Talaq, Privacy and Dhongi Baba: Justice has been served

The Indian Judiciary has restored the country’s confidence by passing three milestone judgements.

Within the span of seven days, the judiciary delivered three notable decisions in three cases that held the nation’s attention. On August 22, 2017, the Supreme Court struck down the Instant Triple Talaq practice, on August 24, 2017, it announced that Right to Privacy IS a Fundamental Right. To top it all, the CBI court in Panchkula indicted self-styled God-man, Gurmeet Ram Rahim in for the rape of two girls.

The landmark judgement against Instant Talaq, was a much-awaited ruling in favour of Muslim women all across India. A special bench heard the case, comprising Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice RF Nariman, Justice UU Lalit, and Justice Abdul Nazeer, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar. This decision did ruffle a few patriarchal feathers, but gave women the rights they they are to enjoy under the constitution.

This was not the only Democratic decision passed by the SC. Despite the current Government’s clear-cut saying that ‘Citizens do not have absolute right over their bodies’, the Court ruled that Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right, thereby giving people of the country the right over their lives and bodies.

The case was heard by Chief Justice JS Khehar, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice SA Bobde, Justice RK Agrawal, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.

 

This judgment was steps ahead of the previous verdicts announced in the cases of MP Sharma (1958) and Kharak Singh (1961). These cases were similar as they discussed in length that the Indian Constitution does not protect an individual’s right to privacy.

The Dera Sacha Sauda Chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape, despite the 20,000 protestors standing by him outside the court. The supporters of this ‘Baba’, set public and private property on fire, causing the deaths of 29 people and injuring over 250.

On August 28, 2017, Gurmeet Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in prison, 10 years for each of the two rapes committed.

These judgments bring much-needed sense of hope and justice to India.

 

Congress invites Right to Privacy decision, says Center’s endeavor to control privacy stands rejected

The choice to offer ideal protection a status of being a central right is notable. This is the primary such important choice taken in light of a legitimate concern for the privileges of a person The Congress welcomes this verdict. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, “we welcome this decision as this is the biggest decision on freedom of an individual”.

Tending to the media after the pinnacle court’s decision, Congress pioneer and previous union minister P.Chidambaram said today we can once again celebrate our freedom as this verdict is a setback to the government.

The Supreme Court today overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgment and held that the Right to Privacy is a major directly under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, in a consistent choice (of the nine-judge seat).

The decision was given when the nine-judge Constitution seat of the pinnacle court continued the hearing looking into the issue on thursday morning. Following this, a five-judge sacred seat will choose whether the Aadhar damages the Right to Privacy or not. The Supreme Court, earlier on August 2, had reserved its judgment over the issue of whether right to privacy is fundamental or not.

Sources- HT, Firstpost

Allow cops to raid homes if citizens possess beef: Maharashtra to SC

In another bizzare move that could spark yet another controversy, the Maharashtra government has appealed to the Supreme Court for the revival of a provision that makes possession of beef (cow, bullocks and buffalo) at home from outside the state illegal.

A law, Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was struck down by the Bombay High Court that allowed any police officer to stop and search any person suspected of possessing beef slaughtered outside Maharashtra. It also empowered the police to carry raids in the suspect’s houses.

The keyword being suspect, it would be important to note that this move from the state government comes right when the Supreme Court concluded that right to privacy is not a fundamental right but a part of right to personal liberty.

Joachim Colaco, trustee of the United Christian Community Centre told the Hindustan Times that they would certainly go by the rules, but this was certainly not the right way.

Last year the Bombay High Court struck down the law in a strongly worded 245 page judgement, the court believed that the law was an intrusion into a citizen’s home and preventing from possessing and eating the food of his choice.

News Source: Hindustan Times, Huffington Post

Image Source: Reuters

Right to Privacy: An unenumerated right or an absolute right?

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court which was setup to look into the issue of Aadhar Card and it’s infringement into Right to Privacy said that Privacy is not an absolute right.

Justice Chelameswar called the term privacy an ‘amorphous’ term, while Justice Chandrachud, another member of the 9 member bench, mentioned that we need to know the ‘contours’, ‘contents’ and ‘obligations’ under the definition of privacy, to the petitioners.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, who was representing the Centre, said that there was a reason why the Constitution makers did “consciously avoid” putting Right to Privacy under the Constitution.

The petitioners represented by senior lawyers Gopal Subramanium, Soli Sorabjee, Shyam Divan and Arvind Datar, said that Right to Privacy can be derived from Article 21 i.e. Right to Liberty.

Lawyer Sorabjee even compared Privacy with Freedom of Press saying that Freedom of Press has also been derived as an unenumerated right under Article 19 (1) i.e. Right to Freedom of Expression. As many as 30 rights have been taken from existing rights as unenumerated rights, as reported by Scroll.

The court would also be hearing the petitioners on Thursday, July 20, 2017 before reserving their judgement.

News Sources- The Hindu, NDTV 

Privacy, not “Absolute”, observes SC

The nine judge bench of the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday observed that Right to Privacy is not absolute and cannot prevent the states from imposing reasonable restrictions on its citizens.

The case was heard by a nine-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar. The rest of the bench included Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agarwal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

The bench yesterday examined the lack of right to privacy in the fundamental rights questioning the government’s apparent effort to make the unique identification number Aadhaar a must for subsidised service; it today noted that ‘right to privacy’ itself was an “amorphous” term, reports The Hindu.

In a packed courtroom today, Justice Chandrachud questioned the petitioners’ plea of right to privacy being non-negotiable “If people have put themselves in the public realm using technology, is that not a surrender of their right to privacy”.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan representing the petitioner submitted that at the current age and date a person should have their own right to “informational self-determination”. He further argued that a person should also have the legal right to be in control of how much data to put forward and not compelled to.

In reply, Justice Chandrachud observed that right to privacy cannot be linked to data protection and instead of focussing on privacy, steps need to be taken to give statutory recognition to data protection.

The court also said that like the freedom of the press is deduced from the constitution without there being a law about it, similarly, privacy can also be deduced from other fundamental rights as well.

These observations will have repercussions on the Adhaar issue because various petitioners in a batch of petitions to the court had earlier pointed out that collection of biometric data and the laws related to it under the Adhaar Bill is a direct violation of their privacy.

The matter now will go back to the original three judge bench to decide on the original issue.

Sources: Indian Express and NDTV