Supreme Court Judgements: When Law Met Literature

At the Mountain Echoes literary festival in Bhutan, authors raised a toast to some "wonderful writings" by the judges in the right to privacy case and the triple talaq case

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According to the literary community, the judgements marked a moment when law met literature

Mumbai:  Last month, as the Supreme Court delivered two iconic judgements on the right to privacy and triple talaq case, authors and commentators who came to Bhutan for the Mountain Echoes literary festival raised a toast to some "wonderful writings" by the judges and pointed how they could have done better in some cases as the triple talaq judgement.

The literary value of these judgements became a topic of discussion at the festival.

This is because the right to privacy judgement and Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud's style of writing made for some good reading, according to author Jerry Pinto.

"First to begin with, all law is an interpretation of literature. When you are reading a law as a lawyer or as a judge, what you are doing is actually making up your mind about the spirit and the letter of the law that you are reading. So the act of law is an act of literature. It is an act of interpretation in literature," Mr Pinto said.

The judgement ruled privacy is a constitutionally protected right.

"Life and personal liberty are inalienable rights. These are rights which are inseparable from a dignified human existence. The dignity of the individual, equality between human beings and the quest for liberty are the foundational pillars of the Indian constitution."

These words had Congress parliamentarian and author Shashi Tharoor impressed.

"In fact Justice Chandrachud has stood out in many ways in this particular set of judgements... I must admit I have not read the full judgement but those who have told me that it's of extremely high quality, both in terms of the substantive understanding of the principles of law and justice... as well as the language and the clarity of language with which it's expressed," the Congress leader said.

Many even swooned over the fact that Justice Chandrachud's writing actually seemed to correct what had been delivered in the past by the top court.

"I love the fact that the way the son has decided to actually override the judgement of the father that in itself, if you ask me, is a story within a story," said author Ashwin Sanghi.

"So if you really think about it, it may look like a judgement but ultimately it narrates a story and that's why we like it," Mr Sanghi said.

But in the case of the triple talaq judgement, the authors argue the writing could have been better and the standard set by the privacy judgement was not met.

"It's important that the reasoning should be clear and the substantive points of law and justice should be unambiguous and at the same time the language should be also clear... and in some respects one would argue that the triple talaq judgement is not in the same league as the privacy judgement," Shashi Tharoor said.

According to the literary community, the judgements marked a moment when law met literature.
 

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