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Allahabad High Court orders removal of controversial ‘name and shame’ hoardings


Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Allahabad High Court orders removal of controversial ‘name and shame’ hoardings

What to study?

For Prelims: What is CAA? The recent act and what are the powers available to police ans executive under CrPC to issue such orders.

For Mains: Significance and implications of this judgment.

Context: Allahabad High Court has directed the Lucknow administration to remove forthwith the controversial ‘name and shame’ hoardings of those arrested during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

What’s the issue?

The police put up several hoardings across Lucknow identifying those accused of violence during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December last, triggering those named to fear for their safety.Later, the Allahabad High Court had taken suo motu notice of this act.

Important observations made by the Court:

  1. The action of the Stateis nothing but an unwarranted interference in privacy of people. The same hence, is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  2. The placement of personal data of selected persons “reflects colorable exercise of powers” by the government.
  3. There are certain provisions empowering the investigating agencies or other Executives to take picture of accused for the purpose of their identification and record but that too is not open for publication. The only time these photographs be published is to have assistance in the apprehension of a fugitive from justice.
  4. No power is available in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to police or the Executive to display personal records of a person to public at large.
  5. On the issue of court taking the case suo motu, it said “where there is gross negligence on part of public authorities and government, where the law is disobeyed and the public is put to suffering and where the precious values of the constitution are subjected to injuries, a constitutional court can very well take notice of that at its own.”

How the administration defended its move?

While accepting absence of any statute permitting executive authorities to put such banners, the govt had opposed the petition by submitting that the object of displaying personal details of the individuals “is to deter the mischief mongers from causing damage to public and private property.”

The State has also questioned the territorial jurisdiction of the court in Allahabad and argued that the court “erred in invoking public interest jurisdiction in the instant matter, that being available to under privileged section of the society only.


Prelims Link:

  1. Constitutional Court vs Constitutional Bench?
  2. Territorial jurisdiction of High Courts and Supreme Court
  3. What is Judicial Activism?
  4. What is Judicial overreach?
  5. Examples of the above two.
  6. Article 21

Mains Link:

What is Judicial activism? Discuss with examples.


Sources: the Hindu.