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‘Judiciary won’t allow intolerance towards anyone’

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India T S Thakur on Sunday said the debate on growing intolerance in society had a “political dimension” and assured citizens that the judiciary was there to protect them from any victimization or discrimination.

Justice Thakur said there was no intolerance towards any community in the country and it would never happen as rule of law and judiciary were there. He said the judiciary was committed to protect the country’s heritage of religious diversity. He, however, refused to elaborate on the “political dimension” to the intolerance debate.

Justice Thakur, the country’s 43rd CJI, said there was some “politics” involved in the debate on intolerance and added that he did not want to get involved in it. However, he emphatically stated that no person belonging to any community should be afraid of living in the country as the judiciary would take care of every citizen’s rights and freedom.

“Our existence is based on philosophy of tolerance and I don’t think it (intolerance) is there. No one should have any reason to fear that they would be thrown out of the country or would be victimized,” Justice Thakur said while interacting with legal reporters at his residence.

“I am heading an institution which protects constitutional rights of all citizens and also, sometimes, non-citizens. So long as rule of law is there and judiciary is functioning, no one should feel threatened. We are capable of protecting the rights of all citizens,” he said.

Justice Thakur said India has always welcomed people from different religions with open arms and they have been living in the country peacefully for centuries. He said all religions teach brotherhood and harmony.

Quoting Persian poet Khawaja Dil Mohammed who translated Bhagwat Gita into Urdu, Justice Thakur, well known for his love of Hindi and Urdu literature, said paths followed by people of different religions were different but all ways eventually led to one god. “Mutual respect for all religions must be promoted. We can progress only if we have an inclusive society,” he said.

“India is the home of all religions. People prosecuted in their country came to India and settled. They flourished and prospered here and they also contributed a lot in the progress of this country. Look at Parsi community. They have contributed so much to the development and progress of the country. Their contribution in judiciary and industrial development is immense,” he said.

Justice Thakur, who in September raised questions on growing ban culture in the country while hearing a case on meat ban in Maharashtra, said the Constitution provides equal rights to all citizens irrespective of caste, creed or religion and assured that judiciary would live up to people’s expectation to protect their rights.

“We don’t have reluctance or bias in protecting rights of all sections of society. People should not get upset till the judiciary is there. There is no need of fear,” he said, adding that India was known for diversity and tolerance which were the most valuable assets of the country.

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