Indians have right to settle anywhere in country

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Mar 14 | Updated: Mar 15 2008, 05:10am hrs
Politics of nativism got a thumbs down as the Supreme court on Friday, sending a clear message to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray as well as his nephew Raj Thackeray, asserted that that every Indian has a constitutional right to settle anywhere in the country.

India is not an association or confederation of states, it is a union of state and there is only one nationality that is Indian. Hence every Indian has a 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 HK Sema and Markandeya Katju observed in a 36-page judgement. The Bench held that the drafting committee of the Constitution had attached great importance to the term Union as symbolic of determination of assembly to maintain unity of the country.

The observations were made while upholding the Ahmedabad municipal corporations move to ban the sale of meat in the town during nine-day paryushan festival observed by the Jain community. The SC however make it plain that the political advantage sought to be derived by the Shiv Sena and the newly formed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) by targetting north Indians in the state was not a welcome development.

Both the Shiv Sena and the MNS have been engaged in competitive politics to woo the Maratha votebase by playing on the emotive sentiments of Maharashtrian pride. After Raj Thackerays controversial remarks against Biharis, the Shiv Sena followed suit.

The apex court also expressed anguish at the increasing tendency of some sections to indulge in protests against films, books or paintings.