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Anti-terror law should not be misused for quelling dissent: Justice Chandrachud

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Speaking at the Indo-US Joint Summer Conference on Indo-US legal ties, Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud has said that the anti-terror law should not be misused for quelling dissent.

Justice Chandrachud said, “Criminal law, including anti-terror legislation, should not be misused for quelling dissent or harassment to citizens. As I noted in my judgement in Arnab Goswami vs the State, our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defence against the deprivation of liberty of citizens.”

The Supreme Court judge said, “Deprivation of liberty for even a single day is one too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic issues of our decisions.” The remarks came amid the backdrop of the tribal activist Stan Swamy’s death that has raked up a controversy, with many of the co-accused in the Elgar Parishad case seeking a probe.

India represents pluralist society

Justice Chandrachud said the US is a “torchbearer in promoting liberty, freedom of speech and expression and religious peace”.

“India, being the oldest and largest democracy, represents ideals of multicultural, pluralist society where their constitutions are focused on a deep commitment and respect for human rights,” he underlined.

The top courts in India and the United States have “both been termed as the most powerful courts in terms of their own might,” Justice Chandrachud further said, underscoring that the USA’s “influence on Indian jurisprudence cannot be understated”.

“It has contributed to the heart and soul of the Indian constitution,” he said.

“One of the most cited anecdotes of American influence has been on the right to protection of life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the constitution, as against its conception in the Bill of Rights, which provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law,” he highlighted.

 

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