The Hindu , Dec 07, 2006
"Right to life implies right to life with dignity"
- "Judicial activism should be based on juristic principle"
- Sachar for withdrawal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act
NEW DELHI: Former Chairman of National Human Rights Commission Justice J. S. Verma on Tuesday said the only way to ensure dignity of the ordinary man was by making way for an inclusive and participatory democracy and not remaining satisfied with civil and political rights.
Speaking after the release of Amnesty International publication "Human Rights for Human Dignity", brought out both in English and Hindi, on World Dignity Day here, Justice Verma said there were Constitution provisions and Supreme Court interpretations that said the right to life implied the right to life with dignity.
Recalling an earlier instance when he was asked to define human rights, Mr. Justice Verma said: "Human dignity is the quintessence of human rights."
Mr. Justice Verma said courts should not take over the functions of other agencies and judicial activism should be based on a juristic principle and not on some ad hoc thought.
Retired Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar said human rights, as was usually believed, was not a gift of European thought to the world as in India there had been several kings, including the greats like Ashoka and Akbar, who espoused the cause.
Mr. Justice Sachar also said draconian Acts such as the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act should be withdrawn immediately, adding that there was a need to review other anti-terrorist laws too.
Going by the methodology of working out the number of people living below the poverty line, the country had not made any significant development since Independence and this was one of the impediments in ensuring human dignity to the citizens, he said.
Professor Emeritus of Jawaharlal Nehru University Amit Bhaduri said the human rights had been historically defended by the State but were made de facto by the market forces.
The Government now claimed that the country now was developing at the rate of eight per cent, but in doing so it was riding piggyback on huge corporations.
"That is why there is the Special Economic Zones Act and problems like that of Singur. Human rights and human dignity is being trampled upon by the State itself, as it cannot antagonise the huge corporations. The Government is resorting to developmental terrorism to keep the huge corporations happy."
"The only vulnerable point for the huge corporations is decentralisation of power," he said.