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AUGUST 26, 2017


SC verdict to affect ban on slaughter

  • The landmark judgment declaring right to privacy a fundamental right would have “some bearing” in matters relating to slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
  • The Bombay High Court had on May 6 last year struck down Sections 5(D) and 9(B) of the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995.
  • While Section 5(D) criminalises possession of flesh of cows, bulls or bullocks, slaughtered outside Maharashtra, Section 9(B) imposed burden on the accused to prove that meat or flesh possessed by him/her does not belong to these animals. The State government had filed an appeal in the top court.
  • The SC observed this while hearing a batch of appeals filed against the HC verdict decriminalising the possession of beef in case of animals slaughtered outside the state.

Right to eat

  • A Bench comprising Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was told by senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing some of the petitioners, that after yesterday’s privacy verdict by a nine-judge constitution Bench, the right to eat food of one’s choice was now protected under privacy.
  • Senior advocate C.U. Singh also told the apex court that the privacy judgement would have to be looked into while deciding the issue. “Yes, that judgement will have some bearing in these matters,” the Bench observed. The Supreme Court had yesterday said “nobody would like to be told what to eat or how to dress” while ruling that these activities come under the realm of right to privacy.


Privacy realms span from abortion to euthanasia

  • The realm of the fundamental right to privacy span from women’s reproductive choice and choice of food or faith to euthanasia. Neither the State nor private persons have any business to intrude, Justice J. Chelameswar wrote in his separate judgment on privacy.
  • “A woman’s freedom of choice whether to bear a child or abort her pregnancy are areas which fall in the realm of privacy,” Justice Chelameswar observed.The judgment’s observation comes when the Supreme Court is seized with the cases of numerous women who are fighting for their right to reproductive choice.These women and girl children, including victims of rape, are fighting a battle for the right to abort their foetuses. Abortion is legally barred if the pregnancy has crossed 20 weeks.
  • Similarly another burning issue in the Supreme Court is a person’s right to active euthanasia. This is a crime under attempt to suicide. A person who helps a terminally ill person to take his own life is booked under abetment to suicide.
  • “An individual’s rights to refuse life prolonging medical treatment or terminate his life is another freedom which fall within the zone of the right of privacy,” Justice Chelameswar wrote.
  • The judge condemns any State intrusion into what a person should “read or think” as a “conditioning process” of the masses’ thoughts. This, he held, is a violation of privacy.
  • “Insofar as religious beliefs are concerned, a good deal of the misery our species suffer owes its existence to and centres around competing claims of the right to propagate religion,” Justice Chelameswar observed.
  • “The freedom of the belief or faith in any religion is a matter of conscience falling within the zone of purely private thought process and is an aspect of liberty,” the judge wrote. An individual’s political belief form part of his freedom of conscience and comes under the fundamental right to life and liberty of which privacy is a core value.


TRAI orders Idea to pay Rs. 3 cr. for ‘overcharging’ customers

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed a penalty of almost Rs. 3 crore on Idea Cellular for overcharging subscribers for calls they made to two public sector operators — BSNL and MTNL.
  • The penalty is for excess price charged by the operator from May 2005 to January 2007.

No refund

  • The amount is to be deposited in Telecom Consumers Education and Protection Fund (TCEPF) since it cannot be refunded to the subscribers due to non-availability of rated call detail record (CDRs).
  • In May 2005, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had amended licences to permit inter-service area connectivity among telecom operators within four States — Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Following this, calls within each of these states were to be treated as local calls for the purpose of call routing and levy of access deficit charge.
  • TRAI had concluded that differential tariff levied by private GSM operators in the four states were “discriminatory and inconsistent with the amended license conditions,” and directed them to immediately discontinue differential tariff. COAI and some operators had challenged this before Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) and kept charging higher tariffs for calls to BSNL and MTNL, but the TDSAT dismissed their appeal in December 2006.