The requirement of balancing various considerations brings us to the principle of proportionality. In the case of K. S. Puttaswamy (Privacy-9J.) (supra), this Court observed: "310...Proportionality is an essential facet of the guarantee against arbitrary State action because it ensures that the nature and quality of the encroachment on the right is not disproportionate to the purpose of the law ..." Further, in the case of CPIO v. Subhash Chandra Aggarwal, [(2019) SCC OnLine SC 1459], the meaning of proportionality was explained as: "225. It is also crucial for the standard of proportionality to be applied to ensure that neither right is restricted to a greater extent than necessary to fulfil the legitimate interest of the countervailing interest in question ..."

The proportionality principle can be easily summarized by Lord Diplock's aphorism "you must not use a steam hammer to crack a nut, if a nutcracker would do?' [Refer to R v. Goldsmith, [1983] 1 WLR 151, 155 (Diplock J)]. In other words, proportionality is all about means and ends. The suitability of proportionality analysis under Part III, needs to be observed herein. The nature of fundamental rights has been extensively commented upon. One view is that the fundamental rights apply as 'rules', wherein they apply in an 'all¬ or ¬nothing fashion'. This view is furthered by Ronald Dworkin, who argued in his theory that concept of a right implies its ability to trump over a public good. Dworkin‘s view necessarily means that the rights themselves are the end, which cannot be derogated as they represent the highest norm under the Constitution. This would imply that if the legislature or executive act in a particular manner, in derogation of the right, with an object of achieving public good, they shall be prohibited from doing so if the aforesaid action requires restriction of a right. However, while such an approach is often taken by American Courts, the same may not be completely suitable in the Indian context, having regard to the structure of Part III which comes with inbuilt restrictions.

Source: Excerpt taken from a judgment delivered by the bench of N. V. Ramanna, R. Subhash Reddy, B.R. Gavai, J.J. on 10 th January, 2020.

Question 37

The Right to Access to the internet is useful for exercising which of the following Fundamental Rights?

Create a FREE account and get:

  • Download Maths Shortcuts PDF
  • Get 300+ previous papers with solutions PDF
  • 500+ Online Tests for Free


Boost your Prep!

Download App