In an apparent rebuff to Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena on the issue of North Indians, the Supreme Court has 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 apex court deplored the growing tendency of some sections in indulging in violence on issues that they differed on.
"These days unfortunately some people seems 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 apex court said, "this Bharat Mata has....crores of faces! But her body is one. She speaks 18 languages! But her thought is one."
The apex court made the stinging observations while upholding the Gujarat Government's decision to ban sale of meat for nine days during a Jain festival.
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