India is one nation and the Constitution has bestowed every citizen the right to move and settle freely and work for livelihood in any part of the country, observed the Supreme Court on Friday while lambasting the growing intolerance among the society over the inane issues of exhibition of certain films or paintings.
The two-member Bench comprising justice HK Sema and Justice Markandey Katju said such dangerous tendencies and violent agitations on the issues that have potential to disintegrate must be put down with an iron hand.
The bench said, “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 a right to go any where in India, to settle anywhere, and work and do business of his choice in any part of India, peacefully.”
The bench made the observation while upholding the Ahmedabad municipal corporation’s direction to ban the sale of meat and closing of meat-shops in the town for nine-day “Paryushan” festival observed by the Jain community. The ban is made effective in respect for the sentiments of the Jain community and cannot be called unreasonable restrictions on the meat sellers, they said.
The Bench allowed the appeals against a judgment of the Gujarat High Court, which quashed the order of closure of slaughterhouses.
However, the judges did not mention the name of Shiv Sena supreme Bal Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, but the judgement and its indication was unambiguous for them in perspective of the duo’s tirade against the North Indians across the Maharashtra and also the current agitation by Rajput community against film Jodha-Akbar.
While writing the verdict Justice Katzu said, “It must be remembered that India is a multi-cultural pluralistic society with tremendous diversity. There are a large number of religions, castes, languages, ethnic groups, cultures, etc. in our country. Somebody is tall, somebody is short, somebody is fair, somebody is brown, somebody is dark in complexion, someone has Caucasian features, someone has Mongoloid features, someone has Negroid features, etc.”
We are one nation and must respect each other and should have tolerance,” the court said. The court explicitly said, “We are making these comments because what we are noticing now-a-days is a growing tendency of intolerance in our country.”
“Since India is a country of great diversity, it is absolutely essential; if we wish to keep it united we should have respect for all communities and sects. Thus it is Constitution, which is keeping us together. It gives equal respect to all communities.”
The petition was filed by the Hinsa Virodhak Sangh challenging the Gujarat High Court order, which struck down the ban as unconstitutional.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had ordered the ban on sale of meat for nine days between August 19 and 26, 1998 in connection with the “Paryushan” festival observed by the Digambar sect of the Jain community.