THE story of human rights in the world is the story of humans wronged. It is also the story of human beings left from enjoying equality and freedom in full measure. Is it not ironical that American leaders talk of protection of human rights in their country with judiciary, but in the name of internal security, even the right to a fair trial is not only curtailed, but denied as seen to prisoners held in Guantonomo Bay.
This festschrift, released on the 80th birthday of leading lawyer and former Attorney-General of India, Soli J Sorabjee, is a treat for all those concerned with propagation, protection and preservation of human rights. Short articles by various lawyers, judges and academics have been compiled in this volume.
Justice VR Krishna Iyer, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India, says that throughout the seven years that he spent on the Bench in Delhi, he found Soli Sorabjee a remarkable advocate, who rarely bothered for which side he was appearing but with Gandhian principles associated with the court to uphold human rights, particularly free speech and freedom of movement and gender justice.
Justice JS Verma, former Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission says, “In a plural society like that in India, a delicate balance is needed to preserve the freedom of expression, subject to the reasonable restrictions imposed in the interests of the unity and integrity, etc. of the nation.”
Justice RC Lahoti, a judge of the Supreme Court of India, says privacy is a fundamental human right and “privacy underpins human dignity and the key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech.”
Justice N Santosh Hegde, judge of the Supreme Court in 2005, says corruption is the main villain in the violation of socio-economic human rights, which are very prominent in developing and in Third World countries and he is happy that the institution of Lokayukta, particularly in his home state Karnataka, comes to the aid of people “who do not have much money to pay as bribe or political support to get their grievance redressed.”
Kuldip Nayar, one of the top political journalists, pays a special tribute to Soli Sorabjee who flew down to Delhi to defend Bhimsen Sachar, Kuldip Nayar’s father-in-law during the Emergency of 1975 without charging any fees.
There are many other tributes paid to Soli Sorabjee in this volume.
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