Pertinently, a Division Bench of Justices PB Suresh Kumar and CS Sudha said that disruption of public order or peace cannot be understood as synonymous to breach of privacy.
The Court noted from the submissions at the Bar that at the most, the conduct of a toddy shop may cause nuisance or breach of public peace or raise moral concerns but the same cannot amount to breach of privacy.
“Nuisance, breach of peace, moral concerns etc. have nothing to do with privacy, though disruption of public order, peace and tranquillity may at times lead to infringement of privacy rights. But, disruption of public order, peace and tranquillity cannot be understood as synonymous to breach of privacy rights,” the Court said.
The Court, therefore, overturned a judgement by a single-Judge who had held that the existence of a toddy shop in a residential area would infringe the right to privacy of the residents in the vicinity..
It observed that there is no finding in the judgement of the single-judge as to how the privacy of the inhabitants around a toddy shop is infringed on account of functioning of the toddy shop.
The Division Bench also cautioned that the expansive view of privacy rights taken by the single-judge could lead to a domino effect with increasing conflicts regarding what activities are permissible or not near residential areas.
“We are unable to agree. If privacy rights enforceable under the Constitution are expanded to this level, we are afraid that there would be utter chaos as regards the rights of others including the right to livelihood, for in the social set up of our country, there are umpteen avocations and activities which people may pursue for their livelihood near the place of residence of others and a very wide definition of privacy rights protected under the Constitution as made by the learned Single Judge would give rise to conflicts as to the permissible and non-permissible activities near a residential house,” the judgment said.
The Court opined that the concerns raised in the case are all taken care of in the Rules framed under the Abkari Act which empowers the authorities concerned to relocate a toddy shop in the interest of public peace or morality or on grounds of expediency.