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Triple Talaq and Right to Privacy: A tale of two Supreme Court verdicts

While Opposition was quick to welcome privacy judgment, there was palpable silence in BJP circles

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

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If on Tuesday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership was jubilant at the verdict that quashed instant ‘Triple Talaq’ as unconstitutional, on Thursday it struggled to hide its disappointment at the apex court’s unanimous judgement that declared the a fundamental right.

If on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other senior ministers and party leaders were quick to tweet the landmark nature of the SC’s judgement, there was on Thursday complete radio silence both from the Modi government as well as from the BJP’s headquarters at 11, Ashoka Road.

Instead, after a long time the headquarters of the Congress party at 24, Akbar Road buzzed with activity. The nine-member bench order of the was delivered a little before 10:45 am. By 12.30 pm, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram held his press conference. Other leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Randeep Surjewala and Rajeev Gowda flanked the former finance minister at the conference room. A little later, senior counsel and Congress leader Kapil Sibal also spoke on the issue at his residence.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Communist Party of (Marxist), Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi had either tweeted their reactions or issued statements by 2:00 pm.

“Welcome the SC verdict upholding the as an intrinsic part of individual liberty, freedom and dignity. A victory for every India,” Rahul tweeted at 1:43 pm. The Congress Vice President said: “The SC decision marked a major blow to fascist forces. A sound rejection of the BJP’s ideology of suppression through surveillance.”
In her statement, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the SC verdict on strikes at “unbridled encroachment and surveillance” by the State and its agencies on the life of the common man. She said the Congress and opposition together spoke for the against “arrogant” attempts of the BJP government to curtail them.

BJP chief Amit Shah was yet to tweet even by 3:10 pm. On Tuesday, Shah had tweeted a detailed statement on the quashing of instant ‘Triple Talaq’ by SC by 12:35 pm, and had followed it up with a series of tweets and a video clip of welcoming the verdict. If Prime Minister Modi had welcomed the ‘Triple Talaq’ judgement as historic, there was no statement yet from the PM’s Office at the time of filing of this report.

The Union IT and Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, addressed the media on the issue on Thursday. During the press conference, he welcomed the apex court's verdict saying: "The government welcomes this judgement."

Prasad also shared his views on the social media platform Twitter, saying: "We welcome all the principles laid down by in the #RightToPrivacy verdict."
The BJP leader also took pot shots at the Opposition Congress party saying the UPA-led government did nothing to provide a legal framework to address the issue.

"The has affirmed what the government had said in Parliament while moving the Aadhar Bill. Privacy should be a fundamental right subject to reasonable restrictions," Prasad said.

Reacting to the assertion of the Congress that the verdict was a rejection of the BJP's ideology of "suppression through surveillance", Prasad tweeted: "What has been the record of the #Congress in protecting individual liberties was seen during Emergency." 

First Published: Thu, August 24 2017. 15:41 IST