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Every right matters, balancing them can be difficult, says CJI Misra

The CJI said adjustment, acceptance, compromise and settlement comes in the ‘balancing of rights’ and for coexistence of rights “we have to balance them for the well being of mankind.”

india Updated: Sep 08, 2018 21:09 IST
Shrinivas Deshpande
Shrinivas Deshpande
Hindustan Times, Pune
Dipak Misra,Chief Justice of India,Section 377
Chief Justice Dipak Misra said while in a democratic set up, every right matters and no right is absolute.(PTI)

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, who was part of five member bench that decriminalised consensual gay sex this week, on Saturday said no right was absolute or arranged in a hierarchy, and balancing rights can sometimes be a difficult task.

Delivering the Dr Patangrao Kadam Memorial Public Lecture Series at Bharti Vidyapeeth in Pune, Misra said while in a democratic set up, every right matters and no right is absolute.

“There is no hierarchical order in rights. A particular fundamental right cannot exist in isolation,” he said, adding that everyone has a right to speak out but no one can use this right for defamation.

On the conflict between two fundamental rights, the CJI said the judgment in such cases should be based on facts of the case and the fundamental structure of Constitution.

He gave example of the euthanasia case, which he heard with four other Supreme Court judges, to demonstrate the conflict between two fundamental rights and how they can be balanced.

The court earlier this year had recognised a “living will” by a terminally-ill patient for passive euthanasia while laying down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia will be granted by the medical board.

“Everyone has a ‘right to life’ but at the same time he or she has a right to life with dignity. If he/she is unable to live with dignity because of prolonged illness, from which he/she will not overcome then in such cases he/she has right to die with dignity. This is what balancing of rights mean.” Mishra said.

The CJI said adjustment, acceptance, compromise and settlement comes in the ‘balancing of rights’ and for coexistence of rights “we have to balance them for the well being of mankind.”

The lecture was also attended by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Supreme Court justice AM Khanwilkar, acting chief justice of Bombay high court Naresh Patil, chancellor of Bharati Vidyapeeth Shivajirao Kadam and secretary of Bharati Vidyapeeth Vishwajeet Kadam.

First Published: Sep 08, 2018 20:44 IST