SC judge upholding privacy as fundamental right overrules father's 'habeas corpus' verdict during Emergency

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in a discordant note stated that the judgments rendered by the four judges in the ADM Jabalpur case were seriously flawed.

Published: 24th August 2017 06:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2017 06:09 PM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer

For representational purposes

By Online Desk

As the Supreme Court pronounced the landmark judgement that Right to Privacy is a fundamental right, one of the judges in the nine-judge constitution bench, D.Y. Chandrachud in a discordant note overruled an earlier judgement authored by his father Justice Y.V. Chandrachud in the ADM Jabalpur v Shivakant Shukla case.

According to a Livelaw report, Justice D.Y.Chandrachud in the discordant note stated that the judgments rendered by four judges, including his father, constituting the majority in the ADM Jabalpur case were seriously flawed and noted "ADM Jabalpur must be and is accordingly overruled. We also overrule the decision in Union of India v Bhanudas Krishna Gawde213, which followed ADM Jabalpur."

The ADM Jabalpur v Shivakant case popularly known as Habeas Corpus case is a hugely debated one for the verdict where a five-judge constitutional bench declared that under emergency provisions no
one could seek the assistance of any court in the country to try and save his liberty, life or limb threatened to be taken away by the State. 

During the Emergency period in 1975, many people were arrested under preventive detention and several cases were filed in the courts against it. Various High Courts ruled that even during Emergency the courts could entertain a writ of habeas corpus filed by a person challenging his/her detention.

The Government challenged the decision of the High Courts and a five-judge constitution bench was convened to hear the matter in the apex court.

On April 28th, 1976,  four of the judges including, Justice YV  Chandrachud,  held that “Liberty is confined and controlled by law, whether common law or statute. It is in the words of Burke a regulated freedom. It is not an abstract or absolute freedom. The safeguard of liberty is in the good sense of the people and in the system of representative and responsible government which has been evolved. If extraordinary powers are given, they are given because the emergency is extraordinary, and are limited to the period of the emergency.” 

In the discordant note in today's Right to Privacy judgement, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud noted that Life and personal liberty are inalienable to human existence. These rights are, as recognised in Kesavananda Bharati, primordial rights. They constitute rights under natural law.

Reflecting on a decision of the US Supreme Court upholding the imprisonment of a citizen in a concentration camp solely because of his Japanese ancestry as a judicial decision that should have never been, DY Chandrachud overruled the ADM Jabalpur case judgement.

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