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Sometimes, balancing of rights is a difficult task, says CJI Dipak Misra in Pune

While in a democratic set-up every right matters, no right is absolute, added Misra during a speech, a part of the Dr Patangrao Kadam Memorial Public Lecture Series, at Bharati Vidyapeeth in Pune.

Updated: Sep 09, 2018 15:10:27

By Shrinivas Deshpande

(From left) Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at the inauguration of Dr Patangrao Kadam Memorial Public Lecture Series in Pune on Saturday. (HT Photo)

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who was part of the five-member constitution bench that decriminalised consensual gay sex this week, on Saturday said “balancing of rights” is sometimes a difficult task.

While in a democratic set-up every right matters, no right is absolute, Misra said in a speech, a part of the Dr Patangrao Kadam Memorial Public Lecture Series, at Bharati Vidyapeeth in Pune.

“There is no hierarchical order in rights. A particular fundamental right cannot exist in isolation,” he said, adding that everyone has the right to speak out, but no one can use this right for defamation purposes.

On the conflict between two fundamental rights, the CJI said the judgment in such cases should be based on the facts of the case and the fundamental structure of the Constitution.



He gave examples of the euthanasia case, which he had heard with four other Supreme Court judges, to demonstrate the conflict between two fundamental rights and how they can be balanced.

The court earlier this year had recognised a “living will” by a terminally ill patient for passive euthanasia while laying down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia will be granted by a medical board.

“Everyone has a ‘right to life’ but at the same time he or she has a right to life with dignity. If he is unable to live with dignity because of prolonged illness, from which he/she will not overcome, then in such cases he/she has right to die with dignity. This is what balancing of rights means,” Misra said.

The CJI said adjustment, acceptance, compromise and settlement come in the ‘balancing of rights’ and for co-existence of rights “we have to balance them for the well-being of mankind.”

The lecture was attended by Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Supreme Court justice AM Khanwilkar, acting chief justice of Bombay high court Naresh Patil, chancellor of Bharati Vidyapeeth Shivajirao Kadam and secretary of Bharati Vidyapeeth Vishwajeet Kadam.

First Published: Sep 09, 2018 14:41:11

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