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‘My life is my life’: CJI Dipak Misra speaks up for privacy, says it should not be disturbed

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The Chief Justice of India reminds the state of its “solemn duty”, says its action has to be concrete, not mere rhetoric.

New Delhi: An individual’s privacy is supreme and should not be disturbed, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has said.

“My house is my castle, how can you disturb me at my home? My time is my time, my life is my life. My privacy is supreme to me,” he said, while delivering the M.C. Setalvad memorial lecture in the capital Thursday evening.

Referring to the privacy judgment, CJI Misra said he believed privacy is a constitutional concept and it has been successfully implemented in the field of human rights.

Speaking on the topic “Dynamic Ascendance of Constitutional Rights — A Progressive Approach”, Misra touched upon various past judgments in which constitutional rights and freedom were upheld by courts.

Constitutional rights are dynamic and for sake of democracy should not stop growing as it will contribute to strengthening the democratic set-up, he noted.

CJI Misra also said constitutional rights have to be construed in such a manner that their true effects and intent reaches the lowest rungs of the society.

He suggested that constitutional rights define and shape life of citizens and societies in general. Positive exposition, assertive and energetic appreciation constitute the lifeblood of progressive societies.

“These rights would become a dead letter without their dynamic vibrant and pragmatic interpretation,” he added.

Speaking on issues such as gender equality, freedom of speech, religion and other constitutional issues, Misra said rights are “not ephemeral or transient,” but “eternal, sublime and constitute the soul and spirit of humanity”.

While referring to a matter pertaining to 50 per cent reservation for women in panchayat elections in Madhya Pradesh, Misra said the idea that women cannot administer and would need to depend on their husbands was “preposterous”.

“Women are superior to men on most occasions,” he said.

Reminding the state of its “solemn duty”, Misra said state action has to be concrete. “Mere rhetoric and passivity without reflection and commitment will only result in reducing their solemn duty to that of a feigned act of affectation,” he pointed out.

Justice Gita Mittal, acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, who was also speaking at the event referred to a personal experience where her father counselled her to overcome bias and follow the law.

“You have no choice, you have to follow the law,” Justice Mittal said recalling her father’s wisdom.

“One expects the judge to be ultimate arbitrator…but never realises that judge also has to overcome bias before reaching a decision,” she said speaking about the challenges a judge faces while delivering judgments.

“Once a person becomes a judge, that bias has to be set aside,” she added.

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