India has not been able to protect human rights despite constitutional safeguards and a “strong judiciary”, former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha said at a Human Rights Day event on Sunday, citing cow vigilantism, “love jihad” and sedition charges against citizens.
Referring to the controversy over the Bollywood film Padmavati and the threats faced by its crew, Lodha said he wondered if India really values human rights. He said that the laxity in police action was “shaking me every day”, The Indian Express reported.
“In the name of cow protection, human beings were slaughtered,” Lodha said. “Cow vigilantes are mushrooming everywhere. Sedition charges are being invoked against activists. Cartoonists, actors and students were charged with sedition charges.”
He added, “People have been killed in the name of love jihad...Should religion be a factor when two adults fall in love?”
The former chief justice said that the National Human Rights Commission had become a toothless tiger and had no true impact in achieving human rights. He urged for a robust mechanism to protect human rights in India. “Despite adequate laws, constitutional safeguards and strong judiciary, we are not able to achieve the goals of protection of human rights,” Lodha said.
Lodha was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court between April and September 2014.