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Lecture on 'On the Right to Privacy'

Event Name (Full/Detailed): 
Institute Lecture Series on the Indian Constitution

Title : 'On the Right to Privacy'

Speaker : Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud, Advocate Bombay High Court and Author of Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech and the Constitution of India

Abstract:   On the 24th of August this year, in a historic judgment, nine judges of the Supreme Court, in six concurring opinions held that privacy is a constitutionally protected right that emerges from the right to life and liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution. While overturning prior rulings in this regard, the 547-page judgment used fine judicial reasoning to uphold that privacy is inseparable from the right to live with dignity. The judgment stipulates that any encroachments on the right must meet the tests of legality, necessity and proportionality. The recognition of the right to privacy as lying at the core of human dignity has implications for several entitlements and protections for individuals. As the judgment itself recognizes, the concept of privacy ‘has travelled far from the mere right to be let alone to recognition of a large number of privacy interests, which apart from privacy of one’s home and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures have been extended to protecting an individual’s interests in making vital personal choices such as the right to abort a fetus; rights of same sex couples – including the right to marry; rights as to procreation, contraception, general family relationships, child rearing, education, data protection, etc’. The presentation will examine the Supreme Court judgment closely and will develop on some of these implications.

About the Speaker:  Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud is an advocate who practises at the Bombay High Court. He graduated from the LL.M. programme at Harvard Law School where he was a Dana Scholar and from the JSM and JSD programmes at Stanford Law School where he was a Franklin Family Scholar. He has worked as an associate attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a global law firm, and as a paralegal at AZB & Partners, a leading law firm in India. 

Dr. Chandrachud had the option to remain in legal academia, but chose to come back to India to both practise and write. He has published papers in international legal journals as well as in the Economic and Political Weekly, apart from writing for several newspapers. He is the author of The Informal Constitution: Unwritten Criteria in Selecting Judges for the Supreme Court of India (OUP 2014) and An Independent Colonial Judiciary: A History of the Bombay High Court during the British Raj, 1862–1947 (OUP 2015) as well as co-author (with R V Raveendran) of Due Process of Law (Eastern Book Company 2012). His most recent book published this year is on the freedom of speech and is titled Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech and the Constitution of India (Penguin India 2017). He is currently working on a book based on the private papers of his mentor, the late Professor George Gadbois Jr from the University of Kentucky, who was a distinguished scholar of the Indian judiciary.

Event Date: 
28 October 2017 - 4:00pm
Venue: 
Prof. B. Nag Auditorium, Victor Menezes Convention Centre (VMCC)
IIT Bombay, Powai