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Every Indian free to settle anywhere: SC

New Delhi, March 14
In an apparent rebuff to Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena on the issue of North Indians, the Supreme Court today asserted that every Indian has the right to settle any where in the country.

“India is not an association or confederation of states, it is a union of states and there is only one nationality that is Indian. Hence every Indian has right to go anywhere in India, to settle anywhere, and work and do business of his choice in any part of India peacefully,” a Bench of Justices H.K. Sema and Markandey Katju remarked.

The court deplored the growing tendency of some sections in indulging in violence on issues that they differed on.

“These days unfortunately some people seem to be perpetually on the fuse, and are willing to protest, often violently, about anything under the sun on the ground that a book or painting or film has hurt the sentiments of their community,” Justice Katju, writing the judgement, observed.

The apex court said such tendency leading to Balkanisation of the country should be curbed with an iron hand. “We are one nation and must respect each other and should have tolerance,” the Bench said.

Quoting Tamil poet Subramaniam Bharti, the court said: “This Bharat Mata has....crores of faces! But her body is one. She speaks 18 languages! But her thought is one.”

The court made the observations while upholding Gujarat’s decision to ban the sale of meat for nine days during a Jain festival. The Bench, while allowing the petitions filed by the Hinsa Virodhak Sangh, also said: “Closure of meat shops for nine days in a year for respect for the sentiments of the Jain community in Ahmedabad cannot be called an unreasonable restrictions on the meat sellers.”

Justice Katju, writing the 36-page judgment for the Bench, said the architect of modern India was the great Mughal emperor Akbar, who gave equal opportunities and respect to people of all communities and followed policy of Suleh-E-Kul, which means universal tolerance of all religions and communities.

The judgment is seen as a severe indictment by the court of the likes of the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena and the current agitation by Rajput community against film “Jodhaa Akbar” without naming them. — Agencies



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