Among a plethora of issues touched upon in the Supreme Court nine-judge bench judgment declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right, Justice Jasti Chelameswar indirectly commented on certain burning issues without directly referring to them.
At a time when certain organizations and state governments are specifying what kind of dresses women should wear (like “avoid” jeans and mini skirts) and raging controversies over consumption of beef, Justice Chelameswar has clearly said “what you eat or wear is nobody ‘s business and amounts to intrusion into your privacy rights”.
“I do not think that anybody in this country would like to have the officers of the State intruding into their homes or private property at will or soldiers quartered in their houses without their consent. I do not think that anybody would like to be told by the State as to what they should eat or how they should dress or whom they should be associated with either in their personal, social or political life”, he said.
“Freedom of social and political association is guaranteed to citizens under Article 19(1)(c). Personal association is still a doubtful area. The decision making process regarding the freedom of association, freedoms of travel and residence are purely private and fall within the realm of the right of privacy. It is one of the most intimate decisions.”, he said.
“ All liberal democracies believe that the State should not have unqualified authority to intrude into certain aspects of human life and that the authority should be limited by parameters constitutionally fixed. Fundamental rights are the only constitutional firewall to prevent State’s interference with those core freedoms constituting liberty of a human being. The right to privacy is certainly one of the core freedoms which is to be defended. It is part of liberty within the meaning of that expression in Article 21. I am in complete agreement with the conclusions recorded by my learned brothers in this regard”, he said.