2016 SCC Vol. 7 August 14, 2016 Part 2

Motor Vehicles — Road accidents, deaths and injuries — Laws governing road safety: Binding directions of Supreme Court in exercise of power under Art. 142 r/w Arts. 141, 32 and 21 of the Constitution issued, to further effectuate Guidelines contained in notifications issued by Union Road Transport Ministry regarding protection and incentive to good Samaritans i.e. bystanders and passers-by who render help to victims of road accidents, till effective legislation is in place. [Savelife Foundation v. Union of India, (2016) 7 SCC 194]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 499 and 500 — Criminal defamation as offence under: Criminal defamation as an offence is not violative of fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, being a permissible restriction under Art. 19(2). Expression “defamation” in Art. 19(2) includes both civil and criminal defamation. Ss. 499 and 500 IPC are also not discriminatory, arbitrary, excessive or vague and not violative of right to equality under Art. 14 of the Constitution, being reasonable and a proportionate restriction. While in a democracy an individual has a right to criticise and dissent, but his right under Art. 19(1)(a) is not absolute and he cannot defame another person as that would offend victim’s fundamental right to reputation which is a facet of Art. 21 of the Constitution. One fundamental right cannot be given a higher status in comparison to the other and what is required is proper balancing of the two and harmonious construction in light of Preambular objective of fraternity and fundamental duties envisaged under Arts. 51-A(e) & (j) of the Constitution. So construed Art. 499 IPC along with its Explanations and Exceptions and S. 500 IPC are constitutionally valid. [Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India, (2016) 7 SCC 221]

 

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