The Supreme Court of India today passed a landmark verdict declaring right to privacy as a Fundamental Right. The bench comprising of nine judges unanimously ruled that right to privacy is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Interestingly, Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the nine honourbale judges on the bench, has overruled a judgment authored by his father Justice YV Chandrachud in the famous ADM Jabalpur v/s Shivakant Shukla case of 1975.
In this case, the issue before the court was whether an order issued by the President under Article 359(1) of the Constitution suspends the right of every person to move any Court for the enforcement of the right to personal liberty under Article 21 upon being detained under a law providing for preventive detention.
The question was simple: Despite the Presidential proclamation, can the High Court entertain a writ of habeas corpus filed by a person challenging his detention? All High Courts that had answered the question, had done so in the affirmative
Against the unanimous decision of the High Courts, four of the five senior most Hon’ble Justices of the Supreme Court thought it fit to rule otherwise. They were the then Chief Justice A.N. Ray, along with Justices M.H. Beg, Y.V. Chandrachud and P.N. Bhagwati.
Justice YV Chandrachud had said that the the right to personal liberty has no hallmark and “therefore when the right is put in action it is impossible to identify whether the right is one given by the Constitution or is one which existed in the pre-Constitution era.”
Overruling his father, on Thursday, Justice DY Chandrachud said that judgments rendered by all four judges in the majority verdict in ADM Jabalpur case were ‘seriously flawed.’
“Life and personal liberty are inalienable to human existence. These rights are, as recognized in Kesavananda Bharati, primordial rights. They constitute rights under natural law. The human element in the life of the individual is integrally founded on the sanctity of life,” Justice DY Chandrachud said, as he wrote the historic judgment on Right to Privacy.