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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

20-September-2023

Q1) Critically analyze the Supreme Court’s approach towards balancing national security and individual rights in cases related to terrorism.

Answer: 

The Indian Supreme Court, as the highest judicial authority, plays a crucial role in upholding justice, protecting constitutional rights, and maintaining the rule of law. It recognizes the significance of safeguarding the nation from terrorism while equally prioritizing the preservation of individuals’ 6 fundamental rights and liberties as enshrined in the Constitution.

Approach of Supreme Court:

  • Proportionality: SC emphasizes proportionality in terrorism cases, as seen in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India (2004), where it struck down disproportionate provisions of POTA, safeguarding the right to life and personal liberty.
  • Showcase of Judicial Activism: in national security and individual rights cases, seen in PUCL v. Union of India (1997), where it set guidelines against custodial torture and upheld the right to legal aid for terrorism accused, ensuring constitutional rights and government accountability.
  • Procedural Safeguards: The Supreme Court safeguards procedural rights in terrorism cases, exemplified by the transfer order in Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v. State of Gujarat (2004), ensuring a fair trial in the Best Bakery case linked to terrorism-related communal violence.
  • Balancing Public Interest: The Supreme Court balances public interest, including national security, and individual rights in terrorism cases, as seen in Union of India v. N.S. Tomar (2013), upholding AFSPA’s constitutionality for maintaining public order and national security in insurgency-affected areas.

Associated Concerns:

  • Complexity of Threats: Balancing national security and individual rights in terrorism cases is challenging due to the complex and evolving nature of terrorist threats.
  • Subjectivity of Judgements in Balancing National Security and Individual Rights: lead to varying interpretations and lack of consistency.
  • Lack of Comprehensive Legislation: tailored to terrorism cases creates challenges for the Court, relying on existing laws that may not adequately address counterterrorism complexities.
  • Time-Sensitive Nature: Terrorism cases often require urgent decisions, posing challenges in balancing thorough deliberation with the need for swift action.

Suggestions:

  • Develop comprehensive laws: specifically addressing counterterrorism to provide guidance for balancing national security and individual rights.
  • Judicial Education: Enhance training programs for judges to deepen their understanding of counterterrorism strategies and the evolving nature of terrorist threats.
  • Establish robust oversight mechanisms: to ensure accountability and prevent abuse of power in counterterrorism operations.
  • Enhance collaboration with other countries and international organizations: to share best practices and develop globally accepted norms in counterterrorism efforts.

Conclusion

By judiciously striking the right balance between national security concerns and individual rights, the judiciary can lead us towards a future where safety and freedom coexist harmoniously, defining us as a just and free society.

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