01 November, 2020

Debilitating Enactment

The new privacy law may choke information    

Debilitating Enactment
JUDGES do make law; and, they most certainly did so in the Auto Shankar case whose implications for civil liberties and the media have been most imperfectly understood. Although thecase concerned prison officials trying to muzzle the weekly magazine Nakheeran from writing about their activities in prison, Justice Jeewan Reddy invented a new right of privacy which has devastating consequences for the media. Every citizen has the "right to safeguard the privacy of his own, his family, procreation, motherhood, child bearing and education among other matters". While even this catalogue of rights will have far-reaching consequences for all kinds of family planning and other programmes, what is crucial for the media is the next element:

"None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his (that is, the citizen's) consent whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages."

This is more protective than the law of...



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