Topic – Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
1) The concept of dignity has being invoked by Supreme Court in several cases of law, but not in a uniform manner. Analyze.(250 words)
Why this question
The SC has given several rulings like the one on section 377, Aadhar and om right to privacy etc. It has invoked the concept of dignity in these cases and therefore it is important to analyze whether the concept has been uniformly invoked or not.
Analyze-here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and discuss how the concept of dignity has been defined and elaborated by the SC in its rulings.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the importance of dignity of a person and what role it plays in his/ her life. E.g The SC’s application of dignity perhaps reflects the commitment in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The value of dignity, however, is contestable. The concept has been characterised as “culture-relative”, a “smokescreen” for the subjective preferences of judges etc.
Discuss about the various SC judgements where the concept of dignity has been invoked and bring out the differences in approach and understanding of the concept in such judgements. E.g Restricting liberty for the sake of other values is undoubtedly justified. However, grounds for restricting it on a low bar undermines liberal-democratic values. Indeed, casual recourse to dignity frequently ends conversation on the demands to balance and flesh out competing constitutional values; the SC employed dignity as a value when upholding rights of transgender persons, as a norm while rejecting challenges to criminal defamation and as the core uniting all fundamental rights in the privacy decision; Indeterminacy clouds the status of dignity. In Francis Coraile Mullin, the Court held dignity to be a part of the right to life, which implied that the limitations on the right applied to dignity. However, in other decisions, including Puttaswamy (privacy), dignity was held to be absolute. Even in the privacy decision, the court makes mysterious claims: First it held that dignity is the core of all our rights, and later that privacy is the core of dignity. The court also states that dignity cannot exist without privacy. Though one can infer the intention of these statements, clarity demands a nuanced elucidation of the relationship between constitutional values. It is conceivable that issues such as manual scavenging or caste-based humiliation concern dignity, but not privacy. Indeed, protecting dignity requires sacrificing traditional privacy protections, as in women and child rights cases etc.
Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.