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No law to back UP government’s action: SC on ‘name and shame’ hoardings, refuses to put stay order

The bench also said Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde would constitute a three-judge bench next week to examine the matter.   

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday hearing the ‘name and shame’ hoardings case said there is no law to back the Uttar Pradesh government’s action of putting up hoardings naming those accused of violence during the anti-CAA protest.

Yogi Adityanath government had filed a petition in the apex court against the Allahabad High Court’s order asking the government to remove the ‘name and shame’ posters and hoardings put across Lucknow.

The Supreme Court had not put a stay order on the HC’s decision and referred the case to a three-judge bench for the hearing.

In the court, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was representing the Uttar Pradesh government and argued that the hoardings were put up after following the process of law.

A vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and UU Lalit directed parties to immediately place before the Registry papers related to the case.

The bench also said Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde would constitute a three-judge bench next week to examine the matter.

Justice UU Lalit questioned the government’s move and said, “The wrong-doer must be brought to book. But can the state go beyond that?”

In the court, the state government had argued that those pictures were of rioters by an adjudicating authority and had already waived their right to privacy due to their conduct in public.

“Suppose the media shows two persons who are wielding guns in the public, they can’t claim their right is infringed. They have waived their privacy,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said.

On Mehta’s argument, Justice Lalit observed that it was different when the state waives one’s right to privacy.

“The question here is whether the state had a right to blame individuals and put up posters with their faces,” Justice Lalit said.

Allahabad High Court had on Monday ordered the immediate removal of the hoardings, which the UP government had not complied with.

However, the judges had said that they are not concerned about the compensation, but the government’s disclosure of personal details of the accused persons.

The judges of the Allahabad High Court had cited the Right to Privacy as a fundamental human right recognized by the Supreme Court and said the government’s move was an unwarranted interference in privacy.

The court in its judgment had referred to the larger issue of the injury caused to the precious constitutional value and its shameless depiction by the administration.