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M P Sharma vs Satish Chandra Case


This was one of the first Supreme Court decisions on the right to privacy in India. A committee of eight members of the court also briefly discussed the right to privacy and interaction with Article 20 (3) when discussing the constitutionality of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) investigation and seizure clauses of 1898.Discussed. In that ruling, the court ruled that the search and seizure of documents did not constitute "compulsory testimony" and therefore did not infringe Article 20 (3).

The petitioner said that police investigation and seizure are the basic rights of property under Article 19 (1) (f) and the compulsory self-incrimination rights guaranteed by Article 20 (3). Claimed to violate. The court dismissed the former allegation and ruled that the police investigation would not infringe on the rights of the property, as there was no interference with the ability to use the property and the rights were appropriately restricted in any case.

The content of the debate on compulsory self-incrimination was discussed. The court ruled that the authority to search and seize was the highest priority of the state needed to protect society. It was noted that the authority to search and seize could not be subject to the right to privacy, as the Constitution of India did not have a provision prohibiting unjustified search and seizure equivalent to Article 4 of the Amendment to the US Constitution. Therefore, the court upheld the government's right to search and seize.

* Property rights are no longer basic rights. It was deleted from Part III of the Constitution by the Constitution of Spain (44th Amendment) of 1978.


The Government of India ordered an investigation into the business of the company after it was liquidated in 1952 under the Companies Act of 1913. The investigation was based on the rationale that the company tried to embezzle funds by tampering with its balance sheets and accounts to hide the true facts from its shareholders. It argued that fraudulent and fraudulent transactions constitute various crimes under the Indian Criminal Code of 1860.

Therefore, the FIR was registered in 1953 and an application for an investigation warrant was submitted to the district judge under Section 96 of the CrPC. District judges issued arrest warrants and simultaneous searches and seizures were conducted at 34 separate facilities. The petitioner filed a petition to destroy the investigation warrant and return the seized documents because the investigation warrant violates Articles 19 (1) (f) and 20 (3). Submitted to.


Whether the power to search and seize materials granted by the CrPC was violative of Article 19(1)(f) and Article 20(3) of the Constitution.


The petitioner alleged that the investigation violated Article 19 (1) (f) of freedom to acquire, own and dispose of property. They claimed that the search carried out was unreasonable and an infringement of their rights because their buildings were invaded, their documents were taken, and their reputation was damaged.

The petitioner also alleged that the search for the document violated the constitutional guarantee of compulsory self-incrimination. Relying on US case law, the petitioner argued that the scope of Article 20 (3) should not be limited to written testimony as well as oral testimony. The petitioner argued that the search was a substitute for the forced surrender of the subpoena and was therefore a form of forced testimony prohibited by Article 20 (3). To support this allegation, the petitioner relied on the Supreme Court's decision to interpret the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution.


The court dismissed the petitioner's allegation that the right to acquire, retain, and dispose of property was infringed by the seizure procedure. The court ruled that conducting an investigation would not deprive people of the enjoyment of their property. In addition, the court ruled that the seizure was the acquisition of property from stakeholders, which was a temporary and limited measure, and that the state could completely seize the goods found during the search. It was also pointed out that confiscation is a temporary obstruction of property rights and does not constitute an infringement of basic rights.

Next, the court addressed the issue of the right to protection from self-incrimination guaranteed in Article 20 (3). He noted that the existence of the law encouraged police to conduct aggressive investigations, rather than relying solely on confessions, and considered theoretical arguments for the existence of self-discrimination. Against this background, the court ruled that rights should not be narrowly interpreted and limited to their literal meaning, but should use a free definition that is consistent with the intent of the basic right. .. Since Article 20 (3) uses the term "become a witness" rather than "appear as a witness", protection from compulsory testimony includes not only oral testimony but also compulsory production of witnesses. I understand. document. Furthermore, it was noted that under the Law of Evidence, one can testify as a witness by presenting the document in other ways. Therefore, the court has decided that Article 20 (3) applies to both document preparation and verbal evidence.

However, the court disagreed with the petitioner's allegation that the investigation and seizure were a substitute for the subpoena, and found that the warrant was addressed to government officials rather than the owner of the facility during the investigation and seizure process. Therefore, the defendant has no evidence role to play in the search. It was the actions of highranking government officials who submitted the evidence, not the defendants who were forced to testify. The petitioner, citing the US Supreme Court's decision to interpret Article 4 of the US Constitutional Amendment, argued that the search and seizure of documents was equivalent to a compulsory preparation in violation of Article 20 (3). The court dismissed this allegation and found that the Indian Constitution did not include the same basic rights to privacy as Article 4 of the US Constitutional Amendment. The court refused to adopt the principles of Article 4 of the Constitutional Amendment in the form of right to privacy.

This article is written by Shreyansh Prakash of Symbiosis Law School, Pune.

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1989 AIR 2039, 1989 SCR (3) 997 BENCH: MISRA RANGNATH OZA, G.L. (J) PETITIONER: Parmanand Katara, Human Rights Activist RESPONDENT: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Medical Council, India


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