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Chandrachud vs Chandrachud: SC judge who overruled father on right to privacy

Justice DY Chandrachud set aside the opinion of his father, Justice YV Chandrachud, in the controversial ADM Jabalpur case of 1976, saying it was seriously flawed.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2017 08:10 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Supreme Court,Right to privacy,Chandrachud
The judge overturned two previous verdicts on the hotly debated subject and overruled another judgment often described as the darkest hour in Indian judiciary.(AP file)

Justice DY Chandrachud wrote the lead verdict in the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment on Thursday that declared right to privacy integral to the Constitution.

His conclusions got the backing of three members of the nine-judge bench — Chief Justice JS Khehar, Justice RK Agrawal and Justice SA Nazeer.

The judge overturned two previous verdicts on the hotly debated subject and overruled another judgment often described as the darkest hour in Indian judiciary.

In doing so he set aside the opinion of his father, Justice YV Chandrachud, in the controversial ADM Jabalpur case.

The senior Chandrachud was among four out of five judges who in 1976 upheld a presidential order to impose Emergency in the country. The Congress was in power then.

The presidential order suspended the rights of a person to approach a court for enforcement of rights conferred by Article 14, 21 and 22 of the Constitution during the Emergency period.

There was only one dissenting opinion, which was written by Justice HR Khanna.

“The judgments rendered by all the four judges constituting the majority in ADM Jabalpur are seriously flawed. Life and personal liberty are inalienable to human existence. They constitute rights under natural law,” said Chandrachud, striking a discordant note in the privacy verdict.

“Dignity is associated with liberty and freedom. No civilized state can contemplate an encroachment upon life and personal liberty without the authority of law. Neither life nor liberty are bounties conferred by the state, nor does the Constitution create these rights,” he said, agreeing with Khanna’s views in 1976.

He was supported by Justice RF Nariman and Justice SK Kaul.

“I fully agree with the view expressly overruling the ADM Jabalpur case, which was an aberration in the constitutional jurisprudence of our country and the desirability of burying the majority opinion ten fathom deep, with no chance of resurrection,” Kaul said.

Nariman expressed similar opinion.

“We are of the view that the aforesaid statement made by the learned author reflects the correct position in constitutional law. We, therefore, expressly overrule the majority judgments in ADM Jabalpur,” he said.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 19:40 IST