Remembering Justice Rajinder Sachar.
21 April 2018
Justice Rajinder Sachar former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court passed away on Friday (April 20, 2018). He will be long remembered as an empathetic and caring people’s judge. Justice Rajinder Sachar was passionate about fellow human beings, committed and prescient, and an illustrative example of the unity of humanity.
For years, after retiring as chief justice of the Delhi High Court, he traveled to all parts of India as a member of fact-finding committees, unraveling and publicising civil rights abuses. Justice Sachar was elected President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in 1986, and honourably discharged the duties of this position until 1995. In 1990, he was one of the authors of the PUCL “Report on the Kashmir Situation”. As President of PUCL, he filed many PILs in the Supreme Court to uphold the human and democratic rights of the people. Most notably, in 2003, he argued for the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) as a gross violation of human rights. Justice Sachar was a prominent participant in various human rights tribunals and inquiries. These included his participation in the Indian People’s Human Rights Tribunal in 2000 looking into a huge slum eviction drive that was launched in Mumbai, and in a People’s Court in 2002 that investigated a similar slum clearance drive in Kolkata.
People like Sachar belong to a generation that is fading away, a generation that made people aware of their civil liberties. He was always there for everyone else, for India and her people.
He is perhaps best known for heading the government committee to study the condition of the Muslim community and to prepare a report on their social, economic and educational status. The report, now famously known as the Sachar Committee report was an honest and starkly revealing document, brought attention for the first time to the economic inequality and social insecurity and alienation of Minorities and highlighted that Muslims were under-represented in the civil service, police, military and in politics.
He always stood for a fair trial, independence and impartiality of the judiciary. professional integrity remained very dear to the eminent judge. He believed that finding conscientious individuals who are able to “counter their own biases” and are free from influence should be an important criterion in the selection of judges. Justice Sachar had very clear views on the conduct of the higher judiciary in India. The observations he made over the years on this subject and other matters of public policy and law that affected the common citizen focused on our constitutional future.
NCHRO mourn his passing on and send our deepest condolences to the family of Justice Rajinder Sachar. His was a courageous, inspirational, warm and humane life. He leaves behind an enduring legacy of Activism and Human Rights.