Polity Notes

RIGHT TO PRIVACY

On 24th Aug 2017 nine judge Constitution bench of Supreme Court headed by - The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice J. S. Khehar in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy ( Retd.) vs. Union of India case declared that The Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the Right to life & Personal liberty under ARTICLE 21 and as a part of freedom guaranteed by Part – III of the constitution.

Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right (mostly under Article 21 and additionally under Part - III rights). In many countries e.g - USA, Canada, South Africa, UK, E.U etc. Right to Privacy is available as FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT.

Supreme Court overruled its two previous judgements on this issue namely:-

1. Eight judge bench judgement in MP SHARMA vs. SATISH CHANDRA 1954 case

2. Six judges bench judgement in KHARAK SINGH vs. STATE OF UP 1962 case

In both of these cases, Supreme Court had ruled that Right to Privacy is NOT a fundamental right.

In 2015, the stand of union government was that Right to Privacy is NOT a Fundamental Right but in 2017, union government changed its stand. Attorney General K.K .Venugopal respresenting Union of India argued that RIGHT TO PRIVACY can be called as Fundamental Right with some conditions.

Every aspect of PRIVACY cannot be granted the status of fundamental right. Right to privacy is a part of right to freedom but with different aspects. These will depend upon the different situations. The safety and security of the country is of utmost importance. Reasonable restrictions can be put on right to privacy on this ground. Privacy need minimal regulations. The individual will retain his privacy to body & mind. Matters concerning marriage, sexuality, relationship etc. Cannot given absolute protection under right to privacy. Similarly government can use personal data through passport, IT returns, aadhar card, bank details, credit / debit card, social networking etc. for making various schemes for the welfare of the masses.