“Anti-terror law should not be used to quell dissent or harass citizens”: SC judge DY Chandrachud

Supreme Court Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud made an important remark on Monday. No criminal law, including an anti-terrorism law, should be misused “to suppress dissent or oppression of citizens”, he said. Justice Chandrachud expressed these views on Monday night while addressing the Indo-US Joint Summer Conference on Indo-US Legal Relations.

According to the NDTV report, Justice Chandrachud said, “Criminal law, including anti-terrorism law, should not be misused to suppress dissent or harassment of citizens.” Referring to his judgment in Arnab Goswami v State, Justice Chandrachud said that our courts must ensure that they remain the first line of defense against deprivation of liberty to the citizens.

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He said that even for a single day the loss of freedom is too much. We must always be mindful of deep systemic issues in our decisions. India and the US are in different corners of the world, but still share a deep social, cultural and economic ties.

Justice Chandrachud said that America is at the forefront of promoting freedom, freedom of speech and expression and religious peace. India being the oldest and largest democracy represents the ideals of a multicultural, pluralistic society. Indian constitutions also focus on deep commitment and respect for human rights.

Justice Chandrachud further said, the top courts in India and the United States are known to be the most powerful courts in terms of their strength. The influence of America on Indian jurisprudence cannot be underestimated. It has contributed to the heart and soul of the Indian Constitution, he said. The only example of American influence is on the right to protection of life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

He said, as the Bill of Rights provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Both the Supreme Court of India and the Supreme Court of the United States of America are known to be the most powerful courts in terms of their power.

Justice Chandrachud said that his decision to decriminalize homosexual relationships between adults was based on the US Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas.

Let us tell you that this statement of his has come amid outrage over the death of 84-year-old activist Stan Swamy. Let us inform that 84-year-old Stan Swamy was arrested in the Elgar Parishad case under the UAPA Act. He was fighting for bail on the grounds of health that in the meantime he died in jail in Mumbai. Recently, many cases have become in the headlines regarding the use of UAPA Act.

Recently Akhil Gogai, a leader from Assam, who was released after several months in jail, was arrested on charges of violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. As soon as he comes out of jail, he has started fighting the fight against the misuse of this law.

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