S. Bhargav ,
Private Entities as Violators of Fundamental Rights: Need for Reform,
4 (3) IJLMH Page 3469 - 3478 (2021), DOI: https://doij.org/10.10000/IJLMH.11886
The fundamental rights under Part III of the Indian Constitution can be considered to be essential to ensure that individuals live a meaningful and purposive life. While originally interpreted to be only enforceable against the state or its instrumentalities, the evolution of the state and our society has expanded the scope of who these state actors can be.
The judiciary has consistently held that unless expressly provided otherwise, fundamental rights are usually enforceable only against the state actors. In rare circumstances however, certain rights have been interpreted so as to have an indirect horizontal effect (i.e.) a state duty can be imposed to prevent the violation of fundamental rights by certain non-state actors.
A recent question that has arisen is whether private individuals can be held liable for violating fundamental rights of other private individuals. An attempt has been made to understand the evolving jurisprudence of Indian courts where private actors and individuals are increasingly being seen as capable of violating fundamental rights. The constitutional capability of the Indian judiciary to create mechanisms to deal with private violators of fundamental rights has been explored in this work.
One particular instance of such violation is when an individual in exercise of the freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) violates another individual’s right under Article 21. This issue was raised in recent constitutional bench proceedings in a case where a minister made derogatory remarks against a rape victim (Kaushal Kishor vs. State Of Uttar Pradesh & othrs). Such conflicts are the main focus of this project. The judiciary’s response to such conflicts has been examined in detail.
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