Justice Rajinder Sachar — a champion of human rights and former chief justice of the Delhi High Court — passed away in New Delhi early on Friday morning.The 94-year-old had started his career as an advocate in 1952 and was elevated as the chief justice of Delhi High Court in 1985 for a brief period of six months, till his retirement. Apart from being a judge, Justice Sachar is also known as the biggest crusaders for protection of human rights and its causes after VM Tarkunde — the Father of the Civil Liberties movement.”Justice Sachar was fearless and stood before anyone who suffered a gross violation of human rights,” said Satyendra Rajan, the Vice-President (Delhi Unit) of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL).Recalling an incident from the early 90s, Rajan said Justice Sachar — who was the President of PUCL in the 90s — did not hesitate to stand up to the Executive or the State if he felt they were wrong. “During the Seelampur riots after the demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992, the role of a high-ranking police official was dubious. There was a communication that the charges against him were to be watered down. However, Justice Sachar refused and did not budge or shy away from reporting the true facts,” Rajan said while speaking to DNA.However, Justice Sachar’s biggest achievement was his work on the crucial Sachar Committee report that came out during the UPA tenure. The committee led by Justice Sachar examined the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India. The Committee submitted an exhaustive 403-page report in Parliament in November 2006. In it, the committee showed the extent of backwardness among Muslims, triggering a public discourse around Muslim inequality.Sachar Committee report said Muslims were more backward than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Apart from lagging in education, the Muslim representation in administrative services and in the police force — especially in decision-making positions — was abysmally low. It emphasised the depth and urgency of the problem and the report 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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Ex-chief justice, rights activist Rajinder Sachar passes away