An individual’s privacy is supreme and should not be disturbed, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said on Thursday.
He said he always believe that privacy is a constitutional concept and one area where there has been a surge in constitutional rights was human rights and their implementation.
“My house is my castle, how can you disturb me at my home? Even as a lawyer, you have to have some kind of appointment with me. My time is my time, my life is my life. My privacy is supreme to me,” he said while delivering M C Setalvad memorial lecture on the topic of ‘Dynamic Ascendance of Constitutional Rights — A Progressive Approach’
Justice Misra also spoke on gender equality and mentioned a case from Madhya Pradesh on a proposal for 50% reservation for women in panchayat elections. He said that the argument that women cannot administer and will depend on their husbands was “preposterous”.
“Women are more superior to men in most occasions,” Justice Misra added.
He said that constitutional rights are dynamic and for sake of democracy should not stop growing as it will contribute to strengthening the democratic set up.
Justice Misra said rights are “not ephemeral or transient”, but “eternal, sublime and constitute the soul and spirit of humanity”.
“Therefore, constitutional and human rights have to be honoured and enforced with a tenacious, indomitable and indefatigable spirit,” he said at the lecture organised by the Bar Association of India.
“It is this quintessential spirit that keeps the torch of justice burning bright. It is our strong allegiance and fidelity to this ethos that will lead us on the path of constitutional renaissance and constant awakening thereby ensuing protection of constitutional rights for all,” the CJI said.
“The Universal Declaration of Human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights have served as an important stimulus for all the three wings of the state, the judiciary in particular, for implementation of human rights by raising their status to that of fundamental rights,” he said in his speech.
He said that constitutional rights have to be construed and developed in a manner that their real intent and existence percolates to the lowest rungs of the society and in this exercise an important role is played by the State which has to ensure effective implementation of the rights.
“The State action has to be concrete and not such that its effects leak into so many rivulets that they dissipate. Mere rhetoric and passivity by the State without reflection of serious commitment will only result in reducing the solemn duty of the State to that of a feigned act of affectation,” Justice Misra said.
According to the CJI, constitutional rights define and shape the life of citizens and societies in general.
“Their positive exposition and 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 said.
Speaking on the occasion, Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Gita Mittal said that judges have to overcome many hurdles before delivering judgments.
She said when being a lawyer, “you won’t realise the bias inside you”.
Justice Mittal said once a person becomes a judge, that bias has to be set aside.