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Justice VM Tarkunde refused to stoop to powers that be, set stage for India’s tradition of civil liberties: CJI DY Chandrachud

He set the stage for India’s deep traditions of civil liberties and activism by establishing civil liberties organisation called the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) during the national emergency, the CJI said.

“In 1974, in collaboration with Jayprakash Narayan, Justice Tarkunde started an organisation called Citizens for Democracy to defend and strengthen democracy in India. In 1975 and 1976 during the period of the Emergency, he formed one of India’s oldest civil liberties organisation called the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), setting the stage for India’s deep traditions of civil liberties and activism that continues to date,” the CJI recounted

Further, the CJI highlighted that during the Emergency in 1975-76, Justice Tarkunde defended civil liberties in India by taking up cases related to punitive detentions, jail conditions and freedom of the press.

The CJI was delivering the 14th Justice VM Tarkunde Memorial lecture on the theme ‘Upholding Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Privacy, Surveillance and Free Speech’.

The CJI said that in addition to his legal acumen, Justice Tarkunde was also an ‘iconoclast’, as defined by the late Prof. Shamnad Basheer.

“In addition to his legal acumen, Justice Tarkunde was an iconoclast, if I should call him that, in the true sense of the term. Prof Shamnad Basheer, himself an illustrious scholar who was an ardent advocate of privacy and digital rights, the theme of todays lecture, described the term iconoclasm as a streak that challenges that established wisdom time and again. A streak that refuses to stoop to the powers that be. A streak that thinks nothing of being attacked for attacking cherished belief. Throughout his life , Justice Tarkunde challenged established wisdom through his professional career and refused to stoop to the metaphorical powers that be,” the CJI said.

Source: Barandbench

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