Rupa to publish In Pursuit of Justice: An autobiography by the late Justice Rajindar Sachar

The formal book launch is scheduled on Tuesday, 22 December 2020 at 5.00 p.m. The virtual launch will be followed by a panel discussion featuring
Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur, Kapil Sibal, Mukul Rohatgi & Medha Patkar.
Discussion will be moderated by Rajdeep Sardesai.

Picture Credit: Rupa
Picture Credit: Rupa

About the Book:

The story of a great jurist who was an even greater human being.

Justice Rajindar Sachar was a socialist, an egalitarian, a defender of civil liberties, a deeply engaged citizen of India, and, above all, a humanist. A man who believed in standing for the last man in the line, he was ‘armed’ with a moral compass that never wavered.

Born into an influential family from Lahore in 1923, he witnessed the pain of Partition. Yet, amazingly, he never bore any animosity towards Pakistan or its people. Son of Bhimsen Sachar, a prominent Congressman and Gandhian in pre-Partition Punjab and Chief Minister of Punjab rum post-1947, Rajindar did not disclose his famous surname during his early life to ensure people would not give him special treatment.

He joined the Delhi High Court in 1970 but was transferred out of Delhi for voicing his opposition to the Emergency. During those dark days he shared a close bond with justice H.R. Khanna, the lone voice of dissent in a Supreme Court that chose to side with Indira Gandhi. Brought back to Delhi after the Emergency, he rose to become the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.

Post-retirement, Sachar helmed the People’s Union for Civil Liberties for many years. However, what Justice Rajindar Sachar is most-remembered for is the Sachar Committee Report (2006) which documented the social and economic condition of Muslims in India. The Report drew both praise and criticism, with some radical elements even threatening to send him back to Pakistan. However, his fight to preserve the secular fabric of India continued till the day he died. His autobiography comes at a critical time when India’s democracy is under siege from within.


JUSTICE RAJINDAR SACHAR (1923-2018) started his law practice in the Punjab High Court, at Shimla. He joined the Delhi High Court as Additional Judge in 1970, but was given a punishment posting in Rajasthan for his open opposition to the Emergency. He came back to the Delhi High Court after Emergency and rose to become its Chief Justice. He delivered several landmark judgements during his time. From before India’s Independence, he was closely associated with prominent socialist leaders Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan. The socialist in him remained alive till his last day. After retirement, he championed the cause of human rights and civil liberties. He appeared and successfully argued several important cases for PUCL, like the mandatory declaration of assets/criminal antecedents of MPs/MLAs, ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option for voters in elections, domicile requirement in Rajya Sabha, and telephone tapping, among others. He also headed a committee which submitted a report on the ‘Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India in 2006’, widely known as ‘The Sachar Committee Report’.


Justice Sachar’s fight to preserve the secular fabric of India continued till the day he passed away. —SOLI J. SORABJEE

The Partition of the sub-continent also divided its people into two groups—those who allowed themselves to be permanently scarred and those who resisted its aftermath with all their intellectual might. Justice Sachar is an outstanding example of those who fought the division of our minds along religious lines till their last breath.—JAVED AKHTAR, renowned lyricist

It’s a gripping and thought-provoking story of an extraordinary man who remained committed to the cause of justice throughout his life. A must-read for everyone. —the late SWAMI AGNIVESH, renowned social reformer Justice Rajindar Sachar was one of the most humane custodians of equality, liberty and dignity I have known. His faith in democracy, pluralism and civil rights is unparalleled and shall remain a guiding beacon for all generations to come. —KAILASH SATYARTHI, Nobel laureate

Justice Sachar was indomitable in his fight against injustice, even if it meant standing up to people from his own fraternity—the judiciary. His lifelong commitment to social and human justice continued till his last breath.
—MEDHA PATKAR, well-known social activist

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