Law

Human Rights Activist and Former Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar Passes Away

Sachar headed a crucial committee to examine the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India.

New Delhi: Rajinder Sachar, prominent human rights activist and former chief justice of the Delhi high court, passed away at a private hospital in Delhi on Friday. He was 94. He served as chief justice from August 6, 1985, to December 22, 1985. Beginning his career as an advocate in April 1952, Sachar began practicing in the Supreme Court from in 1960. A decade later, he was appointed an additional judge of the Delhi high court. After being confirmed as a permanent judge in July 1972, Sachar was appointed chief justice in August 1985.

After retiring from service, Sachar was closely associated with the well-known human rights organisation People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), which highlights a range of human right violations.

During the tenure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Sachar headed a crucial committee to examine the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India. The Sachar Committee, as the panel came to be known, submitted an exhaustive 403-page report in parliament in November 2006.  The findings of the committee, which showed the extent of backwardness among Muslims, triggered a public discourse around Muslim inequality.

According to the Sachar Committee, there was far more backwardness among Muslims than among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Apart from lagging in education, the representation of Muslims in administrative services and in the police force – especially in decision-making positions – was abysmally low. Emphasising the depth and urgency of the problem, the committee recommended the institution of an Equal Opportunity Commission to introduce a legal mechanism to address complaints of discrimination in all spheres of life.

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