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RIGHT TO PRIVACY- THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE

Right To Privacy Is A Fundamental Right" Declares Supreme Court

 “The right to privacy is our right to keep a domain around us, which incorporates all those things that are a part of us, like our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets, and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others and to control the extent, manner, and timing of the use of those parts we choose to disclose.”      

In simple words privacy means a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people.

Article 21 of the Indian constitution states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.[i] The topic of right to privacy was raised for the first time in the case of Kharak Singh vs State Of U.P in which the Supreme Court held that regulation 236 of UP police regulation was unconstitutional because it clashed with article 21 of the constitution. It was held by the court that the right to privacy is a part of right to protection of life and private liberty. Here the court had equated privacy to private liberty.

Rape is not only a crime; it is a violation of person’s fundamental life guaranteed under art.21 held in the case of Bodhisattwa Gautam vs subhra chakraborty.    

INDIAN ASPECT OF RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Fundamental rights are basic rights inherent in person and such rights should be entrusted to each citizen of the country alongside proper remedial mechanisms. “Right to privacy” has travelled a protracted journey for the obtainment of status of fundamental right under Indian constitution and therefore the way this privacy right attained the status of fundamental right then elucidation of certain prominent case laws it is mandatory for substantiating the discussion and for providing a transparent and unambiguous idea about right to privacy.

Right to privacy was established from “protection of life and private liberty” enshrined under article 21 of the Indian constitution and therefore the discussion on case laws is important for better understanding of this utmost significant right within the present scenario. In the case of Kharak Singh vs state of Uttar Pradesh. Where the appealing party was being annoyed by police under regulation 236(b) of the UP regulation. This allows for domiciliary, visits at night. The Supreme Court held that regulation 236 is unconstitutional and violate article 21. The court concluded by saying that article 21 of the constitution to incorporate “rights to privacy” as a part of right to “protection of life and personal liberty”.

EVOLUTION OF RIGHT TO PRIVACY

The concept of privacy can be traced out in the traditional text of Hindus. If one check out the Hitopadesh it says that certain matter should be shielded from disclosure. This is not so much strange to Indian Culture, however some law specialists like Sheetal Asrani-Dann has questions about the evolution in India, in support of this she also explained the view of Upendra Baxi, “Ordinary encounters within the Indian setting (from the manifestation of fantastic neighborliness through consistent reconnaissance by next-door neighbors, to unabated interest at other people’s illness or personality vicissitudes) suggest otherwise”. But Upendra Baxi is clearly concerned with kindness, sympathy, humanity or gentleness, which is an unabated curiosity; it’s not about ill-will. But Hitopadesh can’t be subject to ‘Positive Law’, even in ancient time it had been associated with ‘Positive Morality’; so in this sense it can be said that in ancient Indian content there was vagueness about the right to privacy.      

However in the modern India the issue of right to privacy was discussed for the first time in debates of constituent assembly where K.S. karimuddin moved on amendment on the lines of the U.S. constitution, where B.R. Ambedkar gave it only reserved support, it didn’t secure the inclusion of the right to privacy in constitution.

In case of M.P. Sharma vs Satish Chandra the issue before the court is of “power of search and seizure” in this Supreme Court held that they can’t bring privacy as a fundamental right since it is something alien to Indian constitution and constitution creator doesn’t bother about right to privacy. 

People s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v Union of India is related to phone tapping and it talked about whether phone tapping is an encroachment of right to privacy under Article 21. Supreme Court argued that discussion on the telephone is regularly of a secret character and telephone-conversation is a part of modern man’s life. Supreme Court additionally said that whether right to privacy can be claimed or has been encroached in a given case would rely on the facts of the said case.

In Maneka Gandhi v Union of India, Supreme Court interpreted the Article 21 in wide sense. They said that both the rights of personal security and personal liberty perceived by what Blackstone termed ‘natural law’ are embodied in Article 21. Maneka Gandhi Case started the wide interpretation of Right to Life, which really helped the Right to Privacy to fall into to the extent of Right to Life.

Unni Krishnan v State of A.P. numbered the twelve significance of right to life; and right to privacy was one of them.

Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. Vs Union of India and Ors is a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court of India, which holds that the right to privacy is protected as a fundamental constitutional right under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.[ii]

After observation of those entire cases one can say that Right to Privacy is said to individual’s personal liberty, which results to be recognized as a Right to Life.[iii]

CONCLUSION

This research project found that, the right to privacy is well recognized as Right to Life. It was always observed that right to privacy derived from right to life and private liberty and therefore the recent judicial precedent about recognition of fundamental status of right to privacy has provided a constitutional protection to private and confidential information and violation of said right will end in stringent action against the infringer. The aim behind establishment of right to privacy is with reference to protection of private information shared on digital platform and since India doesn’t have privacy law as such, fundamental status of privacy will protect this right from being contravened by others. Right to privacy which was pronounced as “right to be let alone” by Justice Subba Rao while dissenting the majority judgment within the case of Kharak Singh v. State of U.P., has finally obtained the right place within the Indian constitution after various discussions and deliberations happened in numerous cases which addressed various aspect of right to privacy in Indian constitution.


[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_privacy

[ii]https://indiankanoon.org/search/?formInput=article%2014%2C%2019%20and%2021&pagenum=7

[iii] https://privacyinternational.org/sites/default/files/2018 04/India_UPR_Stakeholder%20Report_Right%20to%20Privacy.pdf

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