Dr. Patangrao Kadam Memorial Public Lecture Series: Justice Dipak Misra, CJI on ‘Balancing of Rights’

The inauguration function of late Dr. Patangrao Kadam Memorial Public Lecture Series, Campus Law Center-II and International Arbitration Centre at Pune’s Bharti Vidyapeeth, was attended by Justice Dipak Misra, Chief Justice of India; Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Naresh Patil, Acting Chief Justice of Bombay High Court; Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis,  Chancellar Shivajirao Kadam, Vice-Chancellor Dr. M.M. Salunkhe, Secretary Vishwajeet Kadam, and Dean of New Law College Dr. Mukund Sarda at Bharati Vidyapeeth Campus, Dhankawadi, Pune.

While addressing the law students, Judges of Bombay High Court, Pune District and Sessions Court, and Members of Pune Bar Association, Justice Dipak Misra said that balancing of rights means adjustment, compromise and settlement. Every individual has the Right to Live with dignity, but cases involving conflicting interest have to be dealt with in a balanced manner.

“Law is compromise and balancing includes claims and rights. Constitutional democracy is important as it includes rights and liberties. However, access to rights shall be within the constitutional parameters…If the rule of justice collapses, the rule of law collapses as well,” the CJI said, adding that the respect for a person’s reputation is key to the constitutional right. “It means that a person should not disrespect the rights of others and should desist from making  defamatory statements,” he said.

Justice Misra, while referring to the Aruna Shanbaug case, touched upon the issue of conflict between two fundamental rights and said that the verdict in such cases should be given after thoroughly studying the facts of the case and the fundamental structure of the Indian Constitution.

“Everyone has a right to life but at the same time, he or she has a right to life with dignity. If he/she’s unable to live with dignity because of prolonged illness, from which he/she will not overcome then in such cases he/she has the right to die with dignity. This is what balancing of rights mean. Adjustment, acceptance, compromise and settlement comes in the balancing of rights & for the coexistence of rights. We’ve to balance them for the well being of mankind,” Justice Misra said.

While referring to Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India case, he touched upon the issue of conflict between two fundamental rights, freedom of speech and the right to live with dignity, and said each right should be exercised within the constitutional framework. He also talked about some other landmark cases like Delhi Transport Corporation v. D.T.C. Mazdoor Congress and said that in situations where conflict arises between two fundamental rights or intra-fundamental rights in respect of some person, it becomes slightly difficult for a Bench to give out the verdict. “No particular parameter can be fixed but yet the courts try and endeavor to fix certain parameters, it has to be judged on facts of each case, taking care of certain constitutional concepts,” he noted.

 Furthermore, Justice Misra noted that it is important for an individual to exercise rights granted by the Indian Constitution in order to develop the society and strengthen the democracy.

“We have a constitutional democracy and it’s conceded with a singular and a sole mission and purpose of securing its citizen’s rights and liberties which foster and strengthen the spirit and growth of development in a society. Rights protected and guaranteed under a constitution are the fulcrum of any free society. We ought to live in a democratic & free society. As far as that concept is concerned there’s no compromise. We have the rights and must exercise them within the constitutional parameters. These rights are interest recognized and protected by a rule of justice. If the rule of justice collapses, rule of law will automatically collapse. I must respect your freedom, you must respect mine and this is how we can build up a societal fraternity in a true sense.”

About late Patang Rao Kadam while paying rich tribute he said that at the age of 19, a person like him established this institution, which was very surprising. To establish such educational institutions across the country, it requires dedication, commitment and respect for education and selflessness.

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