Right To Privacy: Justified as a Fundamental Right?

This case received the media coverage due to the government’s decision of linking AADHAR mandatory. The major faction of the society was against making AADHAR mandatory feeling that it infringes the right of privacy because all the information of an individual would be accessible by any state and private player. The memory of Orwell’s 1984 is still alive in our minds, “The Big Brother is always watching”.

Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (retd.), and anr v. Union of India and Ors. W.P. (Civil) No. 494 of 2012

This case too has precedents in the judgments of M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh. They both held that the right to Privacy is not a fundamental right and is not protected by the Constitution.

While enumerating the decision the judges also held that the right to privacy is not an absolute right and depending on its variable facts, vested in one part or the other, and would thus be subject to the restrictions of an exercise of that particular fundamental right. National Security would thus be an obvious restriction, so would the provisos to different fundamental rights, dependent on where the right to privacy would arise. The Public interest element would be another aspect

It was held that “the right of privacy is a fundamental right. It is a right which protects the inner sphere of that individual from interference from both State, and non-state actors and allows the individuals to make autonomous life choices.”

The issue of the right to privacy was also discussed in the case of Suresh Kumar Koushal VS. Naz Foundation and thus debate is always resurrected while discussing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states that though Gays, Lesbians, Transgender or bisexuals forms a minor part of our country’s population but their rights cannot be trampled upon by playing “The Majority Rules” card.

Also Read  Why Primacy of the judiciary in judicial appointment a part of the basic structure?

The right to privacy was also discussed in the phone tapping case. Without proper prior authorization from the appropriate authority, no person has the permission to infringe any individual’s privacy or interfere in anyone’s private life.

In the final paragraph of Justice Sanjay KishanKaul’s judgment, it is concisely held that “Let the right of privacy, an inherent right embedded in Part – III of the Constitution of India, but subject to the restrictions specified, relatable to that part. This is the call of today. The old order has changed yielding place to new.” The law has to adapt with changing times.

This verdict has also opened the gates and fanned the fire regarding the illegality of section 377 of IPC in modern times. The Supreme Court has also decided to review its previous judgment where Section 377 was not held unconstitutional in the light of this judgment.

Reference: Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (retd.), and Anr VS Union Of India and Ors. [W.P. (Civil) No. 494 of 2012]

Also read Right To Privacy: Fundamental Right Justified?

Leave a comment