Priya Parameswaran Pillai Vs. Union of India and Ors.

In January 2015, an immigration officer stopped Greenpeace India activist Pillai from boarding her flight to London, where she intended speak to British Parliamentarians on how one of the U.K.’s energy company’s plans to open coal mines in Madhya Pradesh threatened to displace the area’s tribal communities. The immigration officers prevented Pillai from boarding the plane on the basis that her talk was “anti-nationalist” and “would have negatively projected the image of the Government of India” for not adequately protecting the human rights of its tribal communities. Pillai took the issue to court as a violation of her Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and to move about freely. The Supreme Court ruled in her favor.

The core aspect of democracy is the freedom of an individual to be able to freely operate, within the framework of the laws enacted by the Parliament. The individual should be able to order his or her life any way he or she pleases, as long as it is not violative of the law or constitutes an infraction of any order or direction of a duly constituted court, tribunal or any statutory authority for that matter. Amongst the varied freedoms conferred on an individual (i.e., the citizen), is the right of free speech and expression, which necessarily includes the right to criticise and dissent. Criticism, by an individual, may not be palatable; even so, it cannot be muzzled. Many civil right activists believe that they have the right, as citizens, to bring to the notice of the State the incongruity in the developmental policies of the State. The State may not accept the views of the civil right activists, but that by itself, cannot be a good enough reason to do away with dissent.

Paragraph 13.5Priya Parameswaran Pillai Vs. Union of India and Ors.2015VIIAD(Delhi)10

Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar

Arnesh Kumar was arrested under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 after his wife alleged that he demanded dowry from her. Denying the allegations, Kumamr requested anticipatory bail, but his request was denied. This led him to file a Special Leave Petition, which was granted by the court.

In order to ensure that an arrest or detention is necessary and legal, the police and the Magistrate are required to follow certain protocol. The protocol is often ignored, as was the case here. In this judgment, the court outlined certain measures and internal reforms to curb these kinds of unnecessary and illegal arrests and detentions.

Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and casts scars forever … The need for caution in exercising the drastic power of arrest has been emphasized time and again by Courts but has not yielded desired result. … Our endeavour in this judgment is to ensure that police officers do not arrest accused unnecessarily and Magistrate do not authorise detention casually and mechanically.

Paragraphs 7 and 13Arnesh Kumar Vs. State of Bihar(2014)8SCC273

Manmeet Singh vs. State of Haryana and Ors.

When Manmeet Singh’s wife disappeared one day, he immediately went to the police station and named eleven people who opposed their marriage and whom he suspected might have abducted her. Her body was found three days later, and the police had done nothing in the interim.

Manmeet Singh filed this petition calling for the investigation into her death to be put into the hands of higher-ranking officers than those who were working on it at the time. The court ruled in favor of the petitioner. It ordered that high-ranking officers be assigned to investigate all deaths that are suspected to be “honour killings.” Specifically, this officer must not be below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police, and the investigation would be under the direct supervision of the Senior Superintendent of Police. Additionally, it ordered that a meeting among high-ranking officers of Haryana be convened to develop acceptable protocol for the investigation and prosecution of “honour killings.”

An orderly transformation of the society could come only through the instrument of law, for the law is a potent tool of social engineering and fashions and shapes public opinions. If severe punishment to honour killings has not stopped them, if judicial approaches have not reduced their incidence and police would only stand as mute spectators, if not active collaborators, we will come to a situation of accepting these honour killings as unstoppable, that are at once, shameful and abhorrent. The society ought to understand that all the economic progress and developmental goals of what our policy makers endeavour to secure will be trashed, if we cannot respect an adult’s autonomy to choose his or her partner to be together, with or without marriage.

Paragraph 8Manmeet Singh vs. State of Haryana and Ors.2015(2)RCR(Criminal)167

Laxmi vs. Union of India & Ors.

The Supreme Court mandated that State authorities compensate all survivors of acid attacks three lakh rupees. It also determined that full medical assistance should be provided to the survivors of acid attack free of cost including medicine, food, bedding, and reconstructive surgeries. Further, the court ruled that it is each state’s legal responsibility to ensure that hospitals comply with these demands.

Insofar as the proper treatment, aftercare and rehabilitation of the victims of acid attack is concerned, the meeting convened on 14.03.2015 notes unanimously that full medical assistance should be provided to the victims of acid attack and that private hospitals should also provide free medical treatment to such victims.

Laxmi Vs. Union of India & Ors.(2014) 4 SCC 427