STRIPPING OFF THE CLOAK OF SECRECY
India Today|November 15, 2021
“If you want to keep a secret, you must hide it from yourself.”
Kaushik Deka

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, quoted this line from George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 while delivering its order on October 27 on the Pegasus spyware controversy. The court took exception to the government’s refusal to file a detailed response to the allegations made by the petitioners in the case, and observed that it “should not take an adversarial position when the fundamental rights of citizens are at threat”.

Even while admitting that the scope of judicial review is limited in matters relating to national security, the three-judge bench categorically asserted that the state cannot ‘get a free pass’ by raising the spectre of ‘national security’. The court also appointed a threemember expert committee to examine the Union government’s alleged involvement in the controversial use of the spyware to snoop on its citizens.

Clarifying the legitimate limits of secrecy on grounds of national security, the court order argues that the govern ment can only decline information pertaining to national security if the State has specific immunity under a specific law, but it must ‘prove and justify the same in court on affidavit’. The court also defended its intervention: ‘The mere invocation of national security by the State does not render the court a mute spectator’.

Coming at a time when CJI Ram ana said there is “a lot of discussion about pressure from the Executive”, the court action has been celebrated by many as an emphatic reassertion of the Judiciary’s role as the custodian of citizen rights. The court’s order broadly addresses three issues that have been at the centre of national discourse in recent times—citizens’ (fundamental) Right to Privacy; judicial review when the Executive invokes ‘national security’; and the implications of surveillance on free speech and a free press.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM INDIA TODAYView All

In Modi We Trust...

The biannual survey reveals that the prime minister is still regarded as the best bet for the job, but serious concerns remain

10 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

Raja of Ras

The Kathak stalwart’s impact and outreach have been and shall remain universal

3 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

UP THE DOWNWARD SLOPE

MOHAMMAD ARIF KHAN IS CARRYING ON HIS BRAVE, HARDENED SHOULDERS ALL OF INDIA’S WINTER OLYMPIC HOPES

4 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

POETRY IN STONE

The stark simplicity of farm life juxtaposed with a complex architectural narrative forms the inspiration for this minimal home in Karjat

2 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

MIXED MESSAGES

While Indian citizens worry about the state of Indian democracy, they are optimistic about corruption and eager for change

5 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

FROM GROUND ZERO TO HALF THE SKY...

THE CONGRESS IS NOWHERE IN THE CONTEST IN UP. BUT AT A TIME WHEN CASTE IS THE LEITMOTIF, IT MAKES A VIRTUE OUT OF ADVERSITY: FEMINISING POLITICS WITH 40 PER CENT SEATS TO WOMEN

10+ mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

VACCINE WITHOUT WANING

A majority of MOTN respondents give a thumbs up to the Union government’s vaccination drive and Covid efforts, with Odisha scoring top marks among states for its handling of the pandemic

3 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

TOP DRAWS

Regional players dominate the public mindspace when it comes to the performance of heads of Indian states

3 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

THE HOPE AND THE WORRY

In the third year of PM Modi’s second term and two years into the pandemic, a majority of Indians continue to have faith in the Centre’s handling of the economy. However, high inflation, a lack of jobs and shrinking incomes mar any rosy outlook

8 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022

A NEW-LOOK OPPOSITION?

Rahul Gandhi may still be the most ideally placed to revive the fortunes of the Congress but Mamata Banerjee is seen as a better candidate to lead an Opposition alliance against the BJP

4 mins read
India Today
January 31, 2022
RELATED STORIES

THE ANIMAL-HUMAN CONFLICT

RAJESH MENON is a wildlife photographer and environmental conservationist living in North India. Here he shares some ideas for solutions to the animalhuman conflicts that are apparent in all regions of the world today.

4 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
January 2022

Passion and Love for Community

Dr. Prakash Tyagi is the executive director of Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti (GRAVIS), an NGO dedicated to working in impoverished rural regions of India, including the Thar desert, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Bundelkhand. In part 2 of this interview with Kashish Kalwani, he speaks about how things have changed due to the pandemic and the importance of passion and love for community.

3 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
January 2022

Modern Vinyasa FOR THE MASSES

Teacher Calvin Corzine brings a functional yet challenging approach to yoga with an emphasis on making everyday movement easier.

7 mins read
Yoga Journal
January - February 2022

India Is on a Tear

Massive modernization presents opportunities for investors.

5 mins read
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
February 2022

Love, Non-violence, and Truth

DR. PRAKASH TYAGI is the Executive Director of Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti (GRAVIS), an NGO dedicated to working in impoverished rural regions of India, including the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Bundelkhand. In part 1 of this interview with KASHISH KALWANI, he speaks about applying the Gandhian principles of love, non-violence, and truth to support communities in need.

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
December 2021

WISDOM FROM MY FATHER

The tempo 1 was ready to depart. It was a short 30-minute journey from Bhatkal to Uppunda, a sleepy village in coastal Karnataka, India. My father, sister, and I were traveling together.

4 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
December 2021

GM's Exit From India Hits a Roadblock

The long-delayed sale of its plants to a Chinese company faces local labor and political opposition

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 22 - 29, 2021

Self- acceptance

ELIZABETH DENLEY has been a student of both science and spirituality all her life. Trained as a scientist, she turned her field of inquiry and research skills to the field of meditation and spirituality after starting the Heartfulness practices in the late 80s. Here she shares some thoughts on the importance of selfacceptance.

6 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
November 2021

The New Storytelling:We Are All Indigenous Global Citizens

WAKANYI HOFFMAN is a Global Education Specialist and founder of the African Folktales Project. In Part 2 of her interview with SARA BUBBER, Wakanyi shares the value of storytelling, passing down wisdom through generations, her Kikuyu culture, and how we are all indigenous global citizens.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
November 2021

The Vaccine's Last Mile Problem

India is racing to vaccinate its villages, including many in remote and desperately poor areas where suspicion of the government’s motives runs deep

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 15, 2021