Right to privacy

"Without privacy there is no point in being an individual."

Right to privacy can be knwon from saying "Man's house is his castle". Every human being has certain confidential or seclusion part of the life which cannot be brought out in public domain. Countries like USA, UK, India have given recognition to right to privacy.
Various precedents of honorable courts of the country has given right to privacy a status of right possessed by humans. A 50 year old controversy of whether privacy is a right possessed by humans came to an end.

Right to Privacy:

Right to Privacy can be defined as right to a private life, not to be interfered by private actions or government that encroach on person's privacy.
The Right to Privacy was first time recognised by the Supreme Court in the case of Kharak Singh vs State of U.P. as a right implicit under Article 21.


Article 21 of the Indian Constitution provides :

No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
In the Landmark case of K.S. Puttaswamy versus Union of India, 2017 SC
Supreme court stated that " the right to privacy is a fundamental and inalienable right that attaches to the person and includes all information about that person and the decisions that he or she makes . Article 21 provides for right to life and personal liberty and right to privacy is an integral part of right to life and personal liberty as well as the freedoms provided by part III of the constitution.

Right to privacy in International aspect:

Article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 provides legal protection to people against arbitrary interference with their privacy, home , family, honour and reputation.
Article 17 of International Covenant on civil and political Rights, 1966 also protects right of privacy of people. On April 10, 1979, India became signatory.
Since 1960 the Indian judiciary have dealt with the issue of privacy as a fundamental right and as a common law. Justice Matthew pointed that the right to privacy for being there necessary have to go through a process of case by case development. The Indian judiciary has given shape to privacy as a right after going through a number of judgements on case to case basis.

Right to privacy as a fundamental right:

Supreme Court confirmed that right to privacy is the fundamental right that can be drawn from article 14, 19 and 21 of Indian constitution. It is a fundamental and inalienable right that is available to a person.

Right to privacy not an absolute right:

The Supreme Court carefully pointed that fundamental right to privacy is not absolute and is subject to certain reasonable limitations. State can limit the right to privacy to defend legitimate state interests.
In the case of Naz Foundation vs Govt of NCT of Delhi, 2009 SC
The Delhi High Court struck down Section 377 of IPC 1862 and decriminalised the consensual sexual relations between consenting adults. One of the critical arguments accepted by the court in this case was that the right to privacy of a citizen's sexual relations protected as it was under Article 21 could be intruded into by the state only if the state was able to establish a compelling interest for such interference. Since the state was unable to prove compelling state interest to interfere in the sexual relations of its citizens, the provisions was struck down to decriminalize consensual sexual relations.

Mr X vs Hospital Z, 2003 SC

The Supreme Court of India ruled that medical records are considered to be private. Doctors and hospitals could make exceptions in certain cases for non- disclosure of medical information in cases where it could endangered the lives of other citizens.

Government initiatives to protect Privacy of citizens:

  • Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 Framed on the recommendation of B.N. Srikrishna Committee,2018.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000- This Act provides for protection of privacy of individuals relating to computer system and data.
  • Data Protection Authority established in 2020 to oversee the implementation of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

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