April 24th 2017 Editorial

  1. Tale of Two Sections
  • Supreme Court quashes criminal complaint against cricketer MS Dhoni for allegedly insulting Hindu sentiments by posing as a deity on the cover of a business magazine.
  • The complaint was filed under Section 295A of the IPC which has a provision stating “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.”
  • The editor has called it a thinly disguised law of blasphemy. This comparison comes from the Law of Blasphemy in Pakistan where an insult to Islam would mean facing a potential death threat.
  • Another such draconian provision is Section 153A of the IPC which intends to punish those promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
  • The problem with insult laws are that they are inherently subjective.
  • Both the provisions are similar to the contempt of court law as well. There is no knowing what would scandalise a judge and for what the contempt maybe be revoked.
  • It encourages the creation of a “market place of outrage.”
  • The provisions should have their scope narrowed down so that moral vigilantes do not exploit the law to serve their narrow chauvinistic ends.

Source: The Hindu

GS IV: Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude

Internet threatening Right To Privacy

  • SC judge Justice Deepak Misra called the internet “a world which is invisible”.
  • Needs to strike a fine balance between making internet companies such as Whatsapp & Facebook liable under Indian laws and at the same time not impose a general online ban.
  • The major challenges the Apex court has faced is by the privacy agreement between Whatsapp and Facebook, posting of online sexual videos, ads of pre-natal sex determination .
  • With reference to advertising of pre-natal sex determination which is clearly in violation of the Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT Act), 1994, the Supreme Court has directed the internet giants to appoint an in-house expert body to scour the internet and remove objectionable and illegal content.
  • Equally responsible is the Government which is liable to appoint officers searching for objectonable and illegal content on the internet and notifying the internet companies to have it removed within 36 hours.
  • 2 Major cases are related to protection of an individuals privacy:
    • M.P. Sharma v/s Satish Chandra, District Magistrate, Delhi (1954)
    • Kharak Singh v/s the State of U.P. (1963)

In both cases, the SC upheld that while Right to Privacy is not a fundamental right, but it is inherent in Article 21 of the Constitution i.e. Right to Life and that most fundamental rights protect the right to privacy.

  • The Right To Privacy is gaining prominence in the virtual world and this will lead to revisiting two famous judgements.

Source: The Hindu

 

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