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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Terror cases may curb freedom: SC

The apex court says 'certain freedoms may be interfered with' in terror related cases, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2007 22:58 IST
Satya Prakash
Satya Prakash

Holding that Parliament can not make laws abridging fundamental rights that form part of basic structure, the Supreme Court has said "certain freedoms may justifiably be interfered with" in terrorism related cases.

The court said the validity of a law violating fundamental rights and placed in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution can be tested on the basis of its "effect and impact" on the fundamental rights to determine whether it destroys the basic structure. If it does, the law can be struck down as unconstitutional.

However, the nine-judge Constitution Bench clarified that "if freedom, for example, is interfered with in cases relating to terrorism, it does not follow that the same test can be applied to all the offences."

Upholding Parliament's power under Article 368 to amend the Constitution, the court had in the Keshwanand Bharati case in 1973 ruled that Parliament could not alter the basic features of the Constitution.

The latest ruling means that an anti-terror law abridging fundamental rights and placed in the Ninth Schedule can survive judicial scrutiny.

"Whether the impact of such amendments results in violation of basic structure has to be examined with reference to each individual case," it said.

On the contrary, the court cited the example of freedom of press, "which though not separately and specifically guaranteed, has been read as part of Article 19(1)(a) (individual's right to freedom of speech and expression)".

"If Article 19(1)(a) is sought to be amended so as to abrogate such right, the acceptance of Centre's contention would mean that such amendment would fall outside the judicial scrutiny when the law curtailing these rights is placed in the Ninth Schedule…," it said but expressed the hope that it would never happen.

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First Published: Jan 14, 2007 22:58 IST

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