Editorial: Right, right

Courts in the country have recently passed two important orders, aimed at protecting the rights of citizens. In the first case, right of being represented through a lawyer is part of due process clause , the Supreme Court said while setting aside the Allahabad High Court order which had dismissed an appeal filed by a man in a 1987 murder case noting that his counsel had not appeared during the hearing.

The Supreme Court, which restored the appeal and asked the High Court to consider taking it for hearing at an early date, said it was open for the high court to appoint an amicus curiae to assist it when the petitioner was not represented before it through lawyer in the matter.

A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said, “It is well accepted that right of being represented through a counsel is part of due process clause and is referable to the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

In the other case, the Allahabad High Court has quashed an FIR lodged against a Muslim man over a marriage with a Hindu woman, ruling that she had a right to live her life on her own terms. Upholding the interfaith marriage in a case from Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district, a bench of Justice Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal said the woman is an adult according to her high school certificate.

The court said the woman, Shikha, has the right to live life according to her own wishes and terms and she has expressed her desire to stay with her husband. The bench said she is free to do so. The judgment was delivered on a habeas corpus petition. The court said that according to the high school certificate, her date of birth is 4 October, 1999 and she is an adult.

The matter came up before the HC against the backdrop of a flurry of cases registered by the UP Police under the State’s new ordinance which punishes forcible or fraudulent religious conversions, including those involving marriages. It is the duty of the officials concerned to protect the rights of citizens. They should have in mind that they are being paid from taxpayers’ money.

 

NT Bureau