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Justice Rajinder Sachar: A prominent champion of minorities and human rights

The Sachar Report provi-ded exhaustive evidence on Muslim socio-economic conditions: although rural Muslims were less poor than tho- se in urban areas, their poverty rate of 38% in the countryside was even higher than that of the Scheduled Castes.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2018 23:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rajinder Sachar,Justice Rajinder Sachar,Sachar Committee
Justice Rajinder Sachar is swearing by Lt Governor MMK Wali as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court - (HT File Photo)

Former Delhi high court chief justice Rajinder Sachar, a prominent civil liberty and minority rights advocate, died on Friday at the age of 94. “He was admitted in Fortis Hospital and passed away around 12pm,” a person speaking for the family said.

The previous UPA government had appointed justice Sachar as chairperson of the landmark ‘Prime Minister's High Level Committee For Preparation of Report on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India’, informally known as the Sachar Committee.

The report presented by him in November 2006, called the Sachar Report, brought out the stark socio-economic disadvantages faced by Muslims and has become the touchstone of minority rights. It was to be the empirical basis for a series of public-policy actions to strengthen the participation of Muslims, India’s largest minority, in education and jobs.

Sachar was the son of Bhim Sen Sachar, a former CM of Punjab. “But ideologically and politically, he was very close to the socialist movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan,” said KC Tyagi, member of the JD(U). In the 1950s, while a lawyer, he was president of the Delhi unit of the Socialist Party.

The Sachar Report provi-ded exhaustive evidence on Muslim socio-economic conditions: although rural Muslims were less poor than tho- se in urban areas, their poverty rate of 38% in the countryside was even higher than that of the Scheduled Castes.

It showed that fewer than 5% of Muslims had government jobs and they made up only 4% of university stude- nts, proportions far less than their share of the population.

Justice Sachar served as chief justice from August 6, 1985, to December 22, 1985. He began his career at the bar in Shimla in April 1952 and joined the Supreme Court in 1960. After being appointed as a permanent judge in July 1972, Sachar was appointed chief justice of the Delhi high court in August 1985.

Justice Sachar campaign- ed for the reservation for women in Parliament and as a judge, he was committed to concerns over human rights.

In 1990, he authored the ‘Report on Kashmir situati- on’. He was also on a committee chaired by SC Chief Justice AM Ahmadi on changes needed to the Protection of Human Rights Act. The recommendations suggested changes in procedures for prompt action by the National Human Rights Commission in matters of human rights violation.

“Justice Sachar was first judge to take stand against Rajiv govt on #1984SikhGenocide. To take away cases from his court, Rajiv govt got the roster of Delhi High Court changed. After retirement he became active member of our committee fighting for justice to victims. A great loss,” wrote senior advocate HS Phoolka on Twitter. Acti- vist Aruna Roy said she was “grieved and shocked” at the passing away of a “strong, fearless and caring” person.

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 23:37 IST