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Justice Nageswara Rao, Judge, Supreme Court of India to deliver a lecture today at the Soli Sorabjee 1st Excellence Award & Scholarship & Inaugural Memorial Lecture, on the Theme ‘Role of Supreme Court In Augmenting Scope of Fundamental Rights’ #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

The event will begin shortly

Justice Nageswara Rao has arrived at the event. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Nageswara Rao, with ASG Madhavi Divan, Mr. Brian Speers- President of Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Professor Raj Kumar, Dr Jehangir Sorabjee and Adv Satvik Verma. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Mr. Brian Speers President, Commonwealth Lawyers Association: Mr Sorabjee was said to have Cosmopolitan global outreach. You may think of him as son of India, but He was the son of Commonwealth. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Nageswara Rao: Today is Mr Sorabjee’s 93rd Birthday. Most of the dinners he gave were in this hall, last time we met him for his birthday was also here. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: We all grew up adoring him. He groomed me nurtured me and encouraged me. He was a great leader. Immediately after i was appointed there was no chamber for me. I started working as ASG from the AG’s chamber. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: He used to ask law officers what cases they were interested in. He was interest in work done by his colleagues. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: In 2009 when Commonwealth Meeting was held, he was the guiding force. I was there in the team & the conference was a major success.

Justice Rao: He was a champion of Fundamental rights & his contribution to law is immeasurable. He was interested in protection of Fundamental rights for citizens of this country. Most of his articles were about Fundamental rights.

Justice Rao: He was fearless, as and when court was going on he’d point out. Cases he argued which had bearing on enhancing scope of Fundamental rights is large in number

Justice Rao: In this country, Constitution is suprema lex. In words of Soli- Rule of law runs like a golden thread in Indian constitution. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

J Rao: These are basic rights, which were not invented by Constitution, they were already there. These are inalienable, transcendental. These are words used by SC. These rights are not absolute and there can be restrictions on these rights. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

J Rao: Equality before law is that none is above law. Thomas Fuller has said, “be above no right, the law is above you” #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: Inequality would be antitheses of discrimination. Equality before law is synonymous with formal equality & we’ve taken this from UK. This applies application of law to all persons who are similarly situated. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: There are 100’s of castes, diff religion & in all this the country is doing so well because we believe in unity in diversity.Govt has duty to ensure that social, economic & political justice is given to all citizens as directed in DPSP #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: We have 70% of National income within 10% of population & gap b/w have & have nots is so wide. Principle that has to be followed to bring them up is giving them certain concessions which has been codified. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: In this country, history has shown that when we talk of inequality we can speak of social inequality. There’s been discrimination on basis of caste, religion, sex, place of residence etc. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Justice Rao: It is incumbent on the states to treat people who do not have resources in the country. Thé principle of substantive equality comes in & this is where the principle of reservation comes in.

Justice Rao: It is incumbent on the states to treat people who do not have resources in the country. Thé principle of substantive equality comes in & this is where the principle of reservation comes in.

Justice Rao: Article 14 as interpreted by Constitution was based on reasonable classification test. Court initially applied classification test, it was tested on 2 principles- whether there was intelligible differentia.

J Rao: Equality was declared to be a dynamic concept which can’t be cribbed. Its said Any action which is arbitrary is hit by Article 14.

J Rao: Later, the SC brought in arbitrariness as ground, as being violative of principle of equality. In case decided by SC, it was said that,”Arbitrariness is antithesis of equality & sworn enemy. It said any action which is arbitrary is hit by Art 14.”

J Rao: Manifest arbitrariness continues to be a ground as of now to test the validity of legislation.

J Rao: Article 19 protects rights regarding speech & Expression & other freedoms which I’m not going to deal with right now. Speech has been dealt with by John Milton & importance it requires in development of human beings.

Justice Rao: Initially there was a SC judgement when a Madras newspaper was banned for certain articles. It was held such restriction wasn’t permissible, mere apprehension of law and order couldn’t have been a ground to interfere with speech guaranteed under art 19

Justice Rao: Thereafter there was amendment, and one of the restriction is public order. After that several cases were tried, which involved curtailing of free speech. It extended to censorship in Movies, articles in newspapers, speech of politicians.

J Rao: Recent judgement was relating to Sec 66 of IT Act. There was a challenge on ground it violated articles 14& 19. While deciding, principle laid down was there are 3 aspects of speech-discussion, advocacy & incitement. It was said problem would arise when there’s incitement

J Rao: There was a case decided by SC earlier where people in Punjab were shouting “Khalistan Zindabad” & this case was tried in the court & court said that merely shouting would not amount to incitement.

J Rao: Whenever something is said Against establishment, we’d see theres a reaction & they don’t take criticism in proper manner. There were many cases saying speech led to sedition.

J Rao: Sec 124 A of IPC was challenged in SC on grounds it violated Fundamental right of freedom of speech. Court said every speech Against govt Policy can’t be seditious speech. Court said you’ve to take view in favour of find rights and not be swayed by opinion

J Rao: In all these judgements of FR of speech which has been promoted is that every Individual should be given opportunity to discuss. “Only through public discussion you grow individually & only with that you grow as a person.”

J Rao: If truth has to come out, it can only be with discussion. Unless there is discussion & awareness amongst people, there would not be democracy….

J Rao: One aspect of speech is hate speech, its a mischief committed by few individuals, to promote hatred. How’s that you categorise every speech as hate speech.

J Rao: Another aspect is action in interfering with social media, by shutting down internet. A ground that is made for shutting down internet for law & order has been dealt by courts.

J Rao: One instance is, there were videos shown of violence in Myanmar, dubbing it to mean violence in Assam. That led to panic. Assamese had to go back to state as they were apprehensive of backlash, as news spread was, all outsiders were driven from Assam.

Justice Nageswara Rao: There was another internet shutdown in Kashmir, of which I wont speak as the matter is pending consideration. ‘With growing computerisation & age of internet freedom of speech has been before the court & myriad ways.’- J Rao

J Rao: Initially after Constitution was made there was writ of habeas corpus filed on the ground that the person who is already under detention laws, his detention was challenged. Majority Judgement said that question of liberty can be challenged on Art 21 & not 19(1)(d).

J Rao: In earlier Case what was decided was rights of Person as far as art 21 cannot be taken away until & unless there is a procedure

Justice Rao: When the matter related to surveillance came before court, same principle was accepted but Right to privacy was recognised.

Justice Rao: The other point that was decided in the case was that it is not sufficient if there is procedure established by law to justify action of Govt under Art 21. Procedure established by law should be fair, just & reasonable.

Justice Rao: There was a discussion in initial judgements as to the process to be followed. Court was of opinion nothing can be read into the law, if only says procedure established by law.

Justice Rao: Procedural due process saying that process should be just and reasonable #SupremeCourt has delivered so many judgements on Art 21, important ones being protecting right to dignity, the Sunil Batra case which was argued by Soli.

Justice Rao: Every citizen has Right to claim human dignity which needs to be protected. Dignity comes from Right to food which has been subject matter before the SC. There is Right to shelter, livelihood, education, health.

Justice Rao: With this progressive ideas in mind, #SupremeCourt has been augmenting Fundamental rights. Im sure fundamental rights which are basic rights will be protected by enhancing scope of Part III Of Constitution of India.

Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee: I’ve to tell you, today i have to say, I’ve been inflicted with the imposter syndrome, which means when you think you don’t have a reason to be there. (audience laughs)

Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee: I’d unpleasant task of emptying out of his room. I knew there would be nothing of value, he had no attachment to anything of commercial value. There was nothing! Not one watch or work of art. But there were book & My God there were books. & books & books.

Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee: I thought to myself, in an abstract way, that was his wealth. The intellect to diverse ways that he went into. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

Dr. Jehangir Sorabjee: I’d like to quote a line, ‘Where does the spirit live, inside or outside.’ And thats where my father’s spirit is, inside law and outside the law #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

The event ends. #SupremeCourt #SoliSorabjee

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