The Right to Privacy’s legacy in India commenced with the 1975 case of Gobind v. State of M.P. In this verdict, the Indian Supreme Court while acknowledging the absence of the term “privacy” in the Indian Constitution, relied on Justice Douglas’ famous ‘penumbral’ reasoning in Griswold and gave recognition to the Right to Privacy as being inherent in the totality of the Indian Constitutional structure. Since then, the Supreme Court has time and again expanded the contours of the right to privacy in a diverse range of judgments relating to phone tapping, narco-analysis, brain mapping, prisoner’s rights, and computer networks.
On 22nd August 2017, much to my delight, optimism and astonishment, the Indian Supreme Court by a ratio of 3:2 abolished the practice of Talaq-E-Biddat commonly known as triple talaq which allowed “any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by stating the word talaq three times in oral, written, or more recently electronic form”.
American legal scholars have ushered in a new school of thought that has been overly skeptical of judicial supremacy. While scholars such as Larry Kramer base their arguments for their distrust of judicial supremacy on the weak premise of it being counter to historical traditions, most scholars put forward the more philosophical argument that judicial supremacy contrives a society where people lose the vital will and motivation for civic participation. These scholars are known as Popular Constitutionalists and they unanimously advocate for putting an end to judicial supremacy and handing the Constitution over to the people.
Two titans of the global human rights movement reflected on the challenges facing women’s human rights, on September 20, before a packed room of students and faculty at Penn Law. Associate Dean for International Programs Rangita de Silva de Alwis moderated the conversation between former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Hina Jilani and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
A recent program on Public Television featured an interesting story about the conflict between intellectual property rights and traditional knowledge.