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Name: Rajinder Sachar

Kai Friese

Medium: Audio recordings *
Format: Audio .wav
  • Language: English/ Hindi
  • Date of the interview: 01/03/2016

Clip name/DURATION: *
kf_RSachar.wav/ 01:28:45

TimeCode Transcription Remarks
00:00:03 KF: Okay. Interview with Mr Rajinder Sachar at his at his residence in New Friends Colony in New Delhi on the First of March, Two Thousand and Sixteen. Mr Sachar, if you could begin by telling me a little bit about your early life and how you entered the legal profession.
RS: You see, we belong to Lahore. Our generation have lived in Lahore, frontier et cetera. My father was a Congress man, from the beginning 1920-20. Boycotted it. Enrolled(?) Gandhiji's satygraha. He was a practicing lawyer till '30. Then we- then we were living in Gujranwala, that's about thirty miles from Lahore. And then we shifted to Lahore in '30s. And my father started a insurance company called the Sunlight Insurance Company. And, he was a Congress man so he contested 1937 – Punjab assembly election. And he was elected from urban areas from Rawalpindi, which is between … And, of course he was jailed in 1940
01:29 - During the war.
1942... '42 was an interesting thing. What happened was, you see, '37, of course, you know, they picked him up. Thirty. Then at forty-two... You see, my father... (?) sort of thing, so, he used to go every week to Arya Samaj. It was his, you know, sort of a... (?), not the conservative type. He didn't believe in idolatry and all that and others. Mumbling's a bit incoherent at times. Apologies.
- Okay.


So swami Dayanand's... thing. So... those days, you know, children listened to their father, it was taken for granted. (laughs) Uhh... I mean, like, if you're... parents told you something, it was a fact – you don't question it. So my father was keen that I should accompany him. So I was accompanying him, right from the beginning, from school and, you know... I was then in... my fourth year in '42. So it was Sunday, it was also Sunday – Ninth. So... we had gone there and when we came out uhh... The papers, were of course not available, but it was spread by news that Gandhiji and others had been arrested (?) at the meeting. Naturally be expected that the police will now come for him. So we went home, and uhh... Packed up the things, we were used to it. But by eleven or twelve... no police came. So you can imagine – it may be very odd to you, fact of the matter is, all of us were very disturbed.

Background noise

03:20 - Hmm.
We were wondering why the hell the police doesn't come. Not that the police hasn't come for us... we were uneasy. So... at that time, then … what the problem is... So, father informed the Congress unit that please, I will be holding a meeting in the Lahore area. So then, probably it spread and they came at five and took...
03:49 - Arrested him.








Ya. And the second reason, because my uncle, the younger brother of my father had quite a resemblance to my father my uncle, the younger brother of my father had quite a resemblance to father and he with his family had gone to river Ravi. River Ravi, there was some function or just in the- so some policeman saw him and reported that Mr Sachar has gone to river Ravi and (?) … And well, that was very bad day because, I mean, they packed them up, they didn't inform us but we had our sources. My, our younger brother – two year old. So, they took him to Campbellpur – Shahpur, which is down there in Punjab. Horrible things. Where (?) was. At that time it was all jungal, forest. They didn't get any beds, they had to sleep in floor. And, these cockroaches and others were … They also had, inside, hunger strike and they provided them. And they... (laugh) brought the first one to father and said, you are the leader and so he said no. First you supply to all of them, and I'll take the last one. He had that moral, so anyway. So after that, after spending in jail, then came out and '46 again there were elections. And uhh... '46 elections, the Congress was – from the Muslim league was the probably... Congress was the next. There was another unionist group, which also consisted of Muslims, who had been in power prior to '37. When it was a combination of West Punjab, unionist Muslim – mainly Jaats dominated and of Haryana dominated. So there the government- but then they lost so Muslim League couldn't form the government. And the Congress, those- those unionist party, mostly Muslim, they formed the thing. And my father was the Finance Minister in days of the Congress. Uhm... and then after years... came the partition. Uhh... My father, us, family, we weren't inclined to shift. So we had decided that we'll stay over. The conditions were but one- frankly, nobody expected the conditions to go that far. Though, in retrospect, one thinks that one should have... but, you know, sentimentally one was so tied that one could never think of it. When Muslim friends, we used to call them Chachaji, uncles et cetera. So... see, my father represented Lahore constituency. And the constituent assembly, when the constitution was to be drafted, one of the principles adopted was that a person who belonged... to a particular constituency, he would become a member of that constituent assembly, to which- for example, Lahore belonged to Pakistan. So father would become a member of constituent assembly of Pakistan. Like, Liaqat Ali. He belonged to UP. So he became a member of the UP constituency. That was the thing, so my father became a member of the constituency of Pakistan. And, then we were going to attend the first* meeting, in Karachi. Since he was going (?) by then. And I said I'll come, you know... I said I'll come with you. So we and our server, we booked our seats back also, to Lahore. And, went there, attended it for couple of days. (laugh) There are one or two interesting things there. You know, in constituent assembly – Father had done Persian. And naturally, Punjab, we spoke amongst the population, Urdu. So my father wanted to speak in Urdu, not in English. (laugh) … Jinnah sahab; No, Mr Sachar, you have to speak in English. That's the language of the assembly. (laughs) Uhh... and, as now I say, after Mr, our IK Gujral said, I say I am probably the only person in India and Pakistan, who has had the privilege to listen to original Mr Jinnah's speech, 'from this day onwards, you don't go to your Mosques, you don't go to your Gurudwara. It has nothing to do with this, we are all Pakistanis'. Because that was his first speech. And, after three-four days we were to come back. We had taken our server. But you, know, at that point of time, the... uhh... air service had started. Between Karachi and Delhi. There was no air service before in Lahore. So, frankly, I didn't travel by air because there was none – Air India. So... (?)… I told father, let's go via Delhi. We'll fly to Delhi then go by train to Lahore. We sent back our servant. Later on we found out that the train in which we would also have gone back, was attacked at Mughal Sarai, it is very near Lahore. They had quarters of railway. And that old fellow, fortunately, escaped. Ran away et cetera. So when we landed in Delhi, father naturally, had to see pandit Nehru. In the normal course. So he ran out, went there and (laugh) hardly had he entered when Nehru said to my father, where have you been? I've been looking for you for couple of days! You're not to be found. So father told him, arey, panditji, you know I'm a member of the constituent assembly, so, I am coming from Karachi. So you don't know? He said: what? Punjab is on fire. (???) My father took the (?), I stayed on in Delhi... So went and started with it. And then, of course, after that, he settled down, for some time – a year or so. In Andhra Pr- Amritsar, because those days were terrible. Both sides. To be very frank. It's not fair to evaluate which committed greater atrocities. And you know, very touching, I must tell you. […]

Sir Goddart?



Cannot make out

~ Break of some sort ~

11:41 Yeah. We had reached Delhi. You had – your family had gone to Amritsar for a while.
Haan. For a year, because of rehabilitation et cetera. And then we came to Delhi, you see, as I told you, we had our insurance company. So that was one part- father kept up in politics. I think he went- he led a goodwill delegation I think. Probably in '48. Went to Pakistan. Uhh... then, you see then there were people who were members of assembly, they became members of this side also – in by '49. So my father was, in '49, was Chief Minister of then Punjab. Which was, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal. That only, because of the internal thing... lasted only six months. And uhh... then there were elections in '52. Father was elected from Punjab and he was made the Chief Minister, of Punjab.
12:50 So very much Congress, still.



Congress Chief Minister... total. Then in fifty-… six, Khan Sahab Mijbu*, he had differences with Nehru. It was a very small issue, I'll give you the... background... I have written about it, in... Tehelka; Nehru, my father and myself. It'll give you a good deal of... thing. So father resigned in uhh, '56, one year earlier. Then this – but then I think, Nehru probably felt ki, I mean, a little unfair to him. So then he appointed him to Orrisa... then to Andhra Pradesh. My father... then the – During Lal Bahadur Shastri's time, he appoint- he was appointed High Commissioner for Ceylon. But then he resign earlier. The term is two-three years, but he resigned after one year. Wasn't feeling very comfortable. (laughs) Being a diploma's slightly very different. I mean, there's a laughable thing – the... I, of course didn't have a (?) to go there but other friends and family went. There the... younger diplomats there in the... High Commission, you know, laughably complained,… one of the pleasures of being posted outside is, new duty drinks! And this new High Commissioner has said, not only don't drink, drinks will be serve - even official parties. (laughs) So then he came back and... devoted himself to... you know, Khadi Gramodyog – constructive work. Away from day-to-day politics. And also... he was associated with JP – Jayaprakash ji in that anti-corruption movement. So on. Name unfamiliar.
15:02 Hmm.
See, I was practising in Chandigarh. Right up to '70. But Delhi used to be once a part of Punjab so, Chief Justices et cetera came from there. So then, in seventy-… '70 I was appointed a judge here in Delhi High Court. And... then, we were...
- And did you, yourself, maintain any contact with the Congress party or...?
15:30 I?



No, I had become, in that sense, a rebel. I joined socialist party, 1946. When I finished my Law. And I had made up my mind that I am going to be old-timer(?). I'm not going to practice or do anything. So I told father – father that way was very accommodating. I said I'm not going to practice and I'm going to work. And I joined the socialist party, In Punjab. And... I worked for some time, no... … Congress at that time, Gulzarilal Nanda, the Labour Minister, he had an organisation of labour because he had done good work in Ahmedabad textile thing. So father talked to him and he said send him to... Bombay, for taking training. So I went there. Father knew somebody, businessman from Punjab. Word is shop, business. You know, younger days, that big shop. And then there was small ante-room here, which the ante-room probably some person... meat shop out there. So I spent my days there, that ante-room. I was there for a month or two and then August forty-sev – Six, we had a very big communal clash in Bombay. And also the labour areas were affected. So... it was not possible to do any labour work there. I think in Gurdwara Nanda Sahab... You see, in Delhi, they were one Joshi was... socialist and tra- working on trade union. And there was Bhrahm Prakash who was the first Chief Minister of State of Delhi. When Delhi was constituted a state in '50s, he was the first. Then, Congress people Shobha(?) Joshi, Nayar et cetera. They were having a (?)*, in Karol Bagh and uhh... … Sixty rupees is the only thing you could spend. And we were looking after – I mean, because I was working on trade union... So, our trade union, the social party controlled trade union, which we called Hind Mazdoor Panchayat at that time later on. And now it's Hind Mazdoor Sabha.


18:24 - Hmm.


Uhh... Working in Delhi cloth mill workers which were, at that now now. Now it is all, you know, finished. Delhi Cloth Mill. Uhh... It's no longer there. So we were working there and earlier to my coming there, we had a strike. But unfortunately, it had not done well so there was lot of uhh... Discomfort among the work men. So our main programme was to go there every day and talk to them and tell them that these ups and downs happen and most of them were there. Now... though my father wore this dress, this dress I never wore. Right from my beginning, I wore my knicker and the college pant because I was a sportsman also, in my college days. And when I was triple* league champion of Punjab. - Tennis. In '46.

*(Best guess)

- In? - Oh, I see.


Singles, doubles and mixed both. Frankly my college days were the normal ones. Though I was reading a lot, but not practical anything, apart from '46. So... we were going one day with my some other colleague and we were talking to some worker who was going there and we said, you know, don't get disheartened uhh... these things happen. We were, boosting up his morale. We were talking to him when suddenly kya hai! Ek taraf ho. Ek taraf ho – came from outside. And started walking and I … uttered some words like, the sahab's come. Because I was in my other dress. Trousers. Sahab aa jatey hain! What do they know about our condition? So I... somehow was quite hurt and I thought, mujhe toh - I genuinely come for him. I believe in this cause. And, why's he suspecting? And I don't know suddenly struck me ki possibly my dress made him a stranger. Because in those days, you know, workmen et cetera never put on these trousers. Their common dress was pajama. And the Congress only, of course, only. And I thought that this man instinctively thinks me a stranger. He does not think I'm genuine about it. So I changed my dress. Then, of course, here working in Socialist party and trade union front. And then, in '48 we had a token strike so we spent four days in jail. (laughs)
21:26 Achha? Which jail?
- because the – Government took us. Then in '49, the socialist party held a demonstration outside the Nepalese embassy. Because at that time, Rana –
21:45 - Mandi House.


- No. Rana... in Nepal had taken over from the King. You know, Nepal the King was titular head. But the real power was Rana, the Prime Minister. So, as a protest against that – because we had lot of friendly relations with the Congress and socialist workers there – Korana brothers. They were very close to our younger generation. So doctor Lohia led us. And there were fifty of us. I mean fifty of us were picked up (laughs) … … it's normal but inside we were demonstrating and they had declared one forty-four – we were violating, so they had brought the trucks. And starting putting plain people – get in, get in. So they started getting in and I was also shouting at little distance, when suddenly I saw the truck moving. The moment you see trucks … … and I was at a … … and I, one of my friends, colleagues – socialists, he was in the thing. And fortunately, you know trucks that when... put it up. And truck back, with luggage done, until you fill up with thing, it is down. Doubt about name; Khurana /Koirala?
23:10 The gate.
Haan. So I shouted to him. I said, eh! I've been left behind, what about me, hain? So I ran. I ran and I asked him, I said, give me your hand, pull me up. … … Such was my general (?) as a man. … … … I unconsciously felt it is not right, I am violating the law as my colleagues, they picking up, why should I be out? So they took us to jail. Jail at that time was, where this Maulana Azad College is here. This, central.
23:47 Meaning Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg uhh...?





Uhh... haan. … … Opposite our stadium also. When you go on Bahadur Shah Marg, crossing there. That Maulana Azad was the jail. (laughs) And, you see, Delhi didn't have a state. So all Delhi administrations were officers and others, were mostly officers borrowed from Punjab. And, for example, Delhi... was a jail looked after by Punjab government. But Delhi didn't have a state. All its officers were from Punjab. Deputy Commissioner's from Punjab, Health Officer, Jail Officer. And my father was the – and my father was the Chief Minister of Punjab. So the jail was under him. (laughs) Achha, since, you know, one forty-four, the party had decided matter of principle, there'll be no asking for bail. So spent the day in jail. And doctor Lohia, you know, at one time, was very close to Nehru family. Because when he came back from Germany, he joined the foreign office, which was run by pandit Nehru. They were very close. Uhh... of course, when he walked out, and then later on naturally you... were in sense, very unhappy with Nehru. Because Nehru to my generation and even Lohia's generation, means he was an ideal. He was an inspiring figure for us. My father made me meet him. And what he told me I liked it, is earlier... his letter to his daughter, so we were brought up in the atmosphere of Nehru's socialist call. And we were naturally very disappointed when we walked out. Because we thought that this man had betrayed us. But I suppose people at that time, did not take politics to such dirty lengths. So we received a basket of mangoes, sent of course to of course, doctor Lohia, not to us. But quite good two-three baskets because we knew that uhh... from (?)'s house. And Indira, because Indira had also worked with doctor Lohia in... relief, matters in post '47. Riot affected areas. So... and Sardar Patel was very upset. He wrote a letter to Nehru saying, what is this. This man has violated the law and you're sending mangoes to him? From Prime Minister's house. So appare-… … at that point of time. Wrote back, personal relations are very different from political relations. (laugh) You know, at that time, some of the standards were very different. My father came to... inspect the jail. In the normal course. I was then practicing also in Delhi so... we hadn't met for the last four-five months. Uhm... and since we were under one forty-four, and sort of political prisoners, interviews with us were quite common. In the sense that... for example, I... now brother in-law, Kuldip was my very dear friend right from Lahore, we did a lot together. He used to come, about second-third day and used to have interview. Similarly other – other that news, could also have interviews, not anything favourable to me. It was a normal thing. As a matter of fact, (laugh) you know, that time was... such a funny time that I … if I may – … … because picked up and kept in jail. Not in jail, immediately. Kept for the night at Parliament Street police station. By morning it had spread, Kuldip... came to know. And he came to... there. I think at that time, because of … … et cetera, the police were not – they didn’t think that we would all run away. So I remember, I really feel … I hadn't frankly taken any meals since last- I was hungry. So when Kuldip came – he had a motorcycle. So I said, yaar Kuldip, I'm feeling very hungry, take me to this Kwality Restaurant, which was there at Connaught Place. I went there with him. (laughs)
28:48 - And then returned?






Because you know, in the... now of course they've made it a very big et cetera. It was an open ground. They'd asked us to sit till the magistrate come. I went with him, had my breakfast and then came back. (laugh) … So, father came so the... when he was- he inspected the jail, not our... side. And when he was going uhh, the... superintendent said, Rajinder is here, would you like to see him? …in me, there was nothing wrong, but somehow he had very high standards. He said, no, I'm not seeing him. I've not come to see him, I've come to inspect the jail. He didn't see me. Because – I didn't feel bad, because I understood the –principle. Even if you see me, nobody will say... … … those were different times, frankly. And, then... … tell you very interesting thing about Lohia and Nehru. You see, '51-'52, I was still in Delhi so whenever doctor Lohia would come, we'd meet. So I was sitting at- one day, where he was staying and those days there was no mobile so somebody came to him and said, doctor sahab, your telephone. So he went to the next room and when he came back, I asked him, doctor sahab, who's telephone? He said Nehru's... Toh I said, what was he saying? Kehte, he said, Ram Manohar, Nehru used to call him – doctor Lohia's name was Ram Manohar Lohia, so he would call Ram Manohar, so... I said, haan? And then he said, suna hai... America ja rahe ho – I understand you're going to America. He said, yes. Kab ja rahe ho? I (?)fully told him. And... he said – then he was quiet. And then... more talk telephone... Toh I asked him. Maine kaha, doctor sahab, what is this? … … Kehte, you know what – he used to, he was very... liberally he said, kambakht, jaantey ho, kya kehna chahta tha – what did he want to say. He wanted to say that when you're going to America, outside, please don't speak very badly about India. (laughs) And – and doctor then went … … Mai bahar jaake baat karunga? So I told him, mischievously, pandit Nehru knows you little better, because you're going to speak about it. (laughs) So then I... '53 or so, I shifted to... Singa(?), where we had the our High Court. My father was still the Chief Minister so... in '55, January, our High Court was shifting. I was staying, of course, with my father but my office was separate. Uhh, and... they had called. The High Court had called pandit Nehru for inauguration. Inaugurating our building. I was then the general secretary of the High Court Bar Association. So Pandit ji had naturally come a day earlier. And in the evening, that is, the night before... father, when he came home, he told me... bete, pandit Nehru have asked for … breakfast. Just a family breakfast. I mean... … , mother. Nobody else, so, he's coming at eight o'clock. He told me at this time because normally I'm a very late sleeper. One or two o'clock. Normally I would get up at eight. So he told me, coming at eight o'clock, better be ready. At that time. (laugh) You know it's funny. How... … one thinks many things*, so I told him, father... father, I'll not sit with him on the breakfast table. And uhh... He... asked me why, I said no. He was playing very foul with us, I am not very happy with him. And I will not sit. Father and I had a very good equation, so he didn't scold me. He said, you're being very foolish and childish. But I said no. So he said alright, it's your wish. And now I could... go that far. To be at home and pandit Nehru taking breakfast... and not sit at the table. That was something I couldn't bring myself up to. So I normally go down at eight. Got up at seven, got ready and went out of my house to my... office. … … -that –that, I had written a piece on Tehelka...

(best guess)

34:36 - On your father.



- on Nehru and my father, where I mentioned all these things. So you see, that was the kind of a... (laugh) relationship. Then one day to Delhi, and as I say, my period of seventy to eighty-five, … haan, … … In April '75, I was a Delhi High Court Judge. So one day... Chief Justice Ray. He was then the Chief Justice. He telephoned me and said, will you come and see me. So I went there and what he told me was that, you know... we were going to make Sikkim as a formal state in May. Fifteenth. So he asked me that I want you to go as Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court. I was little surprised because I was quite junior. Seventies... Delhi High Court, there were seven-eight more senior to me. So I told, Chief, I don't want to go, there's no work there. … … -no question. I said it, what is my purpose in going? So he tried to tell by saying, you know, frankly if you become Chief Justice, in '75, I was only fifty-three. You'll probably there, seniormost Chief Justice after five seven years... very good chances of coming to the Supreme Court. So I told, myself- you know, Chief, I read American law journals and American law. I remember reading Justice Douglas name, I remember... Justice Frankfurter name, Justice Holmes name. None of them became Chief Justice. I don't remember Chief Justice names. So, that might change nothing, if I have no work, I'll feel very bad. So will you please excuse me. So I told him no. Came back, and in the evening, Mr Gokhale was then the Law Minister.

( The word, 'Read' is in the present tense.)

37:00 - Hmm.


I didn't know him very well, but after coming here, I had met number of times. He was also, you know, also worked as a labour... lawyer in Bombay. So, here some of those pro-Soviet Union meetings and others, I had occasion to meet him. And my socialist background. So somehow he told me, he said, Sachar, tell me, you have refused to go to Sikkim? Maine kaha, yes, Gokhale sahab, woh … Chief had called me and I said no. He said what do you mean Chief had called you – I had asked him. I had asked him to call you. .. normal protocol, that if Judge has to be asked, he has to be asked Chief Justice. I really want you to go. I said, Gokhale sahab, I don't like going there. We are setting up headquarters, what will I do there, yaar? I have so many days yet to go. I mean... … He said, no, Sachar, I want you to go because, see it's a very delicate state, Sikkim. And... I want somebody to go not only for Judiciary side but with little political background, who understand the sensibilities. And I don't want to take a chance. Because, you know...? Sikkim –
- Yes.


- because, you know, annexation had become very controversial. So I told him, I said, Gokhale sahab, it's like this, if you're very keen. I won't go as permanent Chief Justice, I'll go only as acting Chief Justice. And you will keep my seat in Delhi High Court vacant so if I'm acting Chief Justice, I can be brought back as a Judge. Again. He said yes. And I said my family's staying in Delhi, he said, yes, that all will be looked into. Your house will remain with you, your family will remain. Nothing will disturb you. You just need to go for six months and set up the High Court. So I said I'll go as acting. So I went as acting there.
39:25 - So you'd gone in...? Which month in '75?
- Uhh... Seventy-five... April, probably. And, after a month or so, I was coming back to Delhi for a short break, because there was a break there. And I... heard this news of... election results when I was traveling back from Sikkim to... this place. So... that was, we were closed off for five weeks … nothing much, stayed on … Then, after four weeks, or so I was to go back. And, by a coincidence... I was traveling to Calcutta – you see the way to Sikkim was- there was no air. One had to go to Calcutta, then from Calcutta, one had to go by road. So... I was going there, on twenty-fifth of June. '75.
40:28 - Oh!
Traveling by- to Calcutta and the next morning I was to go to Sikkim. And uhh... I was traveling and behind me was uhh, Mr Ray. Siddh-
- Siddharth Shankar Ray.
- Haan. Siddharth Shankar Ray. And his secretary. With me were sitting some acquaintance from Bengal. So nothing, just going ahead and uhh, in-between some hostess came and told Mr. Siddharth Ray, Siddharth Ray got up, went to the cockpit then came back. And then said something to his secretary in Bengali. So my acquaintance was sitting with me and knew Bengali. So he just asked, he says, Siddharth sahab, can emergency be declared?
- (Snicker)
- no. Can emergency be declared a second time? Now why he said was because we had declared emergency in '62 – Chinese time.
41:39 - The external emergency.
- That was still in force. So I said, no we have already emergency of '62, so I don't understand. I said why're you asking. He says, Siddharat was saying his secretary, that I was supposed to stay on in Calcutta for some time. But I've been asked by Indiraji to come back the next day, so please … back. And... at that time, frankly, it didn't register much. … … -not emergency, was to stay here, but I have now been asked to come back. Immediately. So that didn't convey anything much, didn't bother. But when I got up in the morning, it was all news that it was the twenty-sixth of June. Emergency had been declared in the night, midnight, you know, on twenty-sixth of June...
42:39 Big shock for you at that time or was it something you'd been expecting?
- Of course, of course. It was all a shock, I mean... one didn't expect that ki... Because everybody was thinking... what'll happen... … … -I was caught up. So I went to Sikkim because my courts had opened at that time. And of course, by that time, there was no communication, nothing to come...
43:17 Was there press of any significance – were there newspapers in Sikkim, local papers that were active at all?
- No, nothing. Nothing at all. One knew because, after all, things spread. And then, when they brought emergency properly, that, of course, was published. So those things were new. So, there after some time- I mean, didn't have TV. Only thing was radio, TV... radio. And our Delhi Doordarshan wasn't very strong so normally turn to BBC. And one day I was sitting... at home, switch on the BBC and they said famous journalist Mr Kuldip Nayar has been taken...
44:13 - Arrested.


So, I couldn't tell you, from the next day... didn't contact... after all. I again telephoned my house and my son picked up the phone. So I asked him, I said... my son et cetera called Kuldip, 'papa', because... Maine kaha woh papa ko... - have they taken papa? So he says, yes, daddy. Not only papa, our grandpa also. Now what had happened was... we were staying in (?)*- official house. Used to be... during emergency, (?), they'd given the guard. Guard used to be outside. Now I rang up my … mother. And – in the morning. And I asked, I said, have they taken father, she said yes, they've taken father in the morning. Now... a small, little thing. How... every person behaves. They came at about one or two. The (?) police station people. Since there used to be guard at my house... this was his bedroom and outside was a covered verandah. So they used to sit inside because... So those poor people told them, look... he's sleeping, he normally gets up morning four or five. So please why don't you come at that time. And those people understood the humanity of it. Then came at five and took him to... uhm... Tihar Jail. So when he told me, I naturally came back. I wanted, achha, when I came back after two-three days, I was told that he's been taken to Ambala Jail. He was kept here for just two days and then taken to Ambala Jail. In Punjab. So I wanted naturally to see him. And Brahmananda Reddy was then the Home Minister. From Andhra Pradesh. When my father was the Governor, he was also the Home Minister there.

* (Can't make out)

46:53 Okay. Hmm.






And the family had very good relation. You see, Brahmananda Reddy's wife, there was lot of age difference there. Because in Andhra Pradesh, there's a strong custom... that you marry your niece. Maternal uncle marries the niece. So she was the niece. So there was a big age difference. I mean she was my wife's age group, my sister's age group. … … -friendly. Even when he came here as Home Minister, he probably came to see father couple of times. Before emergency, of course. His wife used to come quite often with my wife. So I rang up Brahmananda, I said, sir I want to see my father. And because you required a pass, permission. So he told me frankly, he said he's there, I'm sorry. I can't. I have no power. All this is now being looked after by Om Mehta, Minister for … And... I said I told, one MP please talk to him because I don't know Om Mehta. Well, for two-three days, nothing happened. Now I before I go to the next, I'll tell you what happened. When my father was picked up, he had written a letter, a couple of days earlier. I'll give you that letter also. To Indira Gandhi. Saying that you all people – Congress people, were … … -social work in Lajpat Bhawan et cetera, are very much depressed at you depriving* press censorship. At press censorship – because emergency. And we remember pandit Nehru's phase, where pandit Nehru had said, even if press is irresponsible, I would much rather free have press than others. And we are very unhappy – we're not saying anything about your emergency, but we're very unhappy towards this press censorship. And we, therefore, old Congress people, (?) are saying that if you do not lift the censorship, next by month or so. We will hold satygraha and fast. At the doorstep. So when he had written that letter, you know Pramod Chandan(?), was a big MP. Was- used to be with father. He was very old Congress-man, right from student's... And he got that letter, and naturally felt upset that this thing – so he talked to Musafar(?), who had been president of Congress, also the Chief Minister of Punjab, at that time was MP. Toh he said, Musafir sahab, why don't you talk to... So, he talked to Musafir sahab and said, Musafir sahab, I think you should talk to Indira Gandhi. And tell her that, such and such, from Punjab et cetera. And if these people go on satyagraha, not a good thing. So you talk to her, get her permission, and you and I will go and talk to him and see. So... Mr Musafir said … … -in the evening and... so he told, Indira Gandhi says – it's okay we'll talk to him. So he rang up my house and my mother picked up the phone. So he asked him, used to call uncle chachaji-chachiji. Zara chachaji ko dijiye telephone. So he said, bete, unko toh subah police pakad ke le gayi hai.

* (best guess)

(Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir?)

(telephone interruption)

- Okay, he'd already been arrested while this was going on.





-… this is where, immediate dishonesty of Indira Gandhi... Musafar talks to him, says, in the afternoon, in parliament, shall I talk to Sachar sahab? Because of this letter. And try to persuade him this way or that way. And she says yes. And, fact of the matter is, right in the morning, father had been picked up. It's possible to believe, you know, pick up my father without getting clearance from Indira Gandhi. There must be lawlessness I know but there is not that lawlessness that ...deputy commissioner or lieutenant governor of Delhi will pick up... him. You know... and... Similarly, Kuldip must have told you how she tried to put up a story when... Then we filed a petition in the High Court. Mr Tarkunde was... on behalf of both... Kuldip and my father. So it came up in front of the bench Justice Rangarajan presiding, so he heard it and he was so particular that he wrote the judgment with the own hand. Didn't dictate. Because feeling that naturally, you know... from and then he, fixed a day for judgment. Now however particular you may be, he's written with hand and now says private consultation, somehow uhh... The government came to know that he's going to assert the Habeas Corpus and order the release. Father, of course, had been released earlier. I mean he was kept in jail for a long time, month or so, then because of the public... whatever things had subsided, so government only... released him, saying because of his old... but Kuldip they hadn't released. So, I don't know whether Kuldip told you but, district magistrate went to see him in jail. Tihar. And Kuldip was called there. He thought why has this man come to me. What he tells him is, Nayar Sahab, Mrs Gandhi is very upset. She did not know that you had been arrested and kept in jail. Now because- next day they wrote to... And what had happened was, that a day earlier, having come to know, they had gone to the court. And said, sir, don't announce the judgment because we have decided to release him, a day earlier. But Justice Rangarajan was very particular, he felt that this is breach in the sense, we have a tradition that matter is before a judge, and you want to take any action against the accused, release him or whatever, you must inform the judge. He said, no, if you had wanted to release him, you should have told me earlier. You can't do it, I have the kept the matter for announcing of judgements, so I'll announce the judgment. So they went to him earlier to sort of... … Of course, then went after Justice Rangarajan, transferred him to Assam, treated him very shabbily... when father was kept in Ambala Jail … how I went to see him. Now when I got this old thing... - You see jails are under our district judges. Jail... the head of jail of a district judge. So... though I was in Delhi, I had practiced all my time in Punjab. So the district judge there, I knew him... junior, very much particular, his father was an MLA when my father was an MLA. So knew his family so I telephoned him. I said, look, I want to see father and... he said, no problem, because he was a tough guy. He was such a tough guy, I remember that when I went, like this, our gate is there, this is very far off... … before you reach his, it'll be where the bazaar is. So I stopped my car outside, I had taken my PA with me. And matlab, when I was going to enter, I saw, … six-seven people standing there inside. So sent my PA inside. I said, please go and see, what is this, so he came back he says the district judge had... got a reception by armed guards for you. (laugh) So I sent it back … I don't like these things. I haven't come – please … So then I went and saw father. Father was used to these things... been to jail. So it was alright, he had somehow … uh? Haan... So met him for... (laugh) One of the ironies was, when he was sent to jail – it was a newly built jail and the inauguration of this jail was done by Shri Bhimsen Sachar, Chief Minister of Punjab.
57:31 (laughs)
(laughs) … so after...
He built his own jail.
(laughs) So then brought him back...
57:47 But did you feel very angry at the time?


See, angry...? In the sense of political – yes. But being in the jail, from a personal point of view was nothing. Because we were used to going to the jail. We were brought up in certain circumstances. I mean, we were to... expect this and... for father to have written the letter, it was quite common to me that he would write. And I... vaguely that time also thought of resigning. But then, somehow Mr Tarkunde and Mr Soli Sorabjee persuaded and said, Rajinder you can resign if you're very persistent but, do you realise, this is what the government wants. They want you out of judiciary. (laugh) So... that time were very bad times in the sense that there was a panic. I know some of my government friends, who used to tell me, that they were boycotted by some of the other chamchas because they were independent also. And I had at some point dealt with Maruti... Car. I'd had not agreed to give a clearance because of the defects. And the government...
- Went after...
- keep a check on them. And then, there was – I met some of these CPI people. Tried to talk to them, I said please, let us protest, what is this. Response was … no good. And those who were there, they were all in fear. I mean, it was a very disappointing atmosphere … that one felt...
59:43 - But how did your conflict then develop? How did the conflict between you and the government proceed leading up to your transfer?






- No. … nothing … - I was there... -there was no conflict in the sense that I was there. I mean conflict only was that how people behaved. For example, when I landed at Jaipu-… Jodhpur, where the headquarters of the High Court was – I mean the normal course, you know, of course, the registrar had come officially – that's the... But there was only one lawyer who was briefed, Mr Mridul was his name. He was left-CPI oriented. He just came to receive me. (laugh) Haan... … … I'll tell you how it happened-developed later on... So I was at Jodhpur, I hadn't taken my family. … … I hadn't taken my car because frankly, at that time, we weren't provided cars. And didn't mind, I used to cycle to High Court. (laugh) … … I went there, the usual thing whatever it is. … … genuine outsiders. But, nothing, in my position, … (?) … so, in the normal course, after some time – this is where it came that, uhh, our... You see, we – only headquarters at that time was Jodhpur. Then there was a very big demand at Jaipur to open a separate bench. So by January, they agreed that we will have a separate bench at Jaipur. So, our Chief Justice was Mr Tyagi. Tyagi, he an old Congress man and …(?). So I went to him and told him, uhh... Chief, I said, Chief, you have to sent two-three people. As a separate to Jaipur. And frankly, my... family, as you know is at Delhi. I haven't brought them here. But they have to now come. My daughters, children are at studying age, so if you have no objection... and I was quite senior, in that sense, third or fourth senior. Just consider sending me. So I must say, he was a good fellow, toh he said, yes, Sachar, I'll post you at Jaipur. So at Jaipur, when we.. went. We went, it opened in January. So we were put up in – I mean there was no house at that time. I don't believe. At that time, there was the old... circled house. That was an old one. Not the new one which they have now built very well. Hardly this room … … uhh... There.. See, Justice (?) was another person from Madhya Pradesh High Court who had been transferred to Jodhpur. And he was not family – other family was there. So we became quite close... there. I used to cycle for my evening walk till-to his house … So he was also staying there at that time. So I went in the evening, just for a talk and he told me, he said, Sachar... No, we'd got a... circular, saying that Mr Gokhale was to inaugurate our High Court. So we got a circular from the High Court saying that Mr Gokhale is coming in the morning. And, all the Chief Justice and judges are to receive him at the airport. So when I read the... (?) was also staying there, I went to him. He was the senior most in the set, next to the Chief Justice. And I told Sayan*, I said, Sayan, look... uhh.. I am not going to receive him. This is not about … Chief Justice don't receive ever. And, frankly, earlier to that I must tell you, that in October or so, Indira Gandhi, was visiting Sikkim. And I'd just come home from the High Court when a newspaper man just rang me up – ah!, I rang up- Or he came to see me. You know I used to call these newspaper people, just to gupshup. In Sikkim

(Sound obstructed by vacuum cleaner)

Name inaudible.

* (Best guess.)

- In Gangtok.



- I'm talking about October '75. And he says, sir. … … Indira Gandhi's coming here, and you and Governor and Chief Minister are to receive her at airport somewhere. I said, I am not. I don't know. Because, I frankly didn't know that she was coming. I said, I am not. I said, who told you this? He says the Governor told me. I met him and he told us the programme. So I rang up the Governor. As a matter of fact I went and – No I... telephoned him, so I said, Mr Governor I hear that she's coming. You said that, three of us are to receive her. He said yes-yes. I said, Mr Governor, I'm not receiving her. Chief Justice doesn't receive the Prime Minister. This is not our tradition. Because Chhabra when he was the Chief Minister, I think that, somebody came from outside and he was advised to receive him he said no, I'm not receiving. I said, Chief Minister, even when the- even when, when the President- when the Prime Minister come, we don't go – this is not... He said no-no. I said you check up on the protocol. But I am in any case not going, and apart from that, uhh... that's fine. And, this was another lame excuse I put because I was not … said when he's gone there. Said it is not our working day, it is High Court. But I decided that Saturdays will be working. (laugh) To be very frank, this was a little self-mischief. In the sense, you know we had to work two hundred and... ten days. So if I kept Saturday, though I had opposed Saturday, being working day when I was in Delhi. Because this was our own tradition, right from Lahore, they said it was not a working day. And some friends wanted it, I said no-no... we'll not have. But there... I don't mind confessing, out of sheer mischief I said, we will have – And the simple reason was, this meant fifty-two extra working days. Which means fifty-two more holidays I could declare. (laugh)


- It was a very self centered thought on me... … but I had that excuse. So I said it's my working day also and I'm not. So then he- I went down to see … … he said, yes, probably but you can come in case – I said no, I'm not going. So I didn't receive her. But since she was spending there and the Governor had given a party, and also supposed to be meeting, I had to follow a certain protocol which was to fix a meeting of the Chief Justice with Indira Gandhi. She was staying at the Governor's… So I went there. I must say, she was very polite. She probably wasn't informed, she was five-seven minutes late. and, but… apologised. I had ten minutes meeting with her, there was nothing much to talk but what I had intended to say was because when I went there, I found there was no work. And, as a matter of fact, they had even thought, of transferring some of their – You see, some of their work, which was no good, the- every state used to have privy council. What they called privy council. The privy council was, the States were independent of India. Prior to '47. Prior to '47, the states were...
- the Princely states.
- independent.
- Yes.


So they used to have their High Court and then they used to have their own privy council. Which was nothing else but some High Court judge from … So the- when I went, Gokhale had told me that we will be... transferring all those High Court matters, of course, to your High Court. But privy council matters, we will be transferring to our Supreme Court. So I went there, I looked at them. And those privy council matters were tuppence. They were matters which our district judges had been … happening. So I wrote to Gokhale, I said please don't do it. I mean, it's a mockery of transferring these matters there. And, frankly, I am the one … because, at least these thirty-forty … will add up. To some kind of a … So I got a – order passed by the government of India saying that those privy council matters will be heard. So I told Mrs Gandhi, I said, … there's no work here. And there's going to be no work here for a long time to come. My suggestion is – because you see, there was a dispute … between Calcutta... Calcutta had uhh... you know, lot of this Gorkha population. Calcutta has a portion of Lamping which is now which is now Gorkhland, Darjeeling.
- Haan. Not Bengal, Darjeeling, Kalimpong... yeah.
01:10:35 - Kalimpong et cetera. And so they were... So I said, for that reason I understand, it can't become a part of Assam. I mean it can't becaue a part of Calcutta so you can have it that Assam judge comes on circle, just as we used to send when there was not much work in Delhi from Punjab. Delhi High Court was formed only in '67. Prior to that, Punjab used to have jurisdiction over this and we used to send – only in '55, it was three judges on a circuit. SO kindly do that. But I found she hadn't uhh...
- Grasped it.
- ...frankly I think ...bother me these things and she didn't so after minutes, I came back.
- And you had no frank discussion. It wasn't a situation where you were going to talk to her frankly about situation in the country of emergency –






- ...no, she didn't talk. No she didn't talk to me anything. She only – I mean, it was a formal thing. I had... , I talked to her. But I found her reaction – I was hoping that she'll probably want to know more because I told her this also. I said, Mr … if you want to take this stand, I have no doubt that the States will separate at that time. Because I said, later on, once it is established permanently, it can be very difficult. Then the local patriotism will come. … But she somehow didn't follow it up. So I … Next evening`we had a uhh, meeting, the … Governor had thrown a day earlier, to my meeting to her, a general meeting. … … all of that. It was a big job. That's why (???)… we went there. So... he was standing at that time, talking to some people. And oh my god, … … no courtesy, nothing much. Then he asked me, have you met uhh... Sanjay Gandhi? Uhh... I said, no. He was probably at that other side. Kehta I'll go and get him mai keya please don't trouble him. He Iis busy meeting people. Don't trouble him becauase I didn't want to meet him. And I said so... probably he took the hint. Uhh, no. then probabaly, he did bring. I'm sorry. We probably, he did bring. And asked me. So Sanjay said, how are you? What is... Maine kaha, frankly I told PM's … there's no work here. Toh he said, achha hai. Maine kaha, no, we are not like politicians. (laughs) We like to do our work, we are happy. We are very unhappy here. … … there's no work but it’s alright. So then he went away. Earlier to that, I must tell you also, Governor had given a small party. Small luncheon for Mrs Gandhi. Very small in the sense... very small, so we had accompanied her. At that time. Myself, my wife, Governor and his wife and Chief Minister and his wife. So while I was talking to, mostly to... Qazi … so lunch was served on table. SO wife was sitting with the ladies, something she told me later at that time, she says, you know, uhh... Indira Gandhi has a very soft corner for Sonia. I said, how? And she told me that at the lunch buffet, it was a buffet lunch. Indira Gandhi would pick up the thing and say to Sonia, take this, try this, you know that kind of thing. (laugh) So I mean... … then it was, either I came back. I had declared holidays in December so then I came back here. And uhh, I was to go back MArch. During emergency, had been declared then and I … I told Chief, I told Gokhale, I said, you know, I have written, I have a written document so I must go for six months so will you kindly now bring me back. But I found they're reluctant, so obviously. Now by December I was to open up and emergency had been declared by June so I told – there was a, and I knew that if I go back to Sikkim, they'll keep me there for all the time. And I was unhappy not because of not being in Delhi in any case but Sikkim, there was no work at all. Horrible. So I had declared the... as on, holidays and... I had – I had had a heart-attack in '70.

Vacuum cleaner sound.

Sound obscured.

01:16:08 - Ohh?
When I had hardly come to Delhi, I had a heart-attack, in '71. In '71, I had a heart-attack... –
- My goodness. Haan?



- … and I spent about three weeks in … (?)ing. So I was a heart patient in that sense. But not that thing that I couldn't go to … (laugh) so frankly, … ask me very openly. I mean, it wasn't, kind of a situation where possibly, from my point of view, I could not be at Sikkim. Though it was at a height. I mean it was … – I'll be very honest about it. But I knew these people had to be dealt with in a manner they were dealing. So I wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, to the lords, saying, I have... my holidays are finishing in December, … because I had declared in December, I'll come back... three months holiday. So March even came, I used to meet Chief Justice some often asking that, where are you...posting me now? Put me back to Delhi. And he used to prevaricate. So I … when my term came by by March, to open up, I said, I wrote to both of them saying, I'm a heart patient and... doctors had advised, broadly that's... I'm not advised to be at a place like Sikkim, for long period, therefore I'm *informing you that unless I'm transferred, to Delhi, I'm not going back. High Court, of course I'm opening, I have given instruction, if there's any matter, they've to be sent to me here. And I did hear one or two matters here. But... that difficult, no they were not difficult... they were working out the arrangement. And I just … … tell him, Chief, what have you... Sachar, I'll tell you, you know, I mean fran... So one, you know, I met him. This was sometime in April. And... he told me that … we'll tell you about your transfer later on but, we have found a replacement, who we'll be sending there. I said, very good. He told me that he was from Punjab, who was my colleague. One of my colleagues they were sending there. So I said, well, have you decided, yes we are deciding in a couple of days. So I came home. And lo and behold, the same day or probably the next day, uhh, no. He had told me and in the afternoon, that friend of mine came from Chandigarh and telephoned and came and said, you know, I'm being sent here so I want to know from you the … So he was just sitting there, I told him. We talked just five minutes. So I rang up Chief Justice. India. This gentleman, my friend had come and told me that he had come from Chief Justice house, who had told him – I had written to him earlier, because he had written to him earlier and he got his consent to be transferred. With his consent, of course, because he couldn't become Chief Justice otherwise. So he was happy to go and retire as Chief Justice.

Sound obstructed.

01:19:57 - Okay.
- So I telephoned Chief Justice, I said, Chief, have you found any replacement? And you know, such was his temperament, I don't know. I feel very bad. He was our Chief Justice. That, instead of telling me straight, that yes, Sachar, we have found one and such and such is going. He said, yes, Sachar, we are looking for somebody, and we hope to find one in quite couple of days. Such was... –
01:20:27 - It had already been done.
- … manner. Or such a … disgusting behavior. He probably felt that until the government notifies... or (?) at this man, I'm a renegade. I'm a renegade, so far as the government was concerned. You know, that was the atmosphere at that point of time. They transferred my colleague from there, he's sitting with me. He's coming right from the place of Chief Justice, who's told him that you're going and he was going the next week. And on my asking, after this, he tells me that it was not – such was the panic, if the Chief Justice could … (?).
01:21:13 So, how did they finally – when- when were you informed finally that you are going to Rajasthan?
… - then, on their own, they decided to send me to Rajasthan. So... I was there... –
- And how did you feel about that at the time?
Oh, haan. What I did at that time was, uhh... After sometime, you know, I didn't have a house. So there was a house, which was a … built, good one uhh... By Jaipur... royal family. … for-for being rented out. For being rented out, not for their own private thing. Rented house. And rent was also within the reach that we could have got. So I went to uhm... Justice and told him that I'm looking around the house. My wife had come, she was staying with me in this separate house. And that's a house which I'm told my deputy registrar had asked him that, uhh... Because that other house which they wanted to give frankly not... –
01:22:26 - Very nice.


- uhh... No, not uhh, they were quite, they – nobody had occupied them and they were very out of shape and uhh... my deputy registrar informed me that the – those people, were managing that house, they had told me that, we can let it out but only for one year. Because then we may need ourselves but we want you to take and this is the rent, which was within the range. So I had told the Chief Justice. I said, Chief, woh... that house is available, I like it... that's where … So he told me, nooo... Sachar, you know that belongs to royal families, it will not be good for you to stay there. I said, I said, Chief, why? It belongs to the royal family, all that it means is … (?) … wasn't a problem. Because it’s not a demand house, it's within the range of my rental, and uhh, you know, he went on prevaricating. And then after some time, I mean, not after some time, within couple of days, I asked Sam. A. P. Sam, my colleague.* I said why is it that he's not agreeing? And do you find anything wrong with it. He said, no I don't find anything wrong. But I said, because I don't understand. I have – my family has come, I mean ...(?) … the houses they want to give me are up – absolutely no good shape. This man … off earlier, … he's willing. The (?) is within range. And I won't take any matters … (?) …

* Guess at word. Sound obscured by engine noise.

- Royal family.


- ...and then he told me. He says, I want to tell you what Chief has told me, that, when uhh, before coming... even when before coming, (?)cut in Jaipur. Chief, there, had told me sometime in September – October, that, I will uhh, send you to Jaipur. So, orders had been passed, I had been posted to Jaipur. He said...

… So I told him, that, we had passed orders that Sachar will be sitting at the (?) at Jaipur. Official orders. Sam* told me that – after- he had told me that same in October. November and December. Novermber. He had been rung up by the … Gokhale. Telling him, don't send Sachar to Jaipur.

[Interruption – not transcribed here.]

* Continuing ambiguity of name here.

- Oh.



- … and uhh, he said but I've already promised him. Toh, he got the impression that Sanjay had told him to – Gokhale – and Gokhale had passed on the word to him. But I must say, to his credit, … (?) … tough. He was an old freedom fighter also. So he said, look, I have promised him. I can't reverse that order so I'll send him. So then it struck me, when the Chief is not doing all this, uhh, it is obviously for the reason that he got this and he's in a problem, difficult. So I went to him. I cycled to him – Because, I was going on cycle there. I cycled to him and told him, Chief, you've been very nice, and uhh... Uhh... … I will, just come to you – I don't want our relations to be … that, you send me here. I said I was very reluctant to accept my transfer when this order was passed. And it's only because of these good friends. That others that I agreed. But, please... if you are, any time... any under such pressure, (bahar bithao, do mint mey aya)

If you are under any such pressure, please call me and tell me. And, I'll resign myself. I don't want you to (?)*. Because you may be under pressure, uhh, to send me back to Jodhpur. I will not go. But if you are so much under pressure... –

(minor interruption)

* ("get a plane"?) Trouble discerning.

01:27:14 - Then you can resign.


- … then, please, tell me beforehand. So, because then, I'll resign myself and you'll be saved the bother. Because you've been very nice, I don't want you to get the thing. Uhh... so probably, he got the message. (laugh). So, this I told him even before, you know, when we didn't … I told you, na, I told I'm not going to receive him? So... he said, told me why, I said – he said you'll be marked and then he told me this, and I went and told him. But I told him, I'm not going in any case, And uhh, and I said, … you may take – I'll certainly receive him when comes at the... High Court. Part of... Then, the poor chief realised, that I will not go and it will create a bad impression – passed an order. According to me, only Chief should go to receive him. He's his guest. He's our guest at the High Court. Then he passed an order saying, no judge will go to receive … (laugh) Because I said, it will look very odd, to you, that if others go and I don't go. It will be marked. And I'm not worried about being separated. But you may be... So he passed an order, no all of you will receive at the airport. And Chief so then, to cover it up. So that's how it is.
01:28:43 - Am I keeping you from...? Yeah.
- We'll stop –