On May 10, 2010, Justice Siraj Mehfuz Daud breathed his last in Nagpur. The All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan mourns the passing away of Justice Daud. At the time of his death, Justice Daud was the Vice President of Lok Raj Sangathan.
Justice Daud was a man who throughout life was devoted to justice.
He could never tolerate injustice against anyone.
All his active life he fought in defence of the rights of the exploited, the oppressed the marginalised sections of our people.
He had an immense love for people, cutting across all barriers.
He had an immense love for our country. He wanted India to be a land free from hunger, disease, poverty, malnutrition, communal and caste discrimination, and violence, and a beacon for peace and progress for the entire world.
He was born in Nagpur in a middle class cultured family on January 1, 1931.
His father was a Hakim, making traditional medicines.
He completed his MA in political science and LLB in Law from Nagpur University in 1952.
He then joined the bar as a lawyer at the young age of 21. He worked as a lawyer from August 1952 to September 1954.
As a lawyer, he used to take up the cases of workers and poor people without any fees.
He was selected as a Civil Judge and was posted in that capacity to Amravati, Gondia, Yavatmal, Hingoli, Bhiwandi and Pune from September 1954 to February 1968.
He was Promoted as an Additional District & Sessions Judge and worked in that capacity from February 1968 to July 1974 in Osmanabad, Latur, Sangli, Dhule and Jalgaon.
He served as a District and Sessions Judge – Maharashtra State from July 1974 to January 1977 and in that capacity worked at Chandrapur, Akola, Nanded.
He was deputed to the Govt. of Maharashtra where he worked as Joint Secretary, Law and Judiciary from January 1977 to November 1982 at Nagpur.
He served as an Inspecting District and Sessions Judge at Aurangabad from November 1982 to July 1985.
In July 1985 elevated as Judge, Bombay High Court.
He retired as such Judge from 1-1-l993 and was enrolled as Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India. From time to time, he argued as a Senior advocate in the Supreme Court and M. P. High Court in this period.
Justice Daud was a man who thus worked for many decades in the judicial system of India and he had a first hand knowledge of its workings.
All through his career, within the limitations posed by the system, he would try to ensure justice for the toiling masses.
He had no illussions about the system and who it served. He shared with us, his comrades and friends, so many stories about how the system actually worked in favour of the rich and powerful, against the toiling masses.
He was completely convinced that the entire political, economic and social system had to be radically overhauled, including the judicial system, so that people could be empowered.
He was an ardent fighter for ensuring that the system actually ensured constitutional guarantee with enforceable mechanisms for the human, democratic and national rights of all.
The terrible attacks on Sikhs in 1984, the Bhopal genocide, the communal massacres and terror attacks in 1992-93 and the genocide of Muslims of 2002, made Justice Daud actively work to build the alternative system.
Justice Daud was an active participant in the work of the Committee for Peoples Empowerment (CPE), founded in the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, in April 1993.
He was an active participant in the discussions in the Committee for Peoples Empowerment on the alternative to the present political system and process, so that people could be empowered.
He was increasingly convinced, with each passing day, that the people must be organised to take power into their own hands.
Justice Daud was in the Presedium in the historic conference of CPE in Pune University in 1998, which took the decision to establish Lok Raj Sangathan.
From its very inception, Justice Daud was elected as Vice President of LRS, and he continued to honour this position until his last breath.
Justice Daud was an active participant in all the meetings of the All India Council, as well as its Conventions, until continued ill health began to greatly restrict his physical movement.
Justice Daud pointed out many a times that there are many political forces who are committed to changing the system. His ardent desire was that all these political forces which claimed to work for peoples empowerment, for the the liberation of people from exploitaton and oppression, united as a single political force for the empowerment of the people.
In particular, Justice Daud expressed his sadness that communists, who were expected to show the way to the people and other pro people political forces, were themselves deeply divided. This caused great pain to his heart. His ardent desire till his last breadth was that communists work together for the cause of emancipation of the people.
After his retirement as judge in 1993, Justice Daud took up with redoubled vigour, the cause dearest to his heart — the defense of the rights of the people.
Innumerable are the peoples tribunals that he has led or participated in, to expose the anti people activities of the state.
He was a part of the International Human Rights Commission Tribunal inquiring into Communal Rioting in Mumbai in 1992-93.
He was a part of the International Human Rights Commission Tribunal inquiring into Firing in Ramabai Colony, Mumbai.
He was part of the International Human Rights Commission Tribunal inquiring Stampede of Gowaris Meet in Nagpur.
He was part of the International Human Rights Commission Tribunal inquiring into Demolitions of Slums in Mumbai.
He was part of the International Human Rights & Environmental Commissions inquiring Plight of Narmada oustees in M.P., Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Regarding the Bhopal gas tragedy, he explained so many years ago to us how then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and the entire government machinery in Center and Madhya Pradesh, had deliberately ensured that Warren Anderson, the head of Union Carbide, was allowed to escape from India.
Justice Daud’s work in the different commissions have aided the formulation of the Post-Graduate course in Human Rights for the Mumbai University. AS a visiting faculty, he regularly gave lectures on Human Rights
Comrades and friends
Our everlasting memory of Justice Daud will be as a quite smiling personality, with great love for the people of our country, for justice.
Justice Daud saw in Lok Raj Sangathan hope and inspiration that at last an organisation is being built that is committed to building an India where people will be empowered and the human rights of all will be guaranteed.
The fitting tribute to Justice Daud is to build LRS with redoubled vigour.
Let us stand in silence in memory of Justice Daud.