015)
In the present time NDA Government is keen to hold the simultaneous elections to parliament and state assemblies, but this is fundamentally incorrect and constitutionally wrong as it breaks the federal structure of the country which is decentralized and federal at base but current government does not want to contest the elections in continuous manner in the states believing that it drains the energy. Rajinder Sachar was vocal critic of this idea.
In his opinion “a greater principle of democracy is involved in simultaneous polls of Parliament and State Assemblies unless by fortuitous circumstances the five-year period of Parliament and State Assemblies happen to coincide. This contrived situation, being sought to be brought about by Modi, has very dangerous implications and is against the basic structure of our Constitution that is impermissible. According to the Supreme Court of India, Article 1(1) defines India as a Union of States which means a federation of States. Modi wants to deny this strategic advantage of States and weaken decentralisation which is the core of our constitutional jurisprudence. As for elections, they (USA, European countries) have different laws in each State. They have separate laws for the President’s election and separate for those of the Senate and House of Representatives and also separate for various States. Of course, this is an extreme example borne possibly by the history the USA had experienced. We wisely did not go so far. Also the distinction between the priorities of the Centre and States are different. The sooner Modi relinquishes this idea of simultaneous polls the better. This gives unfair advantage to national parties as against the State parties and distorts the sentiment of voters that the government be close to the people of the area concerned.” (Simultaneous Parliament and State Assembly Polls Strike at the Root of Federalism, Mainstream, January 28, 2017)
There is issue of political funding where no political party seems to be on moral path. It is difficult to know the real contributor and electoral bonds like schemes have no impacts. This distorts the democratic edifice as corporate houses influence the government in power. Sachar offered a solution for this evil in the Indian political system. “Why, it is legitimately asked, should the decision to utilise corporate funds be determined by a coterie of 10 or 15 Directors rather than that of thousands of shareholders who are the real owners of the company? A straightforward, honest, equitable solution is to ban the corporate funding of political parties, as in the USA and UK. Clean politics mandates this as a minimum prerequisite by all political parties. Let the electorate demand that the manifestos of the parties include such a provision—let them give a straight answer immediately.” (Clean Politics demands No Corporate Funding to Political Parties, Mainstream, April 25, 2009)
He was human rights activist at core. Commenting on the tragic situation Sri lanka in 2011 he brought out the weak role played by the then UPA Government. He commented “to keep silent is not an option for India which owes not only moral but legal responsibility to see the Sri Lankan Tamils are not denied their human rights and democratic political and dignified participation in all walks of the Sri Lanka society and administration.”(On the Tragic Situation in Sri Lanka, Mainstream, June 4, 2011)
Writing on Ram Manohar Lohia in March 2009 he penned- “March 23rd is also the day of martyrdom of one of the greatest revolutionaries of our age—Sardar Bhagat Singh. I have no doubt that both of them would have been the closest of kindred souls as they shared, above all, their compassion for the poor and their determination to fight for his rights to enable him to get his just dues in the society.”
The same is true for Rajinder Sachar too, he fought for poor, unconstitutionality and evilness in society. His soul also a kindred and luminous, and ideas full of truth are now a part of Indian folklore and social thoughts.
Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava is associated with CSJM Kanpur University as faculty and CSSP as researcher,email@example.com