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Supreme Court Declares Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right in Indian Constitution

Previous judgements according to which Right to Privacy is not protected by the Constitution, have been over-ruled.

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Supreme Court of India has declared Right to Privacy as the fundamental right in Indian Constitution
Supreme Court of India has declared Right to Privacy as the fundamental right in Indian Constitution.Wikimedia.
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  • Nine-judge bench of the apex court has declared Right to Privacy as the fundamental right.
  • Former Karnataka High Court judge, Shri Justice KS Puttaswamy was the first one to file the petition.
  • Previous judgements on the Right to Privacy by M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh have been over-ruled.

New Delhi, August 24, 2017: In another historic judgment by Supreme Court of India, all 134 crore Indians will enjoy the right to privacy as their fundamental right.

A nine-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar unanimously declared Right to Privacy a fundamental right under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

The Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

Other members of the nine-judge constitutional bench comprised Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, S K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

Nine-judge bench today over-ruled the judgments of both eight-judge bench and six-judge bench headed by M.P. Sharma(1962) and Kharak Singh(1954) resp., which held that Right to Privacy is not protected by the Constitution.

The Right to Privacy verdict of Supreme Court is written in 547 pages. Read the verdict here: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/pdf/LU/ALL%20WP(C)%20No.494%20of%202012%20Right%20to%20Privacy.pdf

Today, the 91-year old, former Karnataka High Court judge, Shri Justice KS Puttaswamy must be relieved after hearing this historic judgment from the apex court, as he was the first one to file a writ petition against the Union of India in this case.

“Right to Privacy has assumed an uncharted flight. I never contemplated it would comprehend so many things, but the judges may write a good judgment. It will be a memorable one for him (the one writing the judgment),” said Puttaswamy.

Senior Advocates Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar, Gopal Subramanium, Meenakshi Arora, Sajan Poovayya, Soli Sorabjee and Anand Grover had appeared for various individual petitioners arguing in favor of the Right to Privacy, mentioned Bar and Bench report.

Today’s verdict does not comment on whether the government’s demand for Aadhaar to be linked to PAN card is an infringement of privacy or not. Another small bench of judges will decide upon it.

The verdict has created a huge stir in the nation. Indian National Congress has whole heartedly welcomed the judgment.

“It was on July 20, when all the petitioners had completed their arguments. Then, on July 26, the center stepped in, Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that privacy, as a fundamental right, could have been mentioned in Article 21, but has been omitted. Right to life transcends right to privacy”. Then, on August 2, the apex court reserved its judgment on the issue of whether the right to privacy is fundamental or not,” mentioned ANI report.

Finally, the clouds of suspense have been cleared. Right to Privacy is declared as a fundamental right in India.

prepared by Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter @cshivani31

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India Gets A Win, Supreme Court Decriminalizes Homosexuality

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

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Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

 In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by declaring Section 377, the penal provision which criminalised gay sex, as “manifestly arbitrary”.

In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional.

The bench said it is no longer an offence for LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community to engage in consensual sex between two adults in private.

Reading out the judgment, Chief Justice Misra said attitudes and mentality have to change to accept others’ identity and accept what they are, and not what they should be.

Homosexuality, India
LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow.
Pixabay

“It is the constitutional and not social morality which will prevail,” said the court.

The verdict sparked celebrations in the LGBTIQ community across India even as the judgment was being read out. Many of the community members who had assembled outside the apex court jumped in joy and distributed sweets.

Chief Justice Misra said consensual sex between adults in a private space, which is not harmful to women or children, cannot be denied as it is a matter of individual choice.

Section 377 will not apply to consensual same-sex acts between homosexuals, heterosexuals, lesbians, the court said, clarifying that sexual act without consent and bestiality will continue to be an offence under section 377.

“An individual has full liberty over his or her body and his or her sexual orientation is a matter of one’s choice,” said the Chief Justice.

“Time to bid adieu to prejudicial perceptions deeply ingrained in social mindset. Time to empower LGBTIQ community against discrimination. They should be allowed to make their choices,” he added.

Homosexuality, India
In separate but unanimous verdicts, a five-judge Constitution Bench struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as unconstitutional. Pixabay

 

In a concurring judgement, Justice Nariman said homosexuality is “not a mental disorder or disease”.

He said the LGBTIQ community has an equal right to live with dignity and are entitled to equal protection of law. He directed the Centre to give wide publicity to this judgment to remove the stigma attached to homosexuality.

Justice Chandrachud said to deny the LGBTIQ community their right to sexual orientation is a denial of their citizenship and a violation of their privacy.

“They cannot be pushed into obscurity by an oppressive colonial legislation… Sexual minorities in India have lived in fear, hiding as second class citizens,” said Justice Chandrachud, adding “the state has no business to intrude on such matters”.

Justice Indu Malhotra said that history owes an apology to the LGBTIQ community for all that they have suffered on account of the ignorance of the majority about homosexuality.

“LGBTIQ people have a right to live unshackled from the shadow,” she said.

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The Supreme Court verdict, which overruled its own earlier judgment, assumes significance as in the earlier round of litigation in 2013, the top court had reversed a Delhi High Court ruling decriminalising homosexuality.

The Delhi High Court bench, headed by then Chief Justice A.P. Shah, had in July 2009 legalised homosexual acts between consenting adults by overturning the 149-year-old law — finding it unconstitutional and a hurdle in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In December 2013, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya in the Suresh Kumar Koushal and another vs Naz Foundation and others case, had set aside the high court’s judgment and said that it was for the legislature to look into desirability of deleting section 377 of IPC.

The matter was subsequently resurrected in July 2016, when a fresh petition was filed by members of the LGBTIQ community — dancer N.S. Johar, journalist Sunil Mehra, chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and business executive Ayesha Kapur — which was then marked to the Constitution Bench by a Division Bench.

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The reference was made on the basis of submission that it was the first time that individuals directly affected by the provision were approaching the court.

Among the petitioners are a batch of current and former students of Indian Institutes of Technology. Claiming to represent more than 350 LGBTIQ alumni, students, staff and faculty from the IITs, the petitioners said that the existence of Section 377 had caused them “mental trauma and illnesses, such as clinical depression and anxiety and relegated some of them to second-class citizenship”. (IANS)